I’m sure we here at Kairos are not the only ones who have stumbled across a sassy Wendy’s tweet or a celebrity Fashion Nova promotion while scrolling through our social media feeds. In this age where social media dominates pop culture, we are bound to see some of our favorite companies on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.
Throughout the past decade or so, businesses have started to incorporate social media marketing into their overall marketing strategy. And while you might often see big brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Tesla pop up on your feed, social media marketing is not just reserved for large companies — it can be especially beneficial for small and new businesses alike.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to connect with an audience and promote your brand. This can include creating and sharing content on social media and engaging with followers on posts or in comment sections, as well as building brand awareness through shares and website links.
Social media marketing can also be helpful for businesses looking to understand their audience’s general wants and needs. With these platforms, businesses can track conversations about their brand and monitor how competitors engage with their base.
This brings us to…
Why Should I Implement Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing can help small businesses access customers in ways that would otherwise be difficult. For instance, it can:
- Build Brand Recognition
More than 3.6 billion people use social media — and that number is quickly increasing. By establishing a social media presence, businesses are only a few clicks away from a new customer. It’s simple: the more often users come across your content on their search pages or favorite hashtags, the more likely they are to interact with it in the future.
- Improve Customer Service
Social platforms offer easy and direct channels of communication with clients. Whether it be in a comment or direct message, customers can easily express their personal experiences or views about your brand. By acknowledging and responding to customers’ questions and complaints, you can make them feel more connected and compassionate towards your company.
- Measure Success
Utilizing social media can also be an effective way of quantifying your business’ success. With metrics on followers, likes, views, and profile visits, you can easily track your brand’s reach. In the future, this can be helpful when establishing marketing objectives and goals.
- Save Money
Ad spending can often be a large burden on small businesses. One of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is that it’s cost-effective! For most social networks, it’s free to set up profiles and post content; meanwhile, other forms of social media advertising, such as paid promotions, are relatively inexpensive. When looking to advertise, breaching the online community can be an easy way to maximize your budget.
Where Do I Start?
- Determine Who Your Target Audience Is — What Platforms Are They Using?
When creating your social media marketing strategy, determining your audience is essential. Not only will this help you create engaging content later on, but it will first and foremost allow you to decide which platforms you should be using.
Each social network caters to different demographics. If your target audience is Millennials, you’d be better off creating content on Instagram and YouTube rather than Snapchat or TikTok (which is largely used by Generation Z). Meanwhile, if you are looking to cater to Generation X, your best bet is to use Facebook or LinkedIn.
If you’re looking to learn more about Social Media demographics and user bases, check out this Fact Sheet by Pew Research Center.
- Develop Your Strategy and Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
When establishing your strategy, it is important to identify what you are hoping to achieve through content marketing. Are you hoping to direct more traffic to your website? Do you want to establish your online brand identity?
With these objectives in mind, create your social media marketing plan. Set short or medium-term goals that are S.M.A.R.T.:
- Realistic and Relevant
- Time Specific
- Create Content that is Engaging and Specific to Your Brand
When people are scrolling through their feed, they are probably not looking to spend their time searching for a new kitchen appliance or office store. Each post or social media ad your business puts out should be able to draw in potential customers without taking up too much of their time.
Along that same line, your content should be unique to your brand. With several other competitors on social media platforms, it is important to consider how you can stand out.
If possible, use social media to its strengths. Are there any functions specific to the social media platform? For instance, utilizing hashtags and locations on your Instagram posts is an easy way to help draw new clients to your page.
Finally, rather than posting spontaneously, plan and schedule content ahead of time. This will save your business time and allow you to easily manage your profiles.
- Utilize Metrics to Evaluate Impact
As you create content on social media, there are various ways to measure the performance of your account. Many social media platforms already have built-in analytics tools that can be used to measure data like shares, tags, likes, audience reach, and more. This includes Twitter Analytics, Facebook Analytics, and Instagram Insights. Other measurement tools, like Google Analytics, can be helpful as well.
The Future of Social Media Marketing
Keep in mind that social media, like the Internet, is constantly evolving and changing. In 2020, there are various emerging trends to keep an eye out for.
One example of this is shoppable content. Recently, Instagram and Facebook have incorporated features onto their platforms that allow users to directly purchase products and services. On social ads and other social media posts, people can now click on product tags that direct them to links where they can buy products. This can be especially helpful in increasing traffic to your website and well as boosting sales.
Another promising trend in social media marketing is ephemeral content — short, temporary posts that briefly engage users. This includes functions like Instagram/Facebook Stories, Snapchat Ads, and TikTok videos. Due to its short and fleeting viewing time, ephemeral content is useful in prompting an immediate response from viewership as well as maximizing the types of content produced and published.
Whether it be for a Facebook ad or Instagram blog post, keeping up with changing platforms will ensure your social media strategy stays relevant.
For more on Digital Marketing Trends in 2020, take a look at this blog post.
Ultimately, as social media becomes more and more prevalent in our day to day life, there is no better time for your business to build its online presence. While at first, it might seem intimidating, social media marketing can be an easy and effective way to invest in the future of your company. By keeping up with trends and utilizing social media to your strengths, you can unlock endless marketing potential.
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