Digital Marketing 101: The Basics Of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing provides the perfect platform for small businesses to reach a wider audience without the necessity of spending a lot of money. Combined, the most popular social media platforms have billions of active users.
To remain competitive, it is clear that having a responsive website is not enough. Businesses need to leverage social networking platforms, or else they will be missing out on a lot of potential clients.
While social media is simple and can be free to use, some people do not know how to use these platforms to market effectively. In fact, there are some brands that end up pushing away potential customers instead of convincing them to buy their products and services.
Here is what you can expect from social media platforms:
- A readily available audience
- Automated tools that take your messages directly to your potential customers
- Ability to customize your messages so that they only reach the intended audience
- A 24-hour communication service (as long as you have an internet connection)
If you want to get the best results out of your social media marketing efforts, follow this basic guide.
- Complete Your Profiles
Social media marketing is effective because it helps potential customers find you online. However, you need to be there for them to find, which means you should create profiles on all the major platforms—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
You should also ensure that all the sections of your social media pages are complete. From uploading a profile picture to completing your bio, everything should be clear to your audience. Not only does this information help customers learn who you are and what you do, a complete profile also looks more professional and makes you more credible, and credibility helps turn visitors into leads.
Adding links to your website, blog, and other external sources such as cloud-hosted documents to your profile will also help you get more customers.
- Define Your Audience and Choose the Right Platforms
While it’s important to have finished, professional profiles with up to date information across all platforms, you do not necessarily need to put equal effort into each platform after set-up is complete. To determine which platforms you should be putting the majority of your resources into, you first need to define your audience.
Each social media platform attracts a different demographic. For example, 72% of teenagers use Instagram, while the majority of users on Twitter are aged 18-29. If your target demographic is 40 and over, then spending an excessive amount of time or money marketing on Instagram and Twitter is not the right strategy.
When defining your audience demographic, get as specific as possible. What is their age, gender, location? What are their hobbies and interests, and what challenges do they face that your business can help them solve? Determining this information will not only help you get a better idea of which social media platform you should be focusing your marketing efforts on, but it will also help you create content later on that appeals to the right people.
- Refine Your Brand Guidelines
One of the most important factors in social media marketing is consistency, and this starts with your brand. You need to sit down and figure out how you want to present your business and sort out the guidelines that will ensure that your brand is giving consistent messaging across all platforms.
For your brand guidelines, you should be defining aspects such as your brand voice, branded hashtags, color scheme, how you want to interact with followers, whether you want to use a formal or informal tone, any banned topics, and more. While it’s important to be as clear about these parameters as early as possible, this is something that may constantly be evolving.
- Create Engaging Content
Creating content is really the key to any good social media marketing strategy. Content is what’s going to keep your audience engaged, and in some instances may be the medium through which new customers find your profiles.
There are a lot of different content types to choose from—video, photo, blogs and articles, stories, livestreams, graphics, and more. When defining your approach to content, you need to keep your target audience in mind. What content type would they prefer? Which would be the most helpful?
Your target audience is also who you should be thinking of when coming up with topics and ideas for content. What are their pain points? How can your business help them solve them? Remember that you want to use your content to help show your business’s value, so make sure everything is informative, engaging, and has a purpose.
- Be Responsive and Authentic
One of the things about social media marketing that makes it so significant and different from traditional marketing is that it gives you direct access to your customer, and vice versa. To fully utilize this feature, you need to be engaging directly with your followers through comments and messages. In 2020, one of the biggest trends in social media marketing is taking public conversations to private channels, so don’t be afraid to slide into your followers’ DMs.
Your willingness to engage with your customers is also one way to show your authenticity. Consumers are increasingly looking for transparency and authenticity from brands, and social media is the perfect platform for setting this tone. Authenticity also extends to other brands or influencers you align your business with. If you choose to pursue influencer marketing, make sure you are choosing influencers who match your brand and seem authentic.
Social media marketing can be incredibly rewarding for your business if you do it right. To get customers on board with your efforts, remember to be informative and consistent, and to offer content that gives value to your followers. Learn everything you can about your customers, listen to what they want and observe how they behave, and adjust your social media marketing strategy accordingly.