Possibly everyone into marketing right now knows this- social media is where the world is at. But just how much has social media taken over life as we know it? According to Datareportal’s Global Overview Digital Report, a whopping 4.20 billion individuals worldwide are using social media in 2021, demonstrating a 13% increase from 2020.
Although many of these users are distributed across various platforms, most use more than one regularly, such as Facebook and Instagram, perhaps the most popular, among others. Such is the love for social media among today’s internet users, that they use these platforms every single day and many dozen times a day at that. With this info, is it any wonder that smart marketers are all looking into social media for new and improved marketing avenues?
But what exactly is social media marketing and what does it entail? If you’re wondering, don’t worry- we’ve got you covered with this little guide right here.
Social media marketing
Simply put, social media marketing is a way for brands and companies to reach out to their audience and consumer segment, promote themselves and stay connected with the consumers via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Since most of your target audience is active on social media, on one or the other platform, if not more, social media marketing is extremely crucial for your brand.
Social media marketing is basically done through brands creating an online presence, a handle on each platform, and making text, video as well as image posts that are likely to appeal to the target audience. The more a post demands engagement and participation from the audience, the more it attracts them- such as audience polls, tie-ups with popular celebrities and/or influencers, contests, etc. Working on and implementing a strong social media marketing campaign will not only popularize one’s brand and generate awareness, but it will also help to increase sales, reach, and revenue.
What a social media marketing plan should be like
It is imperative to have a solid plan in place before you actually start embarking on a social media marketing campaign. A brand must ask themselves what exactly they seek out of this venture, in order for it to take shape and achieve success.
- Firstly, it is important to know the purpose of the campaign. Is it meant to increase the brand’s reach or presence on social media? Is it meant to attract a potential consumer segment, or to appeal increasingly to the existing customer base? Is it meant to target sales and drive growth in numbers?
- It is equally important to identify, and really know your target audience. The demographic they fall into, such as their age, their income group, their interests, and how they tend to engage on social media, are all deciding factors as to how your marketing campaign will operate and move.
- It is a good idea to align your social media marketing plan with your business and the field you are in-leverage your brand’s strengths to retain current audiences and attract future ones.
What’s new right now in social media marketing
While a brand’s growth on social media used to be largely organic in the early days of social media marketing, trends are shifting away swiftly. Social media platforms like Facebook have almost made it necessary for companies to pay to be advertised to their target audience, for increased reach on the platform. Thus, it is important to choose the appropriate social media platform for your brand so that when you have to spend on ads, the money spent goes to good use and you can actually reach your audience.
Earlier, when there were only limited means of interacting on the internet, company websites could send Call to Action messages only via e-mail. Today, brands can integrate the push notifications they want to send their audience through various different platforms. For example, if a target customer was browsing the website, the brand could propel their advertisement or message to reach the individual on Instagram.
Don’t be afraid to use helpful tools such as social media data analytics to get useful information about the behavior your target audience is exhibiting on your website and on social media. Brands these days are increasingly relying on data analytics to find out what the traffic is like on their website and on social media platforms, when consumers are most active, etc.
Benefits of social media marketing
Social media marketing is not just helpful for your brand, it is extremely crucial at this point when the entire world is on some platform or the other.
- Higher conversion rate- When you put your brand out on social media and engage with your existing as well as potential audience, more potential ones are willing to convert to real customers out of piqued interest.
- Higher website traffic- When your brand is visible on social media, more target customers will head to your website to check it out.
- Increasing awareness- Naturally, the more you interact on social media as a brand, the better known you will be.
Popular platforms and how they can be used
Facebook is perhaps the leading social media platform today and is more than ready for use in your next social media campaign. However, this platform will need a very active strategy and constant engagement. The key here is to ensure that the nature of your posts and engagement is not too heavy, reaches out frequently to the audience, and is approachable.
LinkedIn is perhaps the most different from other popular social media platforms because this is a professional networking platform, more to do with business and connections than with casual interaction. LinkedIn groups and LinkedIn advertising are both great ways for you and your campaign to be visible to the people on this platform.
Instagram is one of the platforms with the highest rate of engagement, and thanks to its dynamic, easy-to-use interface, is very popular particularly with the youth. If you have content that is photo or video-rich, Instagram is the perfect platform to launch and implement your social media campaign. One must remember to make full use of Instagram features like Stories, Reels for short clips, and organic but relevant hashtags on every post.
It is always important to remember which platform is likely to attract which type of audience, and this holds very true for Pinterest in particular. A platform frequented largely by women, your social media marketing plan will do nicely here if your content- mostly photographs and carefully collated collage boards- relates to fields such as fashion, cooking, design, and related topics. On Pinterest, make full use of marketing through influencers if you have any onboard.
YouTube is the platform a brand wants to turn to when their audience demonstrates a preference for longer videos as opposed to readable content. The key here is to make use of video ads and experiment with what works and what does not. Don’t be scared to film and edit your content yourself to appeal to your audience! So that was our basic how-to on social media marketing. Which platforms will you be using for your social media marketing campaign?