Social media and the relationship we have with it is one of the defining features of our generation. We spend a substantial amount of time scrolling through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and it is fair to say that the influence of social media in our lives is quite profound. Be it our relationships or our professional and social engagements; many aspects of our lives are now deeply intertwined with social media.
It is only natural that businesses from around the world see social media as a big opportunity and they have, therefore, invested heavily in leveraging this medium. Social media marketing is now a norm in the field of advertising and most brands and businesses have a social media presence which they use to engage with their audience.
This medium has enabled marketing professional with many interesting tools and techniques and has allowed them to engage with their audience like never before. Digital marketers have realized that well planned social media campaigns are something that has many advantages.
Social media marketing, however, is a vast subject and one needs to have a holistic perspective to make the most out of this medium. With this Guide, we have attempted to give you a snapshot of what social media marketing is all about, what are its benefits, and how you plan an effective social media campaign.
So let’s begin!
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is that part of Digital advertising that lets you use various social media platforms to achieve marketing objectives.
By using various paid and organic methods on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin, etc you can engage with your target audience and try to achieve marketing objectives like boosting sales, increasing brand awareness, finding new customers, etc.
Now that we have defined what Social Media Marketing means, let us now dive into how it can be beneficial for your business.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
- Brand Awareness
Of the many digital marketing methods available, Social Media Marketing is arguably the best way to generate brand awareness. All you have to do is to create a social media profile of your business and then promote it using various paid and organic techniques. With a comprehensive social media strategy, you can reach out to a large audience and make your presence in the market.
With the help of Social Media Marketing, even small brands and start-ups can hope to increase their brand recognition. With an effective strategy they can, they can engage with their target audience better and even compete with big companies in their industry.
- Better engagement with the audience
Social Media is an interactive medium, and unlike TV or newspaper adverting, you can communicate with your audience and customers through social media. This allows you to build a deeper relationship with your audience, and also understand their needs better. Your customers and audience can also use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to give their feedback and reach out to you for any issues related to your product or services.
One of the challenges, however, in social media is that you need to be careful about negative publicity. It is an open forum in which both appreciation and criticism flow freely. It is generally recommended that companies invest in Online Reputation Management (ORM) from the very beginning so that they are well prepared for any publicity crisis.
- Brand Loyalty
With the help of an effective social media marketing strategy, even niche brands that have a small market footprint can create a community of staunch followers. You will witness that there are many fashion and beauty start-ups, which have successfully used Instagram to market their brands and gather brand advocates. The youth especially relates to and appreciates brands that use social media to engage with them.
- Driving Sales
The Digital Marketing method that is generally associated with driving sales is Search Engine Optimization, but these days’ social media is also being used effectively to generate leads and drive sales. With the advent of Social commerce, many companies can use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to directly sell their products.
Apart from the core benefits discussed above, there are many other advantages of Social Media Marketing like better search engine performance, cost-effective advertising, and increased website traffic, etc. But, without the right social media marketing strategy, none of these benefits can be realized. Here is a simple process that can help you develop an effective social media strategy for your business.
Creating a Social Media Strategy
- Define your goals
The first step of charting a social media strategy is to define what you wish to achieve by marketing through social media. Your objectives could be anything from driving sales, to increasing brand awareness or increasing followers, etc. Defining the goals will let you choose the right platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and also help you figure out the activities that will work on those platforms.
- Identify your target audience
Without figuring out your target audience first, you’ll not be able to develop the right content for your social media profile. Once you understand the ‘buyer persona’, you will be able to identify what they find appealing and what kind of content will keep them engaged.
- Observe your competitors
By checking out the social media profiles of your competitors you can get a sense of what is working for them and what differentiating factors you need to create. You can get some inspiring content ideas from your competitors and also identify opportunities that they may have ignored.
- Create content and a content calendar
Once you are done with the research part, the next thing is to get to the creative work and start developing attractive and engaging content. Apart from creating the content, you also need to schedule the posts and ads; for which you can use marketing tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, etc.
- Evaluate your strategy
You need to determine whether the goals that you had defined in the beginning are achieved or not. And, for that, you need to track the performance of your social media campaigns. Metrics such as engagement, impressions, shares, and mentions, etc can help determine whether your social media strategy is a success or otherwise.
Social media is a dynamic medium in which creativity and innovations are the norms, and if you can keep up with this fast-changing environment, social media marketing can prove to be a tool like none other.
Also, Read: SMART SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS 2020