What is Social Media Marketing – A Step-by-Step Guide to Success

What is Social Media Marketing – A Step-by-Step Guide to Success. When you or your business gains traffic or attention through social media websites like YouTube, Facebook or Instagram, that is Social Media Marketing! With the exponential rise of social media and billions spending so much of their personal time on these platforms, Social Media Marketing has become an important way to drive customers to your business.

So many new marketing channels have come up, Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, YouTube Marketing and all of them have such amazing reach and market penetration. 

In this article, we’ll be going through popular social media channels, how to market on them, what kind of audiences you should market to, and what should be your strategy. 

So, Why do we need Social Media Marketing (SMM)? 

There are so many reasons why you should incorporate social media marketing in your marketing strategy. The first is reaching targeted, niche audiences. You’ll be surprised at the kind of targeting you can access on social media channels. Also social media is an amazing platform to increase engagement and response. It is the perfect channel to create trust, credibility and a relationship with your audience.

In a fiercely competitive market, the only way to distinguish yourself is to emotionally connect to your customers, prospective customers or audience. Social media plays a vital role in creating trust and credibility. A very important trait is a post or video going viral. The best kind of marketing is when people start referring your products or services to their family and friends. This is where viral sharing comes into play, people share your content and you reach new audiences which you couldn’t have reached earlier. 

Increase Traffic and Conversions, Build Awareness

Social media is also a very important channel to increase traffic, and build conversions on your website. Let’s say you are a startup, and you’re opening a new website or business, social media is an amazing platform for you to create a brand on the internet & introduce your services or products to the market for the first time. Around 60% people are opening WhatsApp more than once a day, you can see similar trends on Facebook and YouTube as well. 

Have a Marketing Plan in place

Don’t just start social media marketing by choosing a platform and paying for ads. It doesn’t work like that. You have to have a plan. You need to first understand your business goals. Whether you’re a B to B company (business to business), or a B to C company (business to customer) company, you need to first align your goals, to the kind of strategy you are looking for. If you start a social media campaign without a strategy, you’ll just end up losing a lot of money.

So this is where the first step of creating a customer database is extremely important. You need to know exactly where your customer is, what kind of customer is a perfect customer for you. Also there are some common questions that you should ask yourself in defining your social media marketing. Like what are you hoping to achieve with social media marketing. Is it brand awareness or is it conversions? 

Target Audience

The second most important question is, who is your target audience? The better you know your audience, the better results you’ll get from social media marketing. Like are they on Instagram, are they on Facebook? If they are on Facebook, what kind of interests do they have? Which groups do they follow? What percentage are Male or Female? What is the age bracket? Are they between 18-25 or 25-34? Are the homemakers? Do they have full-time jobs or are they into their own business? So you should know a lot about your customers. Your goals should be aligned with social media marketing. These are the important questions you ask yourself when defining your target audience or creating a social media marketing campaign. 

Infographic posts, Listicals and Google Trends

Shares are the currency of the social media world, and they matter a lot on social media. So your content must be engaging enough that people would want to share it. That will not only create a ripple effect, it will also create what is popularly known as “The Viral Effect”. Infographic posts are something that people tend to share more compared to the other kinds of content.

Also Listicals, like top ten list articles have always been in various viral websites like ScoopWhoop.com or Buzzfeed.com. Video is something that’s getting popular in 2020 as billions stay locked down in their houses becuase of the Coronavirus pandemic, and I’m sure in the coming years as well, video will be highly popular. You should also keep an eye on social media trends. The website Google Trends is a super awesome tool to understand what people are searching globally or in your country at the moment.

Organic Traffic and Advertisements

It is increasingly becoming difficult for businesses to create their audiences organically. So social media wants businesses to pay to reach their audience. Earlier on Facebook, if you had 10,000 people who liked your page, your posts were able to reach a large audience. But nowadays if you post and you are not boosting your post, you won’t be able to reach a large audience, even if a lot of people are actually following your page. So social has already moved towards “pay and play”. The more money you pay, the bigger the reach of your campaign.

Social media algorithms will always prioritize advertisements. So the more you are willing to pay, the better reach you will get. I get this asked on a lot of forums, “which is the best social media platform for my business”. We already know there is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and there are so many others like Reddit, even Quora is extremely popular these days. And there is no right answer to “which is the best social media channel for my business”. It all depends on your marketing strategy. There is no such thing as ‘the best network’. At the same time you should know what your goals are, from a social marketing campaign.

Facebook

Let’s start with the most popular channel that is Facebook. Launched in 2004, and approximately 2 billion people are actively using Facebook. I can give you so many different stats but Facebook is the big daddy of social media marketing. From my experiences, especially for digital marketers, Facebook is the best platform to market on. It has the most targeted ads. And if you look at a Facebook ads video, you will understand the kind of targeting options that Facebook provides. You’ll be surprised by the ways you can actually market your products. You’ll start to see the kind of power a digital marketer has in influencing a person into making a purchase. That’s the kind of power, a Facebook advertisement has. 

You can be asked specifically to define your customers. I’ll be covering Facebook ads in detail in our post for Facebook ads. Images will get much higher click through rate compared to written content, so whenever you are targeting Facebook as a social media channel, you should use more visual content like images, videos, etc. Also you can opt for user-generated content, like give the readers a chance to share something about themselves by offering them a conversation starter. A personal touch is absolutely necessary when you’re going on Facebook ads as a social media marketing channel, that is – respond to people’s post, comment on them, help them out. You can also create a more personal touch by sharing things about yourself and you have achieved a certain goal as a digital marketer. 

So should you be on Facebook for your marketing goals? If you’re thinking of creating more leads, in my experiences I’ve seen that Facebook can be used by most businesses out there. Just the kind of targeting that Facebook provides, it becomes a paradise for digital marketers. You can increase website traffic, you can increase brand loyalty, you can create awareness with precisely targeted ads, you can do so many things on Facebook. So if you haven’t started using Facebook, make sure you start today. 

Twitter

Let’s talk about Twitter. Twitter has 300 million+ monthly active users globally. Just like I told you that whenever we talk about Twitter it’s more related to brand awareness, so if you are just starting out, then you can consider Twitter as a marketing channel. 

Specially in online reputation management, Twitter is an extremely effective channel. To answer a customer’s query, to listen to their feedback, respond to it, I thinkTwitter can be an amazing platform for online reputation management. You can also try strategies like running a conversion campaign or driving traffic to your website. But compared to Facebook, twitter doesn’t provide as precise a targeted audience as Facebook does. So if you’re just starting out in social media marketing, I would recommend you to start with Facebook and then move on toTwitter. 

Instagram

Now Instagram is the new Facebook, a primary reason why Facebook acquired it for billions of dollars. These days millenials are moving away from Facebook and spending more time on Instagram. Because of more visual and video content, Instagram makes an instant connection. Instagram today has better statistics in engagement and content sharing  than even Facebook.

YouTube

Let’s talk about YouTube. One trend that has been dominating the marketing world is the video. Even on Facebook, videos have been given higher preference compared to images or text and the impact of videos is much higher than an image. After the launch of Reliance Jio, with people having access to cheap internet data, YouTube has started to dominate the Indian market. So why should you be using YouTube? Videos capture attention, and create more impact than any other marketing channel. And it has high traffic volume, YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google, it has massive traffic. There are multiple ways to advertise, you can go for video advertisements, you can also do an influencer marketing, collaborating with influencers who have the kind of audience that you are looking for. (check out our post on ‘Influencer Marketing”)

And the best part about YouTube is that videos create much more influence compared to images or text. I would strongly recommend that you include YouTube in your advertising strategy.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is extremely popular in the professional space (55 Million+ active professionals). One very popular question is, is LinkedIn worth it? Honestly in my experience and working with clients as well, I’ve seen that LinkedIn gives much better results if you’re going with B2B marketing, when your target customers are more businesses and not customers (B2C). LinkedIn also gives you a lot of precise targeting options so you can target your prospective customers in various ways. 

If you’re just starting out with social media marketing, then I won’t recommend you to go directly into LinkedIn. I’ll still recommend you to first try, atleast Facebook and Instagram, and once you’re familiar with all those platforms then you can move on to LinkedIn and try it out. But if you’re a B2B company you can directly go with LinkedIn Ads. 

If I have to sum it up on how to start your social media marketing, then I would highly recommend you go for Facebook and Instagram. And then slowly move on to YouTube as well. With satisfactory results, you can try networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. See what kind of results you’re getting. And then start pushing more budget to Ads that are providing the best returns on investment. 

Read our Step-by-Step Guide for Google Ads here.

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