What is Social Media Marketing, and Do I Need It?
If you’re new to eCommerce or Digital Marketing, you may be wondering if you really need all the marketing you’re reading about. Social Media Marketing is one area business owners often neglect or feel is not necessary. This assumption is a mistake. Social Media Marketing can help tap into the growing potential of your business. Saying Social Media Marketing isn’t necessary for a successful business is like saying crust isn’t necessary to make a pie.
Social media is defined as any website or app that allows its users to create content and engage in social networking. When social media is mentioned, Facebook and Instagram are usually the first platforms to come to mind. There are literally hundreds of social media platforms and apps, and they fall into many categories. There are business networking platforms, like LinkedIn, and streaming networks aimed at gamers, like Discord and Twitch.
If you have customers or clients, they use social media. You just need to find out which platforms they are most likely to be active on so that you can target them directly. You wouldn’t want to only post on Instagram where your viewership is only 15 percent and then miss out on targeting Facebook where your viewership is almost 60 percent. This is one reason it is important to know your audience.
Social Media Marketing is the practice of using these social media platforms to promote your business. If you read on, I will break down the two different branches of Social Media Marketing and then delve into why it is so important, and how to be successful at it.
The two different types of Social Media Marketing:
Social Media Management and Social Media Advertisement.
Social media management is all social media activity that is not paid advertising. It includes posting about your business on social media platforms and engaging with your audience. Many businesses will have multiple different social media accounts on different platforms. The media they post on these accounts is directed at their target audience. This helps them reach as much of their audience as possible. In some cases, you may reach one aspect of your target audience on one platform, and another aspect on a different platform. This could be the case if you have customers from varying age groups. Situations like this allow you to tailor your posts to the specific audience on that platform.
Social media advertising is the use of paid advertisements offered on many social media platforms. There are many ways to make use of paid advertising. Most platforms offer a simple ‘boost’ or ‘promote’ feature that allows you to pay to turn an existing post into an ad. There are more complex advertising services available as well, where you would need to create an ad and develop a target audience. Another form of social media advertising would be paying influencers to feature your services. Have you ever been watching a video on YouTube and noticed a brand that is frequently displayed in the video? It is most likely a product that they were paid to promote to their followers.
Why do I need Social Media Marketing?
There are many purposes for Social Media Marketing. It primarily helps with the visibility of your business. If no one knows you exist, you can’t sell your products or services. That is why Social Media Marketing is so important; it helps spread the word that you are there and can often bring you much closer to already looming customers.
Building brand affinity is another area where social media is helpful. Brand affinity is the positive regard people develop when they see your products, logo, and name often. You know the ad that plays on the radio with that fun jingle you have memorized every word to? That is a fantastic example of brand affinity. The more they see your signature style representing your business niche, the more they will feel that you must have good products or be an authority on the subject. This is especially true when they see your name and products across multiple platforms.
Social Media Marketing also helps with your SEO ranking, but not directly. There are many ways that you can use social media to boost your website’s SEO. Things like backlinking your website in social media posts and paying influencers to push their followers to your site will help increase your SEO rank.
You can target more specific audiences with Social Media Marketing too. Since different social media platforms bring in different audiences on their own, the audience you are targeting may be a bit different depending on which platform you choose for marketing.
Customer satisfaction is especially important to the success of your business. Part of Social Media Marketing is interacting with your customers that are on social media. If a negative review is handled appropriately, then the anger that the customer experienced can be alleviated. They will remember you as having great customer service!
The Keys to Success
Now that you understand Social Media Marketing’s importance, let’s discuss what you need for this to make your business successful. Those who become interested in Social Media Marketing often make the mistake of thinking that they can do it all themselves. Social Media Marketing is very time consuming, and to be successful with it takes a group of extremely specific skill sets. Skills like properly identifying your target audience and knowing how to design graphics for different social media platforms are vital for successful Social Media Marketing. Those two skill sets will be talked about in the list of keys I am about to go over. Social Media Marketing is not just paying to advertise your business. Even if it was, do you really know how to design the best ad for your specific audience and still make it appropriate for the platform it is on?
Being on a first name basis with one of your customers isn’t the same as understanding the bulk of your audience and what kind of people they are. Your target audience is composed of a list of common traits among the people that are likely to purchase from your business.
These demographics include things like age, education level, and income level.
If you aren’t targeting the right audience, there is a high chance that you will end up being flagged and seen as an annoyance to the people who receive your marketing. Imagine getting a bunch of advertisements for dog toy products as someone who dislikes or is allergic to dogs.
Assessing your target audience is important to ensure that your product/service will have more exposure. Having a professional assess your target audience is the best way to make sure that everything is being targeted as precisely as possible.
Your business should have a consistent theme. That theme is referred to as “branding.” If you pay attention to huge retailers like Walmart or Amazon, all their advertisements are branded with their logo, colors, and even the same fonts. Depending on what platform they are using some things might change, like graphics or tone. All those things are aspects of branding.
Just like you would with target audience, you want to make sure that your branding is consistent. The best way to ensure this is to hire someone that knows how to use target audience to create effective branding for your business. That way they can assess and break down the best branding formula for optimal success.
You may have noticed a running theme in this article; why do I keep bringing up target audience? Target audience is the foundation of good marketing. It is essential to the success of your business. Graphic design and copywriting make use of target audience to make sure the content your business is producing is as high-converting as possible.
A good copywriter will understand target audience well and know how to incorporate it into their writing. If your voice and tone are what your audience loves, then a professional copywriter can mimic it and bring out the best of you. Their job is to take what your audience is looking for, sharpen it, and then give it back for absolute customer satisfaction.
Graphic designers have a visually artistic take on target audience. Professional graphic designers tend to be just as good with target audience as copywriters, but they use it differently. It is like looking at a painting based on a book versus a book based on a painting. With the first, all the words are there, but with the second they must create the words themselves. Professional graphic designers know what is needed for your target audience and what works best on different platforms.
Why is web design important to Social Media Marketing? You will be driving traffic to your website with your posts and advertisements. Your website must be professional and attractive to your audience. Website designers evaluate your target audience to ensure your website is user friendly and appealing. The color scheme, pretty buttons, and fancy animations are not the only part of this process. They also must consider details like how your audience might search for things, and they must keep everything consistent with the rest of your business’s branding.
Social Media Management
Posting on a schedule is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about social media management. That is a common mistake that a lot of business owners make when they first startup. Your mind will change quickly the first time someone leaves a negative review on your social media rather than the place that is provided specifically for that.
Negative reviews on social media are much more damaging than negative reviews on your website because they are where anyone can see them and share.
If someone who shared the experience were to see it and decide to converse about their similar negative experience it could end up seriously harming your business, especially if you don’t intervene.
How are you supposed to find the time to post and interact, while still working on your business? No one is expecting you to juggle all this work at once, which is exactly why there are people who will do it for you. Paying someone to be active for a specific period during the day (12-5pm for example) to post and engage with customers for a personal real-time experience can be greatly beneficial to your business. It can create a positive attitude surrounding your business and make people much happier to enjoy your services/products.
There are several different types of social media advertisement, it isn’t just paying Instagram to promote your posts. Social media advertisement can be paying influencers to promote your business, whether it be through travel blogs or through makeup tutorials. As you might have expected, this also requires you to have a grasp on your target audience. If you are selling soft toned shirts with teddy bears printed on them, you don’t want to pay a horror gamer to promote your product. Though I am sure there are horror gamers on Twitch that love teddy bears, it won’t be the majority, which is what you need.
You will need someone that knows the social media platforms that your target audience is most likely to use. They will also have to understand those social media platforms to be able to advertise on them.
In summary, Social Media Marketing is essential for most businesses, whether you sell physical products or provide services. No matter who your customers are, they likely use some form of social media that you can use to reach them and bring them to your website or store.
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