Social media has billions of active members, consuming various media products, changing mindsets, and building brand awareness. This makes social media a great marketing tool or platform for small businesses that are just starting out or do-it-yourself businesses. Social media allows for direct engagement with loyal, new, and potential customers or consumers of your services. It also allows for the sharing and promotion of content thereby exposing your business to a larger group of potential customers at a relatively lower cost.
In this article we will cover all the basics of social media marketing:
- What Is Social Media Marketing?
- How Social Media Marketing can help you reach your marketing goals?
- Choosing the best platform?
- Paid Social Media Marketing
What Is Social Media Marketing?
SMM is the use of social media platforms to promote and raise awareness of a product or service. Social Media Marketing (SMM) aims at connecting with your existing and new audiences to raise your brand awareness, generate more traffic for your website, increase sales, and augment client bases. It is a simple and effective way of marketing your products or services. Such marketing is, however, not done haphazardly! You will need a solid plan for how you are going to promote your business.
Social Media Marketing Plan
This is the marketing strategy you are going to follow as you promote your business, content, or products/services on various social media platforms. Just like every other marketing campaign, your social media marketing plan must be well defined, with clear goals and targets of what you want to achieve. Below, we will take a quick look at some of the key steps you should take to come up with a successful social media marketing campaign:
Your content is your ambassador, if you do not adequately engineer it, you might fail to get the expected results. Identify and set goals that resonate with the values of your product, service, or company. Explore the nature of your target audience. This will inform your messaging on social media.
Great Content – Quality all the time!
Great content is what can turn your brand into a recognized household name, even creating a legion of fans who echo the values of your brand. Your content should always resonate with your audience. Great content wields the power to influence a decision, turn a borderline customer into a loyal one. Quality content with many likes and shares but without purchases of the promoted product or service is not great content.
Consistent Brand Message
A consistent voice amongst a maddening crowd will quieten the madness. The key to becoming great is consistency in your messaging. For example, Nike, with their “Just Do It” motto, has consistently stood with athletes in race issues. As you plan your social media campaign, make sure your messaging has longevity because you do not want to change your message.
These are links that have cached and indexed content already exists on the internet (Google) which are inserted in your content. Best working links are found in older content which ranks high on Google. You will not need to write a new post or blog. These links are inserted and slipped into an existing post which then links back to your site, thereby generating traffic as well as gaining a higher score on SEO. According to Forwardpmx, a mix of both created original links and curated links boost the clicks-to-conversion rate of your business.
Social Content Promotion
Social content promotion is when you use paid or organic channels to further promote your products, services, or company. Each social media platform you decide to use has unique social content promoting mechanisms, e.g. Instagram makes use of hashtags (#) more than Facebook. You can create your hashtag, trend, or encourage sharing your post for discounts, mentioning people, and striking up conversations. The aim is to have people talk about your product or service whilst expanding your reach.
As a small business, it is important to track your competition and see how they are doing. You can learn from them, as well as capitalize on their mistakes. It is good to measure your growth by looking at your company’s statistics, but a glimpse of how your competitor is doing is good for planning. However, remember that social media is a community that is not necessarily built on rivalry but oneness. This means you can still share your competitor’s content if they posted something great. An interesting case is that of sportswear maker, Adidas, sharing a tweet by its rival Nike, against racism.
How Social Media Marketing can help you reach your marketing Goals
Every marketing campaigned is a measure to determine whether it is achieving its intended results. There are a lot of tools used to measure your marketing efforts, and using analytics is one way of tracking your progress
Measuring Success with Analytics
Social media platforms have inbuilt analytics tools that can be used to track your progress. Consider using other independent social analytic tools, these help you see a clearer picture different from the host site. Their insight is valuable. Try out the recommendations they give to help you grow. Examples of social analytic tools are Ahrefs and Sprout. Social mention tools are useful for tracking who is talking about you.
Choosing the best platform
Your product or service, together with your social media marketing plan, will influence which of the various social media platforms you are going to use. Do thorough research about your target audience and decide where you can reach out to them. Below we are going to look at individual social media platforms and their nature.
- Instagram: A popular platform for a product-oriented kind of business. It is a great visuals platform to build and promote brands, allowing brand owners to connect with their customers. It can be used to creatively market your personality, fashion, and person-oriented brands or services whilst building a community of followers and customers.
- Twitter: A good platform to start conversations around your brand, product, or service. Most conversations on Twitter can be easily followed through due to the conciseness of its messages. It a good platform to hear feedback and directly interact with your customers. You can follow through comments and requests, offering convenient customer service.
- Facebook: With over 2 billion active users, it remains a great place to advertise your business. You can encourage your customers to create groups and start conversations around your business. Advertising rates are affordable for all, making it a great entry point for most small businesses.
- Tik Tok: If your business is targeting teens and young adults, then Tik Tok is the go-to platform. With over 800 million downloads, it has all the potential to boom. You can create your business account, or pay influencers to push your products.
Paid Social Media Marketing
As alluded elsewhere in this article, you can pay to advertise your products or services on social media. Facebook has a large advertising economy which allows you to target who you want. Paid social media comes in various forms including pay-per-click advertising, display ads, influencer-generated, and branded content. Each social media platform is different, hence your focus medium should be influenced by your business and target audience.
Social media marketing allows small businesses to promote their products or services to a larger audience at relatively cheaper rates than traditional marketing means. SMM increases brand awareness, contact between you and your clients, and traffic to your website while enabling you to gain market insight at a cost-efficient rate.
However, Social media marketing needs great planning and patience to execute. The ability to study your competitor means they can also study you and come up with competing campaigns. It is time-consuming if you are not experienced, which means you need to employ qualified people to track the analytics – increasing your cost of operations if you are a small business. Be ready to wait a bit longer on returns as your investment might take some time before you start noticing them
Be patient as you start, whilst building relations and synergies. Cultivate brand loyalty in your followers, and keep raising your brand awareness. Be consistent in your posting and make sure your brand is present where it is needed to be. In due time, investment returns will start trickling back. Good Luck!