What Is Social Media Marketing?
Think about this for a moment.
Facebook gets 2.6 million active users every month.
Twitter has a total of 330 million active users, while Instagram has a whopping one billion active users monthly.
These numbers only capture three of the leading social media platforms, and they prove one thing-the whole world is on social media.
It's no wonder then that brands are on a rush to convert (and hopefully multiply) those numbers into dollars.
You may be tempted to think that social media marketing is an easy thing. It really isn't. It's not something that you can 'hack' in a single day. There are whole degree programs created around this, by the way, so be sure to remember that traction comes at a price.
That can be money, time, or both.
But What Really is Social Media Marketing?
The simple definition of that could be 'advertising on social media.' However, the true definition must capture the essence of what social media platforms are and what brands seek when they establish connections with users on these platforms. Without a clear understanding of these nuances, it becomes hard to navigate the terrain successfully.
Many marketers have had it rough when they attempt to lift and shift their traditional marketing strategies to social media. Most of them mistake social media platforms for advertising platforms and audiences as just numbers. That is where the trouble begins.
Initially, social media platforms were not meant for marketing
Even today, a person doesn't log onto their Facebook profile to get bombarded with marketing messages. They use social media to get entertained, to talk to and make new friends, and to be educated. Remembering this small fact in your social media marketing strategy could help steer things in a focused direction.
The backbone of any marketing process is communication and connection
In all channels, marketing as a process can only successfully happen if brands build connections. It is much like in any other interpersonal relationship. Brands have to analyze who their audiences are, understand their demographics, traits, desires, interests, worries, pains, and other details. This understanding helps to build bridges, to create the right content, offers, and messages.
It would be a major folly to assume that all 2.6 million people on Facebook can be your customers. Some of them don't want to care about your brand, even if you were giving away everything for free. Social media promotion is only successful when you identify the right target audiences and establish a connection with them.
What is the Aim of Social Media Marketing?
Everyone knows that every marketing process leads to increased sales and more revenue. Is social media marketing any different in its objectives?
No, as a matter of fact, the lesser direct objectives of social media marketing such as brand awareness and brand love all culminate in that one ultimate goal -a higher sales volume. Broadly, the various reasons for engaging in social media marketing could include:
Popularizing your brand
Brand awareness is essential, especially for new businesses and those breaking into new markets. Because an average user spends no less than hours on social media every day, it's possible to get your business recognized by many people that care on these platforms. You can measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness campaign by looking at metrics such as the number of new followers on your pages.
Producing new leads
Leads here refer to potential customers, people that are interested in your brand, and want to know more. Lead generation is the first step in any sales process. Many brands leverage social media marketing to reach many people, generate new leads, and create new customers. You can know whether you are successful at this objective by tracking metrics such as email sign-ups and content downloads on your website.
Improving traffic to your website
Sometimes it's easy to close a sale on social media. Most times, though, you will need to provide more information to nurture your leads (potential customers) into new customers. That can only happen if you get them to your website so they can see the full story of your brand or offer. You can track this goal by looking at traffic flow changes on your site and improvements in search engine ranking.
What next after you make your brand popular, and you gain new leads and nurture them on your site? The next step in social media marketing sales funnel is growing revenue. This is called conversion, and it is where you transform potential customers into actual customers/sales. One easy way to track revenue growth from social media marketing is computing the difference in revenue figures between the start and the end of your campaign.
Improving brand engagement and customer service
These are two different social media marketing objectives, but they come later in the sales funnel for most brands. Enhancing social media interactions helps to keep the momentum going. It can help to turn customers into loyal customers and keep the brand top of their mind at all times.
Customer service serves the same purposes, and social media as a whole helps to achieve that relatively faster and cost-effectively. You can measure brand engagement levels by looking at indicators such as shares, likes, and comments on your posts.
So what is social media marketing?
Thus far, it's easier to define social media marketing clearly as a process by which brands connect to specific audiences on social media to communicate, promote and deliver products and services that are deemed to be of value.
The social media marketing process entails identifying goals, choosing the right audience, planning, and publishing content. But the process doesn't end there. It's a continuum that involves constant listening, continuous engagement, and ceaseless measuring and testing.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
A social media promotion strategy is a plan that establishes social media advertising goals and tactics. The rights strategy keeps everyone on the ball and accelerates the achievements of those goals. The right social media strategy involves:
Clearly defined mission and objectives
As earlier seen, the objectives in social media marketing are diverse, ranging from brand awareness to website traffic and lead generation. You cannot have all these as objectives for a single campaign-it mixes up the sales funnel and can backfire. The right strategic approach is to set specific goals for individual campaigns and create clear action plans with ways to measure results.
A detailed budget
One of the reasons why you need to focus on individual objectives at a time is budget. Although you can do organic (free) social media marketing, many social media platforms now offer pay per click programs to accelerate your reach and results from the campaign.
You need to have a budget for how much you plan to spend on such paid promotions. Clearly defined and individualized goals help with budgeting efficiency so you can get more revenue (or leads or brand awareness) per dollar of advertising.
A defined target audience
You are only guaranteed a big return on investments if your social media marketing is directed at the right people. For that, you need a meticulous analysis of the market to find audiences that resonate with your brand and collect data about them. You need to invest time in understanding where they are coming from and their current unique situations. Only then you are able to craft messages or create offers that will be of value to them.
A campaign structure
This step helps to turn your strategy into real execution. This is where you understand the bigger picture of your campaign and get the wheels rolling on content creation for each social media platform you have in mind. Create a content calendar and start publishing and distributing your messages.
Constant measurement and readjustment
You may never get everything right in the first place, but the more you measure and readjust your strategy, the closer you get to perfection. Analyzing performance metrics such as the number of likes on your posts, the amount of new traffic on your site, or sales volume can help to find tactics that work. Measuring performance also helps to optimize budget and improve revenue from the whole undertaking.
Feeling Overwhelmed? We Can Help
This is just a brief snapshot of what social media marketing is. As mentioned before, entire 4-year courses have been created around social media marketing, so this outline is by no means exhaustive. At Sparrow Boost our forte is helping businesses double their ROIs through a social media marketing PPC management process that:
- Defines goals and identifies opportunities through SWOT and PEST analysis
- Leverages and synergizes organic and PPC campaigns
- Studies the market and the competition
- Has a comprehensive content strategy
- Leverages automation and analytics in engagement and performance tracking
- Regularly tests and readjusts strategy and optimize budget
Social media marketing, as a whole, can be quite involved. Leave it in the hands of experts so you can focus on critical things. We will help you reap the most value from your campaign. Whatever your specific goals, we'll help you attain success with hands-on support and proactive communication every step of the way.
Learn what it means to work with Sparrow Boost. Request a free proposal today.