Now that we live in the digital age, we are exposed to social media every single day. Why? Because social media allows us to communicate and share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. When you take a look from a marketing perspective within a business, no matter how big or how small, social media has become a necessary marketing channel that all companies need to tap into in some capacity to be successful. Moreover, if you have a stellar social media strategy, great things will come from it, and you will see the results firsthand.
That sounds easy and doable, right? Not exactly. Your business or brand needs to have a successful social media strategy to see tangible results. Additionally, you also have to put in the work and invest in the resources to achieve success. If you want to grow your business online, you need to start attempting to understand social media. It is imperative to keep up-to-date with the latest social media trends and understand various platforms’ changing algorithms. Don’t worry. That’s why we’re here.
Since the social media landscape is evolving quickly, you must ask yourself, “How can I continue to use social media to yield the best results?” With over 3 billion active social media users worldwide, you must have a clear understanding of how to engage with the different audiences you are trying to target for your social media strategy to be effective.
With so many possibilities, it may all seem a little overwhelming at first. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide for social media marketing. Follow along in the following sections where we will touch on various topics surrounding social media.
Types of Social Media Networks
Businesses can choose from many social media networks to help build their online presence. These networks connect people from around the world, and with so many to choose from, here are the most-used social media networks for businesses:
Although there is a wide variety of networks available for businesses to choose from, it may not be wise to try and build on all of these platforms at once. Instead, companies need to be strategic in selecting the critical networks that will be the most beneficial for building their online presence and achieving optimal results. This is all dependent on the type of digital content your company generates. For example, if your brand or business does not have a lot of visual content to share, then platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube may not be ideal to consider for your social strategy.
However, research shows that the two necessary components all businesses should “be on” are LinkedIn and Facebook. Below, you will find a brief breakdown of the different types of social media platforms your business can consider using to build and improve your online presence.
With over 2 billion active monthly users, Facebook has more users than any other social network. As one of the pioneers of social media platforms, Facebook’s users comprise a wide range of different demographics, which provides an extraordinary medium for your business to connect with your prospective customers all around the world. Facebook for businesses also provides a variety of tools for users, including options for targeting different audiences.
Take Starbucks, for example. Their Facebook page has over 37 million likes and 35 million followers. As one of the top Facebook business pages, Starbucks integrates additional features such as their interactive store locator map and Pinterest to keep users engaged. Check out some of the other best Facebook business pages here.
Indeed, we are all familiar with the classic 140 (now 280) character social media platform, intended for users to share small bursts of information known as “tweets.” With over 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is one of the largest platforms for social listening. Twitter allows businesses to learn more about their customers, and it is also a powerful platform to stay up-to-date with hot and current trends. Twitter is a platform for businesses to get the word out about products and services, provide updates, and engage in customer service.
Here are three things to keep in mind when using Twitter to build your business’ online business:
- Find out who your audience is and what they’re talking about
- Focus on conversing rather than selling
- Share relevant and engaging content that others will retweet/reshare
Some of Twitter’s best brands have become masters at producing quality content for this 280-character platform to increase their brand exposure.
LinkedIn has become an effective tool for businesses that engage in B2B marketing. As a top lead-generating platform, LinkedIn makes connecting with potential clients and consumers at the B2B level easy. You can filter your target audience by job title, company name, location, etc. 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 79% of B2B marketers say that LinkedIn is a significant source for generating leads. As one of the top lead generators for businesses to build relationships and connect with potential customers at the B2B level, LinkedIn is a social media platform that provides opportunities for targeting potential leads by making it easy to build connections in different industries.
- LinkedIn provides access to multiple industry influencers and decision-makers
- LinkedIn is a brand-building tool
- LinkedIn lets you align with the right social prospects
- LinkedIn has done away with antique sales techniques
- LinkedIn showcases your skill sets
- LinkedIn provides B2B marketers with vital knowledge about prospects
- LinkedIn is an avenue for social selling
- LinkedIn is a platform for building digital relationships.
Does your brand or business have a strong visual brand identity? Are you looking to build one and don’t know where to begin? If you answered ‘yes’ to either question, Instagram is the perfect platform for you to do so!
Instagram has continued to expand rapidly since the introduction of Instagram stories, IGTV, and recent advertising opportunities. Instagram continues to bring new and exciting updates, and new apps for Instagram are continuing to dominate the market. As a result, businesses and brands must remain agile to maintain a competitive advantage on this platform.
Check out these four reasons businesses should use Instagram Stories.
According to HubSpot, 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool in 2020. With video marketing on the rise for businesses, YouTube is one of the top social media platforms that will help build your online presence and brand.
You can read more about YouTube marketing in our post here.
And while Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn are the most well-established social media platforms for business marketing, platforms such as TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat also have a lot to offer your social media marketing strategy.
TikTok may appear at first to be little more than an entertainment app for teenagers, but make no mistake: used correctly, this app will help you reach a huge new audience. It isn’t the right platform for every business, but if it does suit your brand and products, it can help you gain access to its more than 500 million users.
Invest in This Platform If:
TikTok is the platform for you if you want to reach a massive, young active audience. If your marketing strategy involves targeting users between the age of 15 and 24, then TikTok offers an incredibly effective way to make your video content go viral. The Gen Z age group is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing demographics, and TikTok offers it to you as a captive audience, easier to reach than on any other platform.
Content That Works
TikTok is a video-only platform that enables users to communicate simple messages, through short, punchy, fun, and shareable video posts. The kind of content that thrives on TikTok is user-generated material, usually shot on the users’ cellphones and edited using the app’s built-in editing tools. Brevity, authenticity, and immediacy are the most important attributes of successful TikTok posts. Develop messaging that is simple and can be communicated within 30 seconds of relatable video posts. If you can work children and animals into your videos, and make them humorous, then you have content that is more likely to go viral.
How Often to Post
For maximum effect, most brands should post on TikTok about three times a day. Some may want to post even more, but that can be a bit much for most businesses.
As with other social media platforms, you need to use the right hashtags on TikTok and pounce on any trends as they arise. Wherever possible, seek out the help of a TikTok influencer. To find the right influencer for your brand, join the TikTok Creator Marketplace, which will enable you to view metrics connected to each influencer and get an idea of how successful they will be for your brand. If you want to push your TikTok campaigns even further, consider using TikTok ads.
Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media network in the United States, ranking ahead of Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. It also has a strong global footprint, reaching up to 235 million people around the world. It is a visual search engine that engages users on a purely visual level and works effectively as a tool to offer inspiration and drive productivity.
Invest in This Platform If:
Pinterest is an image-heavy platform that will do wonders for your marketing strategy if you are looking to do the following:
- Attract more female customers: Pinterest is the world’s most female-skewed social media platform. Roughly 71% of its users are women.
- Focus on engagement, not just numbers: Pinterest differs from other social media platforms in that the emphasis is not so much on building large numbers of likes and followers, but on sharing content with which the right people want to engage – behavior that is very attractive to marketers.
- Build visual links and traffic: Strong visual content is vital to help your posts stand out and this is the strength of Pinterest. It also enables marketers to build links through the images.
- Convert! According to HubSpot, Pinterest shortens the process from discovery to conversion and the platform’s visitors convert to sales quicker than on any other platform.
Content That Works
Pinterest is all about images, and there is quite a lot of room for creativity and diversity. Among the most successful and common posts on Pinterest are:
- Product photos – the platform has a section dedicated to product pins.
- DIYs: Personalize your product pins by showcasing a finished DIY project for inspiration.
- Food: Food photos and recipes are also very popular on Pinterest, and this has been leveraged to great effect by food brands, delivery services, and restaurants.
- How-to guides and photo tutorials.
How Often to Post
Pins are quite easy to create and post, so you can post with relatively high frequency. The advisable maximum is about 10-25 pins per day, however. Any more than that would be overkill unless you have plenty of really high-quality content.
Pinterest has great search capabilities. Make the most of these by creating boards with your keywords in the titles. When creating your images, make them long and narrow to take up the most space and get noticed more easily – 735 x 1102 pixels is a good size. Pinterest also works well with your blog or other social media platforms. Embed your pins in your blog posts and share your pins and boards on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Another great platform for images and video, Snapchat offers simplicity, immediacy, and the ability to reach a massive audience. Snapchatters are watching a cumulative total of up to 10 billion videos a day globally – that’s a giant audience and a great opportunity.
Invest in This Platform If:
Snapchat is for you if you want to get the following from your social media marketing:
- Reach a younger demographic: Snapchat has roughly 100 million users, the majority of whom are aged 16 to 24. In fact, Snapchat is the most used platform among this demographic.
- Build brand awareness in your area: Using geo-filters, you can connect with users in your specific area of business and get them to recognize your brand.
- Share important updates and exclusive content: You can show your audience things that nobody else has access to, give them a behind-the-scenes look at your business (if it’s relevant and interesting), or introduce them to the face behind the business.
- Hold competitions or share coupons: Snapchat enables you to create coupons and create contests to draw users to your business and products.
Content That Works
The best kind of content for Snapchat includes:
- Exclusive promotions: Increase your eCommerce sales with promotions that your audience won’t find on any other platform. The ability to create coupons and discount codes is a great tool to help you with this.
- Daily product or company-related snaps: These won’t necessarily drive instant sales, but they will fuel brand engagement.
- Geo-filtered images: Geo-filters allow businesses or individuals to purchase and create a Snapchat filter available to all users within a certain area for a certain period of time.
- Influencer-led content: influencers can be particularly effective on Snapchat. You can do influencer marketing in two ways – by sponsoring influencers’ posts or doing a Snapchat takeover, where an influencer literally takes control of your Snapchat account for a limited period of time.
How Often to Post
You should post on Snapchat three times a day, every four or five hours. Any more than that is overkill, and any less isn’t enough to sustain engagement.
The important thing with Snapchat is to keep everything as short as possible. Don’t let your stories run on for too long. A story should consist of 10 posts or fewer. You should also post at a lower frequency and spread your posts out over the course of the day. Be sure to be creative too: don’t just post simple images; add stickers, emojis, lenses, and filters.
Types of Content You Should Consider
Once you narrow down the social media platforms you want to use to build your business’s social media marketing strategy, you will need to determine the type of content you want to share on those platforms. Different types of content appeal to and engage differently with different people, so it is essential to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, you will figure out what types of content performs best and engages with the most people. You will also figure out what types of content align with your business’ marketing goals and objectives.
The Value of Visual Content in Social Media Marketing
According to Hubspot, in 2020, 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing. The growth we see in the use of visual content is mainly due to the evolution across all major social media platforms.
According to Buffer, the recent types of content that have become popular for social media include GIFs, Snapchat and Instagram stories, user-generated content, and infographics. Humans crave variety, and these examples of content many brands have been using keep their audiences on their toes.
How To Engage Your Audience Effectively in Social Media Marketing
After determining the type of content you plan to implement into your social media strategy, you will need to know how to engage with your audience effectively. Is your audience responding to your content? Are users sharing or retweeting your posts? Is your content sparking conversation among users on social media? If you are not continually creating opportunities for engagement, your competitors will get ahead of you.
What are some ways you can engage with your audience effectively on social media?
If you are continually creating and sharing relevant and engaging content for your audience, it will open doors of endless opportunities and potential for new customers. This requires you to be proactive in social listening and identifying what content resonates with your intended audiences the most.
Create and share content to build relationships with current and future customers, and you will see significant growth in terms of your online presence and brand awareness.
Here are five social media content ideas for excellent customer engagement:
- Educate Your Readers
- Ask Questions
- Repackage Content
- Incorporate Visuals
- Make it Shareable
The secret to engaging with your audience is to stay current with the latest social media trends, identify the hot topics your audience is talking about, utilize hashtags, and consistently share exciting and relevant content. Ideally, your overall objective is to tell your business or brand’s story.
Growing Your Audience
When considering your social media strategy, one of your business’s primary objectives is to continually grow your audience. The whole point of building a social presence is to not only share content, but also to gain more followers, increase brand loyalty, and reach a wider audience who can potentially convert into customers.
By establishing reliable tactics to grow your audience and following on social media, you will see significant growth in your following.
Organizing Your Content
No matter how big or small your business or brand is, managing social media is not easy. One of the biggest challenges that come with managing your business’s social media strategy is staying organized.
Use a content calendar to keep track of your posts.
One of the best ways to maintain an organized social media strategy is to use a content calendar. A content calendar provides an overview of what you’re posting when you’re posting, and where you’re posting.
A content calendar can also help you plan short-term and long-term objectives for your social media marketing strategy. For example, you can organize and keep track of various campaigns, holidays, and other significant events.
Using your content calendar effectively will help you stay on top of all the other tasks you need to do. A great starting point is to create one for each of your business’s social media platforms. This will make it easier to plan your content as your business continues to grow.
Schedule content ahead of time using a scheduling tool.
Scheduling content ahead of time and in bulk is another way to stay organized when managing your social media strategy. Constantly posting on social media is a time-consuming task. Sometimes, you may find yourself caught up in doing other work that you forget to post that tweet or LinkedIn update on social media. It’s also extremely time-consuming when you are posting one post at a time, right when these posts need to go out.
Scheduling content in bulk, in advance, allows you to allocate time towards other tasks. Luckily, there are many free and paid resources to help you achieve this. Some of the top tools to look into for scheduling content for social media include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer.
Know where to look for content.
Knowing where to look for content is another way to maintain an organized social media strategy. There may be different publications that provide content that is relevant for your social media channels. There may also be other online resources that are up-to-date with the latest news, trends, and topics – creating separate folders and bookmarks to separate your business/brand’s original content from other content you share.
Make use of paid tools and resources.
Whether you are looking to create powerful visuals or manage all the content you have scheduled for an upcoming campaign, don’t forget to make use of free and paid tools and resources.
Don’t own design software? Check out Canva to create visually appealing graphics for your content. Do you lack photography skills and don’t have the budget to hire a photographer? Find stunning royalty-free stock photos for your content. Looking for a project management tool to organize deliverables for a social media campaign? Give Trello a try!
Depending on the size of your social media or marketing budget, there are various tools available to help maintain an organized social media strategy.
Create separate spreadsheets to manage social media promotions, and other paid advertising channels.
When the time comes to review your social media marketing budget, creating a spreadsheet will help you keep track of all the expenses that go towards paid tools and software, as well as your paid social media efforts.
With the changing algorithms of the many social media platforms we use today, the days of relying solely on organic reach are over. You may have realized that some social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, don’t show content in chronological order anymore. Why? Because its algorithms dictate that showing relevant content or “what they think you want to see” type of content first is more important. So if you expect your followers to see everything you post on social media, those days are over.
Suppose you’re ready to take that next step in your social media strategy and go beyond organic reach to ensure your content is seen. In that case, it may be an excellent time to consider paid advertising on social media. You can use paid advertising to target specific audiences. You can target specific age groups, people with specific interests, and people from an exact geographic location.
Firstly, come up with a reasonable budget to allocate towards social media advertising. Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean you will have the highest return on investment (ROI). Start small and test your strategy. Once you become more confident and see the results from your social media advertising, you may consider spending a little more to boost specific posts or specific types of content.
Secondly, set goals and objectives for your paid advertising. What demographic do you want to target?
Paid advertising is the next step in your social media strategy. You’re now looking at new and innovative ways to reach a broader audience. Maybe your brand has grown, and you have the budget to dive and invest in paid social.
Tracking Your Process with Social Media Analytics Tools
Which of your tweets perform best? When are the best times to post on Instagram? The only way to answer these questions is to track your social media performance regularly.
Tracking your social media performance is key to achieving a successful social media strategy. Analytics help measure your social media efforts over time. This becomes important when you’re evaluating how well your content is performing. It is also a strong indication for when you are looking for ways to improve and refine your social media strategy. At the end of the day, it is crucial to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Start by identifying the key metrics you would like to analyze. Social media metrics are the data and statistics that give you insights into your social media marketing performance.
Some key metrics that all businesses should measure include:
- Engagement: the number of unique people who have liked, clicked, commented, or shared your post or page
- Impressions: the number of times your content is displayed and whether it is clicked or not
- Reach: the number of unique people who have seen your posts
Many tools can help you gather insight when it comes to reporting your analytics over a period of time. Most social media networks have their own analytics tools integrated into their individual platforms, including:
- Facebook Insights
- Twitter Analytics
Analyzing social media performance is essential for every business. Assessing the key statistics and metrics will help you determine which social media networks are performing best, ultimately helping your business’s bottom line.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Should your business be on social media? Absolutely! Depending on the social media marketing strategy you choose to use, social media can be incredibly valuable and help you to connect to a diverse market of customers to help your business grow. If you aren’t utilizing social media for your marketing and advertising, you are missing out on the vast number of benefits it can provide to your company or reputation. We take a look at some of the benefits below:
Increase brand awareness
Your brand awareness is increased through each platform you choose to use. Social media provides you with a medium to share information on your brand to millions of people daily – boosting your brand’s awareness by driving up engagement to your channels. Social media engagement includes the number of people who like, comment, share, and repost your content.
Generate leads and boost conversions
Social media is an effective tool for generating new leads to your site, selling more products, and boosting your conversion rates. You can generate traffic to your site by including direct links to your website in your bio or posts. There are numerous additional routes to promote your site or brand, such as creating contests involving users engaging with your posts, sharing live streaming events via your YouTube or Instagram channel, or selling your products directly through Facebook’s Shop Section on Instagram’s Shopping feature.
Foster relationships with customers
Engaging with your customers on social media can help you to build the trust and support of your customers. You can do this by responding to their comments, sharing their posts that they tag you in, running competitions, or asking customers for their feedback. Customers will not only appreciate the response, but they will promote your channel to their followers, extending brand awareness.
Learn from competitors
You can increase your brand’s reputation and ensure that your brand stands out by studying competitors’ brand channels and social media behavior. Social media gives you a platform to watch what your competitors are doing, how they are engaging, and what drives their sales, and subsequently to adjust your brand campaign and marketing strategy to increase sales and ensure that your brand is unique.
Organize a schedule for your posts
There are many tools available to schedule posts and monitor social media engagement. These tools are effective ways to run your social media marketing campaigns easily and timeously, saving you expenses and valuable resources in the long term. Some of these tools include:
Hubspot is a social media management software that saves you time by helping you to easily share blog posts, landing pages and build your marketing campaigns through the use of just one tool. You can share posts manually or schedule posts to post directly to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It also has extra features such as monitoring social interactions, SEO tools, and lead management to increase your engagement and social visibility.
Sprout is an all-in-one social media management platform that lets your entire team plan, organize, schedule, and deliver content with cross-network social publishing. It also has features for social media monitoring and analysis.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool with features to help with planning, scheduling, and analyzing social posts. It lets you publish content to the right channels at the right time, track effectiveness in real-time, and emphasize your top-performing content.
Show Off Your Commitment to Great Customer Care
Social media gives you an in-depth look at what your audience is saying and lets you resolve any issues or address any concerns that arise. This means greater customer care and better publicity for your brand. Brands can take to social media during difficult times to show that they support and care for their customers or use their support towards religions or political groups with the use of vibrant posts in support of campaigns, such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Merry Christmas” greetings.
Open New Avenues to Promote and Sell
Social media allows your company to connect to potential customers that you would not have connected with if you had used regular marketing techniques. Social selling allows you to reach out to customers directly all around the world to persuade them to buy a product.
Target Specific Demographics
With the use of social media tools such as Facebook Analytics or paid ads, you can target specific demographics and advertise your brand to target these individuals. You can also check out your audience’s pages to get into their mindset and obtain an idea of their likes or dislikes, and consequently tailor your posts to relate to their mindset.
Support Multi-Channel Campaigns
You can reinforce your brand’s message by applying social media marketing techniques across multiple platforms. This will lead to the generation of a community of potential customers and increased revenue for your company over time.
Creating and Curating Engaging Social Content
Sticking to content themes
Your visuals are important when it comes to marketing your content to the people you aim to reach. A consistent and colorful theme will help you to attract customer attention. Social media tools have themes available (and so does Instagram and Postmates) which helps you to create a content theme that is specific to your company or brand. You can use memes, product photos, and repost content from users according to your chosen color scheme.
UGC and interactive content
User-generated content (UGC) is content generated by your followers that you can use by reposting, resharing, or screenshotting to engage with customers. These also include hashtags related to your brand or answers to questions you may ask, which all boost your engagement rate.
Stories and time-sensitive content
Stories are excellent features on social media channels that allow you to show customers behind-the-scenes content and to humanize your brand. You can also use stories to market time-sensitive content such as Black Friday deals to grab their attention and stay fresh in their minds.
Video as the centerpiece of your social media marketing strategy
The biggest brands around the world make use of videos daily to promote their brand and to gain multiple views across their marketing channels. These videos can be posted to social media feeds or uploaded as social media stories, depending on the urgency or goal of the content.
Make Timeliness a Top Priority on Social Media
Post at the best times to engage
To reach a wide audience, you need to ensure your social media or community managers find and engage with customers at the optimal time. This is why it is essential to learn the best times to post on social media, as well as to engage with your audience after you post.
Respond to your customer questions and shout-outs ASAP
You should respond to customers ASAP to ensure your reputation and brand is promoted and protected. Through the use of social media marketing tools, you can interact, respond to, and gauge customers throughout the day to increase engagement.
Assess what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can improve
Social media involves constant change and your company needs to adapt and improve to keep up. You must be able to adapt your marketing strategy, assess what is working for your brand (or what isn’t), and continuously learn and progress. This means an analysis of your top-performing content.
Communicate goals, challenges, and wins with your team
Establishing good communication with your team on your accomplishments, goals, and shortfalls helps your company to be held accountable for your efforts and highlights the results that your social strategy can produce.
Frequently Asked Questions about Social Media Marketing
What is a digital marketer?
Digital marketers make use of the internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, display advertising, and other channels to reach and target customers. They are responsible for ensuring that the website or social media content is easily found by the target audience and they optimize the structure and content for social media.
What are social media marketing tools?
Social media marketing tools are listening platforms, publishing platforms, and competitive analysis platforms that tackle social media from different angles and help your brand achieve all your business goals.
How can I promote my business on social media for free?
You can promote your business on social media for free by using organic social media marketing. Organic social is any social media activity that does not have a paid promotion and makes use of free social media tools to build and engage with followers.
What is the best content for social media?
Written posts, blogs, articles, eBooks, guides, links to external content or websites, vibrant images, and advertising videos and live video stories.
What does a social media manager do?
A social media manager is responsible for monitoring, posting, creating, and uploading social media content for your company or brand. They are regarded as the brand’s voice and provide expert guidance to enhance your online presence.
How do marketers use social media?
Marketers make use of social media platforms to connect or grow an audience by building brand awareness and increasing sales. They do this by making use of social media tools and platforms that drive customers and followers to their websites or stores.
Why social media is good for marketing?
Social media is a cost-effective and versatile way of marketing in the current digital age. The use of social media channels will lead to increased traffic, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction, as well as an opportunity for you to gain a whole new generation of customers and gain an advantage over competitors.
Where can I learn digital marketing for free?
Google offers a basic Interactive Advertising Bureau-accredited course for digital marketing on their website. The course has over 26 modules to explore, all created by Google trainers, with practical exercises and real-world examples.
What is meant by content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that stimulates interest in its products or services, without explicitly promoting a brand.
Social media has become one of the most critical aspects of digital marketing. In the digital world we live in today, we live and breathe social media. People spend countless hours keeping up with the latest news, making sure they are up-to-date with the latest trends.
No matter how big or small your business or brand is, building a strong social media strategy will help grow your business. Take advantage of all the tools and resources available to you and create and share content that tells your brand’s story. Set goals and objectives, go back and refine your strategy, and always seek new ways to engage with your audiences. It will take time, but investing in your social media strategy will help your business succeed.