By: First Union
What is Social Media Marketing and Why Does Your Business Need it?
Abbreviated sometimes as SMM, social media marketing is essentially the practice and processes involved with creating content for your social media channels and then the act of sharing that content accordingly. By way of gaining exposure for promotions, defining your brand, and attracting new followers who hopefully become customers, social media marketing is a must for just about any small business type. The problem however comes when businesses begin a social media marketing campaign and then just let it go stagnant without paying any real attention to what is going on with their channels. In this article we look at some of the key components of a dynamic social media marketing approach and why this type of marketing is essential for most (if not all/) small businesses.
Come Up with a Social Media Marketing Plan
As with any form of marketing and advertising, you need to begin with a solid plan in place. Approaching social media marketing haphazardly is only going to result in wasted efforts and squandered resources. So how do you come up with your social strategy? First off, you are going to need to ask yourself some questions to help better define what it is you hope to accomplish via social media marketing.
- Who is your target audience?
- What channels do this audience most commonly frequent?
- What are the results you are hoping to achieve using social media?
- What is the brand message you most emphatically hope to convey?
These just scratch the surface. Social media marketing can cover a very wide array of objectives and potentially reach a massive audience. It is all about positioning yourself to achieve the goals you set for your company.
Also keep in mind, that the channels and social media plan you use should be aligned with your business. That is to say, if you sell home goods, for example, you want to target sites such as Pinterest and Instagram with your social media marketing efforts.
Some Key Social Media Marketing Tips
Once you've mapped out your plan and have a firm strategy in mind, now you want to execute. And again, consistency is going to be everything here. You can set up all the social media accounts you want, but if you don't stay on top of managing those accounts and keeping them updated, your social media marketing plan will be relatively useless.
- Great content — Content is king. We've all heard this. And on social media, this is no exception. That said, you want to ensure that any content you put out there is of the highest quality possible. Not only do you want to post regularly, but you also want to post writing and images which are good and consequently attract users and keep them engaged.
- Keep it consistent with your brand — Creating a brand image/identity is essential to the success of most small businesses. When you post on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn, you want to make sure that all content aligns with your brand. This will make it increasingly easier for people to recognize your brand and differentiate it from the competition.
- Use your social media for promotion — Social media marketing represents an ideal way to increase your audience size when it comes to things such as your blog or website in general. If for example, you write a killer blog post about something relevant to your company, you can cross-promote this post on your various social media channels.
- Sharing links — If you come across an article, post or some other such content that somehow connects to what you do and is of special interest to you, then sharing on social media is a great way to introduce your brand to a new crop of followers. Curating content is a very popular form of social media marketing—and most importantly, it works!
- Pay attention to analytics— How do you know if your social media marketing strategies are working? After all, you are spending time and potentially money on getting those posts up and tending to the responses/comments. Is all of this effort in vain or is it driving people to your site and business? Most social media sites do have ways for businesses to track the analytics and keep tabs on pertinent data. You can see if one ad is performing better than another. Take a look at how certain posts are doing, even track whether or not posting during a specific time of day is benefitting you.
Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
Every channel is unique in terms of what it offers, the type of exposure it brings, and how you can engage with users/followers. So which platforms should you be using? Below is a breakdown of a few of the key social media channels that many businesses use.
Facebook for Social Media Marketing
The social media giant, Facebook tends toward a slightly older demographic than some of the others. Creating a Facebook Business Page is a good first start. Make it pop, make it visually appealing and of course, make it relevant to your core demographic. On Facebook, as with many of the other social media platforms out there, you want to keep things relatively light and friendly as it is a more casual online setting.
Pinterest for Social Media Marketing
Pinterest is growing by leaps and bounds—especially since the events of 2020 had many people using Pinterest for just about everything. You can showcase products and create your boards as well to try and grow your following that way. That said, the Pinterest community tends to be largely female, so you want to keep this in mind.
Twitter for Social Media Marketing
Twitter offers a fast and easy means of updating followers as to the goings-on of your company. Because of this, it is easier to accrue followers quickly on Twitter versus on some other social media platforms. You can use Twitter to offer discounts, strengthen your brand presence as well as communicate directly with followers.
YouTube for Social Media Marketing
When it comes to video content and your social media marketing plan, it is all about strategically using YouTube. Having your own business YouTube channel seems to be a must nowadays. And creating videos doesn't have to be costly. Starting with a smartphone even, you can get started and get that content out there.