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Marketing

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Caitlyn Blair

How to Utilize Popular Digital Platforms to Meet Your Brand's Goals

Social media marketing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to engage with your audience. In the U.S. alone, there were 233 million social media users this year. To put matters in perspective, the number of social media users in the U.S. is nearly equal to the entire population of Indonesia. You can see why it is so essential for brands who want to reach as many customers as possible to utilize these platforms, and why 92% of marketers use social media as part of their marketing efforts. As of this year, the most commonly used social media platforms are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, with TikTok and Snapchat following closely behind.

Through social media marketing, brands can utilize these platforms to market their products or services. Social media marketing gives customers the opportunity to engage with existing customers and reach new ones. The main objective of social media marketing is to create messages and content that your consumers can share with their family, friends, and coworkers. Some other benefits your brand can experience when you start to utilize the power of social media marketing include:

Increasing Brand Awareness

Social media is one of the best ways to get your brand in front of more eyes. When more users are interacting with your content, your reputation will organically develop. Your digital marketing efforts will assist with this process by allowing consumers to interact with your brand and by exposing your content to a wider audience. Social media marketing also establishes your brand’s tone-of-voice and overall public image, which can help instill trust and familiarity in your audience.

Increasing Website Traffic

The more people you have visiting your site, the more capacity you will have for new impressions that can convert to customers and increased brand awareness. In fact, website visits from social media account for over 4% of all site traffic and 5% of all mobile visits, according to Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q1 2019. Because your social media pages can link out to your website, they can help generate qualified leads and build new relationships.

Promoting Products or Services

For most businesses, the ultimate goal of their marketing strategy is to promote a particular product or service. Because social media marketing expands the reach of a business, it increases the odds that your future customers will find you. Some of the ways you can promote your products or services include contests that draw attention, paid social ads that can get your offerings in front of more eyes, and through deals and promotions. It is common for brands to create modern-day sweepstakes on social media, where individuals are required to reshare their post, follow the page, and tag a friend for a chance to win. This both increases brand awareness and gets your target audience excited about your products or services, so it serves a dual purpose. See an example of how this can be executed below by the water bottle brand The Coldest Water, who crafted a clever and timely play on words with their “12 Days of Giveaways” Instagram campaign:

An example of a social media sweepstakes with an Instagram giveaway for social media campaign success

What to Consider When Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Before you can start reaping the benefits of social media marketing, you will need to execute a solid strategy that aligns with the goals of your business. We recommend considering the following aspects of your brand when executing your strategy that creates winning social media content:

Your Brand Voice

Social media advertisements are different from traditional advertisements in the sense that consumers must feel like they are connecting with your brand on a personal level. Because of this, it is best to establish the tone of your brand voice and to stay consistent with it. When building this kind of brand awareness, you should consider who your target audience is and speak to them in a voice that will resonate. This process might take some trial and error, but being able to reach your audience where it counts the most will be well worth it.

Consider the age, location, gender, income, and education levels of your ideal customer base, as well as your own values and what sets you apart from other brands when crafting this aspect of content marketing. The social media pages of the meditation app “Calm” have certainly mastered this. As you can see below, they consistently speak to their audiences in a way that is soothing and shows they care, which aligns with the mission of their brand. What is your brand’s mission and how can you convey it to your followers?

An example of a brand with a strong tone-of-voice and understanding of their followers’ core needs

Your overall goals

Now that you have a good idea of who you are speaking to, it is important to get a good idea of what you are trying to accomplish with your social media content. Whether you want to gain more followers, increase your website traffic, or focus on lead generation, going in with a strong idea of your expectations can help you gauge your progress. This will also help you decide what kind of mediums you should be gravitating towards and on what platforms. For example, if you are a criminal defense lawyer and your goal is to showcase your knowledge of the justice system, you might consider writing informative and helpful blog posts and using your social accounts to promote them.

Your budget

If you are wondering how much money you should allocate for your social media marketing campaign, there is no single right answer. It will depend on the size of your business, the size of the audience you would like to reach, and how you will be sourcing your content. When it comes to budgeting for your social media marketing, you have quite a few options, but it is important to keep your ultimate goals at the top of your mind when considering all of them. For example, you can produce content in-house by hiring a marketing expert that works alongside you, or you can outsource content from a professional marketing team. The industry average for a social media budget is $200-$350 per day, which comes out to $4000-$7000 per month, but this is not a “hard and fast” rule.

One of the most valuable advantages of social media marketing for brands is the ability to connect with your followers, social network, and potential future customers in an authentic way. In order to be able to do this, it is of the utmost importance for brands to understand their target audience, the platforms they use, and how they like to be communicated with. Once you have a solid understanding of this, you can begin to engage with the variety of social channels at your disposal, either through your own efforts or through that of a marketing team. Navigating this realm might seem intimidating at first, but remember that social media is simply about communicating the message of your brand to those that will benefit from your products and services. When you have a strong idea of what that means for your brand, the keys to social media success will quite literally be a few clicks away.

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