The Business Guide to Social Media Marketing

Connect. Engage. Grow. We'll show you how.

social_marketing_top_image

Social Media: Where Conversations Happen & Connections Are Made

According to HubSpot, there are over 2.38 billion monthly active users on Facebook, and 1 billion active monthly users on Instagram. Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and LinkedIn have equally impressive numbers. And these numbers are growing. More and more individuals are taking to social media to interact with friends, share news and information, and get recommendations.

Your business needs to meet these billions of people where they already are: on social media. 

That’s not to say that through social media, you’re going to reach a billion people. That shouldn’t ever be your intention...even if you believe your product or service would serve every single person around the world. Instead, your social media use should be targeted. 

And the beauty of these social media platforms when it comes to marketing is the ability to reach your niche. You can use your resources wisely to reach your target demographic without breaking your budget.

But how do you begin developing social media marketing content and campaigns? Let us help.

It Starts With a Plan

If you’ve been reading our blog or perusing our website for any length of time, you know that in most every case, we’re going to tell you that you need a plan. Social media marketing is no different.

Before you begin throwing time and resources into social media marketing, identify your goals and your overall social media strategy. To do so, you have to know who you’re trying to reach--your target demographic--and how you hope to reach them.

If you start by detailing everything you know about your ideal customer, you’ll soon have a clear picture of who you are trying to reach. In other words, you’ll have created a thorough buyer persona. We’ve written an entire article about the benefits of having clearly defined buyer personas. Summarizing the main points, we know that identifying your buyer personas: 

  1. Helps you learn how to talk to your prospective clients and customers. If you know who they are, you know where they are spending their time online (you’d hate to be throwing resources at Facebook when your target market is actually spending most of its time on Twitter, wouldn’t you?), and how they like to communicate. 
  2. Focuses your marketing efforts, making them more successful. If you know what your people and want and how they want to receive information, you can cater your marketing efforts accordingly. You won’t waste time on projects that drain your resources with little to no return on your investment.
  3. Avoids confusion within your organization. Creating a clear buyer persona and ensuring that every member of your organization understands it and is working with it in mind allows you to avoid confusion within your business. If everyone is on the same page, then your external communication efforts align with your marketing strategy as a whole which aligns with your product development etc. etc. etc.  

Once you clearly identify who you’re targeting and develop detailed buyer personas, you’re ready to set goals and create a plan for reaching this audience.

The bottom line for goal setting is this: SMART goals are always more likely to be met. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Every goal, whether for the entire organization, a single department, or even a single team within that department, should always follow this rubric for social media marketing best practices, social media campaign ideas and more.

Content to promote your business
MAKE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOU

Let's talk about turning your social presence into a winning marketing strategy

Get Your Social Media Branding Checklist

When setting social media goals, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Who are you hoping to reach? (Aren’t you glad you did all that work creating buyer personas? This one should be easy)
  • What do you want to achieve with your social media marketing? (Again, be as SMART as possible: e.g. “We want to increase our page like by 15% over the next two quarters vs. “we want to gain more followers.”)
  • What is the overall message you want to share with those you interact with on social media?
  • What platform is the best fit? (Think about both your target market and where they hang out as well as what makes the most sense for your company type. B2B companies may have less success marketing on Instagram if their clients aren’t on Instagram, but they may find their niche instead on Twitter or LinkedIn.) 

What can Social Media Marketing Help Your Startup Accomplish?

Once you’ve done your research and have a plan in place for you social media marketing efforts, you’re ready to dive in to the crazy world that is social media. What are some things you can hope to accomplish? In our experience, we’ve seen well-thought-out social strategies help startups: 

  1. Establish their brand voice and personality 
  2. Build a loyal customer following
  3. Generate increased traffic to their websites
  4. Generate leads

 

There is an art to creating content for social media. Given that the number of users across these platforms worldwide is approaching 3 billion, it's worth your time to produce great content.

And anyone who follows you on social media could be considered a warm lead. They already like you and are interested in what you have to say. So you have an audience that's ready to engage with your content. This is great! But keep in mind that social media isn't the place to be overly sales-y.

Social Media: Not the Place to Be Sales-y

We are firm believers in the 80/20 rule when it comes to Social Media Marketing. 

In other words, 80% of what you post should not be sales-y. 

Gone are the days when you could sell, sell, sell, using your presence for nothing more than pushing your widget to the world. These days, brands are using social media to present their human side. Content needs to be informative, useful, and engaging. Remember, people are interacting with brands on social media because they have a question, a problem to solve, or they want information about the brand and it’s industry.

Thus, your content should be useful to your target audience based on what you know about them thanks to your buyer personas. Your posts should be filling a void for your audience. What you say on social media should give your followers something of value. 

If your business generates useful content and disseminates it on your social media platforms, your followers will come to recognize you as a thought leader and as someone they can trust to help them solve their problems. 

Make them laugh. Make them think. Show them that you are attentive to their needs and willing to communicate with them. This, of course, is the crux of inbound marketing, and we’re firm believers in it.

Doing all these things will make your audience more willing to listen when you do have something to sell, the other 20% of the time. 

Furthermore, using social media to create brand ambassadors and develop social proof is often the most significant benefit to social media marketing. If you treat your audience well, they are going to tell their friends. If they buy a product from you, and they have a positive customer experience, they’re going to talk about it.

Nothing you ever write or create will be as trusted or as influential to potential customers as what your current customers say about you.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward (Writing for Social Media)

That doesn’t mean that you can ignore what you write, or phone it in as “good enough”. You have to be on the top of your marketing game on social media. Just as you’d proofread and pour over brochures or mailings before sending them out, you must be diligent in your social media efforts.

You can make the reader feel something, take action, or be more informed simply by paying attention to your social media writing habits. Social media etiquette is different from long-form content etiquette, and the interactions with your readers come at you fast and frequent. Check out this post for 22 ways to improve your writing for social media marketing purposes.

And when you’re writing for social media, fit the content format to the potential buyers' stage in their customer journey.

First, they become aware of a problem, and they research to better define and name their problem/opportunity. Use blog posts, checklists, tip sheets, infographics, eBooks, games, and quizzes.

Second, they consider ways to solve the problem or take advantage of the opportunity. Use podcasts, webinars, worksheets, comparison matrices, and templates.

Third, the solution strategy, method, or approach is set and they compile a list of vendors and products. They shorten the list with more research and make a purchase decision. Use demos, free trials, product guides, consultations, and coupons.

Social Media Cycle

Automation and Managing Social Platforms

Marketing automation tools are truly game-changing. Especially in a hectic startup environment, they can mean the difference between a successful campaign and a failed product launch. By scheduling your posts a day, week, or even a month in advance, you free yourself (or your marketing team) to put their energy into social listening, responding thoughtfully to comments, sharing other relevant posts with your followers, etc. In other words, all those human-driven intuitive tasks that are at the core of their roles.

The alternative is these team members spend their time worrying about being at their desks at exactly 2:30 to get that update out. Or worse, if you’re marketing globally, they have to get up in the middle of the night so that update can be timed for morning coffee breaks halfway around the world. Nobody benefits from that.

Marketing automation solutions can even integrate with your CMS and include modules that let you do things like automate your email newsletter distribution. Followup emails for new leads? Yep, you can automate then, too. Like we said, game-changing. Read more about managing your social media accounts here.

Helpful Links

Marketing on Facebook 

Marketing on Instagram

Marketing on LinkedIn

The Benefits of Promoting Posts on Facebook and How to Do It 

Facebook Hacks Every Startup Should Know

Frequently Asked Questions

What is social media marketing and how does it work?

Social media marketing uses social media platforms to promote a product, service, or brand. It involves creating and sharing content on social media, as well as engaging with followers and potential customers. The goal of social media marketing is to build brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales.

To get started with social media marketing, you will need to choose the right social media platforms for your business and create a social media marketing plan. This plan should outline your goals, target audience, and the types of content you will create and share. You should also determine how often you will post on social media and how you will engage with your audience.

Once you have your plan in place, you can start creating and sharing content on social media, interacting with your followers, and analyzing the success of your efforts using metrics like engagement, reach, and conversion rates.

How do I get started with social media marketing?
To get started with social media marketing, you should take the following steps:

  • Define your goals: What do you want to achieve through social media marketing? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or boost sales? Defining your goals will help create a more effective social media marketing plan.
  • Identify your target audience: Whom are you trying to reach through social media? Understanding your target audience will help you choose the right social media platforms and create content that resonates with them.
  • Choose your social media platforms: They cater to different audiences, so it's important to choose the most likely to reach your target audience.
  • Create a content calendar: Plan out the types of content you will create and share on social media. This could include blog posts, images, videos, infographics, etc.
  • Engage with your audience: Social media is a two-way conversation, so respond to comments, messages, and reviews promptly.
  • Analyze and adjust: Use social media analytics to track the success of your efforts and make adjustments as needed.
By following these steps, you can get started with social media marketing and begin building a strong presence on social media.
How do I choose the right social media platforms for my business?
Choosing the right social media platforms for your business is an important step in your social media marketing strategy. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your platforms:

  • Your target audience: Different social media platforms have different user demographics, so it's important to choose the most likely to reach your target audience. For example, if your target audience is primarily young adults, you may want to consider platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
  • The type of content you will share: Different platforms are better suited for different types of content. For example, if you want to share a lot of visual content, such as images and videos, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest might be a good fit.
  • The resources you have available: Managing a presence on multiple social media platforms can be time-consuming, so it's important to choose the platforms that are most important for your business and that you have the resources to manage effectively.
By considering these factors, you can choose the social media platforms that are most likely to be effective for your business.
How do I create a social media marketing plan?
A social media marketing plan is a document that outlines the goals, tactics, and resources you will use to achieve your social media marketing objectives. It should include the following elements:

  • Goals: What do you want to achieve through social media marketing? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or boost sales? Defining your goals will help create a more effective social media marketing plan.
  • Target audience: Whom are you trying to reach through social media? Understanding your target audience will help you choose the right social media platforms and create content that resonates with them.
  • Social media platforms: Which platforms will you use to reach your target audience? Be sure to choose the platforms most likely to be effective for your business.
  • Content calendar: Plan the types of content you create and share on social media. This could include blog posts, images, videos, infographics, etc.
  • Engagement strategy: How will you interact with your followers and potential customers on social media? This could include responding to comments and messages, as well as sharing user-generated content.
  • Analytics and reporting: How will you track the success of your social media marketing efforts? Include metrics like engagement, reach, and conversion rates in your plan.
By creating a comprehensive social media marketing plan, you can ensure that your efforts are aligned with your business goals and that you have a clear strategy for achieving success on social media.
How often should I post on social media?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should post on social media, as it will depend on various factors, such as your industry, target audience, and the type of content you share. Here are a few general guidelines to consider:

  • Post consistently, but not too frequently: Consistency is important for building and maintaining an audience on social media, but you don't want to overwhelm your followers with too much content. Find a balance that works for your business.
  • Test different posting frequencies: There's no substitute for testing to see what works best for your business. Try posting more or less frequently and see how it affects your engagement rates.
  • Use scheduling tools: Scheduling tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite or Buffer can help you plan and schedule your social media posts in advance, so you don't have to worry about posting every day.
  • Monitor your analytics: Use the tools provided by each social media platform to track the success of your posts and see how often you should be posting.
By following these guidelines and tracking the success of your posts, you can find the right posting frequency for your business
How do I measure the success of my social media marketing efforts?
There are a variety of metrics you can use to measure the success of your social media marketing efforts. Some common metrics include:

  • Engagement: Engagement measures how many people are interacting with your content, such as liking, commenting, and sharing. Higher engagement rates generally indicate that your content is resonating with your audience.
  • Reach: Reach measures the number of people who see your content. A high reach can help you build brand awareness and expose your content to new audiences.
  • Followers: The number of followers you have can be a good indicator of the size and strength of your social media presence.
  • Traffic: Track how much traffic your website receives from social media to see how effective your social media marketing efforts are at driving website visitors.
  • Conversion rates: If your goal is to generate leads or sales, you'll want to track how many of your website visitors from social media convert into leads or customers.
By tracking these metrics and analyzing the data, you can get a better understanding of how well your social media marketing efforts are performing and identify areas for improvement.
How do I create and share content on social media?
There are many different types of content you can create and share on social media to promote your business. Some ideas include:

  • Blog posts: Share your company blog posts on social media to drive traffic to your website and build your expertise in your industry.
  • Images: Visual content, such as photos and graphics, can be highly effective on social media. Consider creating custom images or using tools like Canva to design social media graphics.
  • Videos: Video content is highly popular on social media and can be a great way to engage your audience. You can create videos using tools like iMovie or Animoto, or you can use platforms like YouTube or Vimeo to share video content.
  • Infographics: Infographics are a visually appealing way to share information and can effectively drive traffic and engagement.
  • Quotes: Sharing inspiring or interesting quotes can be a quick and easy way to generate engagement on social media.
By experimenting with different types of content and analyzing the results, you can determine what works best for your business and your audience.
How do I engage with my audience on social media?
There are many ways you can engage with your audience on social media to build relationships and drive engagement:

  • Respond to comments and messages: Show your followers that you value their feedback and opinions by responding to comments and messages promptly.
  • Share user-generated content: Encourage your followers to share content related to your brand and then share their content on your own social media channels. This can help build a sense of community and increase engagement.
  • Run contests or giveaways: Contests and giveaways can be a great way to engage with your audience and generate buzz around your brand.
  • Ask for feedback: Ask your followers for their opinions or ideas. Not only will this help you gather valuable insights, but it will also show your followers that you value their input.
  • Collaborate with influencers: Partnering with influencers in your industry can help expose your brand to new audiences and increase engagement.

By implementing these strategies and being proactive in engaging with your followers, you can build stronger relationships and drive more engagement on social media.

How do I advertise on social media?
There are many ways you can advertise on social media, depending on the platform you are using. Some common methods include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads: PPC ads are online advertising where you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. These ads can be targeted to specific audiences and are often used to drive traffic to a website.
  • Sponsored posts: Sponsored posts are paid for by a brand and are typically marked as "sponsored" or "partner" content. These posts can appear in a user's feed or brand profile page.
  • Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers in your industry to promote your brand. Influencers can share sponsored posts or create sponsored content to promote your products or services.
  • Display ads: Display ads are banner ads that appear on websites or social media platforms. These ads can be targeted to specific audiences and can drive traffic to a website or promote a specific product or service.
Using these advertising methods, you can reach a larger audience and drive more traffic and sales to your business.
What are some best practices for social media marketing?
Here are a few best practices for social media marketing:

  • Be consistent: Consistency is key in social media marketing. Choose a consistent tone, style, and frequency for your posts to make it easier for your audience to recognize and engage with your brand.
  • Use visuals: Visual content, such as images and videos, tends to perform well on social media. Use visually appealing images and videos to help your content stand out.
  • Engage with your audience: Social media is a two-way conversation, so respond to comments and messages and interact with your followers. This can help build relationships and increase engagement.
  • Use hashtags: Hashtags can help your content get discovered by a larger audience. Use relevant hashtags to make it easier for people to find your content.
  • Monitor and adjust: Use social media analytics to track the success of your efforts and make adjustments as needed. Feel free to try new things and test different tactics to see what works best for your business.
By following these best practices, you can create an effective and successful social media marketing strategy.

Check our latest Social Media Blog posts

 

How to Measure LinkedIn Ad Performance

Don't just "set it and forget it"! Follow these six steps to increase your LinkedIn ad performance, without using any third-party tools.

Social Media Advertising in 2023

As social media platforms grow, companies are leveraging Social Media Advertising to share content and build inbound relationships.

Achieving Authenticity In Social Media Marketing

The level of authenticity in social media marketing can significantly impact lead generation, sales, and customer loyalty.

Get Your Free Consultation

Let our team of marketing experts discuss with you the growth potential of your business.

Get Started