Technology has taken over the modern world, and it’s causing many real changes in our lives. With all the advanced gizmos popping into the industry, it’s no surprise that people are becoming dependent on technology for everyday life decisions. For instance, many consumers depend on social media to know the latest trends, popular locations, and a variety of other social information. Most businesses take advantage of this by engaging in social media marketing.
For small business entrepreneurs and giant companies alike, social media marketing has changed the playing field. While it’s true that online marketing is more convenient and accessible when compared to traditional strategies, these tactics still carry a set of pros and cons.
In this blog post we identify the essential principles of social media marketing.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a way for small and large-scale businesses to communicate with their target audiences through different social media avenues, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and others. Although it uses different mediums to disseminate information, online social media marketing still works under the fundamental principles used in more traditional marketing strategies.
Generally, social media marketing can help boost referrals or sales leads. It can also drive traffic to a website or blog, and keep people informed about business-related events
Most Popular Social Media Marketing Platforms
Increasing brand awareness through social media is more challenging than most would expect it to be. Your choice of marketing platform and content are only a few considerations to be made during your campaign. Here’s how different social media sites can help increase your social media marketing success:
Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and other co-founders of Facebook, it’s now easier to connect with family and friends online. This social media platform, however, is also a powerful outlet that businesses can use to reach out to fans, casual users, or repeat customers. The content options are broad under Facebook’s platform; you can post images, videos, text statuses, and a variety of other media forms.
As of 2017, Facebook has over two billion active users, which is why many business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are using Facebook as their primary social media outlet. This doesn’t mean that business-to-business (B2B) companies aren’t utilizing Facebook. In fact, 42% of B2B marketers have admitted that Facebook is the most effective social networking site for their companies.
Why do social media marketing teams prefer Facebook? Unlike other sites, Facebook has many free features that you can take advantage of. For instance, you can promote your business and interact with potential customers by creating a Facebook page. More importantly, you can run ads and promote your posts based on your hand picked budget, making Facebook an economical and powerful option.
Apart from Facebook, Twitter is also a popular site that’s used in social media marketing. With over 300 million active users, it’s a good place to “see what’s happening.” A recent report also shows that about 87% of B2B social media marketers use Twitter for content marketing.
The biggest challenge when using Twitter as your primary social media marketing platform is getting noticed by your target audience. With graphic content limited on the platform, you will need to use the appropriate hashtags to increase brand visibility.
Originally, Instagram was a platform that people used to share photos with friends and family. Social media marketing professionals, however, have seen the potential of Instagram to promote businesses. In a recent report, 48% of brands are using Instagram for their social media marketing. This is a smart move, considering that 800 million monthly users are active on Instagram worldwide.
What makes Instagram social media marketing so effective is the easy presentation of user-created content. For example, an IBM intern may share a photo while working with the company’s marketing team, instantly granting the company exposure to a multitude of individuals using the platform. By simply reposting this image, IBM garnered over 1,000 likes.
The Harsh Truth About Social Media Marketing
Before spending your money on social media marketing activities, you should know that not all marketers see a positive return on investment (ROI). In fact, less than 50% of businesses claim to see any ROI. Remember that succeeding in social media marketing is a long, challenging process that requires careful planning and research. It takes time and effort to build a strong social media presence, but the results can be immense.
Further, the definition of ROI may vary. For example, entrepreneurs may see 100% ROI, but where is it coming from? Is the ROI measured based on the increased visitors from their social media platforms? Or is it based on a noticeable increased in sales? Note that ROI is self-reported, so it’s not always accurate. In other words, the “return” aspect could take the form of different growth areas, whether it be an increase in exposure, followers, or actual sales.
Compared to previous years, a positive ROI is getting harder to achieve because of the decline in organic reach from brand content. This may be attributed to the decreased amount of visibility an organization is able to achieve without paying for additional marketing services.
How to Enhance Social Media Marketing in 2019
To ensure the success of your social media marketing activities, prepare for all the challenges that you may face along your marketing journey. Social media marketers that do not form a well defined plan are only setting themselves up for failure.
The first step to improving social media presence is to lay down attainable goals. For instance, aiming for a million new Instagram followers in 2019 may not be a realistic milestone, especially for small businesses. By creating a more attainable goal, you can invest your marketing efforts into more affordable and effective venues.
In addition to making realistic goals, you’ll need to check the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts by measuring the return on your investment. Audit your social channels to minimize the cost of labor and advertisements.
Moreover, using social media marketing tools can help secure your success. If Facebook is your primary social media marketing platform, you’ll need tools to help you publish content, engage with your audience, and analyze the results.
Instagram marketers, on the other hand, may need to install photo-editing applications to ensure that their visual content is formatted properly. VSCO, for example, offers free filters and additional collections from the in-app store. You can also adjust the sharpness, contrast, and color temperature of the photos, depending on your preference or strategies.
Lastly, you’ll need to know what your competitors are doing when it comes to content creation. This only requires surface-level analysis, which can help steer your social media marketing campaign in the right direction.