Before I get started on the long list of things to do when you’re just getting started with Social Media Marketing (SMM), I’m just going to say, that I am assuming here that you are a part of the digital world and have your own social media accounts! At least I hope you do because if you don’t there’s a whole lot of other things that you will need to know about it.
Anyone who is a part of the social media sphere, knows one thing – almost everyone you know is on it! Therefore, it becomes a necessity to use the digital space and the world of social media to reach your customers too! Day after day, the audience size of each social network is witnessing a massive growth. People are joining different mediums like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others for a variety of reasons. As a digital marketer, it thus becomes imperative to tap on the right resources to meet your or your clients’ goals.
**At the end of the list, I will also tell you my personal favourite portals for SMM and my reasons behind it!
So if you’re new to this business of marketing your product on social platforms, then a little bit of understanding of the domain is important. So before we begin, I am going to list down a few facts just to show you how amazing this world is!
Social Media Marketing Facts
- As of May 2019, the total world population is 7.7 billion, of which 4.4 billion are internet users.
- Of the 4.4 billion people on the internet, a massive 3.499 billion are active social media users!
- If you talk about the number of accounts, on average, people have about 7.6 social media accounts.
- The world of social media registers a new user every 6.4 seconds on average.
- During the one-year period between April 2018 and April 2019, there were 202 million new social media users.
- In terms of marketing, 91 per cent of retail businesses use 2 or more social media profiles.
- Number of users per social network –
- Facebook – 2,375 billion
- Instagram – 1 billion
- LinkedIn – 610 million
- Twitter – 330 million
- YouTube – 1.9 billion
- Pinterest – 265 million
Start with the Audience
When you market anything on a social platform, the most important thing to analyse is the audience. If you don’t get the right people seeing your brand, you will most likely struggle to get any leads from the medium. Therefore, it is very important to have a defined audience. Your audience can be defined on the basis of several characteristics –
- Income level
- Relationship status
Prepare Shareable Content
Think about it! What do you do with something you like on social media? You share it with your group of friends and family, right? But if you don’t like something, you will not share it with anyone!
The same rule applies to social media marketing. Generate content for your audience which they can relate with and are more inclined to share it with their friends. The more shareable your content is, the higher is your organic reach for your brand.
High organic reach equals lesser investment on paid promotions (mostly).
Tips for shareable content –
- Short and crisp
- Visual representation through featured image
- Included target keyword
- Relevant Call-to-Action (CTA)
- Social sharing button
Make a Calendar
With budding social media marketers, one of the main concerns is not being able to keep track of their posting schedule. Therefore, to simplify things, it is always recommended to prepare an advance calendar that helps you plan ahead. A calendar helps you plan your entire marketing vision in advance with the dates, time, content, social platforms, and themes. As a result, you are able to devote dedicated time to other important aspects of your business while maintaining your digital presence at the same time.
Tips for Building a Calendar
- Plan for specific days of the week that you would want your brand to resonate with. Say for instance, with a dedicated schedule, your fans would expect a new post every Wednesday, as per your posting trend.
- Similarly, plan for a specific posting time of the day keeping in mind the most active time of your audience base.
- Include themes to give your posting schedule a story and connection for your audience.
- Depending on the theme, get your content ready including the text, creative copy (text on the image), CTA, and hashtags.
Do you want the same content on all social media sites? If not, maintain similar separate calendars for all social media platforms.
Know Your Social Platform
As you know, every social media platform has its own special features – be it the length of content, size of images, use of CTAs and hashtags, or the type of audience. Hence, it is important to do thorough research on the platform you are targeting and the audience available to you through it.
Tips to Analyze the Platform
- Check the audience base
- Research on competitors’ content and engagement rate
- Check the availability of tagging features for brands
- Examine the kind of image sizes can you post
- Check the content length that you can post
- Research on influencers relating to your brand on the medium
- Read up on the kind of ads you can run (I will tell you more about them in my future posts)
- Find groups that connect with your brand industry
- Know ways to connect with the public for brand visibility
Set Up and Optimize your Accounts
Many times, people just sign up for new accounts and start posting content without actually working towards giving that account a proper look. Think of it like this – when you have to go for a business seminar, you don’t just wake up and show up in your nightclothes. You work towards your appearance to ensure that you are dressed appropriately as per the dress code. Secondly, you ensure that you have all the required items with you that you need to carry. Thirdly, you ensure that you know the destination and your way to actually getting there. And finally, when you are there, you always have a plan of action ready on your seminar presence and ideas/business to pitch.
Similarly, when it comes to your social media accounts, it is crucial that you optimize your accounts well! You need to ‘dress them up’ by setting the profile images and cover images. Secondly, you need to ensure that your descriptions, about section, and all information is complete on all accounts. Thirdly, you check if you have included the right CTAs to allow your customers to reach you. And finally, you try to include some keywords in your descriptions to improve your page’s search engine rankings.
Tips for Social Media Optimization
- Set up a profile picture and cover picture with accurate sizes
- Complete all bios, and about us sections
- Mention complete brand information, including website links, contact number, email address, and physical address
- Ensure that you select your brand category accurately
- Use relevant keywords
- Link to your other accounts
Study and Understand your Metrics
The key to a successful social media marketing journey is understanding what works for your brand and what doesn’t. Every social media platform you use offers you the option to study your analytics. Analytics is your key source of information that tells you things like what kind of content was liked by your audience, which post received the highest views, which post received the highest engagement, what age group is your biggest fan base, who likes you better – men or women, where are most followers from, and a lot more!
Once you are able to understand the analytics and the metrics, it makes it a lot easier for you to follow and optimize your social presence to improve all the other above mentioned factors.
Key Metrics to Check First
- Page Follow/Like Change
- Post-wise reach and impressions
- Post-wise engagement rate – Likes, Comments, Shares
- Audience activity timeline
- Comment sentiments
- Audience geography and language
- Preferred post category – photo, video, album, carousel
Thus if you see, social media is an outstanding tool that is helping millions of brands, irrespective of their operational scale, reach millions of customers each day. When used in the correct manner, even a simple Facebook profile can help the smallest vendor sell his product to his customer. The only thing to keep in mind is to understand the ‘correct manner’!
Bonus Section – My Favourite Social Media Channels
As promised at the start of this post, I am now going to talk about my favourite social media channels and why I have a preference towards them.
In case you haven’t noticed already, Facebook is the most popular social networking channel. With one of the most active number of users, Facebook makes it the easiest for people to organically get in touch with their customers. Whether you talk about directly contacting people in your friends’ list, or engaging with group members, there are several options that one can explore for organic outreach. Moreover, it has been noticed and even shown by several studies, the advertising on Facebook often turns out to be cheaper than other channels like Google and LinkedIn.
To be honest, I absolutely love Instagram. It is the most visual platform, in my opinion, that is allowing people from different backgrounds to connect and showcase their talents. If you check out different niches and find people relevant to that niche, you’ll notice, that Instagram has something for everybody. Moreover, connecting with people on Instagram is far easier than any other platform. Add to that the impressive organic outreach, and you get a golden package! Advertising too for Instagram is extremely easy since it can be directly linked to Facebook and done without any added hassles!
Therefore, to some up, my concluding message to you would be to start slow, study and gain information, and work your way up the ladder as you learn more. Social Media Marketing is an outstanding tool for marketers in today’s time and there is a lot more that can be done with it. As noticed, it is an evolving industry and is thus only going to get better with time!