Is your ultimate goal to have your brand go viral? If so, you will find this social media marketing guide extremely helpful!
According to a report published by Statista, brands earned a whopping $39 billion through engaging with social media. Furthermore, this figure is projected to surpass $48 billion by 2021. These figures showcase the need for brands to engage directly with customers via various social media platforms if they wish to grow.
The Pew Research Center reports that more than 70% of Americans have at least one social media profile. This means that social media platforms are a stellar means to engage with consumers across a wide range of demographics.
In order to reach people via social media, your business needs to understand where your target personas like to engage and how to develop a marketing campaign that will captivate them. Without further adieu, here is your guide to social media marketing!
Why do you need social media marketing?
The basics and importance of social media marketing
In order to better understand social media marketing, let’s start by looking into the absurd influence that social media has on consumers.
- 81% of the buying decisions consumers make are influenced by their friends’ input via social media (Market Force). When your followers engage with your page, you not only connect with them but you also potentially influence all of their connections as well.
- 71% state that social media referrals make them more likely to purchase a product/service (Hubspot). When people refer you via social media, you boost your potential for sales with everyone who sees that post.
- Conversions spike by 133% when your customers see good reviews about you on mobile before buying (Bazaarvoice). Great reviews on Facebook and other social media platforms can help convince customers to give your business a shot.
The modern customer seeks out brands via social media. The platforms provide an easy way to contact brands, learn more about their organizations, and browse their friends’ input on the matter.
It is essential that you learn how to efficiently and effectively build your presence via social media, such that these statistics work to your advantage. This is the primary purpose of this social media marketing 101 guide.
The major social media marketing platforms
LinkedIn has earned the reputation of the social networking platform for professionals. Per LinkedIn’s internal reports, the platform boasts over 303 million active monthly users. Furthermore, the platform accumulates 40% of daily visits in over 200 countries and territories. These figures alone showcase why LinkedIn is a must for any effective social media marketing strategy.
As the most powerful professional networking site, LinkedIn provides a superb opportunity for B2B businesses. Brands can employ the platform to connect with or research potential buyers and sellers. With access to information such as academic backgrounds and job histories, individual profiles provide valuable insight into the world of any individual professional.
While the opportunities for B2B brands appear endless, B2C companies can also use the professional platform to their advantage. LinkedIn provides opportunities to recruit, discover influencers, and even perform marketing research.
Advice for getting noticed on LinkedIn
In order to attract attention to your brand, you need to start off with a rock-solid business page. Tweak your summary and services descriptions to your audience – hustling and bustling professionals. Tailor your message so that it mirrors what you would say at a networking event. Furthermore, enhance your profile with SEO in mind and use keywords that will boost your chances of appearing in searches.
Remember that anyone can publish content on LinkedIn, so take full advantage of it. Draft material that is helpful and engaging to your professional audience. You’ll also want to keep in mind that the topics of all material written or posted needs to align with the climate of the platform.
Professionals use LinkedIn because they want to engage with business matters. Helpful articles related to your business and more general pieces – such as work/life balance, leadership and time management – will go a long way in terms of social media marketing.
Furthermore, remember the audience for whom you’re writing. Fo you, it might be easy to write and post while you sit at your desk over the course of the day. However, this is not when people engage on LinkedIn.
The peak engagement times for LinkedIn occurs:
- Before the workday starts – roughly 7-8 am
- During the lunch break – around 12 noon, and
- After work – roughly 5-6 pm
Scheduling posts around these time slots will ensure that your posts go live during these peak hours for maximum engagement.
Your employees are also a great resource when it comes to representing your organization on LinkedIn since their current place of employment and work history appear on their profiles. Encouraging your employees to showcase their expertise and engage with peers on the platform can also boost the reputation of your business.
Facebook for social media marketing
Facebook is essentially the modern-day version of the water cooler. It is where people go to relax and chat about everything from their hobbies to their recent purchases. This produces a far more casual climate than LinkedIn. However, make sure not to mistake this casual aurora as a way to disregard the standards of social media marketing – you need them more than ever on Facebook.
Facebook has a massive impact on people’s lives. Per Hootsuite, a shocking 78% of US consumers discover products that they eventually purchase on Facebook. Facebook is a strong product discovery platform that outperforms its contemporaries such as Instagram and Pinterest.
People tend to be very visual on Facebook and tend to prefer posts that include images. Facebook tends to lean towards the B2C segment since the audience usually comprises of individuals instead of other businesses. However, a number of B2B brands have successfully employed Facebook as well.
How to get noticed on Facebook
As with LinkedIn, you’ll want to post during the highest engagement periods. Facebook traffic peaks between Thursday and Sunday with the most activity occurring over the weekend. Furthermore, the most popular times to post are around 9:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. All in all, posting in these time frames can help increase engagement.
You’ll also want to create an impressive business page. Make sure to include keywords, draft a summary directed towards the average browser, and include your business’s contact information.
Once you’ve established a page, keep it active! Post captivating articles that followers will want to read in order to fuel your social media marketing machine. Don’t just post material that you’ve written. They can be from other brands if you believe your followers will enjoy them. Facebook allows you to forge friendships, so imagine speaking with a friend as you write.
As you begin to bring visitors to your page, encourage them to engage in conversations. Ask open-ended questions and make sure to reply wicked fast – doing so shows that you want to engage with them.
Lastly, encourage people to follow you. Share a link to your Facebook account in your email signature, on other social media sites, and on your primary website.
Twitter for social media marketing
Twitter marketing is an outlier in a sense due to its low character count – 280 to be exact – when it comes to social media marketing. It has dominated headlines due to its role in politics, business and the world of entertainment.
This quick hitter platform provides an ideal environment for businesses and brands of all sorts. The goal for businesses on Twitter is to follow relevant organizations and then encourage your followers by tweeting interesting, helpful information and images.
Tips for standing out on Twitter
The vast majority of Twitter users engage with the platform during commutes and breaks. That being said, the prime times for engagement occur around lunch, 3:00 pm and the 5:00 to 6:00 pm window.
It is important to remember that Twitter moves lightning-fast and follows more of a conversation style than other platforms. This means that you should tweet a few times during the above-mentioned timeframes instead of a single post as you would on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Unlike other social media platforms, you can occasionally reuse content, especially tweets that have great value for your brand. Tweeting an important tweet twice in one day, assuming that you also tweet other unique content, can help you get important information in front of a larger percentage of your following.
You also need to remember the social aspect of Twitter. One such way to keep the social machine rolling is to retweet content from others in your industry that you feel would benefit your audience. Doing so will help you attract attention – this is a good thing! You can also mention other people or businesses in your tweets when they are relevant by using the @ sign to signal them – @andrewroche99 for instance. Don’t forget about #hashtags! This will make your posts more searchable and will help people find your brand when you use a #hashtag about topics that interest them.
Lastly, be consistent in your Twitter engagement and creative with your posts. You can do so by including images, tweeting content that you’ve personally developed and content created by others in your respective field.
YouTube for social media marketing
This may come as a surprise, but YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google. People use YouTube to upload videos on nearly every possible topic you can dream up.
YouTube provides a stellar opportunity to get noticed from a business perspective. Video continues to rapidly grow as a popular channel for consumers. Animoto reports that 80% of customers find demo videos helpful, but 4x as many people prefer watching a video about a product versus reading about it.
Videos also provide you with another layer of personalized interaction. Videos are best when they are narrated and contain footage of genuine employees or customers. In short, they put a name and voice to the brand.
How to get noticed on YouTube
In order to build a following, you first need to develop a wholesome channel. The YouTube algorithm looks at how channels perform as a whole when it comes to video rankings. The number of followers you earn, the number of videos they watch, how much of the videos they watch, and the interactions sparked by the videos all contribute to overall rankings.
YouTube also looks at how audiences respond to individual videos. All in all, you want to promote your videos to draw views. Make sure to focus on opening scenes, because the more of the video people watch, the higher you will rise in the rankings.
You also want to provide videos that will be of use to your audience. You can present news from your industry, product demos, tips and tricks for using your products, or even behind-the-scenes looks at your business. All in all, monitor what people respond to the best and focus on promoting that sort of content.
Lastly, YOuTUbe also looks at the relevance of individual videos. The platform matches keywords in the title and description of the video to searches submitted by users. That being said, make sure to write relevant, keyword-dense, and useful descriptions.
Pinterest for social media marketing
Pinterest has roughly 250 million active users and carries a lot of weight in the retail market. According to a survey, 72% of users said that the pins the find on Pinterest entice them in some way to shop without even realizing it.
Women have long dominated the platform, with Pinterest reporting that 60% of new signups are female. Hootsuite expands upon these figures and states that the majority of users are under the age of 40 and use it to find things they want to buy.
The platform provides companies with a chance to showcase the visual element of their company, such as the products they sell, designs they have created, or even the food they serve.
Brands that do not naturally have a visual side can still find value. Pins can be comprised of infographics or visual data representations to demonstrate a brand’s value.
Tips for getting noticed on Pinterest
Pinterest is all about generating visually rich pins and sharing pins created by others. It allows users to create videos, and they have become quite popular. The platform also allows for promoted videos as ads and states that these videos offer brands 4x the brand lift as non-video based ads.
Promoted pins, which look just like regular pins, allow you to showcase your content which will attract more attention. The name of the game is simply to create pins that will draw the attention of users.
Pinterest also features one-tap pins, which takes users directly to the page where the content originated. You may want to consider this option and design your landing page accordingly to engage any users who click on your one-tap pins.
Instagram for social media marketing
Instagram also has a highly visual emphasis, which makes it a great choice for brands looking to use images to showcase their products and services. Use creativity to really help your posts shine here. Images that show company culture or the people behind your business can be interesting and engaging for users. They help to create a more personalized relationship between you and your followers, an important component of social media marketing 101.
You can also upload short videos to Instagram, so take advantage of this feature on occasion as well. Additionally, there are Instagram Stories, which are slideshows that appear for 24 hours. Use these options to invite people into your brand and let them feel as though they have had a sneak peek behind the scenes. You can also use them to showcase important times for your brand, or to create an appealing invitation for them to try your business.
Tips for getting noticed on Instagram
The most popular times for this platform are Mondays and Thursdays from 8-9 am and then again at 5 pm.
Create a business profile that will allow you to add a phone number to your bio. You can also add a link to this area of your profile. Although many use it to promote their website, think also about updating it to relevant pages, such as event registrations.
As you create posts, use #hashtags to make your posts more searchable. Aim for about 7-10 hashtags per post. Following all of these tips can help you make the most of the benefits Instagram offers to your business.
Snapchat for social media marketing
When it comes to meeting people in the Millennial generation and younger, Snapchat provides excellent opportunities. According to Business Intelligence, 90% of users on the platform are under the age of 25.
On this platform, users can send ‘snaps’ or images and short videos to friends and followers that can be viewed for up to 10 seconds before they disappear. You can also create ‘stories’ that last for up to 24 hours, a trending type of social media content.
It might seem like a challenging platform to use for businesses, but several brands have seen success with promotions such as flash sales, giveaways, and sneak peeks to new launches. To learn social media marketing 101, it can help to look at their examples.
When users take these pictures to send, they can use fun lenses to make the pictures unique. Starbucks, for example, created a promotional filter for their frappuccino. When people used the lens to take their picture, they also promoted the drink to all their friends.
Tips for getting noticed on Snapchat
Snap Ads lets you create videos that appear between Stories on the platform. Snapchat claims that the rate for engagement on these ads is five times higher than click-through rates for ads on similar social media platforms.
Creating sponsored lenses and geo-filters can also help you promote your business in a fun way for Snapchat users.
Within your own Snapchat story, create engaging images that people want to share with others. Craft a story that will entertain people while also raising awareness for your brand.
You can also offer coupons and deals exclusive to the platform. Since Snaps only last a few seconds and Stories last 24 hours, people have to actively follow and engage with your brand to find all of the opportunities.
Other platforms for social media marketing
Although we covered the major platforms on this social media marketing 101 guide, there are a number of other smaller platforms. If you have a business that falls into a highly specific niche, you might find some of these platforms helpful. For example, the music.ly app is a social platform for music lovers. Those in the music business may find this a useful place to engage with prospects. Other potential social media sites to investigate would be:
Making sense of this social media marketing guide
If you have read our social media marketing guide because you want to get started with your own social media campaign, do not feel overwhelmed. All you need to do is follow these steps to get the ball rolling!
1 – Select social media platforms that make sense for your bran
Think about your target audience and where you will likely find them. Aim to find about 2-3 platforms to begin. You can always add later as you begin to develop a regular routine with social media.
2 – Create your profiles
Remember to create a brand profile that reflects your audience on that platform. This means you do not want to copy and paste the same description from one platform to another. For example, when you create a profile on LinkedIn, think about what you would say at networking events.
On Facebook, think about the watercooler or how you would tell a friend about your business. When creating a Twitter account, think about a few key descriptors that will engage readers.
3 – Consider the type of content you want to post
The post, just like the brand description, also needs to reflect the audience. There will likely be some overlap, particularly between platforms like Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn, however, requires more professional content than Facebook. Your posts across these platforms should also include images.
Posts with visuals receive higher engagement rates across the platforms. Remember that the picture and the headline capture people’s attention as they scan through their feeds. Make these portions of the posts memorable.
Whatever industry your business is in, you also shouldn’t forget making videos a part of your content calendar. Yes, you’re right, it’s because people love watching videos. In fact, according to HubSpot, over 50% of brand followers prefer videos compared to other content types.
4 – Be consistent
For all of the platforms, consistently engaging with people on your chosen social sites will boost your credibility and the number of people who follow your account.
5 – Take off the advertising hat and put it on the personal one
Social media offers you an opportunity to demonstrate your personality to your prospects. It is also a great tool to show them the human element of the people behind the brand. You do not want to use it to just promote your brand and products. Social media provides you with a place to start the conversation with prospects, so use it.
Customers today look to social media to connect with their friends. They also use it to learn more about businesses and their products and services. They value personal relationships with the brands they buy from, and social media gives you the chance to nurture this relationship. When you realize the value of social media and want to start creating your own presence, use this social media marketing guide to get you pointed in the right direction.