PHOTO: Adobe

Social media marketing refers to the process of creating bespoke content for social media platforms to drive engagement and promote a brand. Social media marketing is beneficial as it enables brands to strengthen relationships with their customers on the customer’s preferred channels.

Why is social media important for brands?

Although many people have switched to other social media platforms, Facebook still has 2.85 billion active monthly users, according to Statista. If you add the entire Facebook family of social media platforms, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, that number grows to 3.51 billion monthly users. By 2022, the number of global social media users is expected to reach 3.96 billion. As of 2021, 82% of the United States population will have a social profile.

These statistics show why it is vital for brands to invest in social media marketing, as social media is a channel where consumers can openly discuss what they think about a brand’s products and services, and it is a great place to reach customers on their own lawn, a place where they are comfortable. A GlobalWebIndex report found that consumers spent an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day on social networks (and associated messaging apps) from January through March 2020. More importantly, the report also shows that up to 50% of social media users use social networks to research products and services.

Joe Sinkwitz, CEO of Intellifluence, said that social media has finally realized the potential that has been promised since the first social networks debuted. There are now rich communities of individuals who target themselves into target groups, with the analyzes attributed to various actions. “At Intellifluence we feed everything we do. and much more, ”he explained.

“Now that it’s so easy to track traffic and signups all the way to the original content and poster of that content, it’s a simple process to reward individuals and, in turn, incentivize continued support. Growing social networks that allow actions to be attributed are the reason brands love investing the time and effort to connect with the myriad of shopper personalities they represent. ”

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How does social media marketing work?

There are many popular social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, WeChat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitch, and VK. Other websites that aren’t true social networks, like Reddit and YouTube, are also still important to social media marketers. It is important for brands to understand that every social media platform is different and the content that one brand creates for one platform is unlikely to be appropriate for another.

In addition, there are various aspects of social media marketing that need to be investigated. Influencer marketing can be thought of as one of the pillars of social media marketing while another pillar is called paid social. “In some cases they can work interchangeably; For example, a brand could commission an influencer article on Facebook and then, if that influencer exists in Facebook’s creator system, the brand could reinforce the contribution as a reinforced ad unit, ”said Sinkwitz. The third pillar of social media marketing is direct advertising via social channels through a brand’s social media presence. “Wendy’s, for example, does an amazing job on Twitter by interacting with their audience through their own account … sometimes they also step up the work of influencers and use paid ads, but their focus is on delivering snark,” explained Sinkwitz.

Liz Raad, co-founder of the eBusiness Institute, shared her thoughts on the effectiveness of social media. “Hyper-connectivity through social media has changed people’s attitudes toward family, friends, and their peers, and how they think about ‘trending’ and the current.” The pandemic resulted in an increase in social media use as people moved into safe online communities withdrawn while the world was on lockdown, schools closed and businesses closed their doors. People were spending more time online and changing their view of leisure, business, and work. Brands found that they could use social media platforms to improve their access to information, connect with key audiences, drive interest, and convert sales leads.

“As the discourse evolves on social media, people are looking for a more authentic, transparent and informative exchange,” said Raad. Social media marketing doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated, but it has to be real. “People are looking for more authentic internet exchanges and that means they are looking for brands with real personalities that can add value to their interaction experience.”

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What should you post on social media

As with other media, the content brands post on social platforms must align with the brand’s voice and values. Social media is a medium that enables brands to show more personality and character. Humor and light-hearted, entertaining content enable customers to see the human side of a brand. Customers realize that brands are companies whose goal is to be profitable, but they don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches or promotional gimmicks on a regular basis. Instead of increasing brand loyalty, the overuse of social media for advertising will scare off customers.

“Social media marketing can be as simple as having pre-planned content with a specific achievable / measurable business goal; For example, to increase reach, increase brand awareness, convert users into sales, and drive more traffic to websites, ”explains Raad. “Social media marketing can also be as in-depth as creating a full advertising and non-promotional campaign that focuses on multiple different topics and components at the same time to engage with users and measure those success metrics for how well they are We are engaged. “

A social media marketing campaign should include social listening to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign. Social listening is the monitoring of social media platforms for mentions of a brand, its competitors, products, services or keywords. This enables a brand to know what their customers are saying about the brand, how they perceive it, and offers the brand an opportunity to discover weaknesses in the customer journey.

Related Article: Is Social Media Marketing Dying?

Social media marketing doesn’t require all social platforms

Brands must first define the goals of their social media marketing campaigns and then determine the most effective means of achieving those goals on the most appropriate social media platform. Kelvin Chan, CMO at Training.com.au, told CMSWire that many brands make the mistake of marketing themselves on all social media platforms instead of just focusing on the platforms that are best for their customers or segments are suitable. “A lot of brands make the mistake of tackling all of the social media giants at once, but it’s best to focus on one or two. That way, you can focus on increasing audience engagement on this platform. The same person behaves differently on Facebook and Instagram, ”said Chan.

He said his brand had decided to focus on Facebook and Instagram, but it soon turned out that Facebook was the more suitable platform. “We have 39,451 followers on Facebook and 1,873 on Instagram. Our Facebook has clearly exploded because it better suited the intentions of the users. People are increasingly using Facebook for business and educational purposes, while Instagram is more for entertainment. “

Each social media platform has its own merits, and depending on the goals of a brand and its products and services, certain platforms can be useful for specific purposes. “Using the respective social media platforms for different results can lead to great engagement and increase brand awareness, awareness and customer loyalty. for example, Twitter and Instagram for updates, Facebook for brand awareness and reach, LinkedIn for connecting with prospects, and YouTube as a hub for resources, ”suggested Chan. For example, a travel agency would probably do as well as an art gallery on visual social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube. A web design company, on the other hand, would do well on sites like LinkedIn or Twitter. In addition, different customer segments are likely to use the social media platform that this segment is most appealing to. Older customers are unlikely to be TikTok users, while younger customers are unlikely to be Twitter users.

Final thoughts

Many people use social media platforms as their preferred channel for building and strengthening relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and even brands. Brands that publish relevant content that aligns with their values ​​while highlighting their character and personality are finding that social media platforms are an extremely effective marketing channel. Different social media platforms target customers for specific reasons, and brands need to choose the most appropriate social platforms for their specific customer segments and goals.