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Beginner's Guide to Social Media Marketing

Joe Martin
Social Media images

In 2004, when Facebook first started, it was an invite-only platform for college students. Fast-forward almost 20 years and now social media is a part of everyday life for most Americans. Which poses a big question - does social media need to be a part of a local businesses’ marketing plan? In most, if not all, cases social media can be a low-cost way for your business to reach its target audience.

With more than 4 billion social media users worldwide, it’s clear that part, if not all, of your target market is on a social media platform. With social media, you can reach a wider audience, build your brand, and gain new customers. ‌

For first-time users, social media can seem a little complicated. There’s several social media platforms that have a high number of users and also have benefits for business owners, like you. This guide will outline social media marketing methods along with information about each of the most popular platforms. After reading, you will know where, when, and what to post to grow your business and build your online presence. 

What Is Social Media?

Social media includes a variety of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, that allow users to connect with others online. You can share content, including pictures, videos, or text. Social media started out as a way for people to network but has now become a way for businesses to promote themselves and advertise their products or services.

Some of the most popular social media platforms today, include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok

‌Why Do I Need Social Media?

Social media has changed how consumers interact with brands. It’s allowed businesses to connect with its customers in a more organic way and it's also increased the amount of information about your business available online. Several social media platforms give businesses tools to engage with customers and also give consumers the ability to leave reviews.

A Google report found that over half of consumers research online, including social media, before making a purchase or engaging with a brand. Consumers want to read about a business first and their go-to sites are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Posting on social media sites will help you grow your business and connect with potential customers. You can build customer loyalty by posting relevant content, interacting with users, and asking for customer feedback. Social media is a great way to keep your company top-of-mind with your ideal customers every day.

‌How Do I Create a Social Media Strategy?

Whether you own a law firm or a home services company, there are ways you can use social media to help build your business. No matter what industry you’re in, there are a few key steps every business can take when creating a plan for social media that will work for you.

  1. Decide on your social media goals. Like with all other business strategies, you’ll need to settle on your main goals for using social media. Do you want to broaden your audience? Increase customer loyalty? Drive traffic to your site? Or perhaps generate more sales? When starting out, stick to one or two goals. It is also important to know that building a social media presence and seeing the results takes time so give yourself enough time to achieve these goals.

  2. Define your audience. Knowing who your audience will help you pick which channels to focus on and what type of content to post. Consider the age, location, gender, occupation, and hobbies or interests of your ideal audience. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can also help you understand your audience when posting advertising or sponsoring a post.

  3. Choose specific platforms to focus on. Once you have your target audience in mind, it's time to decide which social media channels to pursue. The Pew Research Center has graphs and charts showing which demographic uses which social media platform. For example, those between 18-29 years old prefer to use TikTok, while users in the 65+ age range are more likely to use Facebook. Depending on your ideal customer, you may want to focus on only one platform. For instance, if you’re an estate planning lawyer, Facebook and LinkedIn will be your focus while TikTok and SnapChat may be irrelevant.

  4. Make engaging posts. The only way to see what works and doesn't work is to start making posts. You can track your engagement and see what posts are getting likes, comments, or shares and which are lacking in interaction. To get an idea of where to start, scope out your competition to see what content they’re posting. Doing this can give you a great jumping-off point. It can be overwhelming trying to come up with social media posts on a regular basis. To help offset the task, make a calendar of things you’d like to post to keep you organized. You can also create a weekly theme - Friday Facts, Monday Motivations, etc.

  5. Adjust your posts. As you post and see what gets the most likes and comments, adjust what you post to meet demand. In the end, social media marketing is often a case of experimentation. Each platform gives you the ability to see the popularity of your posts, how people interacted with them and how far they spread throughout the platform. Check out those stats and find ways to improve so that more people see your posts each time.

‌How to Get Customers With Social Media

Getting customers is as simple as keeping the "social" in social media. Post content that sparks discussion and encourages interaction among users. Social media can be a valuable platform to develop educational content for your customers. Home Services businesses often post "how-to" videos for home repairs, or law firms provide short explanations on various legal matters. Useful content will always inspire trust in the brand for a social media audience. Another way to use your platforms is to keep the public informed about your business’ offerings, special deals, and more. Upload images or videos that are entertaining or useful. Have fun with the process, and post often to keep your brand active and up-to-date with what's trending. Each platform also has paid advertising options that allow you to target specific demographics and get your business in front of people differently.

Social media offers several different ways to gain new customers including organic followers through a business page; creating advertising that targets your local market; and sponsoring posts to get greater distribution.

Set Up a Business Page: Many social networks have the option of setting up a business page. This can be a great way to showcase your company, promote your website, get people to call you or even visit a brick and mortar location. Business pages will also show up on Google search results for key terms related to your business.

Ex: Winters Home Services. It immediately shows you who they are and how to contact them. It also shows that they are a 24/7 operation by saying “always open.”

Winters Home Services Facebook Page quickly shows how to get a hold of them and what they do

Platform Ads: Each social media platform has paid advertising options. These ads will show up throughout the platform on user’s feeds. With these ads, you get flexibility on what to say, the visuals to use, and you can easily set a budget. In many cases, these ads include a call to action such as “Call Now,” “Schedule Today,” etc.

You can also have the social media platform find your ideal customer within a specific area you work in, or based on other demographics, like age, income level, etc. For a full overview of setting up a Facebook ad, check out this handy guide.

Example: Square has a clear message and outcome they want from you. Sign up. Good to be clear and concise with your Facebook Ads.

Facebook ad for Square

Sponsored Posts: Another way to reach your ideal customers is through sponsored posts, which is similar to a paid ad. The difference is that these sponsored posts show up a bit more intrinsically in someone’s feed and will get your company’s profile in their view without seeming like a paid advertisement. Sponsored ads also allow you to set your target demographic and budget to help you manage the spend and get the best ROI. ​

Social media users are always looking for interesting content, which means your audience is already out there.

Background and Strategy on Each Channel

Close-up of people using their smartphones.

Social media users are always looking for interesting content, which means your audience is already out there.

The best social media tips are broken down by channel. Understanding the background and what works best on each social media platform will help you get started on your own strategy.

Facebook

Since it first launched, Facebook has remained one of the top social media sites. The site offers a Facebook Business Page as a Facebook marketing tactic, where you can make a page dedicated to your company. Business pages allow you to showcase information such as hours of operation, history of the company, services, and more. It also allows users to share reviews of your company directly on the platform.

With these pages, you can attract customers by posting a variety of content, such as images, videos, polls, offers, events, giveaways, and advertisements. All these options allow customers to like, react to, share, and directly purchase from your brand.

Ex: Zappos - they provide an immediate way to shop by tagging all of the items in their imagery. You can instantly be brought to the shoes, pants, etc.. in an image to purchase them. Like a digital mannequin. Facebook can be a great way to remove friction to purchase or call your business.

Zappos Facebook page

Instagram

Instagram is all about visuals. On this app, you can post pictures, videos, stories, reels, or live stream videos as part of your Instagram marketing strategy. You can also add captions, tag locations or people, and glam up every post with emojis or stickers, allowing you to get creative. 

Like Facebook, you can also make business profiles on Instagram. Here, you can include links to your online shop where customers can buy from you directly.

Ex: Nike - they do a great job of highlighting athletes and indirectly their products. It can be a nice way to show their shoes and apparel in action as well as attract you to the brand.

Twitter

Twitter marketing is similar to Facebook in that you can post a variety of content. However, on this platform, your messages are limited. Twitter only allows up to 280 characters per post. ‌

Though your space for text may be shorter, you can still make use of the social media app by posting blurbs or short pieces about any of your products or services, with a link to your website.

Content on Twitter moves quickly so you can post more often than Facebook or other platforms to stay visible in user’s feeds.

Ex: Bill Gates - Twitter is great for your brand page, but an even better spot to build up people in your company as leaders in the community and space. Bill Gates is an example of someone who uses the Twitter platform to share news about his foundation and spread awareness about needs across the world.

Bill Gates Twitter page

Snapchat

Snapchat is unique in the social media sphere, as anything you post on the app will disappear after 24 hours. This means content on Snapchat is always fresh, new, and exciting. It has a less structured feel than other social media apps, encouraging users to be bold with what they share by using fun filters or lenses. 

You, too, can post fun and unfiltered Snapchats and stories as part of your Snapchat marketing strategy. You can also advertise on the app's Discover feature, which allows users to discover new brands and content to follow. 

Ex: McDonalds Geofilters - many companies will use these at events or on location. McDonalds locations have Snapchat filters that are only available at their restaurants. This allow users to show what they’re up to - while also giving you additional exposure.

TikTok

For advertising to younger generations, look no further than TikTok. The social media platform was initially popular with the Gen Z crowd, but its reach has expanded to users of all ages. TikTok users post 15-second videos to the platform, adding text, effects, or music afterward. 

For TikTok marketing, you can either create a TikTok account for your business and post relevant and engaging content, or use the app's Paid Ads feature to create ads that will be broadcasted to TikTok users.

Ex: Chipotle inspires people to share their experience at their restaurant on TikTok and has a feed full of ways to engage their audiences.

Chipotle TikTok page

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is about connecting with professionals. Businesses network with other professionals in their field and discuss industry-related topics. Users of LinkedIn can follow each other and react to posts much like other social media sites and apps. 

The best LinkedIn marketing strategies involve posting long articles on your industry that can lead to thought-provoking discussions. You can also grow your brand presence on the platform by joining LinkedIn groups related to your company.

Ex: Drift - they have a great B2B focused blog and use LinkedIn as a way to engage that community with an eBook or other type of content. Here is an ad/post for their free book.

Drift Linkedin ad

How Can I Get Customers From YouTube?

If you want to promote your business by making video content, you won't find better success than on YouTube. As for how to attract new customers? You need to establish your brand's personality on the platform. Answer questions like: What is your brand all about? Who is behind your brand? What is it about your brand that stands out? ‌

YouTube marketing involves showing the human side of your brand. Posting behind-the-scenes commentary or story videos is what drives up the views. 

Ex: Scorpion - a unique take on a customer testimonial. The Scorpion Studios team has created several episodes featuring how its customers built their businesses that are similar to something you might see on HGTV. They add personality and flair that give ideas on running a business and partners you can use to grow.

Social Media Marketing: the Takeaway

Social media images

Social media marketing success is just a few clicks away.

Now that you know what social media is and the most popular channels, you're ready to rock your social media marketing strategy. All it takes to get started is a little research and planning. Who do you want to target? What platform is best for them? What are other brands doing that are getting likes, shares, and attention.

Once you've answered these questions, you're ready to start your social media journey and begin seeing the success you deserve.

The Scorpion System

It is difficult to run a small business, and to find the right partners you can trust to save you time and help you grow.

Scorpion provides the technology and marketing you need with the results you can see. We help you know who your customers are, find them through marketing and technology, hire the right talent to provide a good experience, and build loyalty.

If you'd like some help from social media experts, you can get the best social media tips, tricks, and insight from Scorpion. Talk with us today to see how we can up your social media game and target customers who are already waiting to see your exciting content.

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