“I’ve heard so much about social media marketing, but I don’t really know what it means or what I should do about it.”
When being introduced to the world of social media for the first time, it isn’t unreasonable to feel overwhelmed and confused at where to start. But in today’s world where so many of us have our faces buried deep into our smartphones during our commute and open Facebook in the morning like previous generations opened the newspaper, it is safe to say that social media marketing is indeed ingrained in our day to day lives. We’re either using it for our own businesses or are being influenced by it, whether you know it or not. It is practically unheard of to not have an online presence today but for smaller or local businesses that aren’t up to date yet, knowing where to start can be the tricky bit. So here are my first questions when approaching the subject.
1) What is Social Media Marketing?
Simply defined, it’s marketing where you gain traffic and attention to your website through social media tools and platforms. What’s more important for you to know is that social media marketing, or SMM, has transformed the way that consumers and brands communicate, allowing direct conversations between the two.
With so much choice on the market, customers need reassurance that what they’re buying into is the best possible choice for them. Using social media is an easy way to achieve this because people have always relied heavily on word of mouth and reviews and will continue to do so. This is where platforms like Facebook are perfect for this. If you’re posting something people find interesting, the content will be shared, friends will be tagged or comments will be made, which in turn appears on other people’s newsfeeds. Your brand name becomes increasingly familiar so people trust it and the product/service being offered. This results in more website traffic and attention generation for your brand.
2) How could it be beneficial to my business?
The main benefit to be involved in SMM is to increase brand awareness at little or no cost. We just have to look at the statistics to see that it’s crucial in today’s world to build an online presence and create relationships with your target market. 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites and the number of worldwide social media users is projected to grow from 2.1 billion in 2015 to 2.5 billion by 2018. According to Search Engine Journal, marketers saw an increase of 74% in website traffic after devoting just 6 hours per week in social media. You establish yourself on your chosen channel and start to spread awareness of your brand but it doesn’t stop there. Social media generates leads too! Shifting your Page to a lead generation tool will impact the type of content you post and what kind of ads you run. By using information from your audience, you can then figure out how to attract them into your sales funnel and eventually turn them into paying customers.
3) What is the most effective platform for me?
The answer to this question depends on a number of things;
- Where is my audience’s attention focused?
- What type of content am I sharing?
- How much do I intend to post?
- How do I interact with customers?
Find out the best way to communicate with your target audience by knowing where they spend the majority of their time. The obvious choice of social media to begin with would be Facebook. It continues to be the platform with the most amount of users and is great for visual advertising. The downside is it’s easy to overload customers with information as people generally use these types of sites socially and don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements.
Once you’ve built up a following, you will need to keep them engaged by figuring out where you fit into their content viewing. For more frequent postings and faster interaction with customers, Twitter is the tool for the job. LinkedIn is clearly the place for professionals, businesses and recruiters. If you’re involved in a visual based industry like food, fashion or lifestyle, then Instagram is a must. Of course it could be beneficial to your business to use multiple platforms but it’s most important to first identify how to use them in different ways and whether these tools are relevant to your business and target audience.
4) Is maintaining a social media presence time consuming?
It doesn’t have to be! Once you know where you’re focusing your efforts and what content you’re sharing, there are a variety of tools available to schedule posts to be sent out throughout the day. With enough planning, content can be made ready and set to go weeks before it goes live. There are companies available to you that make your social media marketing a breeze. From managing company posts, blog writing to web hosting and software updates, these are marketing needs that an external agency can help cover that allows you to focus on your business whilst still reaching out and having your content viewed and shared.
5) How do I know we’re reaching our target market?
Many of the social media sites have native analytic tools that help you monitor which of your posts invite the most clicks and which get shared more than others. For example, Twitter’s ‘Tweet activity dashboard’ has in-depth metrics for users individual tweets and audience insights where you can actually track your follower growth over time see their top interests and discover their demographics. This data is essential for micro targeted campaigns. It will give you a better insight as to who your audience is, help you evolve the campaign and be posting content aimed at these followers. You can get other information such as what time your customers are browsing, allowing you to utilize those periods. The results you will get in sharing your content will see you gaining in earned media rather than paid media.
In researching the answers to all of my questions it became clear that creating a presence for your brand on social media is essential at this point in time and looks likely to be the case for a while. Figuring out how to use everything to get the optimum results is the key here and remember that it doesn’t have to be an effortful task. Using the tools available to you, you should be able to know your audience and from there it’s up to you to share relevant and interesting posts to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. This will generate leads and your business will grow.
This is just the surface of SMM but the information is enough for you to begin to explore this avenue, to grab the attention of your future customers and start valuable conversations with them. Remember that social media gives you the opportunity to create more of a personal connection with your audience on the digital landscape – and there’s no better time than the present to get started.
This blog piece was written by Curate Bee’s new bee member, Charlie Champ. Stepping into the world of digital marketing for the first time, Charlie has been introduced to new perspectives and has since taken quite a keen interest to the subject. This piece was inspired by Charlie’s first 5 questions she had when she first joined the team and is probably what many are thinking when they are starting out with social media marketing.
Got any comments or questions? Let Charlie know below!