Social media marketing, simply explained, is using social media networks to drive website traffic, increase sales and build your brand by connecting with your audience. You do this by creating great content, interacting with your followers, running ads and analyzing the results.
Currently, the main social media platforms include Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Social Media Marketing: Overview
Initially, social media marketing involved publishing. Businesses shared content on social media hoping to generate traffic and make sales. Today, it is more than that.
Businesses now use social media in many other ways. Some of those ways include social media advertising, social media analytics and social media listening and engagement.
Social Media Marketing: The Five Core Pillars
Before you start publishing content on social media, you need to come up with a social media strategy.
What do you want to achieve? How can you achieve your goals using social media? Your goals may be to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, boost sales, create a community or generate engagement.
Which social platforms will work for you? instead of trying to work with all platforms, it is better to pick a few ones. Find the ones that your target audience is likely to be on.
What content will you be sharing? You could share entertaining or educating content. This will depend on your marketing persona.
Planning and Publishing
A consistent presence is very important, especially for small businesses. Social media is used by about three billion people. Consistency increases the chances of these people discovering your business.
On social media, publishing involves sharing a video, image or blog post. It is not different from sharing using your personal account. But with a business account, the best thing to do would be to plan in advance, instead of posting spontaneously. It is also wise to consider the type of content you publish, when to publish it and the frequency.
Make good use of scheduling tools.
Listening and Engagement
Conversations about your business will increase as your following grows on social media. People will private message you, tag you on their posts and engage with your content.
Other times, there will be conversations about your business without your knowledge. And you have to monitor these conversations. If the conversation is negative, you have the opportunity to correct it before it becomes a big problem.
For this purpose, find a social media listening and engagement tool.
It is important to know how your strategy is performing. Are you getting more positive comments? Are more people visiting your profile and interacting with your posts?
Social media platforms offer this information, but only on the basic level. There are other social media analytics tools that you can use for in-depth information.
If you have funds to spare, you can use social media advertising. The ads help you reach more people, beyond your following. The advertising platforms have become so powerful—you can even choose who will see your ads. There are also advertising tools to help you manage the ads.