Beginners Guide to SMM: Social Media Marketing Decoded

Social media marketing

When you connect & communicate with people on digital platforms in social context, believe me, you are on social media channels. Social media has seen a tremendous surge and added billions of users in recent decades. In fact, the social media following was way too high in the first decade in comparison to users who have started using Internet when it was first introduced.

Today social media channels aren’t limited to social chats, instead, it offers a reliable platform to spread the word about your business. While the majority of businesses around the globe are on one or another social media channels, it brings greater opportunity to connect with end-user in real time.

Here, you are connecting with your customer at the top of the funnel when he is seeking the information, at navigational stage, and even at the bottom of the funnel at transactional stage. Here, you can make good use of social media marketing (SMM) to leverage social media channels. This powerful medium of digital marketing brings greater opportunity to spread brand voice and get real business.

In this beginner’s guide to SMM, we have discussed:

  • What is social media marketing (SMM)?
  • What are social media marketing benefits?
  • What are the best social media marketing practices?
  • Best social media marketing platforms
  • Latest social media marketing trends
  • How to create an effective social media marketing strategy?

What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

Image result for social media marketing

Source: sales-push

As we discussed when you connect & communicate with people in social context on different digital platforms, you are on social media channels. Here, you can follow various practices to leverage these platforms and contact with end-user in real-time.

To do this, social media marketing or SMM helps tremendously. Here, “Social media marketing or SMM is a process to promote your product & services on social media platforms to attract more end-users in real time”.

What are Social Media Marketing (SMM) Benefits?

Whether you are running a small shop, operating in the local market, or heading a global enterprise, social media has something for everyone. It brings opportunity for all to connect, communicate, and convince end users to buy products or services. It is also a powerful medium to build brand voice in most efficient manner. Some of the important social media marketing benefits include:

  • It helps increase brand exposure.
  • It helps boost website traffic.
  • You can use SMM to generate leads and increase sales.
  • It helps improve search rankings.
  • It helps research market & emerging trends.
  • It is a powerful medium to build brand voice as majority of population is on social media platforms today.

What are the best Social Media Marketing Practices?

Post right content: One common mistake majority of marketers do on social media platforms is that they limit their posts to promotional content. Here, they tend to post content related to their product & services all the time. This ends up exhausting customers with no value.

Thus, the best practice is to post engaging & informational content that helps end-users make better decisions. Here, you can try different types of content like tips & tricks, quizzes, responses, adjacent content, non-promotional company information, and more.

Post at the right time: Posting right content at the right time could help create wonders on social media platforms. Here, you should post frequently with consistent quality content that helps users at different stages of funnel including informational, navigational, and transactional stages.

Track reports & analytics: Next thing you should do is to track reports and analytics that will help take informed decisions. Every social media platform where you can run SMM campaigns gives you the opportunity to track marketing activities via a simple dashboard. Thus, you should keep tabs on these reports to get the best out of your social media campaigns.

Target right audience: Based on these reports, you can target audience for better reach. Here, you can run more specific campaigns where you can target more precise audience for better results.

Listen to your audience: Listening to your audience will help manage your campaigns in a better way. It will also help improve the quality of your product & services significantly.

Cross-promote: Major social media platforms include Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. Here, you should run campaigns on different platforms to get the best returns on your investment. Later, you can decide on few best platforms from where you can yield best benefits.

Be human: Social media marketing activities shouldn’t be limited to brand promotion instead you should be more human to build relationships. It will help in the long run to build brand value, gain loyal customer base, and increase sales.

Use best social media tools: The unsung heroes of some of the best SMM campaigns are best social media marketing tools. These best SMM tools help spread brand voice, spread awareness, generate loyal customer base, increase sales, increase website traffic, and more. Here, the majority of marketers use these social media marketing tools to run successful campaigns on social media channels.

Best Social Media Marketing Platforms

There are a number of social media platforms that could be of help if you are planning to run marketing campaigns on them. While some of these allow you to run campaigns to outreach larger audiences, some could be leveraged to contact specific audience. Let’s discuss best social media marketing platforms available today and what they have to offer you.

Facebook

 

Image result for Facebook

Founded: 2004

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Active Monthly Users: 2.41 billion+

You must be living on Mars if you haven’t heard of this social media mammoth. Facebook paved the medium for billions of users around the world to search & connect people they love. Started in a small dorm room at Harvard, Facebook is used by over 2.41 billion users around the world today.

This social media platform is not limited to instant chat instead it is providing huge platform to businesses to connect with the end-users. Furthermore, all content types work well on Facebook be it images, text, videos, stories, or more.

What we found:

  • You may like its massive approach, but organic reach of this platform is limited. Thus, you need to solely rely on its paid campaigns.
  • Here, you can use integrated tools to create and run successful campaigns on Facebook.
  • It offers intuitive and easy-to-use interface to help you target audience easily.

Twitter

Image result for Twitter

Founded: 2006

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Active Monthly Users: 321 million+

Twitter is the next big name in top social media sites that are equally useful for businesses. Lots of businesses are thriving on this amazing platform that offers easy connect with Tweets and shares. This public microblogging site is used to break stories, news & updates in real-time.

Today, you needn’t wait for dignitaries and stars to come for media interviews to share updates, instead, they simply tweet first. You simply follow the person or organization and you will get all updates from them in real-time.

What we found:

  • Real-time updates but hard to find real accounts of people you want to target.
  • Good platform to target B2B audience.

YouTube

Image result for YouTube

Founded: 2005

Headquarters: San Bruno, California

Active Monthly Users: 1.9 billion+

YouTube gives you a chance to watch videos on any topic under the sun and allows you to upload video content effortlessly. Here, you will find music, videos, movies, vlogs, independent films, and whatnot. People are making millions out of this interactive social media platform that offers seamless user experience. It gives you full control over content that you want to see or allow your kids to watch.

What we found:

  • Huge audience base (over 1 billion monthly users) to connect to your target audience.
  • As people remember things they see, you can create short promotional videos for long time effect.

Instagram

Image result for Instagram

Founded: 2010

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Active Monthly Users: 1 billion+

Instagram is a users’ delight who loves to take pictures. If you aren’t on Instagram, you aren’t living a glamorous life digitally, right? Well, it has grown to be one of the most popular social networking sites that allow users to share photos & videos effortlessly.

Here, you can share photos and videos in real-time with your followers. In fact, this photo-sharing platform is now turning to be one of the leading advertising platforms helping brands promote their products & services.

What we found:

  • Highest engagement rate out of all of the big networks.
  • Interactive interface but limited to promotion through pictures to greater extent.
  • Effective influencer marketing platform.

Pinterest

Image result for Pinterest

Founded: 2010

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Active Monthly Users: 291 million+

If you love fashion, wedding, décor, food, workout, or DIY-related pins, then Pinterest is the platform you should be on. Here, you will find tons of rich visual media neatly organized in one place.

While the majority of Pinterest users include females, it also offers amazing platform to promote women-centric services & products easily. This powerful social media site is a major player both in search world and social media networking.

What we found:

  • You can use this amazing platform to target female audiences easily as 81% of their 150 million monthly active users are female.
  • It hasn’t made serious money out of advertising still it is in the top ten most influential social media platforms.

Snapchat

Image result for Snapchat

Founded: 2011

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

Active Monthly Users: 330 million+

Snapchat is filled with user-generated content. Here, the user-base is primarily young and spends a lot of time on Snapchat – interactive social media platform. Here you can share photos, videos, text messages, and more. This instant-messaging platform is totally mobile-based and has younger user-base comparatively to other social media platforms. It is easy to use and interactive at the same time.

What we found:

  • Easy to use, but small demographic of users, thus you need to be very specific.
  • Content on Snapchat is fleeting and short-lived thus you need to create something that people remember.

Reddit

Image result for reddit

Founded: 2005

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Active Monthly Users: 330 million+

With over 330 million active monthly users Reddit heralds itself as “the front page of the Internet”. Here, you will find over 150,000 communities discussing almost any topic imaginable. It allows you to share photos, videos, links, and related content for related topics. While nicest design on the platform is a challenge for Reddit, it doesn’t disappoint you when it comes to overall user experience.

What we found:

  • Be careful what you post on Reddit as they don’t like marketeers.
  • Subreddits, Ask Me Anything (AMA), and their voting feature are useful features of the platform, you can make good use of.

Latest social media marketing trends

Like overall user experience on social media platforms, trends of social media marketing are also changing. Let’s review some of them here.

  • Influencer marketing is going to increase on all major social media platforms.
  • Building social media communities will help you target audience in an effective way.
  • People are looking for social media ‘detox’, so you need to be extra careful while designing your social media campaigns.
  • There would be more alternative platforms for B2C and B2B market segments. It is interesting to remind that some of the social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are leading the B2C brands, platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are supposedly helping B2B segments.
  • You can use social media platforms as an effective solution to provide customer support.
  • Stories format like Snapchat would be more visible on other platforms.

How to create an effective social media marketing strategy?

To create an effective social media marketing strategy, you need to follow five essential pillars as discussed below. Though this isn’t the prescription to effective social media campaigns, but it is more of a framework you should follow to lay the foundation of successful social media marketing (SMM) campaign.

Goals: You need to set your goals first. Here, you need to define the outcomes you want from your efforts and how you will measure these outcomes.

Target audiences: You need to design your social media marketing campaigns keeping your target audiences in mind. It will help get effective results out of your efforts. Here, you can create buyer persona for your business and target that for effective results.

Content mix: You need to outline your content based on which you will draft your social media marketing strategy. Here, you need to create content mix. It will include informative content, news, Q&A, community events, promotional posts, contests, and more.

Channels: Once you have decided on above important aspects of social media marketing, it’s time to decide on channels. As each channel brings its own pros & cons, you need to be extra careful while deciding the right platform to reach your target audience.

Process: Now that you have decided everything else, it’s time you should use best social media marketing tools and plan out things to process.

Conclusion

Coming short to whole discussion on beginner’s guide to social media marketing (SMM), you can leverage these amazing platforms to outreach your target audience in the most effective manner. It gives you liberty to filter your audiences to reach more targeted audience while designing more specific campaigns.

Here, we have tried to cover all important aspects of social media marketing. If you want us to cover more aspects of it in this guide, then feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below. You can also comment in the section below if you have tried social media marketing before and want to share your experience with our readers.

Dinesh Lakhwani

An avid reader and content specialist by profession, Dinesh Lakhwani brings deep knowledge and experience to content marketing efforts. Content marketing, digital marketing, cybersecurity, and common IT problems & solutions are his forte of writing. Dinesh loves to go for long bike rides when not typing away to glory at his desk.

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