Everything You Should Know About Social Media Marketing
Social media is everywhere. As an inescapable part of modern living, it’s an exceptional marketing tool for any type of business. Navigating social media as a user is easy on most platforms. But learning how to do social media marketing as a brand or agency is a different ball game altogether.
Without a strategy and a functional understanding of how various social media platforms work, you can waste a lot of time (and money!) trying to find out what actually works. In this social media marketing guide, our team endeavors to help you learn:
How to maximize performance with social media marketing
How to increase engagement on various social media platforms
The strengths of the most popular and widely-used platforms
Your next steps if you need help with social media strategy or improving your marketing results
Social Media Marketing: Keys to Success
Not all social media is created alike. Specific platforms work best for certain types of businesses, and others work for a particular age group and customer preference. Knowing who your target audience is and which social media platform they prefer to frequent can make it easier to create laser-targeted content that generates results.
Your Target Audience Is Everything
Identifying your target audience is core to the success of your social media marketing campaigns. But without also knowing which social media channel they’re on, you’ll just be shooting your content in the dark with no guarantee that it will actually take off.
What’s the Demographic For Your Customer Base?
If you already have people buying your products and services, use them as a good point of reference for your target demographic. Use questionnaires, interviews, or surveys. Alternatively, carry out market research to determine which customers will most likely find value in your products and services. Research what your competitors are doing as well. You can even use a process of elimination to segment out customers that won’t buy from your brand. You’ll generally find some commonalities among the people that are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Which Social Media Platform is Your Target Market On?
Birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes. You’ll find that your target audience frequents some social media platforms more than others. Spend time researching various platforms to see where your target audience is the most visible and active. Unless you have a big brand or a flexible marketing budget, it may not be realistic to market to every single social media channel out there.
How to Increase the Engagement Rate of Each Platform
It’s one thing to put content out consistently. It’s quite another to have them hook and engage potential customers. It’s vital, therefore, to understand the different types of platforms, how they work, and what types of content you should use.
Understand Social Media Content and Algorithms
The content that you create for social media is vastly different from the content you create for, say, your website. That’s because social media users — or, really, just about anyone scrolling through content online — can have short attention spans. Your content has to capture and maintain attention to achieve the goals you set for your marketing, whether that’s engagement, likes, follows, or lead capture.
Social media channels also have what’s called an algorithm. It’s a system that runs automatically in the background, deciding what to show to who and when. On Facebook, for example, you’re more likely to see posts that are popular or trending related to your browsing history. You may also see more live videos as those can get more engagements than posts. Recency also helps rank posts higher. How algorithms function can vary from one social media channel to the next.
Utilize Different Types of Content
Use a mix of the following different types to start with for marketing on social media. While there are many more you can use depending on the platform, these are consistent performers across all platforms:
Posts can be any form of textual content relevant to your audience. The sky is the limit on the type of content you can leverage to create your posts. Think about how-to guides, checklists, listicles, or even adding your commentary on newsworthy trends and topics. You can even use these posts as a means to connect your audiences with more in-depth resources in the form of case studies and e-books.
Stories are a powerful way to capture and engage the attention of your target audience because, quite simply, who doesn’t love a good story? At its heart, storytelling for social media is about showcasing your products and services in the form of stories, but not in such an obvious way that the selling is apparent.
Examples of stories that you can use include your brand’s success story and stories of how your brand helped your customers achieve specific positive results as told in their own words. For stories to be impactful, remember to use elements of emotion and action and connect audiences to the perceived value of your brand. Video stories in particular can be especially powerful.
User-Generated Content, or UGC for short, is content that’s been created and driven by your social media followers. So if one of your fans randomly creates a video showcasing their positive experience at your hotel or resort, that’s an example of UGC.
UGC is primarily organic, and that can be a lot more powerful than brand advertising in connecting with potential customers. Brand messaging can be seen as authentic and genuine coming from other customers and, therefore, carries a lot more weight in the big scheme of things.
Social Media Advertising Campaigns
These are your paid ads that your brand uses to achieve specific objectives, whether they’re increasing sales, generating new leads, or expanding reach in measurable ways. Paid ads, when done strategically, can give you quick wins and an instant impact on bottom-line numbers.
However, use ads as part of a holistic marketing strategy inclusive of organic engagement for sustainable results. Customers don’t enjoy being bombarded with paid ads all the time.
Take Advantage of the Different Strengths Each Platform Has to Offer
Knowing the kind of audience that frequents each social media platform and the type of content that works best on these platforms is key to running successful social media strategies for business. Here are just a few of the most popular social networks that you may want to get started with:
Facebook has grown into a hugely popular social media platform boasting some impressive statistics for advertisers:
Over 2.89 billion active monthly users, on track to hit 3 billion.
70% of users check in daily, and more than half of these users check in multiple times a day.
36% of users are over 45 years of age, while 26.4% of users are in the age group 25 to 34 years.
81.8% of users access the platform solely via mobile, which also incidentally strengthens the case for optimizing your content for mobile users.
Facebook has a variety of different tools and options you can use to build a brand “address,” also called a Facebook page (similar to how a website gets found online). There are also plenty more options you can use to generate awareness of your brand, expand your reach, and maintain consistent engagement.
Also available is back-end analytics that tells you how many people are following you, how many people have seen specific content types, engagement numbers, specific data on the results of ads, and so much more.
Bear in mind that Facebook doesn’t have the same kind of organic reach it used to before simply because of how saturated the space is. But strategically executed ads can still give you great results given the extensive options available for both targeting as well as retargeting.
According to the Statista Research Department, approximately two-thirds of Instagram users are 34 years and under, in terms of age. About 31% of the total is specifically in the age group 25 to 34. That makes this photo/video sharing app a particularly attractive platform for marketers looking to attract the mid-30s and under crowd.
The visual format is also another reason why e-commerce businesses find this social media channel effective.
Look at the following types of content to market your products on Instagram:
Behind-the-scenes content such as sharing precisely what goes into crafting the perfect wedding cake at your cake shop
How-to guides and tutorials
Shares of UGCs
You can even hire influencers to share your videos, giving you some quick wins in terms of numbers. Choose influencers who share your vision and goals and work in the same or an allied niche.
At first impression, you might think that a microblogging platform like Twitter would have very little to offer by way of marketing opportunities. But here’s what the statistics say:
Twitter had 178 million daily active users in 2020, which gives you a sense of how big a reach the platform has. Bear in mind that Twitter does have approximately 15% bot users, similar to other platforms.
54% of users reported taking action after seeing brand mentions on Twitter
1 out of 5 adults in the U.S. is a Twitter user
38% of Twitter users are in the age group 18-29
An overwhelming 70% of users are male
Important tips for Twitter to help you get started:
Use hashtags for your tweets. Incorporate trending hashtags to incorporate popular topics that align with your brand and what you do.
Develop a content calendar and make use of apps to schedule your tweets.
Host “twitter chats,” which can be a great way to engage with brand loyalists. They last for about an hour.
GIFs and photos are popular, as are polls which work well for engagement.
Follow influencer conversations and tweet your thoughts and comments.
Analyze trends to identify the best times to post your tweets.
Check out the competition and find out what’s working for them.
TikTok is a video social networking site particularly popular with younger millennials and Gen Z users. It allows users to share user-generated videos ranging in duration from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms out there, which only proves the immense marketing potential of video content.
It has the highest social engagement rates per post, averaging 17.96% as opposed to 3.86% on Instagram or 1.63% on YouTube
9 out of 10 TikTok users access the app multiple times a day
61% of U.S. TikTok users are female
41% of children globally are TikTok users in the age group 4 to 15
167 million videos are watched on TikTok per “internet minute”
There’s a good chance that your videos can go viral on TikTok with the right approach and some creativity. The most popular content on TikTok are challenges, pranks, and dance routines. Hence, starting a hashtag challenge can be a great way to amass a huge following quickly.
You also have the option of using paid advertising on TikTok, but it’s fairly easy to get started with a shoestring budget on the platform. The good news is the platform isn’t as saturated with advertising as say, Facebook. At least not yet.
LinkedIn initially started life as a conservative online professional network in 2003. It has grown substantially since then. Currently, LinkedIn has 810 million members, 60% of whom are in the age group 25 to 34. While you let those numbers sink in, here are related LinkedIn statistics for you to think about:
Only 1% of LinkedIn’s 260 million monthly users share posts, and those 3 million or so users net 9 billion impressions. What this essentially means is that there’s plenty of opportunity for early adopters of content marketing. Not many people are engaging in sharing content, and those that do generate impressive numbers in terms of views, engagements, and leads.
38% of LinkedIn users are Millennials (born between the 1980s and mid-2000s)
Males comprise 57% of LinkedIn’s user base.
80% of B2B leads now come from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook or Twitter.
You want to use LinkedIn to:
Increase brand visibility and reach
Increase follower engagement
Generate new leads
Like a lot of other social media channels on this list, you can start sharing content on LinkedIn for free. But if you plan to go down the more targeted approach, it may prove costly for small businesses. Bear in mind that LinkedIn also doesn’t provide advanced targeting and analytic features yet, which means you may be limited in how much data you can leverage.
Generally, the following types of content are seen to work the best in terms of popularity, engagement, and shares (which are always a great boost for visibility):
Blog posts give you a little more bandwidth in terms of text-based content. But you can also use slides and video to promote your brand. Provide useful how-to guides, tips, and resources. Share thought leadership content that establishes your industry expertise. Inspirational content based on real-life stories is another big winner on LinkedIn.
Short videos and presentations based on the above content are also well-received. If in doubt, review the type of content being shared by influencers in the same industry. You want to note posts with large followings and engagements to understand why they’re working so well.
Carousel-style posts under 10 to 13 slides also work well on the platform. These are similar to slides, except that you swipe back and forth to view the content.
Do Your Social Media Marketing Efforts Need a Boost?
Navigating social media on your own can be an overwhelming experience. Whether you’re just starting out or planning to scale your business, there’s a lot to consider.
There can be a huge learning curve to each social media platform. The simple alternative is to hire experts who already have the expertise and can hit the ground running.
You can end up burning time, money, and resources on social media advertising without knowing the fundamentals. Social media experts already know what works and what doesn’t. They also have their own collection of tried-and-tested tools of the trade they use to measure and refine the results. In short, you’ll be able to get a lot more ROI in much less time with the help of experts, whether that’s revenue or growth.
The social media landscape is always changing. What’s trending today may not be trending tomorrow. Social media algorithms are also constantly being updated in the background. You may find it challenging to keep up unless you have dedicated marketing resources to bolster your social media marketing campaigns from start to finish. They’ll assist with planning, implementation, tracking, and reporting.
Last but not least, ensuring constant engagement with your brand’s followers requires time and consistent effort, as does managing your brand’s reputation online.
Delegating to experts and leveraging their knowledge can be a smart and highly effective way to manage your business and ensure your budget is being used effectively.
For insights about social media marketing, strategies to approach both the organic and paid sides of social, and how to integrate them effectively, join us for our next webinar on Wednesday, May 25th, Finding Synergy in Organic and Paid Social Strategies. Members of our social team will be live to share their expertise and answer your questions.
As always, if you’d like to learn more about how AUDIENCEX can benefit your brand or agency, feel free to reach out to be connected with a member of our team who can help you most effectively leverage social media or any channel. By taking a holistic approach to full-funnel performance marketing, we can help you maximize performance across the entirety of the omnichannel digital landscape.