Why you need a social media marketing strategy
Social media has become an indispensable part of daily life, and marketing on social platforms is essential for your business
It's strange to think the concept of social media is relatively new. The rise of social media has forever changed the way humans communicate, engage with one another and spend their leisure time, and it should also change the way you market your business.
There are currently nearly 3.5 billion active social media users. That number is still growing, with the number of social media users rising by 202 million from April 2018 to April 2019. The average social media users spends 142 minutes per day on social platforms.
That's an enormous audience, and it's a highly engaged audience. If you're running a business, it's an audience you can't afford to ignore.
Social media marketing: a definition
Social media marketing is the process of using your brand to engage with potential customers on social media platforms. In practice, it comes down to a few key steps.
Social media strategy
Your social media strategy encompasses your business' goals in using social media and how you plan to achieve them. You need to decide what social media platforms you want to focus on, what kind of content you want to share on them, and what sort of return you want to see from it.
Social media posting
Part of your social media strategy is deciding when you're going to post, and on what platforms. Consistent content creation is the most important factor, but when and how often you post will depend on the social media platform you're posting to. Certain platforms perform better at specific times of day, and you'll also need to determine which type of content performs best for each platform.
Social media advertising
Your social media strategy is worth putting money behind. Social media gives you the ability to laser focus your advertising and target specific audiences with specific ads. It also allows you to see at a glance how your advertising is performing.
Engaging with your audience
One of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is the ability to interact with your audience. You can use social media to build rapport and community with your customers. You can also use it for customer support, giving people immediate answers to their questions.
It's not worth investing time, effort and money in social media marketing unless you monitor your results. Social media platforms make it easy to track your effectiveness. You can see how each of your posts has performed and you can alter your social media strategy accordingly.
Social media platforms
There are thousands of social networks out there, but not all of them are created equal, and not all of them are worth your marketing time. However, your social media strategy shouldn't be siloed to a single platform. Some of the platforms you should be paying attention to include:
With more than 2.3 billion active users, Facebook is definitely the dominant social network. Of those 2.3 billion active users, 1.56 billion users log into the site daily, spending an average of 20 minutes per session. Facebook is a massive advertising platform. The company brought in $16.6 billion in ad revenue in Q4 2018 alone.
Twitter has a much smaller audience than Facebook, at 330 million active users. Of those, 126 million are active daily. Twitter's count of daily active users only includes monetizable users. In other words, users who make it from login to the part of the app where they could be exposed to ads.
Twitter is a great platform for engagement with customers. In fact, 85% of small to medium businesses on Twitter say they use it for customer support.
Instagram is one of the goliaths of the social media world, with 1 billion active users, 500 million of whom use the platform every day. Instagram is a growing platform for business, with 71% of US businesses saying they use the social network. And it's little wonder businesses choose to use Instagram, as 80% of the platform's users say they follow at least one business.
While other social networks have redefined how people spend their leisure time, LinkedIn has set itself apart by focusing on business. The business networking site has 590 million users and is still growing. LinkedIn is a place to engage with business influencers, with 45% of the platform's users in upper management. And for B2B marketing, LinkedIn is a must. 94% of B2B marketers who use social media say they used LinkedIn to publish posts.
Snapchat may have a smaller audience than some other social networks, at 287 million active users, but it has an incredibly engaged audience. Of those 287 million users, 190 million use the platform every day. According to Snapchat, its users are on the app an average of 20 times per day, and spend an average of 30 minutes on the app per day. The platform's audience skews younger than other social media networks, and it's estimated to reach 90% of all 13- 24-year-olds in the US, and 75% of all 13- to 34-year-olds.
In addition to traditional social media networks, there are a variety of social media channels more focused around content sharing or messaging. Platforms like YouTube, WhatsApp, Reddit, Buzzfeed and WeChat would fall into this category. Not all of these channels are directly monetized, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them. They can still be a powerful way to connect with your audience and build backlinks to your site.
Other social media platforms
There are thousands of other social media platforms out there, but some of the larger ones include Pinterest and Viber, while there are also large social media networks that are more geographically specific, such as Weibo and Tik Tok. Which ones you choose to engage with will depend on your strategy and the type of content you want to share.
Social media marketing benefits
With an audience this large, the benefits of social media marketing might seem obvious. But you'll get more tangible benefits if you develop a detailed strategy rather than taking a "spray and pray" approach.
Raise your brand's profile
Social media puts your brand in front of people and raises brand awareness. It's also a great channel for developing your brand's voice and identity. It's a platform to give your brand a personality; a human touch that your customers can connect with. Just keep in mind that you need to develop a unified brand identity across every social media channel you use.
Engage with your audience
Social media helps you immediately connect with your audience. You can respond to feedback, answer questions and offer support, as well as build relationships. Remember to stay on top of audience engagement. Surveys show that 80% of customers expect who interact with a company on social media expect a response within 24 hours.
Keep your customers informed
Social media is also a great way to keep your customers up to date with the latest developments with your business. You can inform them about new products, special promotions and the latest news. It's an immediate channel for updating your target market, and you can gauge their engagement in real time.
Boost your SEO
Social media helps drive traffic to your site by giving you a platform to promote your content. Your social media posts can rank on Google on their own. But social engagement also indirectly influences your SEO. While Google has publicly stated that it doesn't directly use social media engagement as a ranking signal (although there's plenty of evidence to the contrary), social media does drive traffic to your site, and popular social posts earn you backlinks.
Learn more about your customers
The data collected by social networks is a bit of a sticky subject. The sheer volume and scope of information social media platforms know about their users can be unsettling. But ethical quandaries aside, social media offers you the opportunity to learn more about your customers. You can find out which demographics are most engaged with your brand, learn about other brands they engage with and see what kind of posts they're most likely to interact with.
Generate more revenue for less investment
It can be difficult to measure the return on investment for social media. If you use paid social media channels, you'll have a good indication of how many people click on your ad, and how many of those clicks lead to conversions. Measuring ROI for non-paid social channels can be a bit trickier.
But all non-paid social media costs is your time. In general, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing but generates three times as many leads.
Social media marketing tips
It's one thing to know your brand should be active on social media, but it's another to do it effectively. Your social media strategy will need to be meticulously planned, but here are a few general tips to get you started.
Different channels mean different strategies
A one-size-fits-all approach won't work for your social media strategy. Each social media platform you interact with will require its own specific strategy. Different platforms mean using different types of media in your posts. Some platforms perform better at different times of the day than others. You'll have to determine what works best for each platform you engage with.
Post early, post often
Consistency is key to your social media strategy. You'll need to publish posts on social media multiple times a day, every day. And when there are new developments with your brand, special promotions or even just trending topics you want to capitalize on, you need to get in early to be heard above the noise.
Test different strategies
Constantly test your social media strategy to ensure you're getting the engagement you want. Try out different types of content, different calls to action, different headlines and different images. Try out different mediums such as video. Measure everything to see what's most effective with your audience.
Look at what others are doing
Have a look at other brands to see how they're engaging on social media. They don't have to be in your industry. Just think about brands you enjoy following on social media, and consider what it is about their posts that keeps you engaged. Try to emulate brands that are doing well on social media platforms.
Engage your audience
It's vital that you're available to your audience and that you interact with them regularly. As we mentioned before, customers expect a response within 24 hours of engaging with a brand on social media. Your social media strategy will hinge on how active you are interacting with your customers.
How do I measure my social media marketing effectiveness?
There are a number of key metrics you'll want to pay attention to when measuring the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
Reach is the measurement of your total audience. It's the total number of people who saw your content. Facebook breaks reach into two categories: post reach and page reach. Post reach is the total number of users who saw your specific post in their newsfeed. Page reach is the total number of users who saw any of your posts in their newsfeed.
Post reach and page reach are also broken down into three subcategories: organic reach, viral reach and paid reach. Organic reach measures users who saw your content because it appeared organically in their newsfeed. Viral reach measures users who saw your content because someone else shared it. Paid reach measures users who saw your content because you paid for its placement.
Engagement measures users who interacted with your post in some way. This could mean they liked your post, shared it, commented on it or clicked on it.
A major goal of engaging with customers on social media is to drive traffic to your website. You can watch your general traffic trends to see if you get an uplift after launching your social media strategy. But Google Analytics also allows you to view your traffic sources, so you can see if visitors to your site came from social channels.
The ultimate goal of a social media marketing strategy is to increase your revenue. It can be tricky to tie conversions to your social strategy. You'll be able to see how much of the traffic coming from social channels ends up converting. However, what you might not be able to directly measure are the intangible benefits of social media marketing, such as brand recognition and trust.
These factors definitely influence conversions, even if traffic to your site isn't coming directly from social channels. You should definitely measure direct conversions from social media channels, but also keep an eye on general conversion trends to see if there's a correlation with launching your social media strategy.
How much does it cost to hire someone to manage my social media?
This is all a lot to take in, and we've still barely scratched the surface of the different strategies you should use for different social channels. Fortunately, if handling your social media strategy by yourself feels too burdensome, there are experts available who can help you.
Social media marketing jobs
You can hire experts to handle either your organic social media strategy, your paid social media strategy or both.
Social media marketing salaries
|In-house social media expertr||$54,115 USD per year|
|Social media marketing agency||Depending on the level of service, expect to pay $1,000–20,000 USD per month|
|Freelance social media expert||The average project on Freelancer is completed for $154.17 USD|
How do I hire a freelance social media expert?
A freelance social media expert can help devise a strategy for you, post your content and help measure the results.
If you want to hire a freelancer to manage your social media strategy, click on the orange Post a Project button below. You'll fill in details on the work you need done. Make sure to be specific about the social media platforms you need help with, the goals of your social media strategy and your budget.
You should start receiving bids within minutes. To choose a freelancer for the job, look at their reviews to see the number of projects they've completed, their timeliness and their ability to complete projects on budget. Read through their profile to see what work they've done in the past that might be similar to your requirements.
Once you've selected a freelancer for your job, they'll communicate with you to clarify your requirements and expectations, and they'll get started on your project. A good freelancer will provide you with regular updates on their progress and with measurable results of their efforts.
Your social media marketing strategy is too important to be left up to chance. It's worth investing in an expert to help you get the most from this massive audience.