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What is social media marketing?

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The world of social media marketing is big and ever-changing. With new social media platforms popping up, algorithms to follow, and different types of content, it can feel overwhelming. Today, most businesses understand the value of social media, yet sometimes they don’t get the right results because they don’t have a strategy in place that works for their business. 

By going back to the basics and understanding the foundation of social media marketing, you can take the steps to improve your social media content and engage your community. Social media really has changed the way that modern society functions; it’s a huge part of how people connect with one another on a personal and professional level. Let’s start at the beginning and properly explore what social media marketing is, why you need it, and how it can help your business in today’s phone-obsessed society. 

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What is social media marketing? 

Social media marketing (SMM) is the way that businesses use social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, to market a company’s new products or services. It’s the process of creating content on social media to promote your business and drive engagement and sales. It’s all about connecting with your audience and showing how your business adds value. 

Similar to the real offline world, your social media marketing success is largely dependent on how well you can find and communicate with your target audience. Once you find your target audience, you need to produce content that will make your customers happy and promote further sharing. 

Why do you need a solid social media marketing strategy in 2021? 

To understand just how important social media marketing is today, here are a few standout statistics: 

For many people, social media is a daily activity you use to watch, entertain, connect, and share with your digital circle. Over the last decade, social media has become one of the main marketing channels across multiple industries. In 2021, you need a solid social media marketing plan to stand out from the competition and grow your business.  

Increase brand awareness and engage communities 

Even though businesses sell products or services, marketing is still built on creating human connections. Although social media has played a big role in marketing and sales for a while now, that importance has accelerated in recent times. You can use social media platforms to tell your story to increase brand awareness. You can showcase why potential customers should listen to you or invest in your business. When you create meaningful connections, you can build a community within your target audience that in itself can generate more leads for your business.  

Improve customer interaction and communication 

Social media is no longer an option, it’s a business necessity. These platforms allow you to interact with your customer base directly. Social media networks are a key part of communication, marketing, and sales strategies. Customers expect brands to interact with them on social media in a way that creates a meaningful interaction. Positive social media interactions can increase sales, increase spending, and develop a stronger bond with that brand. 

Boost website traffic and conversions 

Social media marketing and advertising is an important part of boosting website traffic. Sharing your content on social media pages is a great way to encourage readers to view your blog or video on your website. Social interactions and content can showcase your expertise and drive more traffic to your website, and ultimately, boost conversions. 

5 key elements of social media marketing 

When talking about social media marketing, there are a few key elements that build up the foundation of SMM. You need to think about these five pillars and the way they intertwine to leverage social media marketing in a way that drives results. It’s easy to feel like you’re putting effort into social media without seeing results. But when you implement the right techniques, you can access a potentially massive audience and grow your business. 

1. Strategy 

Your strategy is the bigger picture of figuring out how your social media content is going to achieve the goals that you set out as a business. You can have the most incredible content, but if you don’t have the right strategy in place it can lead to some pretty deflating results. Your social media marketing strategy is about determining your goals, figuring out which social media platforms to use, and the type of content you think will do best. For example, if you want to use social media to increase brand awareness, you want to utilize the platforms where your target audience is most active, and even leverage influencers in your niche.  

2. Content 

Another key part of SMM is planning and publishing your content. With Reels, TikTok, IG TV, and Facebook Live, you have a ton of options to choose from when it comes to content. For small businesses, social media marketing usually starts with planning and creating content with consistent branding and messaging. You need to plan your social media posts ahead of time so that you can share content regularly. When you break down social media content, you have infographics, videos, images, and copy to think about. Consider using social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to simplify your content production. 

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3. Engagement 

As your social media strategy and presence continues to grow, engagement and social listening are an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. This is how you grow your community, interact with customers, and create meaningful interactions that elevate your brand. As more people take to social media to share their positive and negative experiences, you need to monitor your social media accounts, mentions, hashtags, and comments to make sure that you can step in and manage any situation. You should be where your customers hang out to meet consumer demands and expectations. 

4. Analysis 

Analysis has several roles to play in social media marketing. Firstly, it’s important to analyze your past social media performance. You need to have an in-depth knowledge of your brand’s social media results. Check every social media channel and look at metrics in real-time such as produced leads, sales, follows, mentions, and more. You should be using analytics tools like Google Analytics on an ongoing basis to measure how your social media marketing is performing. Think about how many people you have reached or how many positive comments your brand is getting. 

5. Advertising 

Advertising is another key element of social media marketing. Social media ads allow you to precisely target more people who don’t follow you. Nowadays, social media advertising is powerful. You can choose which social platform to use and create target audiences based on a range of metrics like demographics, interests, likes, and behaviors. You can promote your video content and run marketing campaigns with Facebook Ads or use Instagram Ads to promote specific products and then utilize Instagram Shopping so that nothing stands in between the customer and purchase. 

David Steel, the Chief Viral Officer of Sneeze.it, delves further into the topic of cutting through the noise with marketing on The Fitness Founders Podcast. He talks about the process of crafting the right messaging and creative for your online offering to beat out the competition.  

5 tips to kickstart your social media marketing 

Social media marketing can produce incredible results when done in the right way. Today’s digital marketers are faced with the challenge of creating a personalized experience across multiple social networks. They have to deliver the right message at the best time in a way that engages their audience. If you fail to deliver on context, you can say goodbye to your social media marketing efforts. 

1. Nail your strategy 

The world of social media can feel intense. The best place to start with SMM is to figure out your strategy. This covers everything from your goals to your actions and content plan. Design your strategy in a way that’s measurable so that you can track everything. When creating your strategy, you need to think about how you will create sharable content and how you will use your social channels to grow and promote your business. If your goal is to sell more products and increase brand authority, you need to think about the actions you need to take to make this a reality. Your SMM should also encourage customers to leave reviews and share their own content like product reviews. 

2. Build a social media marketing plan 

When you’re making a social media marketing plan, it’s a good idea to make a content marketing plan. As you build out your social media profiles and determine your brand voice and tone, you start to understand who you want to target and what you want to say. For your content planning, think about the frequency and type of content you want to post. High-quality videos are ideal for engagement while GIFs can perform well on Twitter. It’s easy to put a lot of time into creating, scheduling, and publishing content. This is why it’s important that you plan your content ahead of time so that you can streamline your social media efforts and save time in the long term.  

3. Look at your numbers 

You can analyze hundreds of different social media metrics. From post engagement and followers to impressions and ROI, it feels like there’s a new metric to track each week. For every goal you have, you should have a metric that you can use to check if you have met that goal. This will help you to figure out if your social media marketing strategy has hit your goal or missed the mark. For example, if your goal is to increase brand engagement, you would track likes, comments, retweets, mentions, and post engagement rates. 

4. Choose the right social media platforms 

Choosing which social media platforms you will use is a key part of the planning and strategy creation stage. It’s important that you take the time to make sure your brand is in the right place to reach your target audience. Each platform has a slightly different demographic with unique features. With Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, it can feel overwhelming to create content and manage several different platforms. To choose the best social media platforms for you, start with your type of business and target audience. Research your competitors, consider your own resources and align your overall marketing goals with the platforms that work for your business. 

5. Create great content 

Social media is all about content. Creating incredible content starts by understanding exactly who you are speaking to and what you’re trying to say. To gain user’s attention and be competitive in any industry, you need to pull focus and engage your audience. While your strategy helps you to deliver the right message to the right person at the best time, your content is what social media users stick around for. Your content should be inspiring, useful, and enjoyable; it should serve a purpose to help you meet your business goals. When it comes to content creation, your creative and copy should align with the social media platform. Think about the best types of content for each platform and how it will perform. 

The Fitness Founders Podcast has a great episode with Jack Cardy where he reveals the secrets of a great content strategy. Jack is the Managing Director of Live Fit Gym and the co-founder of Media Bros. He talks about what you need to do when creating a content strategy and the secrets to cutting through the noise on social media. 

In summary 

Social media is a business tool that can help to build brand awareness, engage your community, and drive traffic. Digital marketers are always on the lookout for ways to leverage social media to grow brands and attract new customers. To succeed in the world of social media marketing, you need to be active where your audience hangs out online, stay up-to-date with social media trends, and leverage technology to streamline your efforts to optimize performance and results. 

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