Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing that uses social media apps as a marketing tool.
These social media platforms enable brands to connect with their audience to:
- Build a brand
- Increase sales
- Drive traffic to a website
- Build a community of followers to share and engage with content.
Producing relevant content that users will share with their own networks helps brands increase their exposure. It also extends its reach toward fans, potential customers and even potential employees when used as a recruitment tool.
5 Standards of social media marketing
- Social strategy
- Planning and publishing
- Listening and engagement
- Analytics and reporting
Advantages of social media marketing
- Reach a wider audience: There are more than 3.6 billion users across all social media channels. A single post share can exponentially increase brand exposure.
- Improved customer satisfaction: Organizations don’t just market to customers on social media, they also interact with them. This can improve customer service and create one-to-one relationships.
- Cost-effective tool: When executed correctly, the cost of managing a social media program can be below. Once the knowledge, team, and program strategy are in place, marketing teams find it easy to use with very little overhead.
- Increase website traffic: Social posts are a great way to drive traffic back to a brand website. Promoting blog content, landing page offers and more can entice users to click through and engage further with a brand.
- Gain better insights: Using the analytics and reporting features from each social media platform gives insight into who page followers are, what content they are interested in, and how they like to engage with a brand.
How to create a social media marketing strategy?
Here are the steps a company needs to take to build an effective social media marketing strategy
1. Identify social media goals that align with the business goals
Start by setting goals that will act as not only a guide for how to use social media but also a benchmark of data to measure against. Use a SMART goal format to find out what is realistic to accomplish. Examples of goals include the following:
- Increase traffic to the website
- Drive more leads
- Increase revenue
- Grow audience
2. Research and define the target audience
It’s important to know who the target market is, what they care about and why they need a company’s products or services. Social media platforms are rich with data about users, so this exercise can be done without a substantial market research project. Knowing demographic information and who follows the social channel are great starting points.
It’s also important to know that different platforms attract different users. Knowing what social channels a company’s target audience is on enables them to choose which channels to invest time and resources into.
Here are some of the more popular social media platforms and the uses for each.
3. Perform a competitive assessment
Knowing what the competition is doing enables marketing teams to identify what is working well and what is not for the competition. This provides industry insights as well as opportunities to bring a product or message to market.
Social listening tools can also help brands set up different monitoring streams for competitive content and industry keywords.
4. Create and curate relevant content for the channel
Knowing the goals, audience and competitive landscape will help determine the type(s) of content that brands need to create. Engaging content comes in different forms and media. It can be company generated, curated from elsewhere to share industry news or other thought leadership pieces.
Businesses should publish content frequently and consistently to develop an engaged follower base. Brands can post promotions to increase engagement. They can also create posts that show a more relatable and human side of the organization.
5. Be timely with posts and responses
Posting when convenient for a business isn’t always convenient for customers. Taking advantage of the best times to post for engagement is information that can be collected from analytics. Then organizations can schedule posts ahead of time using available publishing tools. Timeliness of the content is also important as the news cycle moves fast.
Another element of being timely on social media is response time. If customers engage with a brand on social media, they also expect a quick reply. A brand can build authority and respect with its clientele through these one-to-one relationships.
6. Gain buy-in and support from others in the organization
Marketing departments need to engage other departments and stakeholders within an organization. Marketing can learn a lot from sales to inform future social campaigns, but sales can also benefit from marketing’s reach. Sales and marketing alignment is great, but senior stakeholder support is also a necessity.
Supporting other departments’ efforts is a common sign of a strong social media program. Every department in a company can benefit from social support, but HR is usually the next best place to partner. Social media can be a recruitment tool and brand builder for prospective employees.
7. Measure and optimize
The last element of building a successful social media marketing program is to measure what works and what doesn’t. Organizations should monitor the following
- Posts that get top engagement
- Followers that continue to buy
- Ads that yield the highest ROI
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