When it comes to how the world connects, social media is one of the top avenues that come to mind. For multiple times a day, people scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even TikTok. No matter what their chosen platform is, the pervasive presence of social networks in the lives of millions around the world can’t be denied.
Social media has become one of the most important digital marketing channels and business strategies. With it, companies can reach customers wherever they may be. Since many people are on social media, businesses should adapt their strategies and meet their customers through various social media channels.
However, reaching customers via social media isn’t as simple as posting on Facebook or Instagram a few times a day. As a business, you need to know how to leverage the platform effectively to tap the exact people and increase your brand’s exposure.
Social media can bring significant value to your business. Learn everything about social media marketing, its benefits, and how you can get started below.
Jump to a section:
- What is Social Media Marketing?
- Social Media Fast Facts and Figures
- The 5 Core Pillars of Social Media Marketing
- The Differences Between B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing
- The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
- Planning your Social Media Marketing Strategy
- The Latest Social Media Tools
- Top Tips for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is when a company utilizes social networks in marketing its products and services. You create all sorts of content to engage your customers, be it in the form of photos, videos, or posts. Social media marketing aims for your customers to understand your brand better by building a strong and lasting relationship with them.
For your content to be effective, it shouldn’t be a “one post fits all.” It should be something appealing and valuable to your audience, making it worth sharing with others. The right content will then help increase your brand awareness and improve your conversions.
Knowing social media platform demographics is crucial in choosing a social network to engage with your audience. For example, the most active Facebook users worldwide are 25-34-year-old males and 18–24-year-old females as of October 2021. If most of your business’s target audience is on Facebook, it only makes sense to market your products and services there.
Social Media Fast Facts and Figures
Over the last decade, social media has been rapidly growing, and some marketers and businesses may find it challenging to keep up with the latest trends and developments. To get you up to speed on the newest demographics and statistics, we’ve rounded up some of the social media fast facts and figures that you need to know right now.
- 96% of people who talk about a brand on social media don’t follow that brand’s social media profile. (Brandwatch)
This indicates that conversations involving brands are often not properly monitored by them. The number of followers or likes shouldn’t be the only metric for determining visibility or success—benchmarking and exploring beyond your following is necessary.
- More than half of the world’s population (4.55 billion people) are on social media. (DataReportal)
From October 2020 to October 2021, the growth of social media users increased by more than 400 million (+9.9%). There are more than a million new users worldwide every day at this rate. This means that the industry of social media is at continued growth, making way for numerous social media marketing opportunities.
- Seven social media platforms claim to each have over a billion active monthly users. Four of them are owned by Facebook. (DataReportal)
The most popular social networks are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and TikTok. By knowing which platforms have the most users, you can identify which social networks to utilize and reach a large number of your target audience.
- In 2019, 57% of brands had reported that social media “stories” are “somewhat effective” or “very effective” when it comes to marketing products and services. (Buffer)
Social media stories are photos or videos that appear outside of a user’s regular feed. They expire after 24 hours, are recorded vertically, and are uploaded using a mobile device. Since many users use and view stories, you can utilize this feature to also connect with your audience. On Facebook-owned platforms, over one billion accounts use stories worldwide.
- 90% of Instagram users follow a business. (Instagram)
Instagram can be a good platform for your business. It has many brand-friendly features such as the Instagram Shop, where your posts can have product tags and product detail pages. According to a survey done by the app, 2 in 3 users say that Instagram helps them interact with different brands.
Check out What Will a Post-COVID World Look Like for Social Media Marketers? for more of the latest social media insights you shouldn’t miss.
The 5 Core Pillars of Social Media Marketing
In the social media space, competition is tight. Many businesses are also fighting for your audience’s attention, so you need an excellent social media marketing strategy to stay ahead of the game. Here are some of the foundations you need to build to drive public engagement:
- Social Strategy
In creating a social strategy, you need to ask the following questions:
- What are your goals? Do you want to establish more brand awareness? Do you want to reach out to more users similar to your current audience?
- Which platforms will suit your business’s needs best? It’s best to choose a few platforms rather than joining all social networks.
- What type of content do you want to share? Find out what kinds of content your target audience engages with the most. Is it articles, videos, or photos?
- Planning and Publishing
In building your social media presence, you need to be consistent. One way to ensure consistency is to create a content calendar or a pre-planned posting schedule. Line up your posts in advance so that you can prepare accompanying images/videos and spend less time generating ideas on the day of publishing.
If you’re just starting, do some research on the best times and how often you should post on your selected platform so that you can catch your audience when they’re most active.
- Listening and Engagement
As your social media presence and following grow, users will talk more about your brand. They can directly message you, comment on your posts, or tag you. If their opinions sound like negative criticism, you should professionally correct the situation before it escalates. If it’s positive feedback, show your audience some love by letting them know you appreciate their comment.
Not everyone tags your business every time they talk about your brand, so make sure to monitor social media conversations about your business. You can use a social media listening and engagement tool to do this.
- Analytics and Reporting
Analytics and reporting allow you to review how well your post or page performs. Have your posts reached your target number of users? Have your followers increased? How many users liked, shared, or commented on your posts? These insights can help you move forward with your strategy and determine what you’re doing right or wrong.
Regular content planning and publishing are considered free organic content. Apart from the time you spent producing content, you didn’t necessarily pay to reach an audience. Reaching out to an organic audience has its limits because you only communicate with your followers.
With a paid media strategy, you can broaden your reach and attract a more targeted audience. You can target people based on location, demographics, interests, and lookalike audiences.
Learn more about how you can navigate the core pillars of social media marketing: Track Trends and Outpace Competitors with Social Media Listening, and How to Find and Hire Social Media Influencers
The Differences Between B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing
B2B and B2C social media marketing are critically different from one another. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have similarities; it’s just that most of their aspects vary, like their goals, strategies, and content. Below, we’ll explain these differences further.
B2B Social Media Marketing
- Goals/Metrics: For B2B marketers, the purpose of social media marketing for business is to generate leads. Social media content will link to the business’s website, leading to web traffic and potential clients.
- Strategies: The strategy of B2B brands is to position themselves as thought leaders in the industry by posting informational content for their audience. For example, they share tips on improving their audience’s brand.
- Content/Channels: Since B2B marketers want their audience to perceive them as thought leaders, their content is more on the professional side. This includes infographics, white papers/ebooks, webinars, and case studies. The social media platforms that work best in sharing these types of content are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
B2C Social Media Marketing
- Goals/Metrics: B2C businesses focus on driving brand awareness, sales, and community engagement. They aim for virality. If their content has gone viral, it means that there’s an increase in brand awareness.
- Strategies: In B2C social media marketing, brands try to stand out by creating unique content that will capture their customer’s attention. Rather than educating their audience, B2C marketers post to sell their brand.
- Content/Channels: Most B2C companies focus their social content on video as it’s engaging and shareable. Whether it’s Instagram stories, a YouTube vlog, or a TikTok explainer, videos work for B2C marketing—87% of video marketers even say that video content gives them positive ROI.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Whether your business is established or a start-up, you can reap many social media marketing benefits. Here are a few of its advantages:
- Boosts brand awareness and engagement
When you strategically use social media, you constantly remind your target audience about your existence. Your audience will then notice you and engage with your posts, increasing the chances of prospects becoming buyers.
- It’s cost-effective
For most social networks, creating an account and posting content is free. If you want to get into paid advertising, you can invest a small amount and observe how it performs. Compared to other marketing channels, social media doesn’t need a big budget to grow your conversion rates.
- Establishes brand authority
Your brand becomes more credible if your audience sees that you reply to messages/comments and post original content. Interacting with your audience via social media shows that you care, boosting customer satisfaction. When your customers are satisfied, they’ll likely share your brand with others.
- Increases website traffic
Every profile you have on a platform is a gateway to your website. Posting on social media allows you to get your audience to reach your business organically. The more your audience engages with your content, the more inbound traffic you generate.
- Improves your SEO rankings
SEO requirements are always changing. Nowadays, social media presence is an important part of getting a successful ranking. When you consistently share content on social media, you signal search engines that your brand has authority and integrity.
Planning your Social Media Marketing Strategy
It’s not enough to know how to create a social media strategy. You need to be able to understand how to plan for it effectively. Here are some pointers to get started:
- Define your goals and align with your objectives
Identify what you want to get out of your social media marketing efforts. Do you want to drive brand awareness, become an industry thought leader, or create demand for your products? You can create a strategy based on your goals.
- Identify and research your target audience
Don’t make assumptions about your target audience; take the time to do your research. You can use tools to help you identify your target audience. Meet them on their most-used platforms; different social networks attract different audiences.
- Study your competition
Likely, your competitors are already on social media. Use this opportunity to study their profile and strategy. A competitive analysis will allow you to learn about what they’re doing right and where they’re lacking. This will help you create your own targets and stay ahead of them.
- Establish important metrics
Your goals should guide your metrics. For example, if brand awareness is your goal, then content reach is an important metric you should establish. It’s beyond noting your follower count as your metrics should measure if you’re reaching your set objectives.
- Plan the types of content you want to share
There are numerous ideas you can use to post on social media. You may need to plan a schedule and the content type to ensure your feed has the right mix of variety and consistency. Some content ideas include user-generated content, videos, and live streams.
The Latest Social Media Tools
Without the right tools to give you a boost, your social media marketing strategy may fall flat. Drive meaningful engagement and share valuable content with these tools:
- Agora Pulse
Agora Pulse is an analytical tool that can help you manage your social media accounts. It allows you to schedule posts in advance, monitor and respond to social conversations, and customize content for each platform all in one place.
BuzzSumo is a content creation tool where you can do keyword research. Enter a topic, then it’ll give you a breakdown of the trending posts under that subject. With this tool, you can also get a list of influencers connected to your topic, which can be helpful if you want to amp up your campaigns.
- Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a monitoring and sharing tool that enables you to manage multiple social media profiles across different platforms. It also has features like post scheduling, social listening, and detailed analytics, which can help you understand how your audience interacts on social media.
Buffer is a content curation tool with automation features. You can lay down your content calendar and set it to post on your desired schedule, whether it’s every day or every weekend. It even has a follow-up tool that lets you review previous posts and evaluate what changes are most effective and why.
Canva is a graphics tool that helps you create stunning visuals and videos for your campaigns. It has an easy-to-navigate interface with ready-made templates and trendy graphics. If you’re not working with a digital marketing agency or a graphic designer, this tool is extremely helpful in jazzing up your content.
Top Tips for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy is incomplete without a strong social media marketing plan. To help you create a successful strategy, here are some best practices:
- Tailor your messaging
You should consider each platform as a different set of audiences. The LinkedIn demographic isn’t the same as TikTok’s. With this, your message should also vary per social network. This will create more high-quality content that is more relevant to your audience.
- Create a strategy for each platform
It’s smarter to choose a few social networks than be on all of them. When selecting a platform, ask yourself: who will your brand reach and what type of posts will work? Answering these questions will help you develop a strategy for each platform that will generate engagement.
- Stay up-to-date
Social media is one of the best places to identify trends. If you feel like it fits your brand and messaging, don’t be scared to capitalize on it, as this can drive up your engagement. Keep an eye out for up-and-coming strategies and patterns among competitors or other users.
- Produce high-quality, varied content
While your goal on social media is to promote your products or services, not every post should be too promotional as this can turn off your audience. To keep your followers engaged, you should try posting infographics, inspirational photos relevant to your brand, and memes.
- Find your brand voice and tone
Being on social media humanizes your brand. This is the opportunity to show your audience your brand’s personality. Is your business playful or professional? How do you want your audience to perceive you? Do you want to be a thought leader or a relatable friend? Content like your bio, photo captions, and live streams will reflect your brand’s voice and tone.
Learn how to create a winning social media marketing strategy: 8 Social Media Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business, 5 Brands Show Us How To Win Big with Social Media Marketing, and How Hiding ‘Likes’ on Instagram Influenced Social Media Marketing
Revolutionize the Way You Do Marketing
Social media has become a huge part of our lives. Because of this, more and more businesses use it as a channel to meet their customers and market their brands. It isn’t enough for companies to be on social media; you need an effective strategy in place to maximize its benefits.
Navigating social media marketing can be hard work, but you’ll have a higher chance of increasing sales, leads, customers, and brand awareness once you’ve incorporated it into your business. With a strong social media marketing plan, you can stay ahead of competitors and grow your audience in the social media landscape.
If you need social media experts to boost your strategy and guide you throughout this process, you should always consult with a trusted digital marketing agency, like Spiralytics.