A Simple Guide to Social Media Marketing
There are so many different types of marketing, why wouldn’t there be a specific type for social media! Social Media Marketing or SMM, is all about how you market your product or service on the many social media platforms available to us. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements.
Social platforms have successfully broken down barriers between businesses and their customers. Now, instead of calling customer service, many people turn to social media to solve problems or find information by asking questions via direct message, posting or commenting. It actually beats out company websites for the most up-to-date information.
Below we’ll dive into what it is, why you need it and the process you need to go through to execute it. It’s essential in today’s world and businesses need to take full advantage of this huge free audience. A Social Media Marketing agency will help guide you through the process and help to determine what is right for your brand.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is using social media platforms to promote a product or service.
This includes any methods of marketing that are done on popular digital platforms including social networks, media sharing networks, bookmarking sites and social review sites. Think Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, Pinterest, YouTube and more. All of these platforms offer something different with a slightly different audience.
Below we’ll delve into not only the process and what Social Media Marketing entails for businesses, but how it can help your brand, why it’s essential in today’s world and the types of platforms that are best for you. Brands selling products versus businesses selling services might need different platforms to reach their target audience or to convey their message.
The large marketing umbrella holds so many forms and Social Media Marketing continues to grow, being one of the most important ways to market your brand. Reason being…social media is everywhere and continues to grow with billions of consumers using on any given day. This gives businesses a platform and direct to consumer access that you just can’t ignore.
It can be intimidating, but that is why you create a plan and very simply break it down into what your goals and objectives are for the business. After deciding that, determine based on what each social platform offers, which one is best for you? Next, depending on your product or services, what creative content can you envision? Would photos and infographics work or would video be better? Once you have all of these questions answered, you can start plugging in where on the social media landscape your brand fits. A Social Media Marketing agency can make this process simple and manageable by creating a plan and guiding you through the process every step of the way.
What Does Social Media Marketing Entail?
Like we said above, Social Media Marketing is all about how you market your product or services on social media platforms. And, like anything else, you need a plan. Before you start, think about your goals. By diving into a social media marketing campaign, what are you trying to achieve for your brand? Most of the time the answer is to promote and sell more products and services. But businesses can have different reasons too. It could be to change your image, reinvent or use to share your advocacy for an idea or cause. Whatever the reason, determine it in your goals and objectives as this will help to decide steps moving forward regarding which platforms and creative content is right for you.
Here are four steps to get started:
- Develop a Strategic Plan
First, like any other industry, you need to have a plan! This is where you determine which platforms you’re going to utilize and your audience. Your agency will ask you a lot of questions at this time to learn, engage and decide what steps are right for you. What are your goals and objectives? Who is your target audience? What types of creative content would you like to develop? The more they know, they better they can create a custom plan that fits your brand’s interests.
- Create Content Calendar
You’ve developed your plan, now it’s time to decide what creative pieces you’ll create to tell your audience your story. Is it written articles that are informative and provide helpful tips? Videos that tell a story? Images that paint a picture? Or perhaps a focus on visual and informative with infographics? Another popular way to engage your audience is will quizzes or polls. Lastly, everyone loves a special offer or discount, so perhaps you want to use promotional pieces to attract them? Whatever you choose, plug it into an organized and scheduled calendar that tells a story.
- Publish, Advertise & Engage
Now that you have your plan in place and creative content ready to go, time to execute! Schedule and publish your posts, boost organic posts that are receiving a lot of likes and feedback, create advertisements and start engaging with your audience by managing your accounts 24-7. Answer questions via direct message or in the comments.
- Analyze & Monitor
You can do this organically by paying attention to how many positive mentions you received, how many people used your brand’s hashtag, etc. The social media platforms do provide this information, but if you want to take your analytics to the next level there are a wide range of social media analytics tools and you can discuss with your agency about which tools they use.
What are the Most Important Social Media Platforms?
Social Media has many platforms. You have social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, media sharing networks including YouTube and TikTok, bookmarking sites like Pinterest, social review sites including Yelp, blogs and more. But which one is right for you? Most people will tell you that you have to utilize more than one…and they’re right. You use different platforms for different reasons.
For example, if you’re an artist or interior designer, a bookmarking site like Pinterest will be a great asset as you can share your work visually and link to your website. Networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good for all businesses, but each have different audiences and a different way you should post. Facebook and Twitter have an older demographic and the posts are informational. Twitter has to be quick 130 character posts and is designed to share urls linking to a news story or a businesses website. Instagram has a younger audience and is more visual and creative. The Live feature has created another outlet for people to utilize similar to the media sharing networks including YouTube and TikTok. You can tease the upcoming live post and have people tune-in in real-time, it’s like having a broadcast studio in your home.
Media sharing networks such as YouTube and TikTok are great for How-tos, giving all entrepreneurs and professionals a great tool to use to position themselves as experts. For example, chefs can prepare a recipe and break it down into an easy demonstration for the home cook. Nutritionists can give health tips on the best food to eat when you’re trying to lose weight. Fitness experts can showcase different workout regimes. The list goes on and on…
Overall, here is a breakdown:
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
These platforms are great for sharing information, creating events, building awareness for a cause and utilizing the live and story features.
Media Sharing Networks:
YouTube and TikTok
These networks offer such much information regarding how-tos and provide information on any subject you can think of. Use it to position yourself as an expert and show your craft.
This site is a creative person’s dream – to share all of the visual elements of your business, showcase DIY ideas, etc.
Social Review Sites:
Yelp and Google My Business
These are crucial for any business and what better way to establish credibility to your audience than by having real customer reviews on your page.
But you must remember, it’s called social media for a reason. Because you need to be “social” with your followers and friends. Being social is engaging with them, not just talking at them with announcements, posts about your business, etc. You need to ask questions, engage the posted comments and fully embrace your social community.
How Can Social Media Marketing Help My Business?
Your business needs social media presence…period. Facebook and Instagram are an extension of a brand’s website and a lot of consumers don’t even visit websites anymore, they just go straight to social media because it has the most current information. Social Media Marketing helps you understand your social media platforms. It can determine your audience, provide analytics, engage with consumers, build brand awareness, increase traffic to your website and more.
Top 3 Ways Social Media Marketing Helps Businesses:
- Grow your Brand Awareness
Over three billion people around the world use social media and the users keep growing. With an audience of that size, businesses have to take advantage of using all social media platforms as a marketing tool to grow, learn about your audience and create an online presence.
- Increase your traffic & Promote Products to Sell
Anything you do for your business online will increase your website traffic and social media is the best way to do so. Not only can you promote products to sell on social media platforms, but growing brand awareness and increasing your website traffic will ultimately translate into more sales.
- Discover Your Audience & Monitor
Through Facebook software and analytics, users can specifically target and find out patterns within their customer base. It allows you to better market to those target areas and expand beyond them to have a further reach and get feedback from different demographics.
Now let’s talk about ways you can do all of the above. Like I said, it’s called social media for a reason, so you need to position your brand’s voice and engage with your audience. Remember, customers don’t like super corporate posts…you need to let your brand’s personality shine and keep it constant.
Tell your story. The more customers know about your brand, mission and thoughts, the more transparent your business will be. Transparency breds customer loyalty.
Be a thought leader. Brand’s also need to position themselves as the expert in their industry. Write informative posts, ideas you are passionate about, helpful tips or articles, etc. This will keep your audience engaged and you will establish confidence in potential customers.
Encourage engagement from your audience! Posts can open up the conversation for other ideas and then all of a sudden people are talking about something else. Embrace this and be a part of the conversation with instant interaction, it will leave a lasting impression.
Introduction to Bettie Bomb
Founded in 2005, Bettie Bomb is a collective communications agency based in Chicago, offering a suite of services from trusted industry partners under one creative umbrella. PR, Marketing, Social Media and beyond…we work as an extension of your team, creating personalized campaigns, building awareness and telling your story when it matters most.
We are a female-owned, boutique Chicago communications agency specializing in all things lifestyle: food, fashion, hospitality, retail, health & wellness, medical, consumer and philanthropy. Partners Rebecca Kussmann & Laura Collins work closely with businesses & organizations to target key audiences and generate exposure all under the Bettie Bomb umbrella. Work one-on-one or have us build a team. We can be BIG and we can be small…that’s the beauty of it. Small, but mighty with the ability to grow. That’s us in a nutshell.