In order to reach your target audience, you need to be where they are. That’s marketing 101. So where are people right now? Scrolling through their Instagram and Twitter feeds.
Social media is for a lot of people the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see before bed. Checking Facebook and Instagram to fill every bit of free time isn’t unusual, it’s the norm.
Especially in these times, when most of us are stuck home, social media is our doorway to the outside world. It’s how people connect with each other, and also with those who have what they need. If you don’t have an active social media profile for your business you might as well be off the grid.
So we are going to show you how you can effectively use social media to transform your marketing strategy and bring in better results.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is a marketing strategy that utilizes social media platforms for the purpose of building your brand, increasing user engagement, and boosting sales.
It’s all about being where your customers are, so you can connect with them better.
Social media marketing consists of creating and sharing quality content, as well as paid advertising. Sharing content may mean posting text, images, videos, or links on social media to achieve a goal. Your audience can usually interact with you by liking, commenting on, or reposting your content in some way. Paid advertising on social media can help you reach demographics that you want to more efficiently.
It can serve several purposes for your business. Social media marketing can help you:
- Build a positive brand image
- Improve customer interaction and communication and receive positive and negative feedback
- Increase lead generation and conversion rates
- Increase traffic on your website
- Building your brand presence and getting your brand known among your target audience
For you, social media marketing may be the way for accomplishing one or more of these goals for your business.
Importance Of Social Media Marketing
Why do we need social media marketing? Statistics show that in the US, social media penetration is up to 67.5%, and by 2025, the numbers are expected to rise to 71.5%. This means that 67.5% of the population a social network site via any device at least once per month. When your target audience gets younger, the numbers go up way more.
Social media is taking over the world. Its influence is only growing each year. It’s a marketing opportunity ripe for the taking.
73% of marketers believe that social media marketing has been somewhat or very effective for their business.
What does that mean for you? Everyone’s on social media, so if you're not, your business doesn’t have a hope of being seen.
71% of consumers who have a positive social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. A report shows that 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials identify social media is the most relevant advertising channel for them.
There needs to be no doubt about the effectiveness of social media marketing. It is one of the most cost-effective marketing solutions that you can invest in.
How To Create A Social Media Marketing Strategy That Works For You
When creating a social media strategy that is best suited to your marketing needs, you need to consider these questions.
1. What do you want to achieve?
Social media marketing can help you achieve a wide variety of goals. But which of those goals do you want to prioritize on? Do you want to build a good brand image? Increase customer engagement and feedback? Or just focus on sales and conversions? You cannot ever walk into marketing blind. You have to have a clear view of what you're looking to achieve before figuring out how you’ll get there.
2. Where will you perform the best?
Not all social media platforms are the same. There are two things to consider when choosing which platform to focus your marketing efforts on- the nature of your business and who your buyer persona is.
3. Who are you?
What you are selling has an impact on where you need to sell it. If you're selling products that rely on visuals and aesthetics- cosmetics, clothes, travel, and such- then you need to focus your efforts on Instagram. If you’re selling B2B services, then LinkedIn might be your best choice.
4. Who are you trying to reach?
If you want to reach your audience, you have to first figure out where they hang out. For that, you need to understand the behavior of your target audience.
If your target audience comprises mostly of the fun-loving youth, Facebook and Instagram are good choices. If they are businesspeople, LinkedIn and Twitter are safer bets.
Depending on age groups, there is a great variation in the usage of different platforms. Gen Z and millennials form most of the user base for Instagram. Millennials and baby boomers form a good portion of the Twitter base, although it is also popular among Gen Z. Snapchat is mostly only used by Gen Z. Older users prefer Facebook over any other social media.
Even among the age groups, there are gender variations. Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest have a higher proportion of female users, while Twitter has a slightly higher proportion of male users.
5. What kind of content do you need?
There are several factors to consider when planning and creating your content. Your content must be tailored to suit your goals, your audience, and your choice of social media platform.
You need a different kind of content for user engagement and a different kind for brand building. You need to keep in mind what you're trying to achieve when creating content.
What does well here might not do well everywhere. Many marketers have a tendency to group-post to all platforms. What that means is they’ll create a good piece of content and then just hit share to all. That will not work. Why? Because what works on Instagram will not work on LinkedIn. Each platform has its own style, its own way of doing things. And considering what works on each platform is crucial to making sure your content works.
Best Practices For Each Social Media Platform
So now you know that picking the right platform for your needs is important, and tailoring the right content for the right platform is also crucial. Since each social network has different features and different overall behavior, we’ve broken down for you the best practices suited for each of the major social media platforms here.
It has been estimated that there is an estimate of 223 million Facebook users in the US. Even with the rise in popularity of several other social media networks, Facebook remains the king. It also seems to be the network that is used alike by different categories of the populace. It is popular among different generations and people from different areas. Facebook targeted ads are also infamously effective.
So obviously, a Facebook marketing strategy is a must-have. Let’s look at some of the points to keep in mind with Facebook marketing.
- Create a Facebook Business fan page for your business.
- Utilize the Facebook Business Manager tool.
- Facebook targeted ads are insanely specific. If you have your customer persona pinned down, then Facebook will do the rest. Facebook advertisements are an investment that will most probably be worth every penny you put into it.
- Facebook offers Instagram integration. That is, automatic sharing of your Facebook advertisements to Instagram stories and feeds. You might want to use this carefully. Content is platform-specific, and you need to figure out if your content is also suited for Instagram, and also whether or not it needs to be on that platform.
- Use the Facebook Live feature to connect with your audience.
- You can post images, videos, gifs, and links on Facebook. When posting images, the recommended specifications are 1200 x 630 pixels. And for video, 1280 x 720 pixels. Although Facebook lets you post videos of maximum 240 minutes in length, it’s best if you keep your videos short and sweet. Social media users are not known for their attention spans.
LinkedIn is the most professional of all social media platforms. If your business is about B2B services especially, LinkedIn marketing needs attention.
- When publishing on LinkedIn, be mindful to keep your content professional. It’s not the right place for casual posts and jokes. The content that works here is business-like and informative. Doesn’t mean you should only post updates and such. Share content that would be interesting to people in your industry. You can also write long form articles on LinkedIn, but you will be up against a lot of competition.
- The InMail feature on LinkedIn is a paid feature, but if you use it well, it is money well spent. It has amazing response rates and would do wonders for your conversion rates.
- Another paid feature is LinkedIn Sales Solutions, which has all the insight you need on all LinkedIn users. It helps you research and engage with your target audience.
- LinkedIn is a great place for networking with professionals. It is the best place to put up recruitment videos and posts. You can also search for individuals who fit your buyer persona and directly get in touch with them. You can also use LinkedIn groups to network with like-minded people in the community and build contacts.
- Invest in LinkedIn advertising if you're selling B2B products. It is the best platform for B2B marketing. You can promote your content with sponsored content, create text ads, or send targeted messages using LinkedIn’s sponsored InMail.
- Although inclusion of images in your posts does not carry as much weight on LinkedIn as on other networks, they still help. Keep your images crisp and clean. The image sizes for posts here are shown at 1200 x 1200 for desktop and 1200 x 628 for mobile devices. Specifications for videos are set at a minimum of 256 x 144 and a maximum of 4096 x 2304.
Twitter lets you post bite-sized updates in your account. Twitter offers a good combination of business and pleasure, which means you can reflect that in your content. Business updates mixed with the occasional humorous or fun posts can do well on Twitter. You can rely on Twitter for both B2B and B2C marketing.
- Once you’ve established yourself and have a good reputation on Twitter, you can attempt to get verified. Accounts with the little blue tick are just a lot more trusted by users.
- Curate and create Twitter Lists. This can help you follow relevant accounts, stay updated on relevant content, and keep an eye on your competition.
- Twitter polls are a good way to boost engagement on Twitter.
- Use paid advertising and promoted tweets to reach your audience faster.
- Always include relevant hashtags in your tweets. Hashtags are powerful tools in Twitter marketing for increasing the visibility of your content. Including popular hashtags in your tweets means your posts turn up when users search those hashtags, and if your tweet is popular enough, it might even stay on as a top result for some time. You should even post tweets that might not have any direct relevance to your business. Tweeting about trending topics, with trending hashtags included in them, results in you getting noticed. The aim here is not immediate conversion, but building a loyal follower base.
- Twitter post image sizes are recommended to be at 1024 x 512 pixels. Videos on Twitter should be sized at 720 x 720 for square videos, 1280 x 720 for landscape, and 720 x 1280 for portrait. It should also be noted that much like its character limit, Twitter videos are also capped at a maximum of 140 seconds.
Instagram is one of the content consuming staples of today’s youth. It is today’s equivalent of newspapers to Gen Z and millennials. They religiously check Instagram, follow accounts, and post content.
So basically, you should focus on Instagram marketing if your target audience is on the younger side. The second reason to give priority to this platform is if your content is highly visual. Instagram is all about pictures. Visually appealing, aesthetic content is the key to ace Instagram marketing.
Instagram marketing has three major elements to it- creating and managing an Instagram account, building authority and reach through collaborations and influencers, and paid advertisements.
- Instagram is seen to be the best platform for customer engagement. Users are much more responsive to your content so make maximum use of that.
- Influencer marketing is a huge and effective marketing tool. And marketers are starting to figure that out. A report shows that 17% of companies spend over half their marketing budget on influencers. And Instagram is the best channel for influencer marketing.
- Video marketing on Instagram is done through short video posts, longer videos posted on Instagram TV, live streaming, and a new feature called Instagram Reels.
- Hashtags have also grown to be key components on Instagram. Instagram lets users search and follow hashtags. It’s not just about selecting the most popular hashtags and cramming them all into your post. It’s better to use relevant, specific, more niche hashtags that your target audience would search for. The other thing is that overusing hashtags in the caption of your post makes it look cluttered and unauthentic. A tip to use here is to insert hashtags into the first comment of your post rather than the caption. Either way, keep your hashtags under an appropriate limit. If you can find great, relevant hashtags, then best keep the total around 10. If you're covering a range of general hashtags, you can use something around 30. Creating unique hashtags for your brand is a great way to help your customers interact with you.
- Instagram stories and posts have specific dimensions, so you need to be careful to tailor your images accordingly or they may appear cropped and would not create the desired effect. Instagram post sizes come in three variations and the recommended dimensions for them are- 1080 x 1080 for square posts, 1080 x 566 for landscape, 1080 x 1350 for portrait. Images and videos for Instagram Stories and IGTV videos should be sized at 1080 x 1920.
Quora is a Q&A platform where users can upvote quality answers. It has grown to become a solid marketing platform over the years. There are people who have built a career out of Quora.
- Getting good results on Quora does require some effort. If you don’t already have a reputation, then you have to build one on Quora as a subject expert for your posts to gain traction easily.
- You can either answer general questions in your niche and thereby build a reputation and later share links, or you can find questions to which your product is the answer. Since Quora covers just about every topic under the globe, you don’t have to worry that there will be nothing related to your product there.
- The quality of your posts is very crucial in this platform. The better your answers are, the more upvotes you get, and the more people see it.
There is some debate over if YouTube should be considered a social media platform, or just a video streaming platform. Either way, a strong YouTube presence can do wonders for marketing. You can even connect your videos with other platforms by sharing teasers and snippets in them to reel people in.
Redditt is rarely thought of as having the potential for marketing, but it does. Granted, Redditt is a pretty volatile community that isn’t really welcoming to marketers, so content needs to be appropriately tailored. If that doesn’t run, there’s always Reddit Ads.
Snapchat has a vibrant community of GenZ users, predominantly female. It is definitely not an adequate marketing platform for all products. But there are several businesses that can benefit from the platform. Cosmetics, clothes, accessories, and the like can have a good run there. If you do decide it’s a good fit for you, be mindful that all your content will be temporary and fleeting, so tailor it accordingly.
Pinterest is one social platform with huge marketing potential and great conversion rates. The platform had a whopping 367 million users worldwide at the beginning of 2020. Women form a majority of the users, so if your product is targeted at women, it may be a good way to go. Pinterest is all about pictures, so make sure any and all content you post is visually appealing. Influencer marketing also does well on Pinterest. Paid advertising is also offered on the platform.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that has everything from pictures to memes to gifs to long pieces of well-written fan fiction. It does also offer an opportunity for marketing, but only for certain types of products. Tumblr users are a young, fun-loving community, so products that don’t integrate seamlessly into their Tumblr feed will be immediately rejected by the audience. Much like Pinterest, visual content- photography, fashion, and the such, will do well on this platform.
Marketing on TikTok may seem like a joke to a lot of people, but don’t underestimate the popularity of this media. TikTok is all the rage among youth right now and even marketers are starting to realize that. If you want to connect with the youth, you have to speak their language. Like it or not, bite-sized videos, tacky music, and funky homemade special effects are their language.
General Tips For all Platforms
In addition to the platform specific tips listed above, there are a couple more general best practices, applicable to each and every platform, that you need to keep in mind:
1. Using Live Video
Video marketing is a highly beneficial marketing strategy, and live video is even more appealing to the audience. According to a study, 80% of brand audience would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts. Live streaming shows transparency and authenticity, and greatly encourages customer interactions. You can have actual conversations with your customers.
A lot of social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter offer live streaming services. Through live streams you can conduct Q&A sessions, product tutorials, and even make entire events available live to a global audience.
Hashtags serve the same function as keywords when optimizing your posts for social media. They help improve visibility, searchability, and improve engagement. They are used to mark your post as falling under a particular niche or a trend. People can follow hashtags on a lot of platforms. Pick them wisely and use them well to make sure people see your posts.
Develop a business-specific hashtag that your users can use in their own posts. Keep it catchy and unique, and maintain the same tag across all platforms. For example, you see many smartphones and camera brands encouraging users to post their pictures on social media with the hashtag “#shotonX.” For customers, this means showing off their camera model, as well as a chance to maybe get featured on the brand page.
3. Quality Of Content
Specific, custom, quality content is key for marketing success on social media. In most platforms, the actual textual content may, or should be short or limited, so keep your words well phrased and to the point. Graphics are important in most platforms, so they need to be eye-catching and colorful, and not just some run of the mill stock images.
Consistency does not mean spamming your followers’ feed every few hours. It means posting quality content regularly and not letting your brand gather dust. Maintaining a consistent presence on social media is necessary to ensure customer loyalty.
To increase traffic on your website and boost conversion rates, include relevant links wherever you can within your posts and profile. After all, social media is just a marketing platform and all marketing efforts should ultimately contribute to sales and conversion in some way.
6. Monitor Feedback
Social media is a great place for you to start conversations with your customers, as well as figure out what they’re saying about you. You can answer questions about your brand, clear up misconceptions, and offer customers a channel to approach you with their queries. So it is important to monitor comments on your post, as well as comments that mention your business. Try to answer direct messages as much as possible. The more active you are in replying to customers, the better image they’ll have of you.
Organic results are always preferred of course, but they are not always practical. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a brand reputation, as well as for testing and retesting to find a strategy that works for you. And you may not have that time. In most cases, it would be best to keep both paid advertisements and organic efforts going together. Especially in social media marketing, paid ads are more often than not, worth the investment.
You can’t tell if a strategy is working, or what areas need improvement, without analyzing the results. You can use Google Analytics to analyze how well your strategy is working. Or you can use some other social media marketing tool, or platform-specific tool, for a more detailed analysis. You should also analyze the performance of your competitors so you can learn from them.
Social Media Marketing Tools
There are several areas in social media marketing that could do with the aid of some tools, including creating, publishing, and scheduling content, and analyzing and reporting results There are several tools in the market that could help you do those tasks. Here are some of the most popular social media marketing tools.
A social media scheduling tool that lets you share content across all networks from a single platform. It has tools for managing your publishing schedule, as well as for analytics and tracking engagement.
A research tool that helps you track content, keywords, and helps you analyze competitors. It helps you figure out what content works and what doesn’t.
Analytics and ROI tracking tool that lets you analyze audience engagement and more.
A content management tool that automates re-sharing your content. It optimizes your traffic and even suggests content that you can use.
It makes social media management easy by integrating all networks into one platform. It helps you plan, collaborate, create, and schedule your content.
Simple graphic design tool with a drag and drop interface that lets you create professional-looking graphics for social media with little or no design experience. Another notable feature of Canva is that it offers templates with dimensions tailored for different social media platforms, so you don’t need to consider that each time.
Start Social Media Marketing Today If You Haven’t Already
Your audience is at home under a blanket scrolling through Twitter and Instagram looking for the next best thing. So why aren’t you there with them? Social media marketing is one of the most effective and necessary marketing strategies in this day and age.
In a nutshell, to ace social media marketing, you first figure out what your goals are. Then understand who your audience is, and where they hang out. That gets you to understand where you need to be so you can tailor content that is suited for both the place and the people. Publish your content consistently and track your progress.
Then sit back and watch how social media has opened new avenues in marketing for you.