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The Ultimate Guide to Social Marketing

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Almost everyone uses social media, but are they all using it to their advantage? As an individual user, one could argue that there really isn’t a right or wrong way to use social media (although there certainly are some things to steer clear of in many circumstances). However, as a business, there’s a whole world of strategy that goes into utilizing social media platforms to bolster brand awareness and interact with current and future customers.

Here, we’ll break down how to properly use social media for your marketing – both organically and paid. Learn why social media marketing is imperative in this day and age!

Why is Social Marketing Important?

Sure, likes, comments, and shares are great, but social marketing is about something far grander than these vanity metrics – it’s about engaging with your audience and learning how your efforts can be more profitable over time. In truth, social media can be a complete game-changer for companies that leverage its power correctly. And it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or which types of products and services you provide; the chances of your customers being on at least one social media site are really good. That means people are ready to be engaged – but once you figure out what platforms they’re on (Wordstream has some advice here).

Long story short: If your brand isn’t participating in social media marketing, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.

How is Social Marketing Different from Other Forms of Marketing?

Before you dive into a social marketing strategy, you need to understand what makes it unique from other marketing options. You can look at it in terms of three major differences:

1. Size of Reach is Greater

Before social media platforms existed, marketers didn’t have a way to reach so many people easily. Before this new era, companies needed to spend thousands of dollars to create a TV ad people would turn off or publish a newspaper ad a lot of folks wouldn’t even see.

Social media platforms make it simple for businesses to market their messages to the right people quickly and efficiently.

2. Today’s Viewers Have Shorter Attention Spans

As technology has evolved and given us more options, it’s also reduced our attention spans significantly, says the Guardian. Today’s consumers aren’t paying as much attention to ads, and if they do check them out, they’re willing to do so for far shorter lengths of time than they used to. Essentially, this is because today’s consumer has more choices than they ever have, meaning they can quickly move on to your competitors if your content doesn’t grab their attention right away.

All this is to say that your social media content needs to be short, attention-grabbing, and memorable if you want to make an impression on the people you’re trying to convert into paying customers.

3. Shorter Life for Marketing Assets

Although you’ll get in close contact with far more people on social media than you would with traditional marketing, the “life” of your marketing assets is super short. Every piece of content you publish (paid or organic) gets thrown into an ocean of similar content from your competitors. So, you have to compete for more for the attention and trust of your target audience. In other words, you must learn how to stand out and be unique in your approach to social media marketing. The goal should be to grab (and keep!) your audience’s attention.

What’s the Difference Between Organic and Paid Search Marketing? 

Social marketing can be broken down into two main categories: paid and organic.

Paid social marketing is exactly what it sounds like; in other words, you pay money to the platform or an influencer who’s well-known on your platform of choice) so your content gets in front of the greatest number of people possible. Not everybody can afford paid social, as it can be cost-prohibitive, particularly for smaller businesses or companies just starting. For this reason, it’s usually best to work on gaining traffic organically, then switch to paid initiatives when you’ve established a bit of a following. Paid social can get results more quickly than organic social marketing, but it does come with a price.

Organic social marketing incorporates all the free actions you take part in, like publishing posts or sharing photos to your Instagram account. Most companies that have social media accounts are already partaking in organic social media marketing to some extent. Organic growth takes a lot longer to achieve than growth from paid social; it also requires more legwork.

In marketing, neither paid nor organic are better than the other globally; instead, each can offer benefits based on various tactics that work best for that particular marketing route. It’s important to understand that you don’t have to choose between them. Often, healthy marketing mixes incorporate both paid and organic social marketing to maximize reach and engagement.

How to Properly Use Social Media for Your Marketing

Okay, so you’re starting to understand the differences between organic and paid social marketing, and you now understand why this channel of marketing is vital in today’s environment. Now, you’re probably wondering how you get started. Take note of these tips:

Post Consistently

Once you start gaining followers, you’ll have an audience of people looking forward to hearing from you. After all, they clicked that coveted “follow” button, didn’t they?

Keep your followers happy by sticking to a regular, consistent posting schedule. This will give your audience a steady diet of content from your brand while also ensuring you don’t over-post, which can be a real turn-off to your audience.

Have Fun with It

Don’t look at social marketing as just another task you have to check off before you can go home at the end of the day. Make the creation of social content enjoyable to produce, and your final product will be more fun to consume, too. Think about how you can generate more leads and engage with your audience. The following are a few ideas:

  • Run contests
  • Host live videos with exciting news or updates
  • Share user-generated content
  • Create “tag-a-friend” content
  • Poll your viewers
  • Partner with another brand
  • Chime in on trending topics
  • Share tips and tricks
  • Post video testimonials
  • Host an Ask-Me-Anything series

Get to Know Your Audience

Don’t deny your analytics tools the powers they were built with. Check in on demographic data, customer behaviors, and trends on social to guide the way you create content. When you understand what your followers want to see from you, you can respond accordingly. This effort will usually go a long way in boosting engagement rates and solidifying brand loyalty.

Craft a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Marketing isn’t a once-and-done process. It would help if you strategized to understand where you’re starting, where you want to end, and what you’re going to do to get yourself from Point A to Point B. An excellent way to start is by developing a social media marketing strategy that makes sense for your business, including which social platforms you’ll want to use. Be mindful that this is a critical step, as each social media platform is a little different in terms of best practices, functionality, and – most importantly – who they attract. 

Hire a Social Media Marketing Agency

In the end, social media marketing may not be for everyone, but it still needs to get done if you want your brand to continue building awareness and growing revenue. If strategizing a whole social marketing strategy feels too daunting to tackle yourself, hire a social media marketing agency that will do the heavy lifting on your behalf! Click here for more info.

Last Updated: May 4, 2022

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