This here is your ultimate guide to understanding and implementing all things related to Social Media Marketing
Did you know that the average person spends an hour and forty minutes just on social media. Social media makes up about 28% of that time we spend on the internet, how crazy is that!
It can be pretty confusing and overwhelming to try to use and understand how social media works as well as trying to market on it.
In this social media marketing 101 guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to set up a social media strategy, where to get started, cover everything you need to get started on your marketing journey and more. Think of it like the ultimate survival guide.
I want to help you stay up-to-date with all the latest changes and strategies to succeed on social media.
So get reading comrades!
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to endorse a product or service. It helps you to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, create awareness and drive website traffic.
There’s so much out there that you’re confused and don’t know which to use or how many and that’s okay i’ll break it down for you.
The key major social media platforms (at the moment) are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. Each unique but each has a diversified range and outlook.
Since its establishment, social media marketing has grown into its own sector, complete with specific words and terms that are crucial to understanding how and why it works and operates.
So in saying that, let’s really get into it and break it all down!
Social media marketing terms (just the basics)
For many people special media can be very foreign and confusing as there is so much that goes into it and isn’t as simple as just showing off what you want and attracting people. So it is important to know the main terms used in social media marketing that will be your knight in shining armour and come to your rescue.
Content is something on a social media platform you publish, build, post or upload. It can be something you constructed yourself, or something that someone else shares with you to which you share with others.
Engagement is a generic term for how many people, like, post, share or comment with your content. In social media, interaction is typically the No. 1 goal; you want real people to consistently engage with your content.
This refers to how many followers you have on any given social media site.
Click-through rate (CTR)
The CTR is a ratio that indicates how many individuals, whether via an ad or another social media post, have seen and clicked a link to your content. By dividing the number of times your ad is seen by the number of clicks it gets, CTR is computed.
“Social media platform” is another term for “social media site.” For example, Instagram and Facebook are both social media platforms.
A share is when someone promotes your content and posts it on their own profile or account, raising your content’s amount of future views.
Traffic is how many individuals from your social media platforms visit your social platforms. For example when someone who clicks on an instagram post or ad you’ve shared is then redirected to a website or another social media platform would then be considered digital traffic.
Analytics is data that helps you monitor the performance of your content on social media. This data may include page views, time on page, clickthrough rate, and engagement rate.
The 4Ps of marketing is a blueprint for enhancing the elements of your “marketing mix” – the way in which you take a new product or service to market. It helps you to define your marketing options in terms of price, product, promotion, and place so that you fulfil a particular customer need or demand.
Why social media marketing is important?
Social media has become the largest form to promote/ sell/ advertise/ market etc anything and everything and is still continuing to grow, and more and more companies prefer to use social media rather than old traditional methods.
It is important to keep up with trends and new things that are happening on social media in order to survive and remain in the game and relevant.
That will also allow you to interact and communicate and connect directly on a much larger scale with your customers.
Customers have come to demand some form of an online presence from nearly all the brands they identify with, also with over 75% of customers stating that before deciding whether to make a purchase, they go online and research a brand.
Apart from that there are also other benefits of social media marketing such as…
Increased Brand Awareness
This one is pretty simple and straight forward. There are endless opportunities to reach new consumers and expose your brand. Social media helps increase brand awareness through engagement. Not only does this allow you to build new relationships with people but also help find new opportunities and customers.
Lead Generation And Conversion Boosts
Promoting and posting posts on social media is a perfect way to boost lead generation, which is the method of gaining and transforming visitors into future clients. When you consciously sell content to users who have already demonstrated that they are interested in your content, you could also use social media to improve/ boost your conversion rates.
Personal relationships with customers
A major factor for the success of social media marketing is customers’ desire for genuine interaction. Social networking offers business and individuals the opportunity to communicate directly with customers and provides a more humane touch without automated responses compared to large corporate businesses and reveals a different side to the organisation.
Analysis of the competition
If you’re new to social media or been around for awhile you’ll know that there will always be a competitor and if not, one will always arise so it’s good to keep watch on what your competitors are doing, what is working for them and what isn’t, if they’re copying you and what are they doing differently, keep an eye on this so you can learn from their mistakes.
Pay attention to what kinds of campaigns they are running, how they interact with customers, and how they promote their products or services. This allows you to make sure your campaigns are unique to your brand.
And use SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis. It’s such an easy and useful tool to help identify key issues and help map out future goals for your business and or product.
Sponsored and paid content
Supported ads can be a perfect agreement that is mutually beneficial: the advertiser pays for the ads and shares it with the other company, influencer or account.
If you are considering sponsored or paid content, bear in mind that consumers on social media seem to be resistant to posts that sound too salesy or if they don’t blend with the daily content of the account. Here are a few tips to help you achieve efficiency with both contents:
- Make sure it adds to the user experience instead of disrupting it/ or is unauthentic
- Don’t promote anything that doesn’t make sense for your brand and or business
- Try to be consistent with your content
- Commit to working with brands that you are supportive of and are in line with our values and vision
Which social platform is best suited for you?
There is such a large variety of social media platforms that you can use to your advantage to promote your brand, business, product whatever it may be the choice is yours.
In saying this these platforms that are listed below are the most common with the most largest and engaged/ active audiences.
In saying this it would be wise to join at least 2 of them even if you’re not sold on the idea of social media you are giving your audience easy access and a sense of establishment to your brand or product will put the consumer at ease.
When determining channels to engage on social media, two questions must be considered: Where is my target client, and how many platforms can myself or my marketing team commit to creating quality content for?
Using a platform that you like also means that you are more comfortable with it and being able to understand the ins and outs of how it operates, which can be beneficial in the long run to help ensure consumer engagement.
Also carefully consider which platforms your audience is on and which are most conducive to your business.
Here are some of the most common and popular platforms that you should consider:
Facebook is a great free (sometimes paid) marketing tool for businesses. It allows you to:
- Help businesses identify themselves
- Lists products and services
- Share links, images and posts on a customisable page
- Develop brand identity
- Demographic targeting – using data on age, location, education, interests and more
- Can set budgets on ads if wanting to pay
- Built in ad performance measurement tools
- The ability to advertise for your particular area
- Host FB contests
- Promoted posts
- Sponsored stories
Even though instagram is owned by Facebook the way it operates and displayed is completely different to facebook making it unique and different. Instagram is continuously growing and has some of the highest engagement rates out of all platforms. Instagram allows you to:
- Create stories and highlights
- Newsfeed posts
- Direct purchasing
- Post photos and videos
- Free or paid ads
- Collaborate with influences
- Business side of the platform
Even though snapchats popularity has declined it is still a major platform that people use. Snapchat is more of a platform where you can create mass amounts of content quickly without having to be of such high quality and keeps your viewers in the loop on a daily basis. It helps with:
- Attract users who like to share their day with friends through photos and short video clips ( which only last up to 24 hours)
- Easy marketing campaigns
- Less competition
- It’s different
- Its free (again if you decide to pay for ads or campaigns)
- Can create stories
- Drawing tools
- Text add-ins
- Change view time on content
- Easy QR coding
- Easy data tracking
Twitter can sometimes be a hit and miss so it’s a bit hard to gage the success on this platform. Despite this many businesses and companies plus individuals use this world wide platform. This platform works a little different compared to the others. This site allows you to communicate with people as it’s more of a communication based social site. If you aren’t creating engaging content then you will lose the reader’s interest. This site allows you to:
- Create content
- Make polls
- Question based posts which you can design to entice retweets and responses
- Twitter chats
- Establish stronger relationships
- Improve organic search engine rankings
- Keeps up with trends
- Free to use
- Allows you to provide quick and easy customer service and support
- Can be used as a search engine tool for prospects to find and learn about your company
- Allows you to converse with your followers, share the latest updates about your company, and address your audience
LinkedIn is more of a professional business end social media site. It gives you the option to create a personal and business page with both taken seriously and is not a social fun site. Linkenin is a valuable resource to have.
It’s where professionals go to share industry news, and you may see a slightly higher caliber of discussion on LinkedIn posts than you may see elsewhere.
- Generates leads
- Drive website traffic
- Builds brand awareness
- Is free (unless you upgrade to premium)
- Targets professionals
- Higher engagement reach
- Can post daily updates and blog posts
- Professional reputation
- Great use of analytics
- Schedule weekly posts to be published to your company page
Youtube has been around for so long it’s almost prehistoric. But even so it is the largest video sharing platforms in the world. If executed and marketed correctly your content will take off. Youtube consists of:
- Create unique video content
- Create titles for video
- Different types of video i.e tutorials, how to’s, Q&As, informative content etc
- Combines both content marketing and social marketing
- Easily set social/web links – creates traffic
- Keywords – gain attention
What can social media help you achieve
Social media exudes endless possibilities, you just need to know what and how to do it in order to help achieve your end goal. While it may seem overwhelming, its importance cannot be overstated. But what exactly can it help you achieve? It can help with:
- Community building and relationship building, fueled by generating discussion
- Brand awareness and discovery (especially if using social media ads)
- Announce new products/services and business developments to your audience
- Promote events and increase both registration and attendance
- Increasing site traffic as a result of referral clicks
- Driving leads and sales (While social media should never be the immediate priority for the latter)
- Providing value to your audience and establishing your expertise in your field
Be smart about it, people don’t just want to see that you’ve copied another person or company and aren’t really thinking about the customer and really want to feel like they’re getting to know you and your business.
Keeping an eye on competitors is always important; they can provide useful data for keyword analysis and other insights into social media marketing.
If your rivals are using a certain platform or form of social media marketing that seems to work for them, try doing the same thing, just do it better!
Understanding the Marketing Mix and the 4 P’s of Marketing
You might be thinking what in the world is a marketing mix and what the heck are the 4 P’s?? But stress no more because I’ve got you covered.
Firstly the marketing mix is a combination of factors that can be controlled by a company to influence consumers to purchase its products.
In saying this the 4 Ps of marketing is a famous concept that summarizes the 4 basic pillars of any marketing strategy: product, price, place, and promotion which consist of internal and external factors in the overall business environment which intertwine with one another.
Here’s an in depth analysis to understand the 4 P’s…
Product is what a company sells, meaning it can be either a physical good (product) or a service (cleaning, a subscription or something else). In reality a product should be trying to fulfill an existing consumer demand or trying to create a new product therefore implementing a new demand.
Marketers need to consider a product’s life cycle in order for it to be effective, and business executives need to have a strategy to deal with goods at any point of their life cycle.
The type of product often determines how much it can be paid by firms, where they can put it, and how they can promote it on the market.
From a marketing perspective, the following would need to be determined:
- How many different product variations or lines should be sold?
This means you need to figure out how much you plan to sell of the product and if it is just one product or if there are different variations of the product or a different line of products in the same category. For example a car manufacturer might strategize on which vehicle categories to build (such as family cars, SUVs, crossovers, or pickup trucks).
- How should the package look or be presented?
Packaging is very important as it helps your product stand out from various competitors if any and also helps draw and attract new consumers. Not only this, but also the actual packaging it comes in needs to be determined whether it be a box, a bottle, a bag etc.
- How will it be serviced?
This is referring to your product and how it will be serviced depending on the product. i.e warranties, Handling returns and so on.
Price is the cost consumers pay for a good or service. Pricing isn’t just “how much it costs” there’s actually a little more to that.
When considering the price for your product or service you must link the price to the product’s real and perceived value but in saying this you will also need to consider supply costs, seasonal discounts and if applicable competitors prices.
Where and where discounting is necessary, marketers will need to decide if it is suitable or needed. Often, a discount will attract more buyers, but it can also give the impression that the product is less exclusive or less luxurious compared to higher prices.
There are also a few marketing considerations with prices:
- What is the market rate per unit of a product?
In order to decide what is a fair price for a commodity, considering its cost to make, and what consumers are willing to pay, this involves some market analysis and comparative research.
- How should discounts be timed and applied?
Should the product be put on sale at certain times of year? Do you want it to be seasonal or will certain products always be on sale?
- Does it make sense to give customers options for payments?
Now this doesn’t mean cash or card options but more so depending on your product or service. Meaning do you offer financing options?, buy now pay later, layby etc or do you just want people to pay the full price upfront.
You have your product and you need to figure out where to place it in order for consumers to easily find it and purchase it with ease whether it is online or in person. The end goal is to make sure your product is placed right where your consumers are likely to purchase it.
Take into consideration with place:
- Where is the product going to be distributed?
Will it be online? Or will it be in person? Or will it be both? All of these options need to be taken into consideration for the success of the launch as placement is everything.
- Will specific locations get the product?
Location location location. It’s all about location. Now i’m not talking about online and offline im talking about will it only be distributed in your country or state or do you want to go international?
So you’ve finally launched your product and it’s out there but…. No one knows about it YIKES! Once your product or service is out there you need to promote it in order to gain awareness.
What does promotion consist of? Well i’m glad you asked it entails advertising, public relations, and promotional strategy.
The purpose of marketing your brand and its product or service is to convince customers why they need it and why they should pay a certain price for it. Marketers/Businesses tend to tie promotion and placement elements together so they can reach their core audiences.
Some things to keep in mind when promoting:
- Which channels will be used to promote the product?
This will include online and offline channels. Online could be social media, website, television etc. And offline could be posters, in shopping centres, flyers and so forth.
It really depends on what you feel would be best for your product and or service and which will reach your desired demographic.
- Where will it be promoted?
Online? Offline? In stores? Events? Where you promote is very important because promoting in the wrong places will cost you time and money and will not reach your target audience.
- What message needs to be communicated?
What kind of copy and verbiage will tell viewers what the item is all about and inspire them to purchase it?
This will inform consumers what your company if not already established is about and what the product or service is all about and why they should go for yours. So make it stand out.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to research what option is best for you as it will really help you out in the long run and will save you time and money.
Tips for an effective social media marketing campaign
Okay so you’ve completed all your marketing research, planned out all the necessary steps and actions that need to be taken so what now? Social media networks keep growing year after year.
So developing an effective/credible social media strategy nowadays is vital. Otherwise, you will lose customers and that will eventually affect your outcome.
It’s a pretty straightforward process, but you can do a lot of homework to make sure your plan fits your organisation to your priorities.This will put you and your organisation on the road to continued achievement.
Here are some helpful tips that will help guide you to a successful social media marketing campaign.
Define your goals/content
Your goal/ content/ direction whatever you want to call it will be your driving force of your strategy and campaign.
Make sure you know what those goals are, be specific, list them out as visually seeing it written down will make you want to achieve and cross off everyone of those goals.
So when thinking of them make sure they are specific, you set achievable goals and make sure that they are measurable.
Learn about your target audience/demographic
So you’ve got your goals and that’s all ready to go! But now we need to take a look at the audience. Without knowing who your audience is or even considering them your plan just wont work.
Once you’ve figured out who you are targeting, that will help you plan your social media strategy and figure out everything in your game plan. This will include the content you post, the social media platforms you use, how you reach and communicate with them.
One of the biggest challenges is to connect with the right audience. To find your ideal audience, you need to figure out who your target demographic is and what social networks they use.
Select your social media sites wisely
When you think of social media there are just so many platforms out there that it might be difficult on where to start and what to use. In saying this you won’t or don’t need to use all the platforms to reach your desired audience.
What really matters when you’ve selected your platforms is the impact and imprint you create and leave on the consumer. Really focus on platforms that are for your preferred demographics as this will save you time and effort and will really narrow down on them.
Set up a foolproof plan for social media marketing
Planning anything will always help you become more successful as you are visually laying out what you want and how you’re going to do it, making it seem more doable.
Always make sure that your content appeals to your target audience and aligns with your goals because if you’re confused and it isn’t consistent then your consumers will sure be confused as well which won’t end well for you.
Some things to help you out with your strategy:
- Make a list of upcoming festivals and special days so you’re ahead of the game
- Create a content theme to provide your audience with a unified experience
- Prepare a list of hashtags for different platforms as they all aren’t the same and what might be trending on one platform might not on another
- Make sure it will cover your main events, campaigns, promotions etc.
Set up a social media content calendar
You’re probably thinking why do I need a calendar to post my content? And I’ll tell you why. Planning is your best friend and without planning there is a high chance that you will fail on the social media spectrum.
Now you’re probably wondering what even is a content calendar tool? It is a calendar that will help organise and publish your content timely and efficiently, as well as help distribute resources effectively, improve team collaboration and give a more in-depth understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
The best thing about these tools is that it enables you to put up images, set timings for your posts and much more in a single dashboard.
There are so many templates the choice is yours and what you find works for you.
Optimise post frequency and consistency
People use social media at all times of the day. In order to connect and reach them it is important to know what sort of content is interesting to them in order to interact with them as well as who purchases your product or service and what age demographic is more available to sell to.
So…How often should you post per day? What type of content should you post? What is the ideal number of posts per day? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.
There is no real answer and you should basically go off from your experience when posting and what has worked for you and what hasn’t.
Timing however is important as it helps let you know when the right time is to post and gain those likes, comments, tweets whatever it may be.
But you might not know what the best times are to post on certain platforms. Utilise the internet as it has a lot of research and information that can be beneficial to you. If you take a look here are just some examples of when to post on certain social media sites.
Create unique and engaging content
It’s a smart idea to spend some time lurking and sharing the posts of other people as you start off on a forum and get a feel for the site ‘s atmosphere and how users communicate. But in time, to have an effect, you would need to begin making your own content.
In order to inform the kind of content you make, use your consumer analysis and watch closely to see how your audience interacts with the various types of content you bring out.
Schedule your posts
It can be a lot to recall when your social media marketing really gets moving, which /content/ posts are moving on which channels and when, how many people are viewing it, interacting, purchasing etc.
Get your updates on a regular schedule by using a social media management tool, which will help you to write captions, prepare photos and videos and schedule your posts.
Some also have unified dashboards where all of the content and metrics on the app can be accessed at once.
Things to avoid in social media marketing
Since social media is such an omnipresent part of the lives of most people, both social media in general and each particular medium have evolved comprehensive and complex etiquette. Generally, with your social media approach, there are a few things you can stop.
Posting Too Much
Your followers want to see your content, but they don’t want to see it all the time. And also when you have good or relevant content to post as this can disinterest the consumer and subsequently lose a customer.
When starting off you just want to get to the top and be known already and have people talking about your product or service and want to get those followers up but that takes time. It can be easy to get caught up with the competition and high standards on social media to have a certain amount of followers and it can be tempting to buy followers to make your account seem more ‘legit’ or ‘popular’.
Just remember that these accounts don’s actually provide any helpful information such as client engagement which is what really matters when marketing to them.
Not Prioritizing Your Customers Needs
Think about your target customer and what they want, not what you want. Remember it’s all about the consumer and who you are trying to sell to. It’s very easy to become wrapped up in the mix of everything and get carried away and lose sight of the customers needs and fulling your own.
Try to be consistent with the content forms that you share and when. If you bring out new personas or engagement styles each day, throwing them off your brand, consumers will be frustrated. Determine and stick to the type of online identity you want to have.
If you are projecting a persona on a social platform that is not true to your business, customers will feel misled and confused but most importantly tricked and might end up resenting your business and even encourage others to not buy from you or use your services.
Analytics/ End Result
You’ve come to the completion of your plan and have done everything right and your product/service has taken off and have selected the right social platforms and you think to yourself it’s over well that isn’t the case. A lot of people tend to forget about this stage or option as not a lot of people are aware of it.
As you are posting away, engaging with your audience and creating new contontent, you would want to know how your social media is performing right?
Are you reaching more people on social media last month? How many people have viewed your site/s? Or How many people used your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts etc. I think you get the point.
You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. So what sites or tools can you use to do this.
Here are a few free analytical sites to help you keep track of your data:
It can be seen as a perfect guide for social media marketing to help you evaluate the most effective tactics for social media marketing, as well as assess which methods are best abandoned.
Add monitoring tags to the ad ads on social media so that you can manage them properly. So make sure to use the metrics for yet more visibility into which of the social content is working better with the audience within each social network.
Open Web Analytics is the free and open source web analytics framework that lets you stay in control of how you instrument and analyze the use of your websites and application.
It is an analytics program that prides itself on offering up-to-the-minute results. Clicky clearly lists every visitor, including when they visited, where they’re located, where they were referred from, how long they stayed on your page, and what actions they took.
SimilarWeb lets you plug in any website or mobile app, receive insights about traffic and rankings, and compare the data against competing sites.
Marketing Tools To Consider
- Project management tools – helps keep team organised and projects on track
- Social media scheduling tools – helps list the ease and tracks all your social media sites
- Editorial and marketing calendars – used to set deadlines and publish dates
- Email marketing platforms – helps manage email lists and deliver newsletters
- Marketing management platforms – uses the tools listed above and other popular tools to help manage your platforms
- Analytics tools – used to measure performance
- SEO tools – To monitor keyword rankings, do competitive research, track incoming backlinks, conduct keyword research, and more
- Marketing automation tools – Used to automate processes, such as email flows
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software – Powerful platforms used to store customer data and maintain relationships with consumers.
There’s a lot of information to process in this post. But, now that you’ve covered most of what you’ll need to know as a marketing practitioner you’re now better prepared than ever to continue your marketing journey and level up your career/business.