What is Social Media Marketing: How it Works & Examples
Social media marketing (SMM) can be a great way for businesses to reach new customers and increase awareness of their brand. If you don’t already have active accounts on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, then there’s probably a large segment of your target market that isn’t even aware of who you are. And even if people are aware of your business, if they can’t find any trace of you on social media then it can be very damaging to your reputation.
In this guide, we will answer questions including “What is social media marketing?”, “How does it work?”, and “Why do I need to promote my business on social media?”.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Before we look at the benefits of SMM, let’s start with the basics: what is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing where you create business pages on social media platforms to promote your brand. You can use these pages to explain who you are as a business, what your values are, and what products or services you sell. You can also use evolving strategies with measurable goals to expand the reach of your brand through social media campaigns. These campaigns can help you connect and engage with your target market and drive more traffic to your website, with the ultimate goal of converting more leads into sales.
Although the sites that work best for you will depend on the nature of your industry, generally speaking, the most effective social media platforms for business marketing are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
How Does it Work?
Most businesses will have a core objective when they launch a campaign on a social media platform. This might be expanding their reach, building and engaging with a community of potential customers, or driving more traffic to their website, to name a few.
Whatever method you choose to market your business on social media, it’s important to follow 5 key pillars when you create your social media marketing plan.
The Five Core Pillars of Social Media Marketing
- Strategy. Make sure you understand what your goals are. How can social media help you achieve them? What strategies will be most effective? Which platforms will give you the best results? Who is your target audience and what are their demographics and interests? Which content formats would appeal to this target audience? Should this content be informative or entertaining? Is it worth exploring influencer marketing? The more market research you conduct at this stage, the better you will understand the strategies you need to follow to meet your objectives.
- Planning and publishing. Create a schedule of the content that you are going to post. Try and aim for a mix of pictures, videos, stories, and live videos to test your audience to see which formats elicit a better response. Also, play around with timings and frequency to work out what works best.
- Listening and engagement. Social media is all about building meaningful connections between your brand and your audience. And that means you need to listen to your followers and encourage them to engage with you. Monitor what people are saying about you online and respond to any comments and shares. This will help you build an authentic community around your brand.
- Analytics and reporting. When you manage a social media page, it’s vital to keep a close eye on how it’s performing so that you can adjust your strategies accordingly. Are you achieving the level of engagement that you are aiming for? Which types of posts do your followers interact with the most? How can you improve your metrics?
- Advertising. Finally, it’s always a good idea to invest in social media paid ads, especially when you are first starting out. Targeted paid ads can help you reach the right audience and increase your brand awareness.
Examples of Social Media Marketing
Let’s finish by taking a look at a few examples of how implementing a social media strategy in your business can benefit your brand.
Humanize Your Business
Maintaining an active presence on social media can help you humanize your brand. It gives you a degree of social proof that helps you build consumer trust. This, in turn, helps your business seem more approachable and makes it easier for your target market to relate to your brand and form meaningful connections.
The right social media marketing strategy can help you drive more traffic to your website, especially if you invest in paid targeted advertising. Plus, the more active you are on social media, the better your website will rank in terms of SEO.
By driving more traffic to your website through social media marketing, you are far more likely to generate more leads and conversions. This is especially true if you open an Instagram or Facebook shop or include call-to-action buttons on your profile pages.
Increase Brand Awareness
Promoting your business through social media marketing is also a highly effective way of increasing brand visibility and awareness and reaching a larger audience. Basically, the more people you reach, the more sales you are likely to achieve (provided you share the right message).
Finally, and arguably most importantly, social media marketing can help you build meaningful relationships with your target market. It opens a direct line of communication with your customers and prospects so that they can reach out to you whenever needed. It’s also a great way to collect valuable customer feedback about your brand and your products or services. And this is exactly what you need in order to develop an evolving strategy that helps your business keep up with changing market trends.