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What is Social Media Marketing?

Jul 16, 2021

Social Media Marketing News

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media has been a driving force behind reshaping consumer behaviour, driving brand awareness and creating loyal brand communities. It’s benefits to businesses have been discussed regularly online, yet many businesses still struggle to wrap their heads around social media marketing. 

Often, many businesses will pass their social media marketing over to employees of younger generations simply because they use it constantly, so surely they should know how to market a business? 

However, in today’s competitive social media landscape, businesses need to do more than just post and hope. Every business active on social media needs to have a structured social media marketing strategy in order to succeed.

 What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is any form of marketing that takes place on a social media platform. This includes a wide range of activities that all have social media in common; it can be anything from promoting a blog post, running a recruitment drive or hosting a social media marketing campaign. If it is on a social media platform, it’s social media marketing. 

Social media marketing is all about connecting with your target audience and customers where they live natively on social media. Social media marketing in general is hugely valuable to business growth, but your social media marketing strategy will vary from platform to platform. 

Depending on your audience, you may not even need to focus on certain platforms. If a platform doesn’t resonate with your audience, there’s no point spending resources on creating content for it.

Types of social media

There are a variety of social media marketing channels available for marketers to use for their social media strategy. The types of social media channels you choose depend on your business, industry and audience. But what types of social media platforms are available and what are they appropriate for?

Facebook

Facebook - Socially Powerful

Facebook has the most daily active users of any social media platform, standing at a massive 1.79 billion. It has a strong global presence, but is particularly impactful for targeting Gen X and Millennial consumers. Facebook has its own Facebook Business Manager that brands can use to monitor and track all Facebook marketing assets. 

Facebook lends itself to paid advertising and building brand awareness.

Twitter

While Twitter doesn’t quite have the number of daily users as Facebook, it still has an impressive 186 million global users daily. It is a good platform to target Millennials and Gen Z, but is also impactful for B2B marketing. 

Twitter is a great platform to provide customer service. It lets brands directly engage with audiences and respond to queries and organic mentions.

Instagram

Instagram - Socially Powerful

More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month, and around 90% follow at least one business. Instagram has evolved from a square photo-sharing platform to become a hub of entertainment and business activity. It should be a go-to platform for businesses looking to target Millennials or Gen Z. 

Content on Instagram performs best on Instagram is authentic. While users used to favour idyllic and edited content, this is no longer the case. Instagram is a hub for organic UGC and is a good space for brands to show transparency.

Instagram has an abundance of business marketing tools available for brands looking to create a social media marketing strategy.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform designed for businesses. It has more than 756 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. It’s a great platform for targeting Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and the older Gen Zs. 

It’s not necessarily the best platform for B2C marketing, but is best for building B2B relationships and employment marketing.

YouTube

Youtube - Socially Powerful

With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube is a platform designed to entertain. It has an incredibly diverse user base, but each age group uses it for different purposes. While the platform is mainly popular with Millennials and Gen Z, Baby Boomers have begun using the platform as a source of entertainment. 

It’s a good platform for building brand awareness, providing entertainment and sharing tutorials and live reviews.

TikTok

The newest but hottest platform of the decade is the place to target Gen Z. With natural and organic content, brands can target the majority of Gen Z and younger Millennials by creating their own content, working with influencers or paying for advertising. 

Due to its huge user base and daily active users, TikTok is one of (if not the) best platforms for building brand awareness and followers.

Other platforms

More social media platforms available include Twitch, Snapchat, Discord, Pinterest and Clubhouse.

Benefits of social media marketing

The impact of social media on businesses can be exponential if done correctly. Here are some benefits of social media marketing:

Increase brand awareness

Social media is a cost efficient digital marketing method that can increase your business’ visibility. Implementing a social media strategy will increase your brand recognition as you will be engaging with a broad audience of customers and leads.

More inbound traffic

Social media is a great place to encourage more inbound traffic to your website. Without it, you may be stuck with your existing customers only. Social media makes it easier for you to reach potential customers outside of your existing audience. Every social media profile you have acts as a gateway to your website and every piece of content is another opportunity to gain a new customer.

Establish brand authority

Social media marketing allows you to demonstrate the authority of your business. Brands that are active on social media are able to increase their authority through constantly pushing our content and becoming more noticeable on the platform. The more visible your business becomes on major social channels, the more likely it is for your audience to seek information and guidance from your brand.

Learn about your competitors

Social media marketing allows you to analyse your competition. If your competitors are active on social media, it is easy to see how their posts drive engagement. When observing your competition, focus on the content that receives the highest and lowest engagement in order to get a better idea of what will work best for your own business. However, every business is different, so bear in mind that some things that work well for your competitors, may not necessarily work as well for your business.

Build relationships with your audience

A huge benefit of social media marketing is that it allows brands to initiate conversations with their target audiences. The majority of online consumers expect brands to interact with their customers, so it is vital that you actively reach out to your audience. Whether it’s replying to questions in the comments section or reposting their Instagram Stories and tweets, you must show your audience that you value them. Another way to connect with your audience is to create Instagram Polls and Q&A sessions to your stories in order to boost interaction with your content.

How to build a successful social media marketing strategy

There are 5 key steps to building an effective social media marketing strategy, excluding setting overall social media marketing goals.

  1. Research your audience and create buyer personas

The first step to creating a successful social media marketing strategy is to know exactly who your audience is so you are able to hyper-target their needs and interests. To help you with this, you should create different personas for the key types of consumers you want to reach. 

When creating your buying personas, you should consider your audience’s age, location, disposable income, interests and jobs. This will help you paint an accurate picture of exactly who you are marketing to and help you create a strategy accordingly.

2. Determine which social media platforms you need to market on

Social Media Platforms - Socially Powerful

Once you know who your target audience is, you will be able to identify the key social media platforms you need to be active on. You need to be on platforms where your audience is organic. 

Creating content for a platform your audience isn’t is a waste of time and resources.

3. Create unique and engaging content

The social media sphere is highly competitive so it’s vital you have unique and engaging content to hook in viewers to follow you over your competitors. However, to help with your creative thinking, looking at your competitors is a good place to start. You can see the types of posts your audience find most appealing and engaging, and which types of content perform less well. 

Social media platforms have many types of features you can use to maximise your engagement. 

You can also use user-generated content to provide variety, social proof and to encourage other users to create their own content.

4. Make a content calendar

One of the best social media marketing tips is to create a content calendar. Creating a content calendar is a social media management tool that will help you track the content you have posted and content you plan to post. You can write captions, prepare pictures and videos and schedule posts in advance. 

A content calendar ensures you are posting a variety of content. Social media users need variety in order to stay interested. Posting too much of the same content can get boring quite quickly.

Analyse your results

Potentially the most important step in creating a social media marketing strategy is analysing results. By monitoring key engagement metrics, you can identify the types of content that perform best with your audience and the types of content that don’t. Knowing both lets you tailor your future content strategy to guarantee the highest performance possible.

Our Influencer marketing agency and Social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our Influencer Marketing & Social Media blog.

@ Socially Powerful

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Author

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James Hacking

Writer

Socially Powerful, founded in 2017, stood as pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. Today we are a global social marketing agency and technology company.

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