A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is an important business strategy that entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with. It helps businesses acquire leads, improve lead conversions, and establish a strong online presence.

There’s a reason why social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are earning billions of dollars in mobile ad revenue a year— social media marketing is effective, it’s working, and it’s one of the best strategies out there when it comes to lead generation and conversion.

In this post, you’ll learn what social media marketing is, what makes it different from other digital marketing strategies, and how to build a social media campaign from scratch.

Here’s your beginner-friendly guide to social media marketing from Course Belt.

What is social media marketing?

Have you ever seen a sponsored post on Facebook or Instagram? Or a post from a local business promoting a product or service? Well, those are products of social media marketing— and they usually work. 

According to statistics, 33% of users prefer to contact brands using social media instead of making phone calls. Moreover, around 73% of marketers believe that their social media campaigns have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.

These just show that there’s an increasing need for businesses to explore this channel more than ever, especially during the pandemic when customers prefer going online to make a purchase than visit in-store.

To define, social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to establish long-term, profitable relationships with customers. It involves creating brand awareness in those platforms to generate leads, convert leads into actual, paying customers, and encourage repeat purchases from existing customers to drive sales in the long run.

To craft an effective social media marketing strategy, the business must learn how to publish content that is relevant to the readers’ needs and preferences. They must also learn how to analyze results and gain insights from their social media campaigns, especially when running paid advertisements. All of these will be necessary in adjusting the campaign to suit prospective customers’ needs and increase their chances of making their first purchase. 

For further readings, check out this article: 5 Important Points You Should Know About Social Media Marketing.

Top social media platforms

Here is a list of the top social media platforms in 2021:

  1. Facebook – 2.7 Billion monthly active users (as of second quarter of 2020).
  2. YouTube – 2 Billion+ monthly active users
  3. Whatsapp – 2 Billion monthly active users (as of January 2021)
  4. Messenger – 1.3 Billion
  5. WeChat – 1.213 Billion
  6. Instagram – 1 Billion
  7. QQ – 807 Million
  8. Qzone – 532 Million
  9. TikTok – 500 Million
  10. Sina Weibo – 462 Million
  11. Tumblr – 437 Million
  12. Reddit – 430 Million
  13. Twitter – 330 Million
  14. LinkedIn – 303 Million
  15. Douban – 300 Million
  16. Baidu Tieba – 300 Million
  17. Snapchat – 287 Million
  18. Viber – 260 Million
  19. Pinterest – 250 Million
  20. Discord – 250 Million
  21. Telegram – 200 Million
  22. Line – 165 Million
  23. Medium – 60 Million

What makes social media marketing different?

Social media marketing is different from other digital marketing strategies

Social media marketing is different from other digital marketing strategies in the following ways:

  • It helps establish brand awareness fast
  • It’s one of the easiest ways to generate leads and improve conversions
  • It’s a free way to maintain good relations with customers
  • It’s one of the easiest ways for you to understand the market better— including your competitors

It helps establish brand awareness fast

Take note of the monthly active users per platform (as listed above), that’s the number of people you can potentially reach using social media marketing. Indeed, social media marketing is one of the fastest ways for you to reach out to potential customers and boost your brand awareness.

Social engagements available on these platforms such as likes, comments, and shares help drive up traffic to your site and your other contents.

It’s one of the easiest ways to generate leads and improve conversions

Social media marketing is one of the easiest ways to generate leads and improve conversions

When enough brand awareness has been established, lead generation follows. It’s easier for people to get interested in your business offerings now that they recognize your brand. 

These people become prospective customers or leads and when enough interest has been sustained and when these leads are engaged well, they become actual, paying customers. Social media marketing has been observed to improve lead generation and conversion rates and ultimately drive sales growth. That’s one of the reasons why a lot of companies trust social media platforms and are willing to invest in advertising there because of the results they’ve seen.

It’s a free way to maintain good relations with customers

Social media platforms are free to use, even for businesses. The features will be limited, of course, and if you want to keep everything free, you’ll have to rely on organic growth. But still, simple acts such as commenting on customers’ reviews, liking their posts, and thanking your customers on the platform are FREE ways to maintain good relations with your customers.

It’s one of the easiest ways for you to understand the market better— including your competitors

As they say, social media sites are microcosms of the real world and gaining insights from these platforms allows you to understand better how the actual market behaves. 

This knowledge of the market allows you to strategically position yourself when reaching out to your target market. Observing your competitors’ approaches also lets you modify your strategies (related to products, price, place, and promotion) accordingly.

How to build a social media campaign from scratch

Social media marketing campaigns can be made from scratch

There are plenty of ways to build a campaign on social media from scratch. But here are seven easy steps that first-time social media marketers can follow:

  1. Identify your business goal
  2. Choose your social media platform
  3. Complete your online profiles
  4. Choose your style
  5. Strategize your posts
  6. Analyze your results
  7. Constantly engage using automation

Identify your business goal

The most important part of any strategy is the “whys.” Why are you doing this? Why are you running your campaigns on social media? Do you want to achieve more brand awareness at the end of the day? More leads? More sales? More profit? 

The answers to these will determine your next few steps such as which platform to choose and what style to use.

Choose your social media platform

Choose your platform for social media marketing

Your platform of choice should be heavily dependent on your target market. Facebook is good for members of Generation X and millennials. Twitter and Instagram for millennials. LinkedIn for Baby Boomers, Generation X, and millennials. And YouTube for Millennials and members of Generation Z.

Your buyer’s profile should guide you in choosing which platform to invest in and focus on.

Complete your online profiles

Fill out your complete information on your online profiles such as your brand name, address, and contact details. Pictures and posts should be consistent with your brand image. Be mindful of cross-channel marketing best practices such as unifying customer data and creating a cohesive customer experience across all digital channels.

Choose your style

Choose a brand identity for your social media marketing campaign

This may depend on your target market. But your style will dictate your future content. Is your target market primarily composed of members of Generation Z? Then video is the way to go. Millennials love to pay more for experience, so your social media channels should be immersive. Create and integrate your brand personality in all your posts.

Strategize your posts

Post once or twice a day. The following posting schedules are recommended:

  • For Twitter, it is recommended to post during 1-3pm on weekdays.
  • On Facebook, 1-4pm on weekdays
  • On LinkedIn, 7-8:30am and 5-6pm from Tuesday to Thursday.
  • On Instagram, 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays 

Analyze your results

Analyze your social media marketing results

Social media platforms have built-in tools to allow you to check your insights and analyze your results. Adjust your strategy accordingly to maximize results.

Constantly engage using automation

Make use of automation tools to let you constantly engage your leads and customers with minimal effort. Examples of these tools are HootSuite, Agorapulse, Kicksta, Buffer, CoSchedule, SocialPilot, and SproutSocial.

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