Social media is a powerhouse in the marketing world; both effective and reasonably priced. Since the eruption of digital marketing in the past 10 years, companies shift more of their marketing budget to social media and using the community built across social media platforms to engage people and beat their competition. Today, we’ll share some super simple social media marketing tips you need to kickstart your marketing online this winter and beat the heck out of your competition.
When you think about organic social media marketing, what we call owned and earned social media, ROI originates not from advertising, but from building a community of connections interested in your brand and its products. Beyond just creating a large following, you must achieve engagement for your social media marketing efforts to pay off.
When your community engages with a post, through liking, commenting, sharing, ReTweeting, etc, the message reaches your community’s connections to amplify your messaging. Check out the image below to see how you can reach a massive audience by engaging average users.
Starting with a respectable 2 million connections and assuming each connection has an average number of network connections (ie. Friends, followers), which is 388 Friends, on average, per user, you quickly reach 1.2 billion users or nearly half of Facebook’s number of active users (2.7 billion).
When you consider that users consider posts shared or liked (or ReTweeted, Re-Pinned, etc), more trustworthy, acting as virtual word-of-mouth, you see the effect of this engagement offers not only more reach but, likely, more conversion, social media marketing is one of your best friends.
User-generated content, or UGC, goes beyond engagement with your brand to reflect posts generated by your community. This UGC offers all the advantages of engagement shown earlier in this post, along with other valuable outcomes including the fact that UGC reduces the strain on your staff to produce content, UGC provides unique value by answering questions and providing tips for using your products, and, maybe most importantly, a strong group of brand advocates (or ambassadors) is available to provide assistance to users around the clock, something you can’t do easily alone.
The value of influencers
Now, extend the analogy above to consider users with well above average numbers of followers. We call these social media influencers and there’s an entire marketing strategy built on getting social media influencers to engage with your content, bringing your brand to the attention of their huge numbers of connections, while tacitly endorsing your brand.
Now that we’re all on the same page regarding how social media marketing creates value for your business, let’s discuss our simple social media marketing tips to help you boost market performance and slam the competition.
After our discussion above, I hope you agree that the most important thing you must do when marketing using social media is to engage with your followers. Engagement doesn’t just happen and, if you attack social media marketing the same way you approach traditional marketing, you’ll fail to generate engagement, and your efforts will fail.
The cornerstone to engagement on social media is crafting great content to share. But, instead of blasting promotional content, even if you use coupons or other valuable elements for users, you must generate a conversation with your community, not talk at them. Social media looks more like a backyard BBQ with friends than a commercial; at least if you expect success. So, don’t talk about yourself all the time. Listen and celebrate your community.
That means recognizing the efforts of your community. So, if a member answers another user’s question, thank them. If a user shares a great story about your brand, offer them something for their efforts, such as a coupon for a free cookie if you’re a bakery. And, above all, listen for questions or concerns and address these posts as quickly as possible.
Consider the platforms you use
As you can see from our discussion on engagement, social media marketing takes TIME. Don’t expect to actively participate in every social platform out there unless you have a large staff dedicated to social media. Only choose a few platforms to ensure you dedicate sufficient time to each one.
As a small company, when you start out using social media for your brand it is a good idea to keep the platforms down to a maximum of 3 as you learn the ropes. For example, if you are a food brand you might choose Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in those first few months as you pull in new customers.
The social media platforms you choose for your company largely depend on your target market. Consider the graphic below, as well as others you can find online to see which platforms match your target market.
Learn about demographics
It is important to understand your product and your audience from concept to market and use this when marketing your product on social media. As you see in the graphic below, even when a platform, like Facebook, contains a wide range of age groups, each age group wants different things when using social media.
Not surprisingly, boomers use social media more like a letter or email, sharing pictures and updates, as you can see from the image. In contrast, Gen Z users want to chat with friends and follow influencers (including celebrities) on social media.
By knowing the demographics of your target market, as well as guiding your decision about which platforms might work best, you have a better idea of what type of content to share to engage that market.
Imagery and videos are the bread and butter of social media marketing. Studies show that posts with an image generate 37% higher engagement than those without. Video is one of the most popular content types found online today and generates massive engagement. That’s especially true with younger Gen Z users, who use YouTube and other video platforms more frequently than even their adult Gen Z counterparts.
In addition to generating engagement, video is a great tool to demonstrate your product or to help users get the most from the products they purchased from you. Video provides a way to reach visual learners and provide more robust information to buyers without the high cost associated with distributing lengthy printed instructions sold with your product.
For instance, lots of brands switched to visual materials with pictures of how to assemble or operate their products to alleviate the cost of producing materials in a variety of languages. But, consumers often find these pictures hard to follow, especially if they’re reproduced as small images or poorly depicted. A video provides a cheap alternative for these consumers, who might otherwise express frustration that damages your brand image (even more so if they share their frustration on social media) or they might fail to receive desired benefits from your products because they aren’t using them properly.
So, if you are able to create a video showing off your products or services you are much more likely to succeed, especially if you can translate the video into multiple languages.
This post barely scratched the surface of the available tips for effectively managing your social media. Be sure to check out other posts on this topic contained throughout this website and you’ll find a wealth of advice across the internet. If you have specific questions, please use the comments section below and I’ll get back to you with answers quickly. Also, if you have ideas for future posts, use the comments to share those, as well.
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