Social media marketing or SMM is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach prospects and customers. Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’re missing out! Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.
Social Media Marketing 101:
SMM is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals. Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and and other content that drives audience engagement, as well as paid social media advertising.
Begin With a Plan
Before you begin creating social media marketing campaigns, consider your business’s goals. Starting a social media marketing campaign without a social strategy in mind is like wandering around a forest without a map—you might have fun, but you’ll probably get lost.
Here are few questions to ask when defining your social media marketing goals:
- What are you hoping to achieve through social media marketing?
- Who is your target audience?
- Where would your target audience hang out and how would they use social media?
- What message do you want to send to your audience with social media marketing?
Your business type should inform and drive your social media marketing strategy.
For example, an e-commerce or travel business, being highly visual, can get a lot of value from a strong presence on Instagram or Pinterest. A business-to-business or marketing company might find more leverage in Twitter or Linkedin.
How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Meet Your Marketing Goals
Social media marketing can help with a number of goals, such as:
- Increasing website traffic
- Building conversions
- Raising brand awareness
- Creating a brand identity and positive brand association
- Improving communication and interaction with key audiences
The bigger and more engaged your audience is on social media networks, the easier it will be for you to achieve every other marketing goal on your list!
Best Social Media Marketing Tips
Ready to get started with marketing on social media? Here are a few social media marketing tips to kick off your social media campaigns.
- Social Media Content Planning — As discussed previously, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Consider keyword research and competitive research to help brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. What are other businesses in your industry doing to drive engagement on social media?
- Great Social Content — Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns supreme when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and interesting. The content that you share on your social networks can include social media images, videos, infographics, how-to guides and more.
- A Consistent Brand Image — Using social media for marketing enables your business to project your brand image across a variety of different social media platforms. While each platform has its own unique environment and voice, your business’s core identity, whether it’s friendly, fun, or trustworthy, should stay consistent.
- Social Media for Content Promotion — Social media marketing is a perfect channel for sharing your best site and blog content with readers. Once you build a loyal following on social media, you’ll be able to post all your new content and make sure your readers can find new stuff right away. Plus, great blog content will help you build more followers. It’s a surprising way that content marketing and social media marketing benefit each other.
- Sharing Curated Links — While using social media for marketing is a great way to leverage your own unique, original content to gain followers, fans, and devotees, it’s also an opportunity to link to outside articles as well. If other sources provide great, valuable information you think your target audience will enjoy, don’t be shy about linking to them. Curating and linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return.
- Tracking Competitors — It’s always important to keep an eye on competitors—they can provide valuable data for keyword research and other social media marketing insight. If your competitors are using a certain social media marketing channel or technique that seems to be working for them, considering doing the same thing, but do it better!
- Measuring Success with Analytics — You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your most triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them. And be sure to use the analytics within each social platform for even more insight into which of your social content is performing best with your audience.
- Social Media Crisis Management — Things don’t always go swimmingly for brands on social media. It’s best to have a playbook in place so your employees know how to handle a snafu.
How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Marketing
Here’s a brief overview about how to use social media for marketing according to each platform’s unique user base and environment. Different social media marketing sites require different approaches, so develop a unique strategy tailored for each platform.
Using Facebook for Social Media Marketing
Facebook’s casual, friendly environment requires an active social media marketing strategy. Start by creating a Facebook Business Fan Page. You will want to pay careful attention to layout, as the visual component is a key aspect of the Facebook experience.
Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and friendly. And remember, organic reach on Facebook can be extremely limited, so consider a cost-effective Facebook ad strategy, which can have a big impact on your organic Facebook presence as well!
Using Twitter for Social Media Marketing
Twitter is the social media marketing tool that lets you broadcast your updates across the web. Follow tweeters in your industry or related fields, and you should gain a steady stream of followers in return.
Mix up your official tweets about specials, discounts, and news with fun, brand-building tweets . Be sure to retweet when a customer has something nice to say about you, and don’t forget to answer people’s questions when possible. Using Twitter as a social media marketing tool revolves around dialog and communication, so be sure to interact as much as possible to nurture and build your following.
Using YouTube for Social Media Marketing
YouTube is the number one place for creating and sharing video content, and it can also be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don’t under-estimate the power of video content.