For a number of entrepreneurs, the explosion of social media as a medium of communication has been nothing less than a boon. However, it has left the vast majority scratching their heads.
“What is this phenomenon? How can I use it for my business?” Today, we’ve put together everything you need to know about social media marketing in one article; you don’t have to be confused anymore.
What exactly is social media marketing?
As most of us already know, social media basically refers to websites that let people interact with each other. From Twitter to Facebook to the now ubiquitous Snapchat, different social media platforms target different audiences by providing unique services.
Social media marketing is simply the act of letting users know of your business through social media. Does this have anything to do with Search Engine Optimization?
Yes, yes, and yes!!
Social media marketing is an integral part of SEO. While you can implement SEO tactics without touching on it, you’ll be missing out on a huge audience.
Social media is one of the most important ways of information dissemination. If one of your posts goes viral, you’ll get a ton of free publicity.
That’s just one of the more extreme ways you can benefit from it. At a more mundane level, you get to expose your business to an entirely new audience who could potentially translate to thousands of paying clients.
Furthermore, many social media sites allow you to tailor adverts (if you advertise on their platform) to only reach users who fit into certain, specific criteria. This means you can target users by age, gender, or even hobbies. Your ads will be seen only by those people who are most likely to be converted into paying customers.
How do you create a successful social media campaign?
While there are some obvious marketing basics you should use in your campaigns, there are a number of more abstruse tips which apply only to digital marketers. We’ll give you some of them below; though there’s no article long enough to cover the entire field comprehensively.
Consistency is key: Social media marketing is about creating a brand, and for a brand to succeed, it must deliver consistency across the board. From your contact numbers to your company’s philosophy, ensure every piece of information about you remains consistent. Consistency not only builds trust among customers but also ups your rank in search engine results.
Be ever-present: How many billions of pieces of information pass through Facebook every day? How many trillions pass through our social networks? In this maelstrom of data and information, you need to be a continuous content creator to get noticed. This isn’t easy since you also need to be sending information relevant to your user base. Sending useless or spam content is a surefire way to dig your own grave.
Don’t shy away from paying: Social media sites are businesses at the end of the day. They’re looking to make money, and as such, they will reserve the best products and services for their paying customers. If you want to take full advantage of social media, don’t hesitate to pay. You may feel the pinch right now, but it will be worth it in the long run.
You can market your business without ever paying a dime, but using social media sites’ algorithms will give you a big boost over your competitors.
Interact: Human beings are social creatures. We like to feel wanted. We like to be noticed. Your page shouldn’t read like a robot wrote it. Make your content engaging, and more importantly, engage with users yourself. If someone leaves a positive review, thank them and ask them to return someday. If someone leaves a negative review, ask them how their experience could have been better.
Learn about your target audience: As any marketer will tell you, the first step to creating a marketing campaign is defining your target audience. You need to know who you want to reach, and tailor your content to people likely to buy from you. Usually, it might not be so easy to do so, but social media offers you incredible insight into people’s lives. As mentioned above, you can ensure an advert is only seen by those in your target audience. This saves you money and time, as well as increases conversion rates.
Try new things: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is one of my most hated adages in the world. Why? Because it promotes stagnation. You could be on the cusp of a marvelous breakthrough, but if you simply stagnate, you’ll never advance beyond your current position.
Personal feedback: While it may be hard to analyze your articles yourself, there is something you can do to see what works. Compile a list of competitors’ social media pages and go through them. Note down what you like, what you don’t care about, and what literally disgusts you.
Use humor: Humor is one of the best ways to stop viewers scrolling. If your posts are dry and dull, nobody’s going to stop and see them. However, don’t post random, irrelevant gifs unless you’re a comedy website. As always, make sure all your content is relevant.
Helpful social media marketing tools.
Due to the explosion of social media marketing, developers have created a plethora of applications and services to help you with all your digital marketing needs. Below are a few:
Curalate: Curalate scours conversations on social media and tells you your brand’s story – in pictures. This may seem unimportant to you, but the rise of Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr means there’s huge marketing value in images. You can also schedule posts on Instagram and Pinterest, and push images to a completely customizable gallery.
Social Rank: Social Rank basically analyzes your Instagram and Twitter followers and sorts them based on several criteria, such as highly followed and frequent communicators. You can also filter followers based on predetermined criteria such as location, hobbies, and even bio keywords.
Quuu: Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for you to create your own content. That’s when content curation starts happening. However, curating other people’s content is tedious and time-consuming, so why not relegate it to an application? Quuu gives you a continuous stream of curated lists from a multitude of categories. Just select what category you want and post the article you want to your social media accounts.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite provides a staggering range of features, as its ten million plus customers can attest to. Hootsuite allows you to publish and schedule updates, engage followers, and view analytics to monitor your progress. It also integrates with all the major social media networks (and a few of the minor ones too). The Hootsuite team don’t rest on their laurels either; they continuously add new features and improve existing ones. The one downside to Hootsuite may be its complexity. It has a pretty steep learning curve that may leave newer or less tech-savvy people flustered.
Buffer: In some ways, Buffer is the absolute opposite of Hootsuite. It gives you a clean and simple interface, even though this comes at the cost of a few features. If you simply want a service that allows you to schedule messages and posts, Buffer does that effectively. The learning curve is almost non-existent since its pretty much self-explanatory. After all, why should you pay for a bunch of extra features if you’re never planning to use them? If I were to recommend a tool for a newbie social media marketer, this would be the one.
Remember you don’t necessarily have to pick only one tool; several services can complement each other to provide a comprehensive suite of social media marketing tools.
Social media marketing is not an extremely easy field to master, but it’s not impossible either. If you put in a bit of effort and have patience, you too could become an expert social media marketer in no time.