Almost a decade ago, who knew that communicating with people anywhere across the world would become so fast. Today we can connect within a fraction of seconds with everyone and share pictures, videos, or documents over the internet so easily and quickly!
Sharing our live updates, stories, experiences, or moments through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are amongst the latest trends. In fact, social media has become such an essential part of our everyday lives that everyone alike is hooked onto the social media apps on their mobile handsets. Further, an interesting revelation from a survey done by ‘the Manifest’ report says that the average person will spend nearly five years, four months of his or her life on social media.
Time Spent on Social Media = 5 Years, 4 Months in a Lifetime
85% of people use social media at least once daily out of which 70% use it multiple times every day and these numbers are bound to grow, as most people are becoming increasingly dependent on their social networks to reach out to their friends, relatives, or colleagues for things like medical advice and travel recommendations. With so many people on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., these channels have become revenue-generating customer-bases for businesses across the globe through something called ‘Social Media Marketing.’
Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media websites to market a company’s products and services and generate organic (free) traffic to their sites. This helps in optimizing the website’s position on search engines, i.e. it will be seen in the first few results on the first page. Many businesses also promote their products or services directly on social media platforms. It provides the businesses with an effective way to reach new prospects, engage with their existing customers, and promote their brand or mission.
Engaging marketing on social media can bring phenomenal success to businesses by creating brand visibility and even driving leads and sales. In fact, SMM has become an integral part of the digital marketing strategy of most small and big businesses as well as professionals and freelancers.
How does it work?
Well SMM professionals use social media ad campaigns and various other strategies to develop messages and interesting content and have their audience glued with it.
The posts shared with the online social community holds up certain benefits like:
- The content reaches a wider audience sitting online that may not have been possible to access otherwise.
- The posts shared hold an implicit recommendation when sent by someone whom the recipients know and trust.
- The cost of the SMM is very low when compared to traditional marketing approaches like advertising.
- Unlike traditional advertising where the reach and effectiveness can’t be measured, social media platforms provide accurate insights into engagement metrics (like the number of people reached, number of clicks, the number of views, and resulting actions).
- Attractive content gets a user’s attention and increases the possibility they will conduct a desired action, such as purchase a product or service or else share the content with others on social media platforms which in turn, helps in search engine optimization (SEO).
- Some social media ad campaigns encourage customers to share their feedback, such as product reviews or comments, which is an excellent way to engage directly with the audience to give a personal touch through your services.
Social media platforms have in-built data analytics tools like algorithms that allow marketers to track how successful their efforts have been. Also, the impact of SMM efforts on the traffic data on a website can be monitored using Google analytics.
Some of the metrics used to measure the success of an SMM campaign include the number of likes on a post, the number of shares and reach (can be monitored using tools like BuzzSumo), the number of click-through rates and views and finally, the sales funnel created through the leads generated.
Types of SMM promotions:
There are primarily two ways of doing SMM promotions – Active and Passive.
Active SMM Promotion:
Active promotion means adding direct links such as your social media account buttons to the content on your website. You can add these social media buttons to your blogs or content on the website with simple code that allows users to share your content across the web with just a couple of clicks. Social networks that can be used for SMM campaigns are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Linkedin, Quora, Pinterest. Along with these mentioned social media platforms, companies also have the option of launching paid ad campaigns to reach wider target audiences, thus improving traffic on a website.
Passive SMM Promotion:
Passive SMM promotion refers to promoting activities on social media platforms by updating statuses, publishing images, videos, tweets, or posting blogs. Passive promotion is run by creating content that works well on the individual platform differently. Like on one, blog content may work better whereas, on another, a video may do better, and on another maybe pictures dominate. Hence every platform requires a different strategy but, in the end, whatever content is posted, must be informative and engaging so that the audience shares it more and more with their online communities. This kind of promotion also seeks customer’s direct feedback in real-time, which can be further analyzed to enhance their brand experience.
Preparing an SMM campaign for your business:
It is very important to develop SMM guidelines for your organization before you set up your business online. You need to establish clear objectives for your social media marketing efforts. Once the business is set you cannot just experiment with any strategy. There has to be a roadmap for your social media marketing efforts to help you plan resources, conduct research, coordinate marketing programs, and deploy new tactics. You need to define your metrics for success upfront before you execute your roadmap.
While setting your social media marketing goals, here are some questions to keep in mind:
- What are you expecting to achieve through SMM?
- Who is your target audience?
- What message do you want to pass on to your target audience?
- Which social media platforms would your target audience use?
Your SMM strategy should be driven by your business type. Other than the above-mentioned questions, there are certain points you need to focus upon in order to have a fruitful SMM:
- Create engaging content because until your content is appealing, it will not fetch you any result. Engage your audience in the comment section by asking them questions in your posts or videos to give you feedback.
- Make sure to share your social media posts multiple times because people need to be reminded continuously about your brand for their preoccupied mind to register it. Make sure to post regularly.
- Create a well-rounded brand image. Your business brand identity, whether it’s a value system or fun or trustworthiness, should remain consistent irrespective of which social media platform you use as each platform has its own unique style and voice.
- Do a regular competitive analysis to observe the trends. One can get valuable data for keyword research and other marketing insights by keeping an eye on competitors’ social media posts. Consider using the same technique or social media platform, which seems to be working for your competitors, and try to do it better than them.
- Make sure your presence is felt on social networks. Make sure you participate well on the social web by creating conversations and not just uploading photos on social media. Be known to the social community.
Good Luck with your Social Media Marketing! Start today!