Social Media Marketing

Social media is more than just a conversation. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer a marketing opportunity for businesses. Social media marketing is a valuable tool for both large businesses and small businesses alike. Understanding how to use social media for business can be a challenge, though, particularly when it comes to social media analytics.

There are many social media sites, each working differently and offering different opportunities for marketing.

social media marketing

What is social media?

Social media, or social networks, are websites that offer users the ability to share content and engage with one another. The best known, and largest, social media sites are Facebook and Twitter. With millions of active users worldwide, these sites offer businesses the ability to reach a large audience at a low cost.

The widespread use of these sites makes them an ideal platform for marketing. Offering users free accounts, they are able to attract huge numbers. The monetization of social media sites happens through the sales of ads. For advertisers, both large and small, these sites offer social marketing. Advertising can be integrated into the user's experience in various ways. The result of this is an engagement that differs from many traditional marketing methods.

Social media marketing also offers metrics to advertisers that are simply not possible with traditional marketing forms, such as newspapers and billboards. Social media advertising offers statistical data about the reach of a business' ad. The social media statistics can be a big advantage for businesses looking to easily measure the benefit of their advertising efforts.

Social media metrics

Social media statistics often come down to several basic metrics. These are ways of measuring engagement. Most platforms will be able to provide information about how many users were shown an ad (or unpaid post by a business page), how many people clicked on a link, how many users have engaged with a page, through views, "likes," or other interaction, and more.

Understanding the statistics provided by a social media site can be difficult at times. When placed in the context of a social media marketing strategy, though, they offer a way to measure success.

How can social media be used for marketing?

Social media marketing can be broken down into two main categories -- paid and unpaid. Paid marketing includes things like Facebook advertising and Twitter advertising, in which businesses can pay for placement of their content in users' timelines and news feeds. Unpaid marketing includes the maintenance and use of a business profile or page.

Establishing a social media presence

The first stage of a social media marketing plan is often establishing a presence. If your business does not already have profiles on the major social media sites, these should be set up. Beyond their creation, though, is developing them into reliable, regular sources of content.

Social media management can be a large undertaking, and an agency may be able to help you with maintaining your business' social media presence. Having regular content and customer engagement will give you a solid foundation for social media marketing.

Building trust

Much of the work involved in establishing your company's presence on social media is building trust. It is important for your company's existing customers to know that your profiles are accurate and reliable.

Social media profiles for a company should provide contact information, including address, website, and phone number. For Facebook pages, there are specific fields available within business pages that can be used for these details. By filling in a page's profile completely, you also give your business the benefit of appearing in local searches performed on the site.

Maintaining brand identity

Another part of social media marketing is reinforcing your brand identity. Your social media profiles should draw on graphic elements such as logos. They should also use a consistent brand voice. A social media manager or social media management agency, who handles all of your social media profiles, can help you ensure that all of your posts on every social media site are "on brand" and in keeping with your social media strategy.

Your brand identity can also be reinforced by social media marketing and advertising. While establishing your profiles can help users know that your business is on social media, having a paid advertising strategy for social media can reinforce that your company means business.

This is because social media users have different perceptions of brands that appear as paid advertisers. Linking your social media advertising to both your social media profiles and your business' website can link your overall online and digital marketing plans.

Local and global marketing

Social media offers a unique combination of local and global marketing. Facebook's Graph Search, for instance, draws on a user's friends network to give a user a customized search result on the site. This means that if a user searches for something like "dry cleaners," their first results will be drawn from the pages of dry cleaners that they and their friends have "liked." This gives business pages added reach, particularly for local users.

At the same time, a global brand has the ability to reach an audience that is much broader than what could be reached through even the largest national media campaign. This combination of local and global reach is one of the uniquely powerful aspects of social media marketing.

How to use different platforms

Each social network offers its own advertising program. Facebook advertising and Twitter advertising programs are among the biggest, but other social media sites should also be considered for what they can offer to different businesses.

facebook marketing

Facebook

The largest social network, Facebook is ideally suited to B2C companies. While the large user base does mean you will inevitably reach other business owners, most of the advertising on Facebook should be geared towards consumers themselves.

Facebook pages are the business equivalent of the individual profile. By creating a business page, you can establish your company's identity on the site. Your page can be promoted within the site through sidebar ads and ads within user feeds.

These display ads can be customized and different demographics can be targeted. This allows you to ensure your ad is reaching the right users. The demographics available include location, gender, age, and interests.

Facebook advertising allows you to set a customized budget for each ad. You can also set how long the ad will run, making it a useful tool for a specific event, like a sale.

Facebook advertising also offers the ability to target a list. This allows for list-based remarketing, which is ideal for connecting an existing customer base with your social media marketing.

twitter marketing

Twitter advertising

Twitter has seen rapid growth since it's launch in 2006. Now a viable rival for Facebook, it offers businesses a way to communicate in real time with their customers. Many businesses also find that the interaction available on Twitter is useful for customer service.

Creating a business account in Twitter is the same as creating a personal account, though certain larger brands can also have their accounts verified. For business use, Twitter accounts can provide information about what your brand offers while reinforcing a brand identity.

Twitter advertising comes in the form of sponsored tweets. These paid placement tweets are structured in the same way as other tweets, which are the 140 character or less posts on the social network. Sponsored tweets can target a demographic, with the ability to narrow the audience by location, interests, and more.

These ads can include images, which will make them stand out more from the usual, rapidly moving feed of content.

Other social networks

Other social media sites are also beginning to offer advertising to business users. Pinterest's advertising will offer promoted pins that are similar to the sponsored tweets of Twitter. The Google owned social networks, Google+ and YouTube, both work with the search engine's remarketing and advertising programs.

Reaching customers where they live

The benefit of social media marketing is that you can reach customers where they already go. Your customers are on social networks, and by advertising your business there, you can achieve a high saturation rate for your marketing. This, in turn, can lead to a high conversion rate.

It is also important to remember that your competition also has access to social media advertising. Managing your own brand's social media marketing can help reinforce your existence for customers, who often perceive the reality of a brand based on their ability to interact with it and find it on social media.

Greater reach with greater advertising

Social media marketing can also help promote your website, boosting its reach. By advertising on social media, and more firmly establishing your place on social media sites, you can give your website a boost.

The increased traffic to your site from social media sites can also help your search engine optimization efforts. Social media links, particularly from other well-established accounts, are taken into consideration when search engines are determining your authority score. This essential part of the search engine algorithm is a big determinant of where your website will rank within a search engine results page.

By having a strong social media presence, aided by social media advertising, you can effectively boost your search engine ranking. This means that you will have greater reach, even among an audience that might not be on social media sites.

How can an agency help with social media marketing?

Like any type of marketing, social media advertising can require experience and skills. You will need to create dynamic, compelling copy for advertising, which may only allow a limited number of characters. You will also need to create a great, attention grabbing image. All of this will need to be properly timed, shown to the right audience, and kept within a budget.

Because of the level of experience that is often needed to create a great social media advertising campaign, it can be highly beneficial to work with an agency that understands the unique role social media can play in your marketing goals. Working with an agency can also give you the ability to focus on the rest of your business, confident in the fact that your marketing is being handled correctly.

Setting up accounts

If you don't already have accounts on social media sites, an agency will help you set these up. While certain sites will provide more benefit for advertising, it is useful for businesses to have a presence on all social media sites. The added links back to your primary website can be beneficial for your search engine rankings, and they can allow you to reach the largest possible audience base.

Beyond setting up your social media accounts, an agency will help you establish a brand identity within these networks. With a solid brand identity, you can work on creating a social media advertising plan.

Setting goals

Once you have accounts, it is important to understand the goals of your advertising plans. For many businesses, the goal will be increased sales. However, you might want to set an interim goal of more social media reach. By aiming to increase the number of users engaging with your site, in the first instance, you can then work on a second social media advertising campaign to target these already engaged customers.

This graduated conversion process is something that an agency can help you with. When setting a social media marketing strategy, it is useful to remember that converting people to paying customers is often a multi-step process. By raising awareness, encouraging engagement, and offering your goods or services, you can move social media users along the spectrum towards being return customers. Social media offers the ability to shift users along a path from initial introduction to liking a page, from liking a page to sharing content, and from sharing content to becoming a paying customer. In doing this, you create not only a new customer, but also a new marketer or brand ambassador who is ready to give an endorsement for your company.

Analyzing performance

Social media marketing offers many types of statistics. Your social media statistics will include information about your page or advertisement's reach, both organic and paid, as well as other metrics of engagement. These include things such as likes, shares, retweets, etc.

Each of these social media analytics offers you insight into how the site's users are engaging with your brand, and how much impact your advertising is having. An agency can help you make sense of these metrics, particularly when your goals are not as easy to quantify as increased sales of a specific item.

Social media analytics can be incredibly useful, particularly when you examine demographics. One role of an agency is helping you determine how best to reach your target demographic, and social media statistics can be a way to see how successful your efforts have been.

Of course, the other value of social media analytics to your marketing is seeing what has not worked. An agency can help you review your existing efforts, troubleshooting where things have not worked at their best.

This can also help you save money on your social media advertising. While Facebook and Twitter advertising are both very cost effective marketing, they can also be the source of wasted budgets. Targeting the wrong demographic for your product, or too wide a demographic, can mean that your ad is shown to the wrong audience. This can use your budget up quickly without the return you want from it.

Providing a holistic approach

Another benefit of working with a digital marketing agency for your social media marketing is that they can offer a holistic approach to your online advertising and marketing. This can keep all of your marketing in line with your brand identity, too.

A digital marketing agency is positioned to work with your company to create social media advertising that works alongside things like pay per click advertising and retargeting. This will give your company a digital presence that has a much bigger impact on your demographic. For a previous visitor to your site, social media marketing can be a helpful addition to your retargeting, in particular. It offers customers, or potential customers, another way to interact with and find your company, often serving to remind them of your existence when they might not click on other display advertising.

Are you ready to get started?

With millions of social media users, spread across every possible demographic, your business has a lot to gain from social media marketing. Social media advertising and marketing is a great tool for any size business. It offers a cost efficient tool that can give you a highly targeted and interested audience. With internal statistics available from social media sites, it also gives you the ability to track your success in a way that traditional advertising cannot.

Social media marketing can seem overwhelming, particularly if you are not confident in digital marketing or the use of social networking. However, with the help of an experienced digital agency, social media marketing can be easily added to your set of tools.

Whether you have social media accounts or not, we can help you get started with social media advertising, explaining how social media can work for business, and what social media statistics mean. To find out more, get in touch with us today.

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