Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Guide

By Danni White - Last Updated on August 4, 2020
Why is Social Media Marketing Important

Social media is everywhere and has literally changed the way that we live our lives. It’s powerful, ever-changing and it’s here to stay. The network of social media isn’t going to stop growing. In the year 2004, social media grew exponentially and since then, it has not stopped growing.

You simply cannot deny that social media is now an authentic and biggest source of news and information. Apart from making the global community closer, it has introduced many ways to interact with potential customers beyond local boundaries. All social media platforms offer great opportunities to share brand-generated content in the form of ads, videos, and photos.

According to Emarsys 2019(1), almost 3.2 billion(2) people use social media. That’s like 42% of the world’s population.

Among all the popular social media platforms, Facebook(3) is the biggest market leader. According to Pew Internet, 2018(4), two-thirds of adults in the United States are active Facebook users.

An average person spends about 2 hours and 22 minutes(5) on social media platforms and in messaging.

On top of all statistics, 73% of marketers(6) have claimed that social media has been very effective or useful for their businesses. This explains how marketers have used strong social media marketing strategies to gain potential customers all across the globe. Social media marketers are trying out various strategies, such as influencer marketing strategies and story ads to interact as much as they can with their audience.

If you are here to understand how SMM has changed the whole perspective of online marketing, keep moving forward to understand this term, its importance, its benefits and how it influences internet users.

What is Social Media Marketing(SMM)?

SMM, short for social media marketing is an advanced form of online marketing that involves the use of social media platforms to build a brand’s reputation, gain an audience, increase sales, drive traffic to the website and expand the business beyond the local community. The best social platforms for marketing such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used to publish great customer-attracting content.

SMM also involved listening to your customers, engaging with them, analyzing your brand’s performance online and running social media advertisements to gain a wide base of audience.

Why Social Media Marketing Is Important?

The social media wave isn’t stopping any sooner. SMM is evolving with such amazing growth that every business needs to understand its importance and leverage each social media platform in the best way possible.

Let’s analyze the importance of social media marketing through its effect on today’s businesses:

  • Social Advertising

    Social media advertising might be too new as it was first launched in 2007 but its quickly growing. An example of social media advertising is Facebook ads. As compared to traditional advertising methods, digital advertising is not only cheap but also dependable.

    Traditional advertising does not allow you to reach a particular audience, but social media ads allow you to reach targeted prospects so that you can get a higher return on investment and increase your conversion at a higher pace.

    Social media advertising tools allow you to keep track of your ad campaigns. Offline advertising is like a blind shotgun. You do not know how many people you’ve reached but in the case of online advertising, you can analyze your performance in real-time and also change the ads in a fly to see the result instantaneously.

  • Brand Awareness

    Social media is a powerful marketing tool when it comes to growing your brand’s reputation and name. Good social media marketing techniques have a direct impact on your business’s growth. You can find an audience through social media conversations, posts, reviews and target prospects more easily. For instance, if you have a B2B company, you would find your audience on LinkedIn rather than on Facebook.

    Moreover, you can also use visuals in content such as videos and images to attract an audience. This would not only boost engagement but would also increase social shares.

  • Engaging Conversations

    Social media is all about conversations. You can engage with your audience for one-way as well as two-way communication. Talk, listen and ask for reviews and feedbacks.

  • In-Bound Traffic

    Inbound marketing is a form of SMM that generates relevant traffic to your website. If you ignore the importance of social media marketing, you would only be limited to a small circle that is already familiar with your brand and name. It is important to create inbound links.

Social Media Marketing Goals

The SMM goal is basically a broad outcome and there are usually no measurements in goals. It only gives you an idea to foster. In the case of social media marketing, it might be to engage with the customers or to expand a business online.

Here are some social media marketing goals that most of the social media marketers stick to:

  • Increase Brand Awareness

    Social media platforms are the best places to grab customers’ attention. To increase brand awareness is the most common reason why media marketers use social media platforms. Marketers want to have a quantitative understanding of their company and its presence in the online world. Sharing content, visuals, and advertisements on social media platforms help you to report your brand’s presence more accurately.

  • Drive Traffic to Your Website

    3 in 5 marketers use social media platforms to drive traffic to their websites by publishing quality content. More traffic means more potential customers in the future.

  • Generate New Leads

    Companies that have long sales processes use SMM tactics to generate new leads. Their main goal is to warm up potential customers through information and eventually making up their minds to buy the product.

  • Grow Revenue

    By increasing sales through sign-up pages, marketers are growing revenue day by day. The main goal of this SMM strategy is to turn visitors into paying customers.

  • Boost Brand Engagement

    The utmost goal of SMM is to boost brand engagement. The best way, in marketers’ eyes to engage with the customers is to publish engaging content so that they can be interested.

How Effective Is Social Media Marketing?

Here are some ways how social media marketing is effective not only for large-scale businesses but small businesses as well:

  • Posts published as a part of SMM strategy drives targeted traffic.
  • Using social media marketing tactics boost your business website’s SEO.
  • SMM tactics such as sharing blog posts can increase your online reach dramatically.
  • SMM lets you communicate with your audience so that you can understand them in the best way possible.
  • Active SMM campaigns build strong relationships with your customers.
  • It allows ads that target and re-target prospects.
  • It helps you to get noticed at big events and also provide you with media coverage.
  • SMM is effective enough to improve a brand’s customer service.
  • It builds the brand’s reputation and loyalty.
  • It can make your new PR strategy successful.

How to Do Social Media Marketing?

Social media management might be challenging for some brands but it’s not too difficult to start with. Let’s see a proper way to do social media marketing under the light of 5 core pillars of it:

  • Strategy

    Before diving in the task of publishing quality content, step back and build a strategy for social media marketing. Try to think of your goals. Are you using social media to increase brand awareness or to engage with your customers?

    After that, think of all the social media platforms that you want to target. You might want to consider Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

    After that, think about the content that you are going to share. Is it going to be entertaining or educational? Would you share links or visual content such as images and videos? You can make your content engaging by posting both types of content.

  • Planning and Publishing

    Social media marketing is very beneficial for small businesses because there are high chances to reach a wide base of audience. Almost 3 billion people use social media. This gives a straight opportunity to your brand to be discovered by future customers.

    Publishing content on Facebook or Instagram is relatively easy but what’s difficult is planning what to post and what not to post ahead of head. The goal is to maximize your reach, not to post after every minute. Instead of uploading content spontaneously, post at the right time and frequency to increase your customer reach.

  • Listening and Engagement

    After establishing a good name in the online community, people would definitely talk about your brand, tag you in posts and message you directly. So, the next thing you should do is listen and engage with your customers. Build one-way and two-way communication with them and offer as much support as you can.

    You can also use social media marketing and engagement tools to assist and engage with your customers in a timely manner.

  • Analytics

    Along the way, you would also want to analyze your performance in real-time. You would need to know the number of followers count, the number of shares and total hashtags made by your followers.

    To get in-depth information about your performance, you need to get your hands-on social media analytic tool.

  • Advertising

    If you have a budget to grow your social media marketing strategy, consider social media advertising. Social media ads allow you to reach an even wider base of audience, even those that aren’t currently following you.

    Based on interests, followings, and demographics, you can display your ads to targeted prospects. Social media ads are useful whenever you want to optimize your campaign, make bulk changes and automate processes.

Best Social Media Platforms for Marketing?

There are many social media platforms for marketing, some of them being:

  • Facebook

    By creating a Facebook business page, you can engage with your customers in a friendly way. However, you might require an active SMM strategy. At the same time, pay close attention to the Facebook layout and algorithm as it makes a big impact on organic Facebook reach.

  • Google +

    Google plus serves a very niche audience. It isn’t for every brand, but some communities of particular industries are very active on Google plus. On Google Plus, you can upload and share as many videos, pictures, images and links as you like. Moreover, you can also segment your audience into smaller groups through Google plus circles for sharing information conveniently.

  • Twitter

    Twitter is the only social media network to broadcast your brand’s updates all across the globe. On Twitter, you could get a steady stream of active followers and also post special tweets about special discounts, announcements, and news.

  • LinkedIn

    If you are a B2B company, no social media platform is better than LinkedIn. It is a great venue for business companies to enter a dialog with other companies. Moreover, it’s also great for employment announcements.

Social Media Marketing Tips

Here are some effective SMM tips that you should consider the following:

Step back and identify your goals first. Use the ‘SMART’ goal-setting strategy for a successful social media marketing campaign.

  • Identify your audience.
  • Select the best social media platforms.
  • Employ a qualified social media manager or marketer.
  • Deliver and publish content consistently but not spontaneously.
  • Seek influencer reviews as much as possible.
  • Expand your audience base.
  • Engage and communicate with your audience.
  • Measure your performance.

How to Create A Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to creating an effective SMM strategy:

  • Set Goals Relevant to Your Business

    You need to set some social media goals before starting your campaign. Do you want to amp up your reach or drive traffic to your traffic? Do you want to increase sales or engagement with your customers? Tackle smaller objectives first so that the campaign could be effortless.

  • Research Your Target Audience

    With the help of social media analytics tools, research about your audience. You need to know the type of content that would attract more and more people. Take help from demographics, interests, followings and shared posts to target prospects.

  • Establish Your Most Important Metrics

    Make your social media strategy data-driven. Focus on social media metrics and dig into the data that is important for your business.

  • Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

    You can use third-party competitor analytics tools to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Determine their strategy and tricks that are working for them.

What Is Common Issue with Social Media Marketing Plans?

Here are some common issues that companies come up within their SMM plans:

  • Not knowing what to deliver in content.
  • Huge declines in organic reach.
  • Posting content spontaneously but with insufficient substance.
  • Not achieving genuine engagement.
  • Not being able to grow the audience.
  • The audience not sharing posts.
  • Not being able to create good content consistently.

Social Media Marketing Metrics

SMM metrics is actually the data that describes the success of your posts. The metrics might include data regarding the posts’ likes, comments, shares, tags, hashtags and above all, the engagement.

Here are the 5 most important metrics to track:

  • Engagement

    This metric includes comments, likes, shares and replies on your social media posts. There are other forms of these metrics as well such as ‘saved’ posts or ‘pinned’ posts.

  • Reach

    Reach is the number of people who have seen any post associated with your profile or your brand’s page.

  • Followers

    It is the number of people who are following your page or profile and are able to see your posts on their feeds and timelines.

  • Impressions

    It is the number of times your post is seen on timelines and feeds. It isn’t associated with the number of clicks made by your followers.

What Is the Difference Between Social Media Advertising and Social Media Marketing?

Here is the primary difference between both terms:

Social media advertising refers to all kinds of paid advertisements and promotions on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. They are offered by external companies.

Whereas, social media marketing refers to all kinds of social media activity done on official business pages to promote your brand and increase your brand’s presence online in addition to paid advertising.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing

Here are some pros and cons of SMM:

Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing

  • It is time-consuming.
  • You have to spend a long time on return on investment.
  • You have a constant risk of negative publicity.
  • It sometimes dilutes the brand’s voice.
  • You might lose control of social media while engaging with your customers.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

  • It is cost-effective.
  • You target a big audience.
  • You target the prospects much quicker than traditional advertising.
  • Social media marketing is a great way to interact freely with your audience.
  • It develops a brand’s loyalty over time.

How to Measure ROI Of Social Media Marketing?

Here is a step-by-step procedure to measure the ROI of your SMM campaign:

  • Identify Your Key Performance Indicators

    You can measure ROI in different ways. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, you can measure sales by dollar value. If your goal is brand awareness, make sure to define what brand awareness means to your company. Your PR team and company’s CEO might have a different perspective on brand awareness.

  • Align Social Media Goals with Your Business Goals

    Your social media goals might be heavy traffic, free sign-ups or product purchases. Make sure to align your social media goals with your business goals and break them down in smaller segments to clear each objective or goal.

  • Set Up Google Analytics to Track Conversions

    Every business goal is measurable if you use the right analytics tools. Google Analytics provides a set of tools that you can use to monitor and track visitors and your campaign actions.

  • Assign Values to Your KPIs

    After setting up your goals and tracking your performance, its about time to assign monetary values to these goals that could remain a lifetime.

  • Benchmark Against Your Competitors

    Compare your campaign efforts with the efforts of your online competitors. See what strategies and tricks work out for them and how they are getting more engagement.

Is Social Media Marketing Dead?

The only problem that comes along much of the media traffic is the vicious personal attacks, political commentary, and shameless promotion. The average engagement on posts and videos on Facebook and Twitter might have fallen from 2017 and 2018 but in 2019, the engagement is once again increasing.

The majority of social media marketers have a positive outlook and believe that social media marketing is going towards evolution and not extinction.

Frequently Asked Questions on Social Media Marketing

Q. How to learn social media marketing?

A. There are many ways to learn SMM, such as to earn a degree in marketing, learning through an online website, earn digital marketing administered by a company and reading out social media marketing books as much as possible.

Q. What is Social Media Marketing Tools?

A. Some of the analytics tools are:

  • Oktopost
  • Sendible
  • Buffer
  • MavSocial
  • PostPlanner
  • SproutSocial
  • Hootsuite

Q. How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost?

A. An average social media marketing campaign might cost between $4,000 to $7,000 per month.

Q. Why Use Social Media Marketing for Small Business?

A. Some of the uses are:

  • It is cost-effective.
  • Online users are interested to know about your products.
  • To improve brand awareness.
  • For healthier customer satisfaction.
  • To grow your audience.
  • For marketplace awareness.
  • To increased traffic and drive sales.
  • For brand authority.
  • To enhance the SEO rankings of your business website.

Is Social Media Future of Marketing?

It is hard to make a prediction ahead of time but according to Pew Research, almost 68% of adults in the United States use Facebook and other social media platforms. The increasing number of users has made social media an effective marketing tool. In the near future, marketers might rely only on social media to follow up on the on-going trends.

Final Thoughts

According to Wikipedia, there are about 200 social media platforms and this number is continuously growing. Marketers are using popular social media platforms to establish their brand’s identity and reputation. To figure out the audience and what they actually want, it is important to be socially active on a few of them. The importance of SMM in this digital era is undeniable, especially when all companies are thriving to provide to deliver the best content online.

Danni White | Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in elevating the visibility of small-to-midsize businesses and nonprofits. She is the author of 17 books and hosts the #Hashtags and Habits Podcast, which merges digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal growth.

Danni White | Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in elevating the visibility of small-to-midsize busi...

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