Social media marketing is an important concept that business owners should familiarize themselves with. As the number of active social media users and consumers are growing daily, social media sites are poised to become powerful platforms for the exchange of goods and services in any industry in the future.
That’s why in this article, we will discuss five important points that you should know about social media marketing and how you can drive competitive advantage and growth with it.
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1. The pandemic changed the game for social media marketers
Companies’ marketing playbooks may no longer be applicable to the new business landscape reshaped by the pandemic. More and more customers are now going digital, far more than what was previously expected. Large companies are accelerating their digital transformation to adapt to the new demands of the market and a lot of small businesses feel left out due to their inability to digitalize their model.
Social media marketing, in particular, has seen an increase in relevance throughout 2020. Facebook alone reported that it had 1.84 billion daily active users in December 2020. Hence, the case is clear: marketing via social media sites is now a necessity and those who fail to tap into this massive market could lose the competition.
What to do during and after the pandemic:
- Set clear goals and understand the market. Your future actions will be determined based on your goals, so it is important to clearly define them from the get-go. After setting your goals, understand your target market and your competition. They will guide you in choosing what approach to take when establishing your relevance in the market, especially during and after the pandemic.
- Choose the right platform to engage your leads and customers. You can choose from the top social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, and Reddit. The platform of your choice will depend on your goals and your target market.
- Gather data and develop a strategy around it. Pulling business-related data is an important task that businesses should religiously follow. Most business owners downplay the importance of numbers yet data can lead them to make the correct strategic decisions. It allows them to determine how much to invest in something or how much savings they can achieve, or how much costs they’ve incurred so far. You can use tools to help you gather clean data and develop more accurate actionable insights.
2. Social media trends quickly change from time to time
Be aware of the changes in trends on social media. Sometimes it takes luck to succeed on social media, but most of the time it only takes market vigilance and quick decision-making to hijack growth opportunities when a trend is on the rise. In short, it’s easy to get left out when you’re unaware of trends and it’s also easy to boost your growth when you remain vigilant.
Examples of social media trends:
- Ephemeral content. A picture, video, or text that is available only for a short duration and disappears afterward such as those found on Instagram and Snapchat Stories.
- Social commerce. Buying and selling using social media sites have been on the rise lately, with around 73% of businesses reporting to use this strategy to increase their acquisition of new customers.
- Video will dominate the space. As customers’ attention span decrease, video (unsurprisingly) is the way to go. According to a study conducted by Cisco, video content is projected to comprise at least 82% of all online content.
- Increasing use of live streaming. More customers are demanding more transparency from their online content creators. Live streaming, without the edits and other facades, is now increasingly being used by businesses and content creators to connect and engage with their followers.
- Personalization. With the noise on social media, getting content tailored to fit the user’s interest and preferences will become more paramount. Businesses and marketers must leverage personalization, especially when delivering social media ads. Advanced targeting and customization options should be fully utilized by marketers to increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.
3. Use Analytics to Measure Success
As marketers, it can be tempting to leave your marketing campaigns to the free market and hope for the best, but that can be costly and totally unwise. Measuring your success with analytics is one way to figure out if your campaign is working or not, and it can help you make quick decisions to steer your business in the right direction.
Use tools such as Google Analytics to measure your campaigns’ success. Add tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so you can properly monitor them. And use analytics for each social platform that you’re using to gain more insight into which content your target audience is most responsive to.
Other tools for social media analytics include:
- Sprout Social
4. Paid Social Media Marketing Definitely Pays Off
While using and advertising on social media can totally cost you nothing, expanding business reach using paid social advertising has been proven to pay off for companies that have resorted to the said strategy. Paid social media is highly cost-effective, and if done correctly, you can engage a huge audience at a very low cost.
When combined with tools such as marketing automation software, you will be able to gather data about your campaigns and monitor which paid campaign works best, and drop off those that do not match your expectations and goals.
When running paid social media ads, remember the following:
- Prepare your budget plan. Make sure you know where you stand when it comes to your budget. How much are you willing to invest in a particular campaign? Plan for success. You can calculate what kind of ROI you can expect using this tool.
- Define your goals, platform, and target audience. These are the basics when it comes to business and they will determine what kind of actions you should take as you go along. Goals are the “why” of the business. They will help you narrow down your courses of action and will help you take actions decisively when faced with challenges related to managing the business. Platforms are the “where” and the target audiences are the “to whom.”
- Set the time period. This is the “when” of your plan and is considered a key aspect of your paid social media campaign. You must set this in relation to the budget that you have prepared for a particular campaign.
- Design. This is the “what” of the plan. This includes deciding what photo, video, or caption your ad is going to have for the campaign. It goes without saying that all of these should be made in relation to the previous points: how much budget you have, what your goals are, and when will you be publishing these ads.
- Monitor the results and assess the best course of action. You’ll be getting this a lot in marketing, including social media marketing. Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure out which campaign works best for you and your target audience and you can only make this assessment when you constantly monitor the results, identify the issues, and test alternative courses of actions.
5. Be aware of what NOT to post
So many businesses have run into trouble by posting or tweeting something considered “insensitive.” When choosing to run a controversial campaign or something that you consider as risky, always get a second opinion or do trial runs with a controlled group to determine their actions and whether their responses are within expectations.
There’s no hard and fast rule here. But consider your brand image when running ads and check the environment of the social media platform you’re running them on. Twitter, with their “cancel culture,” is highly risky— a lot of companies ruined their image there by tweeting something “insensitive.”
Identify these topics that are usually frowned upon by the social media community such as race, politics, religion, and gender issues, and as much as possible, stay away from these topics— unless your goal is to spark a discussion and increase brand awareness. But again, this is a risky move that should be carefully calculated on your part.
Having a social media marketing plan is incredibly beneficial for businesses that decide to run a strategy around it. When it comes to social media, remember five important points:
- Be aware of the changes caused by the pandemic
- Identify the trends on social media and run a campaign based on that trend
- Use tools that gather analytics to make data-driven decisions
- Considering running a paid social media campaign
- Be extremely careful when running highly controversial topics such as race, politics, gender, and religion
Get a deeper understanding of how social media marketing works and learn how to do it properly by clicking here.