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What is Social Media Marketing and How to do it Properly?

What is Social Media Marketing?

It’s pretty safe to say that almost everyone has heard of social media marketing. However, does everyone know what it is, how it’s done and how it can benefit a business?

Well, in our experience, the answer is no, not everyone fully understands it. Social media marketing is an intricately weaved web of activities which are all aimed at one thing: gaining traffic through social media sites or platforms.

Social Media Marketing Definition

There is no exact definition for social media marketing that can be derived from the English dictionary.

However, we like to explain social media marketing (SMM) as a type of online marketing which consists of creating and sharing relevant and compelling content on social media networks.

SMM is far from aimless in nature. It’s specific and entirely goal oriented. And the goal of SMM? To achieve the goals of the business it serves.

Therefore, before any form of strategy can be devised or even discussed, the business’ goals must first be established. Furthermore, your social media marketing strategy should be driven by the particular type of business you have.

And remember folks, SMM is a marathon, not a 100-metre sprint. It requires determination and stamina to win the race.

Social Media Marketing Benefits

There are many incredible benefits of proper social media marketing. Focus keyword here being proper.

Many business owners are drenched in hope when they read about all the things SMM can achieve, but few realise that these are only achievable with the right strategy in place.

The benefits may include:

  • Intelligent Targeting - You can find your exact target audience based on data associated with their profiles as well as what they are talking about or interacting with on social media. This can help you solve your audience’s problems as well as see to their needs.
  • Direct Communications with Customers – Some platforms allow you to import your entire contact list into your account, affording you the opportunity to send them information about new products, promotions or special offers. Social media platforms also allow you to be more accessible.
  • Increase Brand Awareness – There is no limit to who and where you can reach on social media. You have the potential to reach thousands of people all around the world at any given moment.
  • Lower Advertising Costs – Not only is advertising cheaper on social media, it’s also much more effective. Outdated printed flyer advertising is not only expensive, but ineffective as you have no guarantee that your flyer will land in the hands of someone who needs what you are offering.
  • Personal Relationships – Due to the personal nature of social media, you are able to build a relationship with your market. Being present and available to connect on a personal level will foster trust and people who trust your brand, will buy your brand and will tell others to buy it too.
  • Access to Opinion – Online users are more prone to write a review on your business page than ever before. Whether good, or bad, this feedback is extremely valuable in helping you know where your focus should or should not be.
  • Increase in Leads and Sales – Social media can help you generate qualified leads which are the very cornerstones of conversions.

SMM Strategy – How to do it Properly

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, social media marketing must be done properly for it to be genuinely effective and more importantly, sustainable.

And yes, there are many important considerations to be made when designing a SMM strategy. However, we were able to break them down into just a few, very important steps.

Ask Yourself Some Questions

Why do you want to use social media to market your business? What is it that you would like your SMM strategy to achieve for your brand?

An important note to make here is to be reasonable in what it is you wish to achieve. Everyone has heard of SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely. This tool has been around for decades and for good reason, so use it.

You may be wondering why we keep talking about goals and why they’re so important. Well, that’s because your goals will determine everything from your budget to which is the most appropriate social media platform for you.

Examples of the most common online goals that brands strive towards are:

  • Improve and increase brand awareness by being authentic
  • Increase in-person sales by bringing online visitors to your store
  • Reach core audience by listening to specific keywords
  • Increase return on investment through consistent auditing
  • Create a community or fanbase through user-generated content
  • Keep a closer eye on the industry through consistent industry analysis
  • Generate new, quality leads by using effective targeting
  • Improve lead conversion by providing relevant, useful solutions

You might have only one of these as your goal or you might have a few of them. Maybe you even have some that we didn’t mention.

Either way, its fair game and any combination of these goals can help you focus your efforts exactly where they need to be.

An extra word of advice from us: keep your SMM strategy simple to begin with. Adopt a systematic approach and jump one hurdle at a time. Slow and steady wins the race.

Get to know your audience

Never assume anything, especially that you know exactly who your audience is. You’d be silly to make assumptions when there is an abundance of analytics tools at your disposal.

Furthermore, all the information you need to know about your audience is already available.

A simple demographics analysis will help you choose the right social media platform as well as appropriate content to publish.

However, further analysis must be done if you want to really get to know your particular customer demographics on social media. There is so much more to analytics than age groups and gender.

Another way to know your audience is to build marketing personas. To do so, ask the following questions:

  • Who are they? Job title, salary bracket, location, gender, age?
  • What are their interests and can you provide for them? Educational content, product information, entertainment, business news?
  • Where do they hang out online? Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter?
  • When are they actively searching? After hours, during lunch, weekends?
  • How do they consume? Read articles, social media posts, videos?
  • Why do they consume? Improving skills, health reasons, to stay up to date?

Marketing personas give you a very clear idea of who you want your audience to be. Once you know who they are, they will be much easier to find.
Establish your metrics and measures

Your marketing efforts should always be data-driven. Don’t get distracted with how many likes or shares your posts are getting. You could have a million likes while none of them will amount to anything more.

There are metrics and measures that matter and these are what you should be paying attention to:

  • Clicks – The number of clicks on your company name, logo or content. This will help you understand how prospects move through the sales and marketing funnel.
  • Reach – The number of unique users who have simply seen your post (not engaged with it). This will help you see how far your content is spreading.
  • Hashtag performance – Which hashtags were associated most with your particular brand, or which hashtag prompted the most engagement?
  • Engagement – This is about seeing what percentage of audience reached has actively engaged with your content.
  • Response – How did your audience respond to your content? Did they find it useful and compelling or offensive and bias? It’s important to know how your audience feels about you.

An extra word of advice from us: numbers are important when it comes to measuring your campaigns. However, context is also important so always keep it in mind. Don’t lose sight of your original goals.

Peek at your competitors

Don’t just start creating content. You may have an idea that you think is worth discussing, or hasn’t already been discussed. Once again, don’t assume. The last thing you want to be doing is publishing content about a topic that has been discussed and laid to rest months ago.

To avoid this, take a look at what your industry competitors are up to. Remember though, you’re not looking at them so you can copy them. You’re looking at them so you can see what is working and what isn’t.

You can use this information to adapt your own campaigns accordingly. In short, you look at your competitors so that you can be better than them.

A word of advice from us: same industry does not mean same strategy. In fact, you want to adopt a strategy that is wildly unique. This is your chance to set yourself apart.

Once you know who are competitors are and what they’re doing – you can now create your content.

Curate and create content

Yes, we are going to say it – content is king. Your strategy should ultimately be centred around your content and your content is based on your brand identity and overall goals.

This can be a challenging task thanks to the delicate balance between personality and promotion. There is a really fine line here in terms of retaining your followers.

The ratio between users who are likely to unfollow a brand that is too promotional and users that will unfollow brands who post content which is irrelevant to their brand is pretty even.

Identify trends, gather data on the trends and then use the aggregated information to create relevant content for your audience.

An extra word of advice from us: mix it up, keep it fresh, keep it relevant, give credit where it’s due and then listen carefully to your audience’s response.

Be on time, all the time

Be present, be available and engage. Make sure that you do not neglect your opportunity to engage. Prospects appreciate a speedy response.

No, we don’t mean that you should take seconds or minutes to respond to every query. However, you should make yourself available at least on a daily basis.

In addition, make sure that you are publishing your content at a time that you will be available to interact with engaging customers.

Although it’s important to publish content during peak online traffic hours, it’s just as important to engage after posting. This is especially true for scheduled posts.

Assess and then adapt

As we mentioned earlier, this is an on-going marathon which means it requires on-going efforts. Your SMM strategy should be assessed on a regular basis to establish what is no longer working as well as what is.

It sounds like a lot of effort but by keeping a close eye on metrics, you can make small adjustments to your strategy to consistently stay on top of your game.

The online world, including that of SMM is ever growing, changing and evolving and nothing can be more important than staying up to speed with it all.

ITM Website Design - Social Media Marketing Cape Town

So before you hand your Company's Social Network pages to your wife's unemployed cousin (Who spends lank time on Instagram, my bra), get the right people for the job.

Our team of online experts are here to take the sweat out of social media marketing. We offer a comprehensive list of services related to digital marketing, SEO, social media and web design.

To find out more about the importance of a well designed social media marketing strategy, please feel free to contact us.

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