The world is changing fast, and organizations that want to survive in the long run must follow trends. Social media platforms started as a place to hang out with friends and family. But they have quickly morphed into highly-effective marketing tools. This beginner guide to social media marketing will teach you what you need to know about social media platforms, and how you can leverage them to grow your business.
Funnily, people think that social media marketing is all about posting random content on Facebook and Twitter. Well, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Social media marketing requires consistent effort. Although the results may take a while, it will be worth your time in the long run.
So, if you want to expose your brand to more people, engage your audience, and increase sales, social media marketing can make it happen.
But it requires hard work, patience, and an understanding of the dynamics of the social media platforms.
Lucky for you, this beginner guide to social media marketing demystifies the social media platforms, giving you a perfect understanding of these platforms and how best to use them.
Before you can attract the right audience on any platform, you need to understand how it works.
For instance, Facebook currently has 1.93 billion daily active users. That means over 24% of the world’s population uses Facebook every day.
I hope you now understand that not leveraging social media marketing to grow your brand is a bad idea.
The statistics speak for themselves. And social media marketing is one of the modern trends in marketing.
What is Social Media Marketing?
If you are a beginner in this whole social media stuff, you may want to know what social media marketing is all about.
Don’t worry, you will learn all of that in this beginner guide to social media marketing. But let’s start with the meaning of social media marketing.
Social media marketing is the marketing strategy of leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to sell and promote your brand, product, or services.
In social media marketing, it’s important to tailor every piece of content you create for a specific platform. It will help you boost your conversions and increase your brand awareness.
In a nutshell, social media marketing is all about devising a strategy that will help you meet your target audience and customers as they interact with each other socially.
There’s no universal strategy for social media marketing. The plan you deploy depends on the social media platform you are targeting and what you want to achieve.
For instance, if you want to create more awareness for your brand or advertise your products or services, Facebook is the perfect platform for that.
Similarly, if you want to create a good public image for your company and have an exceptional customer service presence online, Twitter is the best platform for it.
And if you want to explore B2B relationships, business development, and employment marketing, LinkedIn is a great platform to use.
You see, every social media platform has its absolute advantage. It’s left for you to know which of the platforms is perfect for your marketing goals.
What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?
In my opinion, social media is at the heart of marketing activities in the 21st century. That is why social media marketing is now a constant in most marketing equations.
If you look at the business world holistically, you will realize that all the companies worldwide are into one business – which is to gain more customers.
And it’s easiest to attract these customers if you know the right social platforms to use. Hence, the need for social media marketing.
So, here are some of the benefits of social media marketing;
#1. Increase Brand Awareness
Currently, there are 4.48 billion people actively using social media platforms globally. So, if just 0.2% of this audience sees the content about your products or services you shared on social media, it will give your brand great exposure.
If you implement the strategies shared in this beginner guide to social media marketing, your brand’s engagement should increase across social media platforms. And this can boost your brand awareness and increase sales.
Engagement is a general term that describes your audience’s likes, comments, shares, and reposts for your content on social networks.
#2. Generate Leads and Boost Conversions
How many times have you bought something on impulse just because you saw the advertisement on social media? Countless times, right?
You tend to get more leads, boost conversions, and increase sales when you promote and share your products on social media platforms.
By creating contests, including your website links and offers in your bio section, hosting live videos about exciting news in the industry, implementing a social media campaign, etc., you can generate more leads, boost conversion, and increase sales.
#3. Build Relationships with Customers
It’s easy to build better relationships with your audience when you connect and engage them on social media.
It could be through interaction on your posts, responding to their questions, or providing useful tips.
Once in a while, ask your customers questions about your products, what problems they want you to help them solve, and create giveaways.
Little gestures like these can foster trust and give your customers the impression that you value their input and support.
#4. Helps You Keep Tabs on Your Competitors
Social media helps you to understand what your competitors are doing. It gives you an idea of the strategies they are using, how they promote their products, what exactly they are promoting, and how they interact with their audience.
Social media gives you an idea of what is working for your competitors and how you can easily replicate such a strategy to boost your sales.
But don’t just copy your competitors. Analyze what is not working for them, approach it from a different perspective, and come up with something different.
With this approach, your brand will seem unique on social media.
Frequently Used Social Media Terms You Need to Know Before Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Social media platforms thrive on content. There’s nobody who will spend time on any social media platform if there’s no content.
So, anything you post on social media is referred to as content. it could be video, text, image, etc.
Context is an important concept in social media marketing. Unfortunately, people don’t take it seriously.
Content and context are two sides of a coin. While content has to do with anything useful and interesting you post on social media to engage your audience, context has to do with how, when, and why you deliver the content in the first place.
It’s about putting your creative content in a format that’s relevant and appealing to your audience.
Hashtags are not new to you. It’s one of the frequently used features on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash sign (#) to identify content on a particular topic. They make it easy for your audiences to discover your content.
Shares are important features in every social media platform. They help your content go viral and give more exposure to your brand. It’s the best form of engagement on social media.
You can use tools like Buzzsumo to measure your content shares and performance on social media.
Engagement is the general term used to describe how people interact with your content on social media. It includes your audience’s likes, reactions, shares, and comments.
Followers are the number of people following your feed and always seeing your content in their feeds.
Mentions refer to how often your audience mentions you or your brand in their posts.
In its simplest term, reach refers to the number of people who have seen your social media posts over time.
Beginner Guide to Social Media Marketing – 5 Things that Will Help Your Brand Succeed on Social Media
Social media marketing is very competitive. And that is simply because more companies now realize that social media is an effective strategy to grow their brands.
Don’t worry, these 5 tips will help your brand excel on social media;
#1. Have a Great Social Media Strategy
If you want your social media marketing efforts to yield great results, you need a good strategy.
You are less likely to achieve your goals if you don’t have a social media marketing strategy. A good strategy will help you create the right content, to the right audience, on the right platform, at the right time.
When you have a strategy for your social media activities, it is easier for you to create valuable content, drive engagement, and increase conversions.
With a strategy, you will have a goal, plans to achieve them, and how often you will measure them.
#2. Plan Every Piece of Content You Post
Social media marketing is changing rapidly. Unlike in the past, you don’t just post some random content and expect it to go viral. That is not how it works these days.
You need to plan every piece of content you post, understand how often you should post, and know the best time of day to post, etc.
However, when planning your social media content, it’s important to understand your audience, focus more on quality content, and consider your brand values.
But above all, consistency is the golden rule to succeed in social media marketing. When you post valuable content regularly, people will naturally come back for more.
#3. Listening and Engagement
Don’t just create content on social media, try to listen to your audience’s feedback. Of course, the feedback may not always be positive.
But taking note of their comments and criticisms will go a long way to help you establish your presence across social media platforms.
The more you create content your audience love, the more engagement you get. it will create more awareness for your brand and give your audience the impression that you are a thought leader.
Again, paying attention to feedback on social media will help you to discover new trends in your niche, gain industry-specific insights, and find more influencers in your niche.
If you are using any of the social media platforms for your marketing campaign, you need to monitor the analytics closely. Analytics help you track your campaign performance and relevant information that will help you retarget your audience.
Without information from analytics, it’s impossible to understand your audience behavior, analyze your competitors, discover the best time to post, and the platform that’s perfect for your brand.
Analytics will help you to understand what works and what doesn’t work. It’s like a compass that guides you throughout your campaign period on any social media platform.
If you can’t grow your social media audience organically, you can leverage advertising.
You can advertise to create brand awareness (by creating content to educate people), engage with your audience, grow your following, and get leads.
You can grow your brand recognition, build loyalty, and increase conversion rates through advertising.
In a nutshell, social media marketing is both a science and an art. And that is because it relies on your creativity and establishes a procedure that you must follow.
But generally, ensure that your social media posts are niche-specific. And as you grow your following on social media platforms, try to build mutually beneficial relationships with influencers, brands, and customers.
Some of the Most Popular Social Media Platforms
In this section, the beginner guide to social media marketing explains the different social media platforms and the best way to position your brand on these platforms.
With about 1.93 billion daily active users globally, Facebook remains the biggest social media platform.
The typical audience you will find on Facebook are Generation X and Millennials. And the platform works better for companies in the B2C industry.
You can use Facebook to create more awareness for your brand or boost your sales through advertising.
Marketers enjoy spending time on Facebook because it offers them comprehensive data and narrower targeting options.
Instagram is among the most popular social media platforms. It has 500 million daily active users (DAU).
The users are primarily millennials. And the platform works better for companies in the B2C industry.
Countless people are always on the platform to share their photos, videos, and stories. And the engagement level on the social network is always very high.
Before you start creating content on Instagram, study what your competitors are doing. Know the type of content they are posting, how often they publish, and the engagement level of their posts.
Once you understand what your competitors are doing, try something entirely different. Think of more creative ways to create content that will keep your audience coming back to your channel.
Like I mentioned earlier, building an audience on social media platforms is not an easy task.
But if you are consistent, it will establish your presence on social media platforms in no time. Here are tips to help you grow your audience on Instagram;
Tips to Help You Grow Your Audience on Instagram
- Define your Instagram goal. The goal could be to increase brand awareness, build a community, showcase company culture and values, or sell your products or services. Once you identify your goals, you can work towards them accordingly.
- Optimize your profile. If you are creating an Instagram account for your brand, opt for a business account. Business accounts have additional features that allow you to expand your profile and track your content performance on the platform.
- Come up with a unique visual aesthetic. Remember that Instagram is more about visuals. Try to upload a unique aesthetic on your business page, and be consistent about these designs.
- Post content consistently.
- Learn to use hashtags creatively. They can help you to reach new audiences.
- Try to engage with your community regularly.
- Try different content types and stick with the ones that are more engaging to your audience.
I know that seeing YouTube in this beginner guide to social media marketing as one of the social media platforms is confusing.
But YouTube is a social media platform. The platform has 122 million daily active users globally. And 1 billion hours of content is watched on the platform across the world every day.
Most people using YouTube platforms are Generation Z and Millennials. And it’s an effective marketing strategy for companies in the B2C industries.
You can use YouTube to get more exposure for your brand, entertain your audience, and create valuable informational content for your audience.
Linkedin is a social media platform that has been around for about two decades. The platform has over 744 million members.
LinkedIn is the best platform for businesses in the B2B industries. It’s 100% professional. And if you want to establish your brand’s presence on the network, you must be very professional.
The people on Linkedin are looking to grow their professional network, seal more business deals, or get a new job.
And if you create content that helps people expand their networks, get more business, or get a new job, you will become a thought leader on the platform in no time.
Like Facebook, you can also use LinkedIn to run advertisements for your business, especially for B2B clients.
You can generate more leads through LinkedIn advertising. Look at it from this angle, everybody on LinkedIn is there to talk business.
So, they won’t mind interacting with your ad if it resonates with them. With the right strategy, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for B2B companies to engage their audience.
As a B2B or professional social platform, LinkedIn has the following benefits;
- LinkedIn helps job seekers gain exposure to hiring managers and recruiters.
- It allows you to demonstrate your knowledge, credibility, and leadership expertise.
- You can also use LinkedIn as a research tool.
- The platform can help you gain social proof for your skills and talent.
- You can identify companies who are your potential clients and start following them and their activities.
LinkedIn has endless benefits. You just have to understand how best to position yourself on the platform.
Twitter is also one of the most popular social media platforms where you can reach your audience. The platform currently has 206 million daily active users worldwide.
In this beginner guide to social media, you will learn how to grow your business with Twitter.
Twitter is like a universal social media platform where B2B and B2C companies can easily connect with prospects.
However, the majority of active users on Twitter are millennials. It’s a perfect social media platform brands can use for public relations and customer service.
Twitter as a social platform thrives on trends and conversations. If you understand the workings, you can tell which TV shows your audience is watching, the social media challenges they are trying, etc.
Here are some of the benefits of using Twitter as a social media platform;
- Twitter helps you to gain valuable customer insights. On average, Twitter gets 6000 Tweets every second. You can get valuable customer insights from these endless conversations on the platform.
- Twitter helps you to build your brand personality and awareness. It’s easier to grow your brand awareness on Twitter than on most other social platforms. And if you are strategic with your tweets and how you engage your audience, your content will always go viral on the social network.
- Twitter is an excellent platform for you to deliver customers and get reliable feedback. Twitter is a blend of marketing, customer care, and market research tools that you can use to get valuable insights about your business.
- The platform is a veritable tool for cultivating a brand community.
In a nutshell, if you understand how Twitter works, it can add value to your marketing mix.
Snapchat is an exceptional social media platform that’s perfect for B2C marketing. It’s great for brand awareness and advertising. There are currently 306 million active daily users on the network.
Snapchat enables marketers to connect with their audience in real-time. It’s very effective for localized campaigns and telling interactive stories.
With 75% of Snapchat users below the age of 34. So, if your advertising intent is to reach a millennial audience, Snapchat is a novel marketing tool to explore.
So, here are a few tips to help you promote your brand on Snapchat;
- If you want to promote a local event or store, you can use Snapchat Geofilters. It’s a highly interactive feature for connecting with a hyper-local audience.
- You can also use Snapchat to build awareness for nonprofit organizations. Snapchat has unique features that can help nonprofit organizations connect with their donors and build awareness.
- Snapchat ads can help you reach out to people who may be interested in your brand.
Reddit is also one of the platforms we discuss in this beginner guide to social media marketing.
As of January 2021, the platform had 1.8 billion users. Well, the platform has been living up to its slogan – “front page of the internet.”
If you understand how Reddit works, it could be a great platform to promote your brand. But users of the platform frown seriously at linkbait.
Your profile may be suspended from the platform if you spam any of the subreddits with promotional links.
However, if Redditors find your content valuable, your website may get a Reddit traffic storm. If your host bandwidth is not enough, a traffic storm from Reddit can crash your website.
Reddit algorithms will always push your content to the top if it has upvotes. Upvote is Redditors’ way of saying they find your content valuable.
The more upvotes your content gets, the more exposure it will get. But it’s a bit difficult to push your content on Reddit.
It’s not like other platforms where you can randomly post links whenever you publish content on your website.
You have to consistently provide value to people on the platforms and build your karma. Once your karma score is high, you can start referring people to your content.
It’s advisable to understand the audience on Reddit before you start promoting your brand. Sometimes, the wrong message can make your advert on Reddit counterproductive.
TikTok is one of the emerging social media platforms. It’s a video-sharing app that was launched in 2016. The app currently has 14.43 million daily active users.
The platform has several interactive features – filters, music, editing, etc. These features enable users to be creative on the app.
TikTok is still a novel marketing tool as businesses aren’t considering it yet. So, advertising on the platform is still relatively affordable.
If you want to leverage TikTok to create awareness for your brand, you can either create videos yourself or work with established influencers on the platform.
The average influencers on TikTok have about a 17.99 percent engagement rate. So, it’s easier to grow your brand on TikTok through influencer marketing.
You can find influencers that post content relating to your niche and start working with them.
Pinterest is also one of the platforms we listed in this beginner guide to social media marketing.
The social media platform has 444 million monthly active users worldwide. The people who are active on Pinterest are primarily older millennials and younger baby boomers.
Pinterest is an excellent platform for B2C companies to carry out visual advertising. If you have been using Pinterest, you will agree that the platform is a blend of a social network, visual search engine, and productivity tool.
The platform allows businesses to market themselves. It exposes your brand to a new audience by suggesting your pins to pinners who need inspiration for their next purchase.
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
A lot has changed in the social media space recently. These platforms are becoming very challenging. It’s easier to establish your presence and reach out to more people on social media when you have a strategy.
So, in this section of this beginner guide to social media marketing, you will learn the best strategy to create awareness for your brand on social networks.
When you implement these strategies the right way, you can easily grow your following on social networks and establish yourself as an authority or influencer in your niche.
Here is a step by step tip to create a social media marketing strategy;
#1. Know Your Buyer Personas and Audience
The first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is to understand your buyer personas and audience.
Your buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal audience. It gives a clear picture of who you are trying to reach on social media.
Once you understand your audience, it’s easier to tailor your content to speak to their challenges and pain points.
There’s no way you can create a result-yielding strategy for your social media marketing if you don’t have a defined buyer persona.
The more you know about your audience, the more personalized service, relevant content, and helpful sales information you can provide.
Here are a few tips to help you:
- Research your buyer personas. The best way to know your buyer personas is to research them. You may be tempted to feel that you know them already; try resisting that temptation. Start by studying your existing clients, their interests, challenges, and demography.
- Segment your buyer personas. Once you know your audience, try segmenting them based on their psychographic and demographic profiles.
- Create a unique name and story for your buyer persona. When writing the story, make it relatable and write exactly the way you speak.
- Use your buyer personas to craft tailored digital marketing and sales strategies.
#2. Determine The Social Media Platforms to Market On
Once you research and understand your audience, the next step is to determine the social network they are more active on.
You need to pay attention to this area. Most marketers often get it wrong. They market their products or services on the wrong platforms. And their marketing efforts may end up not yielding the expected results.
So, the social platforms you are establishing your brand on depends on your audience’s needs and where they spend most of their time.
For instance, if you want to sell a fitness product to millennials, Instagram will be the perfect social media platform to find your audience. Most of the active Instagram users are millennials.
Similarly, if you are a B2B company rendering services to business owners and top executives, LinkedIn is the best platform to find your audience.
Most people on LinkedIn are there to network, find business opportunities, or get a job. It’s the perfect professional social circle to find B2B clients.
#3. Make Your Content Engaging and Relatable
Even if you understand your prospects and know the social media platform to market on; you still need to create engaging and relatable posts. Otherwise, you can’t get your audience’s attention.
Remember, several of your competitors are also on social media, creating content to engage their audience.
So, it’s crucial to be creative with your social media content. Make your posts as creative as possible, give your audience reasons to engage and follow your brand.
You can check your competitors’ content, see what they are doing, and try to come up with something unique but amazing.
Once in a while, give promotional offers to your audience. You can do giveaways, and post about what’s happening in your company and the entire niche.
Interestingly, you can use your current customers and influencers to generate content. You can tell your influencers or customers to tag you in their posts.
It could be images, videos, or text. That way, you will get more content to entertain and engage your audience.
#4. Adhere to a Posting Schedule
Consistency is one of the easiest ways to build trust with your audience online. It’s wrong to post content randomly on your social media page. It doesn’t give a good impression of your brand to your potential clients.
So, ensure that you have a fixed time when you post your content online. If you are consistent with this schedule, your audience will know when to expect new content from your brand.
But if social media marketing is too complex for you, our social media marketing team can help you grow your business. We do this through increased website traffic, brand awareness, and high converting ads that lead to sales.