Social media marketing (SMM) (also known as digital marketing and e-marketing) is the use of social media platforms on which users build social networks and share information to build a company’s brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. In addition to providing companies with a way to engage with existing customers and reach new ones, social media marketing (SMM) has purpose-built data analytics that allow marketers to track the success of their efforts and identify even more ways to engage.
Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that leverages the power of popular social media networks to achieve your marketing and branding goals. But it’s not just about creating business accounts and posting when you feel like it. Social media marketing requires an evolving strategy with measurable goals and includes:
- Maintaining and optimizing your profiles.
- Posting pictures, videos, stories, and live videos that represent your brand and attract a relevant audience.
- Responding to comments, shares, and likes and monitoring your reputation.
- Following and engaging with followers, customers, and influencers to build a community around your brand.
Social media marketing also includes paid social media Marketing, where you can pay to have your business appear in front of large volumes of highly targeted users.
Why Is Social Media Marketing So Powerful?
social media is one of the most effective free channels for marketing your business today. Here are some of the specific benefits of social media marketing:
- Humanize your business: Social media enables you to turn your business into an active participant in your market. Your profile, posts, and interactions with users form an approachable persona that your audience can familiarize and connect with, and come to trust.
- Drive traffic: Between the link in your profile, blog post links in your posts, and your ads, social media is a top channel for increasing traffic to your website where you can convert visitors into customers.
- Generate leads and customers: You can also generate leads and conversions directly on these platforms, through features like Instagram/Facebook shops, direct messaging, call to action buttons on profiles, and appointment booking capabilities.
- Increase brand awareness: The visual nature of social media platforms allows you to build your visual identity across vast audiences and improve brand awareness. And better brand awareness means better results with all your other campaigns.
- Build relationships: These platforms open up both direct and indirect lines of communication with your followers through which you can network, gather feedback, hold discussions, and connect directly with individuals.
Social media marketing statistics
With regard to the benefits above, don’t just take our word for it. Let’s take a look at some social media marketing statistics that prove its power:
- The average US adult spends 2.25 hours on social media every day.
- Over 70% of people who have a positive experience with a business on social media will recommend that business to their networks.
- Facebook users click on 12 Facebook ads on average every month.
- 81% of people use Instagram to research products and services.
- Nearly 80% of Twitter users feel more positive about a business when they get a response to their tweet.
- 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn drive business decisions.
- 46% of TikTok users engage in the app without any other distractions.
Creating your social media marketing plan
Now that you know the essentials of a social media marketing strategy, it’s time to put it into action. Your social media marketing plan is the roadmap to carrying out your strategy. It puts structure around your efforts so you can measure your success and make sure you’re spending your resources wisely. Here’s how to create your social media marketing plan:
- Choose your platforms: Choose based on your target audience, platforms popular for your industry, as well as your bandwidth. Only take on the number of platforms you can actively keep up with. You can always start with one and then add on more slowly as you get the hang of them.
- Set goals and objectives: These should be simple and task-like to start, like post once a day for a month, get your profiles set up, or do a competitive analysis. Once you get into a rhythm and gather insights, you’ll be able to set more specific and strategic goals like increase your following by X% or publish X [content types you’ve found your audience likes] per month.
- Report and adjust regularly: Use each platform’s analytics to identify which posts generate the most engagement, whether you’re getting more followers, and to see your audience demographics. Harness and scale up what works and nix what doesn’t.
The Best Social Media Marketing Platforms for Business
The best social media marketing platforms for business include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat. Different social media marketing sites require different approaches, so here’s a brief overview on each one—its user base, main vibes, pros, cons, and content types.
Facebook is the largest social media platform globally as well as one of the biggest local business directories. People of a diverse range of age groups use it to communicate with friends and family, participate in groups and forums, find and visit businesses near them, and follow brands.
You may not think of YouTube as a social media marketing channel, but it fits the bill: you can post videos to your channel; share, comment on, and like other videos, and follow other accounts you like. Plus, you have a curated feed in your homepage with recommended videos.
Though it came onto the scene years after LinkedIn and Twitter, Instagram quickly surpassed those platforms and reached one billion monthly active users in 2018. It’s popular for its diverse content formats, including Feed posts, Stories, Lives, Reels, and IGTV. People use Instagram to follow influencers and brands they buy from and who support their personal values.
LinkedIn may be a professional network, but it’s also an inspiring community that celebrates leadership, learning, and core values. So in addition to using it to network, find prospects, and share industry insights, it’s also a great place to express your company culture and build your personal brand in parallel with your business brand. There are tons of LinkedIn company page features to take advantage of, so take care when building your page.
Twitter is a beautifully tangled network of quick thoughts, useful tidbits, and energized discussions. You should be regularly active on every social media platform, but it’s especially important here. Many people use Twitter to get news, follow brands, and get customer service. Be sure to retweet when a customer has something nice to say about you, and don’t forget to answer people’s questions when possible.
Snapchat isn’t just for teens. Its largest age group (75%) ranges from 13-34 and with Snap Maps, geofilters, and its partnership with Gannett, it’s more locally-focused than you might think. While you can’t build relationships on the platform, you can build an audience through fun images and short videos.
TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform of all time, taking only five years to reach one billion monthly active users. While it’s known for dancing, there are countless popular categories on the platform that continue to grow. Businesses are finding ways to use it as a marketing channel, but just remember, the primary reason people use TikTok is for entertainment, so make sure your videos align with that.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) Campaigns that instantly reach a range of target audiences are clearly advantageous to any business.
But like any Social Media Content SMM campaigns can leave a company open to attack. For example, a viral video claiming that a product causes illness or injury must be addressed immediately, whether the claim is true or false. Even if a company can set the record straight, false viral content can make consumers less likely to purchase in the future.
Sticky content is the marketing term for attractive content that engages customers at first glance and then influences them not only to purchase products but also to share the content.
Viral marketing is an SMM strategy that attempts to trigger the rapid spread of word-of-mouth product information, a very simple and inexpensive way to promote sales.