Updated: Jan 3
You've heard you should be using social media as part of your internet marketing strategy, but what exactly does that involve, and what platforms should you use for a successful social media campaign?
Everyone is touting social media as the last word in your technicolour marketing dreams, but is that genuinely the case? This article will give you some answers and help you define a social media marketing strategy for your growing company.
In 2023, there will be 43.1 million social network users in the UK. (According to this study). Roughly three-quarters of the population are captivated by their smartphones. Social media has become a mainstay of everyday life.
As well as using social media posts to connect with friends and family, your potential customers also use it to interact with and follow brand activity.
A social media campaign can be a valuable platform for increasing site traffic and boosting sales. These social networks allow you to follow influencers who may share links or post hashtags that lead their audience back to your site, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
Whether or not you use social media as a marketing activity depends on your brand persona. Will your brand or company benefit from engaging with your customers and potential clients with a social media campaign?
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) is not a replacement for your website or a substitute for creating great content, services and products. Social media is a tool to amplify the message, engage with users and obtain feedback.
The key takeaway is the word "engagement", a two-way street that means you will get involved with interacting with your user base.
If you fail to connect and resonate with your followers, you are broadcasting into a black hole and all that energy creating content is wasted and a costly mistake.
SMM doesn't mean direct selling, although that can be a part of the mix; it is more to do with the psychology of interpersonal reaction.
What Is A Social Media Marketing Strategy?
Any SMM strategy should evaluate the different social media platforms available. Instagram is primarily visual and image-based, Twitter is text-based to add images and video underneath your commentary, and Facebook is a commingling of all three.
In the beginning, you'll want to use the organic (free) route for your social media campaign because that will allow you to make mistakes without having to pay for them! Paid for social adverts give you more control over your target demographic.
With the lack of any clearly defined conversion measurement tools, calculating your return on investment from any social media campaign activity is a mystical practice, but no more so than that, say, of billboard advertising or even TV advertising.
From the outset, you need goals to achieve. Even if these are hard to quantify, there can be no target to aim for without goals.
Some examples of social media campaign goals you might want to achieve:
Heighten brand awareness
Connect with your target audience
Increase website traffic
Generate new business
Provide customer support
This last one (providing customer support) can be a double-edged sword as the rules of engagement dictate that you should be timely in your responses.
If you are the type of company that perpetually has "larger than expected call volumes" (read: understaffed), then getting buried in an avalanche of customer Tweets from social media users asking for help is not going to be your thing.
The obvious starting point for anyone new to social media marketing is to use that old fallback: competitor research. Discover what your peers are doing to drive interaction and user engagement and copy them. Stealing ideas is an underused tactic in my book, but my reproduction differs from your blatant copying.
Great copying means using the same tactics as your competitors but improving the message, making better images and writing better website copy. People who shamelessly copy and paste their way through life deserve all the karma coming their way. If you can't be original, then at least be authentic.
Social Media Platforms
The social media platform you use depends on your user demographic to reach and engage. All the platforms listed below attract a different type of user, and some people use several simultaneously.
Me? Twitter and Instagram are my favourites, but a Facebook business page is an excellent addition to your overall marketing effort.
LinkedIn is an essential social media marketing channel connecting you with other business users who share your interests, making it a great marketing channel for companies looking to connect with other business users. LinkedIn could be called Facebook for business users.
If your company is interested in marketing to other businesses, LinkedIn is the perfect social website for you. With over 467 million users, your business must be on this network as part of your social media marketing campaign.
Marketing on LinkedIn means connecting with others via shared interests and groups. Your company can create its group or join existing ones relevant to your industry, giving you the chance to reach those interested in what you have to say. You can also post updates and advertise on the site without having a personal account.
Using LinkedIn, your business can successfully market itself among an entire industry of interested users leading to increased brand visibility, improved search engine results, enhanced customer relations, and even networking with potential new clients.
Facebook has over two billion users worldwide, making it the most popular social media platform in existence!
Companies can use Facebook to keep their audience up-to-date on new products, promotions, and sales. While other social media platforms are also helpful for marketing purposes, Facebook is a highly effective way to promote a company's brand.
Here are some of the key features:-
Using Facebook ads, companies can promote their products and services to a specific audience, which is extremely useful for expanding their consumer base. For example, if a company sells children's clothes, they could use Facebook ads targeted explicitly at mothers in the surrounding area. There are also options to create a lookalike audience from an existing customer list so that businesses can expand their reach even further.
This social media platform allows organisations to customise their pages with professional logos and images. Users can also buy virtual gifts for other users on special occasions such as weddings or birthdays. In addition, it is possible to add "apps" that provide entertaining features such as online games and quizzes.
Engagement with your audience
People can share photos and videos on Facebook, so brands often host contests to encourage engagement. For example, a company could create a competition that involves posting funny pictures or tagging friends in clever posts. The contest winner receives a free product from the organisation's store!
View the Webuildstores Facebook Page
Twitter is increasingly popular as a tool for user engagement, and Twitter hashtags are popping up more regularly on television soap and celebrity shows.
Even TV dramas are commented on in real-time, but I have to ask who is so insecure in what they are watching on TV that they have to have it validated by the Twitterati? Who wants a thousand Tweets telling you Liverpool have scored when you have just seen it with your own eyes?
Building a following on Twitter is incredibly difficult unless you have a popular product or service, and bootstrapping (building from scratch) is not for the impatient.
Successful social media campaigns can be rewarded with hundreds of thousands of followers. However, you'll still need to send that traffic to a destination where they can immolate their credit cards.
If you have plenty of witty one-liners, an acerbic way with words, are thick-skinned and can see past all the haters then Twitter might be your thing.
See the Webuildstores Twitter feed.
To get the whole Instagram experience, you'll need an Instagram for a business account:
Get real-time metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day.
Get insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories.
Add information about your company, such as business hours, location and phone number.
Instagram is mainly a visual smorgasbord with some text added for good measure. We've found that the best image size to use is a square 750x750.
The best Instagram accounts are visually appealing and usually owned by celebrities showing their toned bodies. Still, some companies like one peloton are using it to devastating effect by profiling their upcoming staff classes and providing motivational imagery.
Instagram uses hashtags extensively to help you get your images discovered, but they only have a short shelf life of 24 hours or so before they get lost in the ether sphere. You'll need a lot of imagery or the self-discipline to take many photos and selfies to make Instagram work for you.
View the Webuildstores Instagram Page
Creating a Youtube channel might be the best marketing move you ever make. Alternatively, it could be the shortest film career you ever imagined for yourself.
Take a look at some popular Youtube channels and see how advanced the video creation techniques and general production values have become. Consistently making excellent video content for Youtube is a full-time position for someone on your team.
YouTube has become a widely used social media platform for business and personal use. With many unique features, it is no surprise that companies are starting to use the video streaming site as a marketing channel.
Video Allows for Engagement
YouTube is a social media platform where users can subscribe to each other's channels and share different videos, allowing for engagement between businesses and viewers or fans.
For example, if your business shares tips & tricks about fixing cars for free on YouTube, you will be able to engage with followers right away since they would have shared interests in the topic you are discussing.
Youtube Allows You To Make Money Online With Advertisements
Another great feature of using youtube as a marketing channel is advertising. There are many different avenues for making money via advertisements on YouTube. One way is by sharing ad revenue with content creators.
Massive, Vocal Customer Base
Lastly, Youtube has an excellent customer base for any business using social media as their marketing channel. More than one billion people worldwide use YouTube each month, and the numbers keep growing!
There are millions of potential customers for your business if it decides to join in on this ever-expanding social media platform.
Subscriptions Allow For Additional Income Streams
You must set up at least one subscription tier for every channel you wish to monetize beyond ads. The most common way to monetise your videos is through a monthly subscription. You will be able to keep 100% of the money generated by this tier, and you'll also get access to exclusive content and tools
Social Media Influencer Marketing
If you want your products promoted on a social media channel but don't want to go through all the hassle of building your follower base, then merely pay a well known "influencer" with a few million followers to pitch your product for you. It's product placement for social media and lucrative for the channel owner.
Building a social media following takes a lot of hard work and persistence. Don't be fooled into following people, and hoping they will follow you back is a legitimate tactic for building your profile.
All of the best influencer accounts follow only a handful of people and have thousands of followers themselves because they produce unique, exciting and engaging content.
Here's a quick guide to platforms for your next social media marketing campaigns:
LinkedIn is a website designed to put professionals in touch with other professionals and you can target connections based on demographics and interests. LinkedIn Premium will let you send inmail to other users that are not already connections.
Facebook The key here is putting time into your Facebook cover photo - it needs to be crisp, clear and beautiful (or funny) so that people notice when scrolling down their newsfeeds. It's also important to post regular and high-quality content throughout the rest of your page.
Facebook groups are a great way to interact with like-minded people and build a social media following because they allow you to stay in touch with other users long after they've left Facebook or even the internet. Find a group for your industry, jump right in and make sure you're helping out whenever possible!
Twitter is more intimidating because of the instant feedback it provides, but if you are a wordsmith, that might be the place to make your name!
Twitter is about reaching out to other people and sharing short, snappy thoughts with them. The key to making the most out of Twitter is following the right people back and liking or retweeting their content.
Instagram requires a little more effort than Twitter, if only because there's no character limit for Instagram captions - but this also makes it worth putting more time into your images. It's all about creating engaging looking visuals that speak for themselves, then getting as many likes as possible!
YouTube focuses on building an audience through videos that are entertaining or useful. You'll need to create high quality, engaging videos for YouTube, as well as getting your target audience to subscribe to them so they can see all of your future videos.
Ello is a network that values nice, clean social media accounts with lots of followers and great pictures. You need to be interesting, positive and engaging for Ello if you want to get noticed and build a following there. Social interaction is at the heart of every one of these networks - especially on Ello!
Whatsapp is a text messaging service owned by Facebook that allows you to communicate with users in your phone's contacts list. You can start a group chat or send individual messages - it's great for staying in touch when you don't have access to the internet!
Snapchat is an app that allows you to create short videos and images that are automatically deleted after 24 hours. The key here is creativity - you need to be thinking about the content of what you're sharing and how it looks. It's all about getting creative if you want Snapchat to work for your social media campaign!
Finally, Pinterest has become particularly popular amongst women looking for fashion inspiration and home decor ideas - but it's also worth considering because users pin around 50% more than they post on other networks.
Pinterest is all about putting the time into curating visually stunning boards - then letting your pins do the rest of the work for you!
Do you need help kicking off your next social media campaign? Contact us