Nowadays it has become imperative for businesses to use social media marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategies.
Over the past decade, the internet made a huge leap forward so did social media. Since its inception, the internet has managed to gather approximately 4.57 billion users (more than half of the world population) on board.
With the evolution of technology, it has reshaped the trends and inclined people more towards online media.
Contributing to this phenomenon, social media has played a vital role. It has transcended almost every boundary that has paved the blockade in the way of communication.
With the aim of bringing people on one platform and facilitating them with options to add and enhance their social circle, social media has proved successful.
It has brought a new revolution in the history of technology. Since the launch of Facebook in 2006, social media has become an ever-growing process that is becoming popular with each passing day
Do you know, how big Social Media is?
It is ubiquitous that social media has users from all over the world. But what is not known, is the total number of active users on all the social media platforms altogether.
You will be amazed to know that presently, social media has roughly 3.8 billion active users worldwide. For every five internet users, four users are active on at least one of the many social media sites.
Though there are many social platforms available, Facebook appears to take a lead with a whopping 2.4 billion active users.
With the ever-increasing number of social media users, it has become requisite for companies to include social media in their marketing plans and subsequent strategies.
For small businesses, large enterprises, and individuals, it is a powerful way to reach out to their prospects and target customers.
Not just important from the customer point of view, it also presents immense opportunities for companies and organizations to undertake activities such as branding, reputation management, redress customer grievances, etc.
With a little effort on social media, businesses can grow remarkably and grow their customers.
You have just read about the usefulness of social media for businesses. We will further discuss this topic in detail in the later part of this article. First, you read this definition of Social Media Marketing.
What is Social Media Marketing?
As usual Wikipedia provides the very generic definition if one goes there to search for Social Media Marketing.
But I would like to modify it to make it more meaningful. This is how I define:
“Social Media Marketing is the process that facilitates businesses and individuals with the opportunities to target their audiences and engage with them through their well-curated content and media”
There are number of platforms available but there are some major platforms that are quite popular among the masses. this list of popular platforms includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.
These platforms keep a large volume of the audience to connect with. If targeted properly, it can help you grow your business significantly.
Businesses get tractions on their website are only due to Social Media nowadays. What do you do to get the traffic? Are you on social media to connect with your buyers? If yes then how do you target them? Through your enticing content, right!
But do you think that with the same strategy and content, you can engage with your audience and push them to take interest in your offerings? Of Course not!
Each platform is different. On one side, it takes images to stir interest among the audience, on another side, videos act as a major player. On some platforms, only textual content hogs the limelight. Hence it varies from platform to platform.
5 core pillars of Social Media Marketing
- Planning & Publishing
- Listening & Engagement
- Analytics & Reporting
Before you hop on to Social Media and start engaging with your customers, let’s take a moment and look at the bigger picture. First and foremost, important step is to plan your social media strategy.
What are your goals to achieve from Social Media?
Goals setting should be your first priority while considering social media into your marketing plan. Unless you have some goals to achieve you will simply drain your wealth with no gain.
During the process of setting up your goals, you should try to answer few questions. Which platforms on social media you should target?
Do your target customers use social media actively in a day? What type of content would your customers like to see? Do you want to use social media for brand awareness or want to use it to drive sales and website traffic?
Whatever be your goals are, social media can help you to connect with your target customers more easily than ever before.
Planning & Publishing
Once you’ve decided your goals, next important step that takes the front seat of your planning is the social media content audit for the content you’ve already shared with your audience.
In audit, you need to first map down the engagement level of every single post and then try to analyse the performance. There are number of social media management tools available that can help you do this task easily and monitor the performance.
You can use Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social to manage your social media accounts. On these platforms, you get the options to plan your posts, monitor the performance and maintain the archives for your previous posts.
You can use any of the platforms to get a holistic view of how your different social media accounts are performing. You can also use them to plan your future posts for publishing.
Listening & Engagement
Now, you have planned your goals, formulated your social media strategy, curated the content and published it. then what? Should you be relaxed now as your job is done by following the above-mentioned steps?
Your content start attracting the people on social media. They are talking about your brand, tagging you in their posts, expressing their views through comments and so on
The answer is big NO! You need to constantly monitor the responses coming from your audience as there might be some people who have given poor feedback about your brand.
Hence listening your audience and carrying out the engagement drive are two major areas that need to be carefully managed after completing the first two steps: Strategy and Planning & Publishing!
This is the fourth pillar that makes your social media marketing worth taking. What content or post that has been shared is performing well? Which content is lagging in evoking interest from your target audience?
Whether your all social media marketing efforts are going in the right direction or not? These are some of the questions you can answer through analytics.
Analytics provides you with an insight into key social media metrics. Monitoring key social media metrics can reveal which aspects of your social media marketing are performing well and provide insights into the areas that need to get urgent attention.
The last and the final pillar to support your social media marketing is Advertising. This area needs to be handled carefully as it takes your money in lieu of driving results for your social media campaigns.
This strategy works when you have enough money to support your social media marketing efforts. Also, if you feel that you want to drive your social media strategy at a much faster rate than this option is the right choice for you.
It can help you grow your audience lists, build your brand, and connect with your audience based on their interests, demography, behaviour, and more.
Each social media platform has its own advertising tool that helps you differently in planning, executing, and optimising ad campaigns. Hence each social media platform needs to be managed prudently so that you can get the most out of it.
How does Social Media Marketing help businesses?
Before you understand this concept, you need to first know about the dynamics of social media marketing. As we know in the current scenario, social media platforms are the most over-relied channels for connecting with people and seeking any information.
If you look at the time duration people spend on social media. You will be amazed to see that people spend around 4-5 hours daily on social media and discuss about various topics such as they talk about their feelings, express their thoughts, share their ideas and experiences, look around for products & services and more.
Just like a MasterChef knows his customer’s tastes and accordingly serves them with the best food. Similarly, social media platforms also keep deep insights into audiences on-board.
Such platforms know about their personal information, their locations, their interest areas, their behaviour, their likings for different products, and much more by simply collecting their information through various sources.
Now it is clear that social media channels keep a lot of data on people using them. But you must be thinking how would this gigantic data on people be useful for your business?
Let’s see together the benefits that your business can derive from the social media channels for your business.
Unlike the conventional marketing channels where you had little room to target the specific customers, social media marketing facilitates you with a much larger room to target only those customers that are more likely to buy your product or avail your services. Hence, more room for targeting the specific audience with higher intent for your offerings.
By using the audience insights report that social media channels provide, you can easily know about your customers. Not only these reports help you to see who your customers are? However, it also provides you with different ways to direct your customers to do any desired action on your online assets be it a purchase, form submission, download of free material and so on.
If you are using social media for your business but still have not taken a look inside of the audience insights report then I would highly recommend you to first go over to your social media handles and check out the audience insight reports to know your customers well.
Besides the above-mentioned benefit, here I am providing you with a list of a few other benefits that can help you in growing your business through social media marketing. It can help you in….
- Spreading awareness about your brand and offerings
- Connecting with a large pool of audiences
- Targeting new and retaining your existing customers
- Increasing the sales graph
- Collecting leads of your future customers
- Boosting web traffic and more!!!!
Now you know about the several benefits you can take from social media marketing for your business. Now after reading everything till here you have started curating your social media marketing strategies but in what way you will take it further for implementation, you still have to read it, so keep reading!
Now I will tell you how you will implement your social media marketing strategies to help your business grow and get more customers and ultimately more sales. Stay tight, as we are going to discuss this crucial point just now…….
Ways to ensure the success of your Social Media marketing campaigns
The foremost important step required to ensure the success of any marketing campaign is to have laid a proper groundwork. Not even just for marketing but for any type of work you need to have a proper foundation stone.
Step by step you will follow me along to know the ways you will lay foundation for your social media marketing strategies.
First comes the Buyer’s Journey. Here you need to research and look at the process your buyer goes through before making a purchase.
The Buyer’s Journey includes three stages that any buyer goes through before making a decision to purchase
First in the Buyer’s journey is “Awareness Stage”
In this stage, a person becomes aware of his problem
Second comes the “Consideration Stage”
Here buyer strives to name their problem through research and look for options to solve it
Third in the list is “Decision Stage”
Now the buyer knows about his/her problem and the several alternatives that are available in the market to solve it.
But which option buyer will go for is still a mystery. At this point of time buyer decides on a particular solution.
Ones you know the buyer’s journey well. Your second move would be to identify the best social media platforms based on their popularity among your audience.
It is a common mistake that most of the companies do to raise the number of followers on half a dozen or more social platforms. The person managing the social media channels gets off track, and the outcomes end up being puny.
Before you answer this question on which social media platform should you hop on? You should try and answer the following questions
Who needs your offerings? Which platforms do your competitors use?
Answering these questions will help you in deciding on the type and number of social media platforms you should focus on.
Now you have selected your social media platforms and ready to target your customers there. But how?
This is a very tricky question that most of our clients ask. How should we use social media platforms so that we can get more traffic, engagement with content, sales and more.
Let me tell you that there is no hard & fast rule for this. You need to first keep some patience as there is no trick or platform made to provide you with overnight results.
Social media marketing or any other marketing is all about testing, testing and testing!!!!!
Here I am giving you some of the must follow steps you can implement to ensure your success
- Plan your post and content for all your social media handles.
- Set up a regular posting schedule
- Reach out to influencers to advocate your products or services
- Establish a brand advocacy program
- Create exclusive social media groups to connect with people of your specific niche
- Use social proofs to spread words about brand
- Oversee social interaction to identify the sales opportunities
- Utilizing social media specific selling features
- Facebook Shop
- Instagram Shoppable
- Pinterest buyable, and rich pins
Congratulations! Now you have seen how social media marketing can be a game changer for your business. I would suggest you to not stick to the strategies that I have discussed in this article rather you should identify and implement your own strategies that works best for you.
Don’t wait for anyone to help you in scaling your business. Start using the social media to connect with your target audience!!!!
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