Understanding Social Media Marketing

We all have the temptation to check our phones because of social media notifications. Like it or not, we all use and are influenced by social media in our lives. At the same time, it creates opportunities for businesses to connect with loyal customers to understand their brands.

Social media is any digital tool that enables users to create and share content quickly. Social media marketing is the process of creating content for different social media platforms to drive engagement and promote a business or product.

Benefits of social media marketing
Benefits of social media marketing

There are many benefits of social media marketing.

  • Increase brand awareness. Think about a time you saw a social media post that caught your attention from a brand you didn’t know. If you can remember that brand now, that’s brand awareness.
  • Target new customers. According to a Pew Research study, over 70 percent of social media users check their accounts at least once a day. People use these platforms to interact with their friends and family as well as companies, so you can connect with users whenever they login.
  • Build strong relationship with exiting customers. It gives you the opportunity to build their trust, help them solve problems, and show them that you care about their needs and opinions.
  • Drive traffic to your website. Sharing your website content on your social media platforms, you can direct users to your site every time you publish a new post. Include your website in all of your social media profiles so that people who want to learn more about you can easily do so.
  • Generating leads. A lead is a potential customer. On social media, a lead is someone who took a specific action that made them a potential customer, such as filling out a form, subscribing to free trial, or clicking on a link to a discount code. Many social platforms provide advertising formats specially designed to collect leads.
  • Gain valuable insights. Learning about your target audiences likes, dislikes, and interests through social media, can help you tailor your marketing strategy to that audience. Analytics tools offered on many social media platforms enable you to gather a large amount of data about your target audience as well. Additionally, learn from your competitors.
  • Cost-effective. Most social networking platforms allow you to sign up and create a profile for free. Social media platforms allow you narrow down your target audience based not only their interests and hobbies, but on the personal and demographic information by those choose to share with their social media platform.

The five core pillars of social media marketing

There are five core pillars of social media marketing, strategy, planning and publishing, listening and engagement, analytics and reporting, and paid social media. These pillars can guide an effective social media marketing campaign.

Five pillars of social media marketing

Strategy

The first core pillar of social media marketing is strategy. Your strategy will define the primary goals of your campaign. You may want to use your marketing efforts to boost brand awareness, drive more website traffic and sales, provide customer support, build a community, and beyond. Strategy goals will help you decide which social media platform to use for your brand. It also involves a lot of research of your target audience on which platforms they visit the most. The strategy will outline which types of content to post. You need to find out what types of content your audience value.

Planning and publishing

It’s important to have a consistent presence so that your audience can be anticipated what is next. Scheduling posts in advance to match your audience’s timing and frequency in using social media. You want to ensure that your content reaches your target audience at the right time.

Listening and engagement

As you publish more on social media, and your following grows, mentions of your brand will increase. Potential and existing customers will comment on your posts, tag you in their posts or message you directly. You can learn a lot about how people feel about your brand through social listening.

Social listening refers to tracking and analyzing conversations and trends related to your brand. Social listening can help you understand what people think about your brand, which can inform your marketing and product development decisions. It also helps in determine their engagement. The engagement will inform you about the marketing decisions.

Studying what content resonates best with your audience. It comes in two ways. How audience interact with your contents and how you interact to your audience’s interaction. The interaction itself increase people’s positive experience with your brand.

Analytics and reporting

Social media analytics is the process of collecting data from your social media platforms and analyzing that data to make business decisions. It tells you how your campaign is performing like positive comments or most accessed platforms. The reports drive new adjustment in social media marketing strategy.

Share social media reports with stakeholders. A social media report is a document that presents relevant data and analysis about your social media activities. You will then use the insight to adjust your social media campaign accordingly.

Paid social media

Most of the time, you will start with organic content or media to taste the water. Then you will move to the paid social media strategy. It gives you better control and targets marketing with paid social media. Paid social media reaches a wider audience than organic posts. It helps you grow your brand and broaden your presence on social media. The data you gather about the success of your organic approaches on social media will help you inform your paid social strategy.

Earned, owned, and paid social media

The three types of digital media are earned, owned, and paid. Implementing all three of these media types into your social campaign can help build brand awareness, vary the way your audience engages with your brand, and increase sales.

Earned media is a personal or public promotion of a brand or product. Earned media is marketing generated by your customers. Whenever a customer tells a friend, posts on a social media platform or blog, or writes a review about your product, they are producing earned media for your brand. One of the many advantages of earned media is that it’s organic. Organic social media is any social media activity that does not require a paid promotion. It is the foundation of social media strategy.

Owned media is all the digital content a brand fully controls; websites are one of the most common forms of owned media. Sources of the owned social media include, Facebook or Instagram profile, and community forums. One of the greatest benefits of owned media is that it allows your company to control the conversation surrounding your brand on social media. Consistently publishing compelling owned media can also generate more earned media.

Finally, there’s paid media. Paid media is any form of digital promotion a brand pays to put online. Remember that the fifth pillar of social media of social marketing is paid social media. Examples of paid social media include image ads, video ads, story ads, and influencer marketing. Paid social media allows your brand to reach customers who are not actively searching for it. It can be used to target specific groups of people who might be interested in your product and services. It can help promote your content to drive more earned media properties.

The social media marketing funnel

Let’s refresh on the marketing funnel first. A marketing funnel is a graphic representation of the process through which people go from learning about a brand to becoming loyal customers. The marketing funnel stages are Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, and Loyalty. More the marketing funnel here.

Let’s go over how a marketing funnel can help guide your interactions with your customers and optimize your marketing efforts through social media.

The social media marketing funnel begins in the awareness stage with potential customers learning about your brand. At this stage in the funnel, your goal is to capture your audience’s attention. You want people to remember your brand and try to learn more about you. By targeting key phrases you can pinpoint the topic your target audience is searching for.

Then you create social media content such as guides, videos, and blogs around those topics. For example, a video tutorial highlighting key points in your main expertise or product offerings. At this stage, you keep things brief and simple just to gain your audience’s interest. You can use paid ads to target and nudge your audience to make them aware of your brand. Then you want to move those showing interest in your brand to the next stage, consideration.

During the consideration stage, your potential customers are searching for more information to help them decide whether or not to make a purchase. At this point, they may be looking for reviews or comparing your offerings to your competitors. This is your opportunity to provide them with more detailed information about your brand to set you apart from the competition.

In Marketing the “rule of seven” says that a potential customer must see a message at least seven times before they’re ready to take action. Social media makes it easier to implement this messaging. After you’ve nurtured your potential customers and they sign up for your email list or click on an ad, you know that they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Next is the conversion stage, you capitalize on the interests people have already shown. During this stage, you can use paid remarketing campaigns to reach people who have already shown interest in your brand. Remarketing also known as retargeting, is a strategy in which you use paid ads to target customers who have visited your website, app, or social media profile. At this stage, small incentives like free shipping or discounts will encourage customers to get your product or service.

After you’ve acquired a new customer, you can move on to the loyalty stage. This is a critical stage because it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to retain the ones you already have. You need to continue to nurture relationships with your customers at this stage so you can remain in their minds.

You can use remarketing ads to existing customers on social media to repeat purchases. You can also stay connected with your customers by making them feel like they are part of your brand community. One way to do this is by developing social media content that relates to the purchase that they have made. For example, if a customer purchases career guidance services from your company, you could prompt them to share on a community forum once they land a job.

Happy learning and good luck!

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