If you had to guess how much time the average person spends on social media, how long do you think it would be?
If you guessed two and a half hours, you are almost right! According to Statista, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, up from 145 minutes in the previous year.
And from this, we can see how social media has become an indispensable part of our lives. But what is social media marketing, and where does it come from?
What is social media marketing?
When the world went into lockdown for the first time in 2020 because of Covid-19, we knew that all businesses were going to suffer.
Airbnb, during that time, took to social media. They put up a simple post that said; the company is helping provide free or subsidised housing for 100,000 COVID-19 responders around the world. They also added that hosts will follow all the COVID-19 protocols set by the government during the stay of guests.
This post caught the attention of their readers. Airbnb managed to advertise its business online even when the hospitality industry was down. That is the power of social media marketing.
Social media marketing is creating content for social media platforms to promote you, your products, or services. The goal of any social media marketing campaign is to find more customers and drive traffic to your website.
Importance of social media marketing
Imagine that your product or service is ready. Now you have to advertise it and reach out to your potential customers promptly. What could be a better way than promoting the product on social media to spread the word quickly? Maybe you’ll understand it better in the following context:
1. Build brand awareness
You can increase brand awareness by sharing your story with potential customers on the right platform. This helps to connect with your target audience and gain more followers. More likes, comments, shares and saves on your post boost your social engagement. This helps bring traffic to your website as well.
2. Nurture relationships with your customers
Remember, customers are very important to your business. Engaging them constantly with valuable information and updates about your business helps gain their trust. You can engage with them by putting up interactive posts, asking about their pain points and feedback, replying to their enquiries and more.
3. Generate and convert leads
You can turn your leads/potential customers into your clients by engaging them. Wondering how that is? That’s because you’re advertising to people who have opted to engage with you by following your account. To meet their expectations, you can engage them by conducting contests, including links to your website and offers in the bio sections of your profiles, hosting live videos to make announcements about products, and providing company updates.
4. Keep a tab on your competitors
Social media is a vast platform where you can learn and improvise. You can learn from your competitors by analysing their content and noticing what works for them. You can even check out the ads they run to understand who they are targeting. Most importantly, it reminds you of how unique you are or what makes your brand stand out from the rest.
With so many opportunities to offer, how can you take advantage of social media? How can you build a proper social media presence fast? Let’s find it out!
Social media marketing tips
Social media is a domain that will keep evolving and set new trends every single week. But to create a social media strategy for your business, you need to follow a few basic steps that will help you stay in the game.
1. Identify your social media platform
Conduct research and analyse where you want to promote your product. Various businesses prefer different platforms- it depends on the type of business you are running or the audience whom you want to target.
Everybody loves Instagram! Guess you’ve been thinking about Instagram the whole time we mentioned social media platforms. It is not just you, but do you know there are over 2 billion Instagram users in this world?
Instagram’s audience is primarily millennials and Gen Zs. For sharing visually interesting content that includes high-quality images and videos, Instagram is where brands go. It is mainly a platform for B2C (Business-to-consumer) services.
Today, users can discover brands, browse their products, and easily complete a purchase within the app, making the app one step ahead of its time.
While Instagram is more into visuals, Twitter is all about words. Being a hub for political discussions, brand campaigns and memes, Twitter is a mix of everything.
Twitter has about 436 million monthly active users worldwide. Millennials use it and are both B2B (Business-to-business) and B2C centric. Twitter is the best platform for customer service, community building and public relations.
Twitter automatically promotes tweets to your target audience. All you have to do is choose a promotable Tweet from your timeline and specify your target audience, and Twitter will do the rest of the work for you.
If you ever have gone through LinkedIn, you will know that it is a space to network professionally where you can seek job-related opportunities.
As you might have realised, here, the target audience is mainly working professionals. With monthly active users of over 310 million, this platform is a potential goldmine for B2B brands and the rapid growth of its ad platform speaks for itself. So, service businesses and B2B product businesses get better results on LinkedIn than on other platforms.
LinkedIn focuses on B2B relationships, business development, and social selling. It is never too late to start your own LinkedIn account and begin building networks.
Founded in 2004, Facebook is the largest social media platform for B2C services. With over 2.9 billion users, Facebook is the powerhouse of advertising and brand awareness.
Facebook’s audience comprises an even spread of Generation X and millennials. 1 in 3 adults regularly consume news from Facebook, signalling the popularity of timely content on the platform.
Do you know that there are approximately 10 million active advertisers on Facebook right now? If you are looking to promote your brand on Facebook, now is the time.
YouTube is a large platform where your success is defined by the number of viewers you attract to your videos. To gain more subscribers, make sure that you create and share quality content videos.
84% of viewers have bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube. See the impact created by it on brands? Also, remember to include your website in the description so that the audience can go through it.
With over 2.6 billion users, YouTube is the world’s second-most used social platform. 55% of marketers use it. You can create videos that provide some value to your audience through tutorials, how-to demonstrations, Q&As and informational content that your audience is actively looking for.
Pinterest is a little different from other social media platforms. It is actually one of the most ideal platforms for social media advertising. It comprises high visuals that attract the audience to save it- rather, ‘pin it’.
Pinterest boasts 400+ million monthly active users, but it may not be the right choice for every business. Here you can find everything from DIY activities to aesthetic decor to motivational quotes.
Pinterest influences people’s buying decisions. According to the platform themselves, 7 in 10 Pinners say that Pinterest is their go-to place to find products or services they can trust.
If you want to inquire about anything industry-related, then Quora is the right place. It is a question-and-answer website where users can answer each other’s questions about all kinds of topics.
The audience includes students, professionals, and industry leaders who also share their knowledge. It can be viewed as a unique cross between social media and research.
In India, over 100 million users visit Quora to compare products, offer reviews, and ask questions before their next purchase. Quora offers advertisers to build credibility in the eyes of a prospect if the information the former is providing is valid.
2. Study your target audience
Before creating content, ask yourself what your audience would like to see. Creating an audience persona can help you know who you’re trying to reach. Persona can be specific to gender, age group, interests, where they work and live, etc. You can conduct surveys and receive feedback to know their preferences and pain points.
Once you get a general idea of who may use your products, you can look for them online. For instance, the Facebook audience insights tool offers endless research opportunities and helps specify your audience.
Let’s look at how Dove wins its audience’s hearts, every single time.
We know that Dove’s goal is to make women feel good about themselves. They know their content tells a story that women can relate to.
Dove found from research that 80 percent of women came across negative remarks on social media. Dove’s goal was to change that and make social media a more positive experience. As a result, Dove teamed up with Twitter and built a tool to launch the #SpeakBeautiful Effect, which breaks down body-related words people use the most and when negative chatter appears during the day.
According to Dove, their message inspired several women. As a result,
- #SpeakBeautiful was used over 168,000 times.
- It drove 800 million social media impressions of the campaign.
3. Create a content calendar
Social media is a place where you have to be regular with your content. Adding your plans for your social page in advance to your ‘content calendar’ will help you stay organised. It will also help you track all the contents you have shared in the past, which prevents you from posting the same content again.
It saves your time and helps with the frequency of posts too. You can create your content calendar in sheets.
4. Analyse your competitors
You can study your competitors on how they perform on social media. See what type of content works for them and how it creates an impact on their followers. Keeping track of your competitors’ work and adding your own twist to your work will help you stand out from the crowd.
Taking the example of two U.S retail giants, Walmart and Target, let’s see how they perform on a social media platform like LinkedIn.
From this diagram, it’s obvious that Walmart has more followers than Target.
Walmart’s following also grows at a faster pace. It declines slightly on weekends, which makes sense because LinkedIn is a professional platform that gets more traffic on weekdays.
5. Be more interactive
Your followers keep you running your page and business, so it is important to keep them engaged regularly. You can make your activities more interactive by conducting Q&A sessions, adding polls, including links to feedback surveys and more. This will help you know what your followers want.
Similarly, post content that makes your audience think and ask you in your comment section or DM you.
6. Increase engagement
Your social media engagement is determined by the number of likes, shares, retweets, comments, mentions, click-throughs, etc. It depends on the post you share and how your audience perceives the content. If you want more engagement, post content that your audience can connect with or talk about.
Always start a conversation or a discussion through your posts. Keep up with incoming responses by replying to DMs and comments/tweets, acknowledging mentions and don’t forget to follow back your industry peers, other brands and prospects.
Likewise, hashtags are another way to increase your online reach. #CreateYourStory represents Adobe’s brand hashtag. Similarly, using a branded hashtag will help you stand out. It will also allow you to track what your followers and customers are saying about your media presence and product.
7. Learn to measure results with analytics
Social media analytics is data suggested by most social media sites that give insight into what people are responding to and engaging with on your social media channels. This data is tracked to measure the growth and effectiveness of your social media channels, to improve brand awareness, profits, and return on investment (ROI).
Each social media platform has its own analytics or insights tool:
- Facebook: Offers in-depth analytics of your business on the Facebook Insights platform.
- Instagram: Instagram Insights show you when your audience is online, which of your posts are most popular, and your account’s impressions and reach.
- LinkedIn: It offers basic, free data on your company page and full analytics software with a premium account.
- Twitter: Uses Twitter Analytics, which is accessible to all users where you can learn how your tweets perform.
- YouTube: A YouTube analytics dashboard is a valuable tool to track the performance of your videos, the behaviour of your viewers, and provides insights on how to optimise your video social media strategy.
- Pinterest: Pinterest Analytics tool in your business account summarises your brand’s performance to get an idea of what’s working and what’s not.
Google Analytics is another tool for tracking social media results. How Google Analytics works is by collecting information about site visitors. From a website’s traffic sources to the number of hits per month, Google Analytics offers excellent insight into user’s behaviour, and collects valuable user data in real-time.
8. Use social media marketing tools
Now that your content is ready to post, how are you planning to send it out on time to the right audience? Here are some important social media marketing tools that will ease the entire process of managing your business page:
If you want to schedule posts across a variety of social media platforms, Buffer is the perfect scheduling tool to use. It allows marketers like you to either customise each post to each platform or publish the same one everywhere.
Buffer started off as a scheduling tool for Twitter. Today, it supports all major social media platforms. Buffer Chrome extension helps you to add any content you find on the Web to the Buffer queue, and your posts will be shared at the best possible times. You can also track links to see which content is most popular with your readers.
Buzzsumo is one of the most powerful tools in the market. It is a tool that helps you discover the best engagement, content and outreach opportunities across social and search. Discover new keywords, trending stories, customer questions and content success, all while monitoring what’s most important to your brand.
This tool also helps you to find influencers related to your niche, discover new keywords, track your competitors and do an analysis based on their content, all while monitoring what’s most important to your brand.
Wondering if there is a way to handle multiple social media accounts using a single dashboard? Then, Hootsuite is the best choice here! Being one of the most popular social media marketing tools, Hootsuite helps you to see all your comments and mentions in one place. You can also assign tasks to your team members, plot a social media calendar, and get updates.
Its tools integrate with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube, giving you an in-depth breakdown of your analytics and allowing you to interact with prospective customers. This will be really useful for experienced digital marketers.
Visual content is very important in marketing. Biteable is a tool that helps you to create high-quality videos cheaply. It is a great resource that especially helps small businesses.
With a lot to offer, like free video templates, footage, music, and animated scenes, Biteable is super easy to use. So why not add a professional touch and spark to your social media content by creating some short, super-shareable videos?
Sprout Social is an all-in-one social media management tool for brands and agencies of all scales to manage conversations and show actionable insights that drive your business to success.
This tool integrates with Instagram and includes scheduling, publishing, engagement tools, and access to analytics. You can plan and schedule your posts, monitor hashtags, and respond to comments with a complete social management solution.
9. Build influencer networks
Do you want influencers to talk about your brand or page? Then, let’s network!
When your page is ready, you can always find and follow influencers that come under your niche. Following them will give you suggestions to follow more from the same field.
Once you have proved that you are in this for the long run, you can connect with them to ask if they can collaborate with you. Get them to talk about your brand and they might even invite you to be a part of their program, too. Here, the strategy is for their sphere of influence to see what you and your company are all about. They putting in a good word about you will help you get noticed by their followers, which includes other influencers, brands and their clients.
Watchmaker Daniel Wellington used a popular dog influencer from social media to promote their watches.
The famous brand could reach a new audience by working with a surprising partner and embracing the influencer’s playful caption technique. Similarly, you may have to step out of your comfort zone to reach a new niche but look for partners that fit your brand image.
10. Keep up with the trends
Can’t get chaand baliyan out of your head? Well, we don’t blame you cause’ it’s just how trends work!
One way to keep your audience engaged is by following the current trends on social media. This will help fuel your social media strategy by gaining more traction.
For example, when you scroll through your Instagram feed, you will see various reels with different effects and audio in the background. Instead of reading the caption, the audience gets the information through that certain reel easily.
This way, you can show what your brand is about.
It’s time to bring your A-game!
With billions of people hovering around social media, managing a business account and keeping up with the high standards can be difficult. Handling a social media account can be overwhelming, but if you are up to date with your content and strategy, then there is nothing to worry about.
A few important points you should keep in mind are:
- Engage in the networks more suited to your niche.
- Have a proper connection between your social media pages and website.
- Follow the right people and be followed by the right people.
- Share relevant and interesting content always by sticking to the rules of the different social media networks.
Now we have a challenge for you! During Halloween 2014, popular soft drink brand Pepsi came up with a post,
The text in the graphic said ‘we wish you a scary Halloween!’. The idea that the brand intended to put out was that being like Coca-Cola for Halloween would be “scary”. And if you look at the cape over the can in the picture closely, you notice that it’s Cola coca instead of Coca-cola. This is to avoid legalities.
But it didn’t take long enough for a response, and that too from a Coca-cola fan.
The caption written by the fan on the right read, “Everybody wants to be a hero!”. This changes the idea that Pepsi isn’t wearing a “scary” cape for Halloween but is trying to be a hero—like Coca-Cola.
Here, Pepsi tried taking a dig at their chief competitor, Coca-cola, but who do you think won this? Share your thoughts below!