Social media has revolutionized the way people spend time online. A majority of the average person’s time online is spent scrolling through social media apps. This increase in the attention garnered by social media has also changed how people interact with various brands and companies.
Like Bill Gates said, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” It is vital for any brand or company to have a significant presence online in order to stay competitive, especially when it is a small or medium business. Social media is a free platform that enables companies to connect directly to their target audience to build lasting brand awareness and brand loyalty. Social media is also one of the most efficient ways to generate leads that are genuinely interested in a service or a product. The chances of converting a lead generated from social media are much higher than a lead from any other source.
However, it may seem easy to master. Still, the reality is that having a sound digital marketing strategy is the only way to boost a business and catapult it towards profits effectively. This can only be achieved by employing the services of a social media marketing company.
What is SMM?
Social media is a digital platform that enables individuals or businesses to share their content with others. The use of social media platforms by businesses to market their products or services to customers is Social Media Marketing (SMM).
Think of it as a gala event where you can meet many people. You can indulge them in conversations and subtly mention your products or services they might be interested in. Since you are meeting them in a social setting, they might be genuinely interested in your services if they decide to interact with you. That is what SMM is; in a nutshell.
Using continuous interactions on social media platforms, you can effectively create a community of individuals who are interested in your business, also known as ‘followers.’ This community keeps growing as you expand your products and services to a broader audience. Only the people who take a keen interest in your brand will follow you. This helps you create leads that are more likely to be converted into sales.
How Does SMM Work?
Social media can provide vast pools of information about its users. Brands can use information like geographical location, demographics, and several personal details to create a marketing strategy to target a specific segment of potential customers.
Content creation is the first and most crucial step of a well-oiled digital marketing strategy. Producing relevant content for consumers to engage and comment on can transform the outlook of a customer. Letting them engage meaningfully will help you identify the taste and preferences of your customer base.
SMM works in four stages.
The first stage is to formulate a sound social media strategy that is in line with the goals of a business. This step includes getting familiar with your customers and thoroughly evaluating your competitors and their approach. Doing so allows you to predict the outcome of your social media strategy. Tracking any content posting is also essential to understand which content works best and on which platform.
The second stage is customer segmentation. In this stage, a group of target customer base is established using their information and preferences available on social media. Doing so allows you to formulate the strategy for a carefully targeted campaign.
The third stage is perhaps one of the most vital ones. Creating relatable and relevant content for your customer base to interact and engage with can increase the sales of your products or services by converting the campaign leads.
The final stage of SMM is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This CRM is used to track the value of each customer by analyzing and monitoring if purchases are being made directly or through referrals.
Why is SMM Vital for a Small Business?
SMM used to be optional for small businesses a couple of years ago. However, since the pandemic hit, it has become an essential strategy. Especially for the small businesses that were hit hard by the economic strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, using social media for their marketing needs became the logical option because of its low-cost nature.
Here are some of the most significant ways social media can impact a small business.
- Social media is a free-to-use platform that enables businesses with small budgets to build their brand recognition using free accounts on these platforms.
- Using tools like Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads, it has now become more accessible than ever to target a selected customer segment using various demographics like gender, age, income, location, preferences, etc.
- Facebook Events and Facebook Groups are effective ways to promote events across social media platforms.
- Providing customer service via social media handles allows brands to establish a personal connection with the customers.
The Big Five’ Social Media Platforms
The first step in executing a social media strategy is creating business accounts or pages on social media platforms. The name of the accounts and their URLs should match the name of your business (or at least closely resemble it). The second step is to set up admin accounts for yourself and other business partners who can access the business account. Every account can have varying levels of permissions. Do not forget to upload your business logo, as it will separate you from a sea of business accounts across the platform.
Facebook is one of the most renowned and most used social media platforms of all. With a daily user base of over 1 billion and monthly users crossing 2 billion, Facebook is the preferred platform for establishing a target audience.
What to Post?
Facebook pages operate on the concept of ‘likes.’ If a user likes your business page, it means they are interested in your products and services. They will be the recipients of any content or promotions you decide to post on your business page. The content should be in line with what your business offers and relatable to your followers. You can find the right balance between relevancy and relatability of your content by posting different types of content and analyzing which type of content leads to the maximum number of impressions, engagement, and shares. Once the type of content with the highest engagement is determined, consistently post similar content.
When to Post?
Knowing when to post on Facebook is key to ensuring your followers don’t get overwhelmed or underwhelmed by your posts. If a user continuously finds your posts on their feed, it can have a counterproductive effect on them. According to a study by Socialbakers, if a business is posting more than twice per day or posting only once every week, its engagement rates drop drastically. Posting too little can result in your followers un-liking your page, while posting too little can drive your engagement rate into the ground. One post a day strikes the perfect balance for consistently good engagement rates.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that has been around since the early 2000s. With over 250 million monthly active users, it is the biggest social media platform for B2B (Business to Business) marketing.
What to Post?
Since LinkedIn is a platform that allows people to connect with other professionals online, any user following your company on LinkedIn will receive updates from any content you post on your company account. Video content is also a great way to boost engagement rates on LinkedIn if the video is focused on providing insights into your products or services.
When to Post?
The best way to boost LinkedIn engagement rates is by posting weekly. Studies show brands that post on LinkedIn weekly can see up to a 200% increase in their post engagement rates. You can use your employees to become advocates for your brand by using their networks to increase the reach of your content. Since LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, your content needs to reflect the professionalism of your company too. Being informative and helpful through your posts can go a long way on LinkedIn.
Twitter is by far one of the most controversial social media platforms in today’s day and age. It comprises a massive network of individuals and brands constantly interacting with each other in real-time. On average, Twitter produces upwards of 500 million tweets and has over 320 million active users monthly. Twitter is also the primary source of news and current world affairs for most individuals.
What to Post?
There was once a time when Twitter did not allow a tweet consisting of more than 140 characters. Since November 2017, Twitter has doubled the limit to a generous 280 characters. This increase has allowed users and brands to be able to share more informative tweets. The most popular kind of content posted by brands on Twitter is product promotions, contests, giveaways, sales, data insights, and upcoming releases.
When to Post?
Twitter produces over 5,787 tweets every second. In this fast-paced social environment, it is easy for a tweet to get lost in a sea of similar tweets. In order to increase the reach of your tweets and their engagement rates, a business must resort to posting multiple times a day. Twitter gives you creative freedom when it comes to its content. Instead of posting official and professional content, you can go for something’ light and breezy.’
Instagram is relatively new in the world of social media platforms. Still, it is already the platform that provides the most visual stimuli. It has over 1 billion users and over 500 million active users. Instagram uses a visual twist on social media by allowing users to post pictures in varying formats and sizes, 24-hour stories (that vanish after 24 hours), reels (short videos), and videos. Instagram’s incredible versatility is what makes it the fastest-growing social network of all. As a small business, you can cater to your business goals and audience preferences in any shape or form. Since Instagram and Facebook are interlinked, you can make use of paid advertisements on Instagram that have already been set up previously on Facebook.
What to Post?
The posting possibilities are endless with Instagram. You can choose any type of media to share your content, from pictures to disappearing stories. Photos or short videos that embody your brand on Instagram can help you create brand awareness. Instagram captions are also a helpful tool to give context and insight into your posts by including detailed descriptions of what you are posting.
Instagram stories offer a casual way to reach your audience. Since these stories disappear after 24 hours of posting, you can use these to gather feedback by using tools like polls, asking open-ended questions, AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions, etc. Stories are great for e-commerce brands as you can include links directly to your products.
When to Post?
Instagram posting relies heavily on consistency. As soon as the posting consistency drops, the engagement rates plummet along with the follower count. The frequency of your posting depends on the type of industry your business belongs to. Instead, you can post stories daily to keep your followers interested in your brand. Instagram is a visual platform, and your brand needs to adhere to that. Posing high-quality images of your products or services while uploading stories with the B-roll or behind-the-scenes can help your brand appear more friendly to any followers.
YouTube might seem like a misfit among other social media platforms, but hear us out. YouTube has a whopping 1.9 billion monthly active users, and they consume over a billion of video content daily. It has such an extensive network that YouTube is considered the second largest search platform, only dwarfed by its parent, Google. Creating high-quality video content on YouTube can lend credibility to your brand. Additionally, you can optimize your videos to rank higher when a user searches for a specific product or a service.
What to Post?
The best content for YouTube is ‘how to’ as it is one of this platform’s top four content categories. Informative content gets high engagement as users are 300% more likely to watch a YouTube video if it provides instructions on how to use a product or a service. The best way to create this type of informative content is to utilize your website’s content to make a video. Two minutes long videos fare the best on YouTube.
When to Post?
When it comes to YouTube, you can produce and post as many videos as you can. However, ensure that you do not skimp on quality. You also need to optimize your videos for SEO by using SEO-friendly titles, keywords, and tags. Additionally, you can use cards or linked annotations with CTAs to direct traffic from YouTube back to your website.
Some Social Media Marketing Statistics
These statistics will help you get a deeper insight into understanding your audience and improving your strategy in real-time according to changing needs and requirements.
- Meta owns all of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
- There are more than 4.5 billion active people on social media worldwide.
- On average, users spend 150 minutes every day scrolling through social media platforms.
- 31% of all Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 34.
- Facebook has over 1.9 billion daily active users.
- Instagram has 500 million active users who use Instagram Stories.
- 90% of all Instagram users follow a business account.
- LinkedIn has more than 830 million members.
- 58 million companies have an account on LinkedIn.
- Twitter users spend 26% more time viewing advertisements than on other platforms.
- 2.1 billion people use YouTube to watch videos.
- Every minute, 694 hours of video is streamed on YouTube.
- 55% of global marketers use YouTube, according to a 2021 statistic.
- Pinterest has 433 million users every month.
Social media plays a significant role in digital marketing strategy. Due to the exponential increase in the number of social media users, your business can use it effectively to curate a brand image. Having a sound social media marketing strategy can help you reach your brand’s goals at a minimal cost. However, since the world of social media is constantly evolving, the key is adapting to the continually changing conditions. SMM is something that takes a substantial amount of time, so hiring a social media marketing agency that can patient carefully modify and adjust your strategy is the best way to catapult your business towards profit.