What Is Social Media Marketing? Keys to Social Media Strategy

More than 3.5 billion people across the world use social media. This comprises nearly 50% of the global population. What makes social media so popular, and why do marketers invest heavily in social media marketing? Let’s find out.

A laptop screen with social media icons depicting social media marketing

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of social media to promote a product or a service. This includes publishing content on social media platforms, interacting with your audience and answering their questions, listening to your audience to understand customer sentiment, and driving traffic from social media to your owned properties.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are the most popular social media marketing platforms. Other platforms include Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing may sound overwhelming, but its list of benefits are undeniable. There are plenty of reasons why over 97% of marketers use it. Here are a few benefits you can derive from social media marketing:

1. It is cost-effective

Social media marketing is very cost-effective because signing up on social media platforms, and creating business pages is free. You can customize your campaigns based on your budget.

You can start small and test out whether your strategy is effective or not. Eventually, your promotions will help you get more conversions so you can expand your campaigns.

2. Creates brand awareness

Using social media to build brand awareness is easy and effective. You can have your brand logo advertised or have it promoted by influencers with plenty of followers.

Unlike traditional media marketing, you can tailor-make your content to appeal to your target audience. 

3. Develops customer relationships

Another big benefit of social media marketing is being able to develop customer relationships. This can be done by quickly responding to inquiries and concerns through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Customer satisfaction is very important for brands, so by being able to respond to them quickly, you can minimize the chances of having upset customers leaving negative feedback on your products or services.

4. Help understand customer sentiments

Social media marketing will enable you to gain a lot of insight through social listening. In particular, social listening is monitoring, analyzing, and responding to social media engagement about your brand or services. This is important because it gives brands the chance to identify which aspect of their product and service they can improve to satisfy and retain customers.

5. Exceptional customer service

Most consumers nowadays expect companies to handle their inquiries and requests through their Facebook page or their Twitter profile. In fact, over 50% of American customers use social media to inquire about products and services. Although this new demand can be quite challenging, it does create a more accessible interaction between the customer and the brand.

6. Improves customer loyalty

When customers follow you on social media and interact with you, their chances of choosing you versus your competition are high. Social media marketing can do this by offering promo codes for discounts exclusively to those who follow them on social media platforms. When you have loyal customers, you also increase your traffic and potential leads.

7. Generates leads

Social media marketing can help create social proof that will help you connect with leads who are highly similar to your existing customers. This can happen by having high-quality viral content that is attractive to your target audience. When the content gets plenty of shares and has an authoritative voice, it will help you improve lead generation and lead you to potential customers.

8. Builds brand authority

When you post plenty of relevant content across social media channels, search engines will consider you as a thought leader in that niche. This helps make brands the “go-to” authority for those topics hence creating a sense of trust from the audience. Doing this is part of content marketing, which includes strategically using keywords and optimization.

9. Increases conversions

A solid social media marketing strategy will increase your engagement rate and boost conversions. It can even help your partners generate higher conversions.

Posting content generally can create organic feedback. For example, when PlayStation posted a congratulatory content for Naughty Dog, who created the video game Uncharted, they then received plenty of feedback about their game.

10. Improves SEO

There is a direct relationship between your social media marketing and SEO rankings, especially when your content generates link building.

This happens when, for example, you have content with high engagement, and the audience used that content as a source through a link back. Search engines will then pick up on that and increase the chance of your post to rank higher.

Examples of Social Media Marketing

As mentioned above, there are multiple variations in how social media marketing is applied, depending on the campaign’s goal and target demographic. Whether it’s small businesses or large enterprises, effective use of social media can deliver great results. Here are some examples from brands who did it right:

1. Heineken

A screenshot of Heineken's Instagram post

Heineken is a brand of pale lager beer that contains 5% alcohol. It is recognizable for its solid green bottle and red star logo.

They capitalized on social media marketing trends by sponsoring football leagues, which created a close relationship between the excitement of the game and the beer brand among the viewers. Aside from football, they also have sponsorship in other sports that have a wide following such as the Rugby World Cup and F1 racing.

The key takeaway here is not to be afraid to spend big. When you do it right, it can also have a large return on investments.

2. Birchbox

A screenshot of Birchbox's Instagram post

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that sends customers a box that contains 4 to 5 beauty products. These products include perfumes, skincare, and makeups.

Their social media marketing plan is focused on gaining user-generated content through “regrams” and inspiration. This enabled them to gain a large number of loyal followers on social media.

Reposting customer’s content (regrams, retweets, etc.) is a smart and mutually beneficial approach for your brand and your customer, so do not be afraid to do it.

3. Dollar Shave Club

A screenshot of Dollar Shave Club's Instagram post

The Dollar Shave Club is a company that delivers personal grooming products and razors by mail. They have over 225,000 followers on Instagram, boasting of access to a large number of social media users.

Dollar Shave Club uses curiosity, education, and humor to attract followers. They use infographics to separate them from their competition.

Making content fun and engaging can help boost your brand awareness. Adding educational value that increases your credibility and reliability.

4. Chanel

A screenshot of Chanel's Instagram post

Chanel is a popular luxury brand. In 2017, they were considered to be the most influential brand on social media.

The goal of Chanel is to make their brand synonymous with “exclusivity.” They can do this by having prominent brand ambassadors such as Kristen Stewart, Margaret Qualley, and Penelope Cruz instead of traditional influencer partnerships.

The way Chanel successfully markets its brand as something “exclusive” makes its products as status symbols. This helps them attract more social media users even though their prices are not so affordable.

5. Coca Cola

A screenshot of Coca Cola's Instagram post

The Coca Cola Company is a beverage brand from America. They have been in business since 1886, making them one of the oldest still operating soda companies in the world.

Since they have been in the industry for quite some time, they found it difficult to maintain a coherent brand message. Due to that, they decided to launch the #RefreshTheFeed campaign where their social media accounts went black as they replaced its content to be more tailored to the brand’s new imaging.

Coca Cola proved that starting from the beginning again is not bad. If it does not work, do not be afraid to redo everything.

Best Social Media Marketing Networks

Not all social media networks are made equal. Some are effective for a particular audience, while others are not. Knowing which is the best for your intended purpose is important so that you can maximize your efforts. Here are the best social networking websites you can work with:

Facebook

Facebook has over 1.45 billion daily active users. In a month, over 2.20 billion people use it. This makes it an ideal network for customer service, collecting reviews, and engaging the audience simply because of its wide reach.

Furthermore, creating a business page of Facebook is 100% free. That alone can help increase the brand awareness of your company. As long as you make sure that your page’s information is up to date and your response rate is high, you are sure to have some solid leads out of that social media marketing effort.

YouTube

YouTube is considered the most popular video-sharing app of today. It has more than 1 billion registered users. If you are looking for ways to publish tutorial content and demonstrations or highlight company culture, YouTube is the best network that you can use.

Creating an account on YouTube is free, as well as posting content. The content can also be integrated into other social media platforms by embedding it on to your site.

Twitter

If you want to create some sort of brand authority, twitter is the platform to choose. There are over 320 million active users monthly who are seeking news and information on a daily basis.

Sharing news and blog content can be done in seconds within the platform. If you do it regularly, the more chances of getting interactions and engagements.

LinkedIn

From its humble beginnings of being a resume and job search site, LinkedIn has now evolved to become a professional social media site where industry leaders network and share content.

 It has now also become a network where individuals can establish their personal brands. With over 562 million registered users, it helps you connect with B2B prospects and potential employees.

Instagram

For marketers who have plenty of visual content, Instagram is the best platform for you. It is currently the most popular photo-sharing platform, with over 400 million active users monthly.

Just like Facebook, creating an Instagram account is free and easy. You also have the option to boost your advertisement by availing of their paid promotion features. Doing this can make reaching your intended audience even easier.

Pinterest

Pinterest is also another popular photo-sharing platform. What makes it different from Instagram is that it is more geared toward audiences who are looking for hacks or inspiration.

Using Pinterest to demonstrate and establish your brand is fairly easy. You can publish the image content of how your product works and gain followers and engagement. It is also possible to embed your website link on your content to redirect the audience to your websites.

Snapchat

Snapchat has over 187 million daily active users. It is best used for promoting events and real-time updates.

This platform offers marketers their ability to provide geotags to promote a brand, product, or event. This can help increase brand awareness. What’s even better is that the promotion can be directed towards the target audience of the brand.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp was originally designed to be a messaging tool for friends and families. However, it has become a widely used messaging app for customer support, with over 1.5 billion users across 180 countries. The business platform that WhatsApp provides can be very beneficial for brands that want to be more accessible to their clients.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that became popular in the early 2000s which enables users to share multimedia and short-form blogs. It is a lot similar to twitter. It is currently owned by the company Automattic. Today, it hosts over 475 million blogs and has over 400 million active monthly visitors.

How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy

To be successful in social media marketing, you need the right strategy. This strategy will depend on what works best to achieve your goal and attract your target audience. Here are the general steps on how you can create an effective social media marketing strategy:

1. Set your goals

The first step is to have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve a specific marketing campaign. Doing this will enable you to have a guide for your future decisions.

Make sure that you come up with realistic social media goals that are quantifiable. Also, breaking your goals down into smaller objectives will make it less overwhelming.

2. Research your buyer persona and audience

Knowing what your audience wants is very important. This will help you determine the content that will be attractive to them.

There are several ways to do this. One of the most effective ways is by using buyer persona templates where you categorize each potential buyer into subcategories, making it easier for you to create inclusive and engaging content to get them hooked.

3. Create unique and engaging content

Social media marketing is not a secret. Plenty of marketers use it, which means that thousands of content related to your niche are also published every day. This is why creating unique and engaging content is highly important.

Unique and engaging content can help your brand be more recognizable than your competitors. Doing this would require creativity on your end, so make sure to spend time planning it.

4. Organize a schedule for your posts

The schedule of when you post your content is also significant. Creating anticipation from your audience will be an advantage to you.

You can organize a schedule for your content by using social media management solutions. It has tools that allow you to prepare photos, write captions, and schedule posts ahead of time. It also has features that enable you to track the interactions of each post.

5. Analyze your content performance

Evaluating whether your content performed the way you expect it is also important. This will help you identify whether you achieve your initials goals.

There are several ways to do this. You can either do it manually by tracking all of your posts on social media or using tools that automatically generate reports about your content’s performance.

Best Social Media Marketing Tools

Doing social media marketing can be time consuming and exhausting. It’s a good thing that there are now plenty of social media management tools that can help create and manage your campaigns more efficiently. Here are some of the best tools that you should know about:

Content creation

Monitoring

Analytics

Scheduling and workflow

Content design

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Since social media marketing is a broad term, it is natural to have plenty of questions. Here are some of the questions about it that you might have and their answers:

1. How do I do social media marketing?


To do social media marketing effectively, you must start with a solid strategy. It starts with you setting goals for the campaign and doing a thorough research of your audience. After that, you should consider your competition and create engaging social media content based on your research.


2. What are the examples of social media marketing?


Some popular examples are user-generated content, humorous content, and viral marketing. Other examples of great social media marketing are how Amazon responds to its customers and how Airbnb support causes them to boost their consumers’ trust. 


3. What is the best social media for marketing?


Choosing the best social media platform for marketing depends on your goals and target audiences. There is no single platform that can be considered as the absolute “best.” In fact, many social media marketers launch campaigns on multiple social media for a higher chance of engagement.


4. Why is social media marketing so important?


Consumers spend a substantial part of their time browsing social media platforms. Like Google search, social media too has become a part of their lives. Users trust social media hashtags and make decisions based on social media advertisements. This makes social media marketing important for marketers, as businesses can use social media to increase brand awareness and boost sales.


5. What are the 6 main types of social media?


The six types of social media are social networks (LinkedIn and Facebook), bookmarking sites (StumbleUpon and Pinterest), social news (Reddit and Digg), media sharing (Flickr and Youtube), microblogging (Twitter and Tumblr), and blog comments and forums.


6. Is social media marketing effective?


Social media marketing is very effective when done right. Due to that, over 97% of marketers use social media marketing strategies to connect with their audience. It is very versatile and businesses can apply it in their digital marketing approach in some way or another.

Conclusion

It’s no surprise that many companies and marketers are now using social media as a channel of advertisement since billions of people use them. However, it is important to use the right kind of social media marketing to propel your brand to the no.1 spot.

Although identifying this strategy can be quite daunting, in the end, you will greatly benefit from it. Hopefully, this article was helpful in knowing what exactly is social media marketing and how important it is for businesses.

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