Starting from zero – social media marketing 101

The Basics

It’s hard to imagine our lives without Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, all because these platforms and their presence is so well ingrained into our minds. It’s been 23 years since Six Degrees launched in 1997 and with the development of the Internet’s infrastructure, more and more social media platforms have emerged since then, letting millions of people stay connected, informed, and entertained. 

According to the Digital 2020 reports published by We Are Social in partnership with Hootsuite, there are 4.5 billion active Internet users today, with 3.8 billion of them using social media. Going a bit deeper, we will find out that on average, these people had  7.6 social media accounts and spent 142 minutes a day on social media back in 2019. 

Source: WeAreSocial 

Since billions of people can be reached via social platforms, using digital marketing with the help of these platforms as channels for brand promotion, target audience growth and driving website traffic is a no-brainer. This is where SSM (Social Media Marketing) comes in. 

Benefits of SMM

SMM has turned out to be the easiest way to reach this enormous audience. As Hootsuite stated in their research, 52% of online brand discovery takes place in public social feeds. Basically, around two billion people learn about new brands on social media through their social network – that’s a huge number. 

The trend of using Social Media platforms for marketing began taking place over the last two decades – although social media existed prior to that. Before then, businesses were not considering these channels seriously enough. More recently, though, companies started exploring this opportunity, and now, if you’re not on social media as a business, you might as well not exist. 

The most attractive part of SMM is marketing directly to potential customers which allows for cost reduction by decreasing expenses due to not using a traditional middleman. Social media marketing also brings a significant increase in revenue generation – so not having your business on the above-mentioned platforms could be significantly hurting your business.  

Source: WeAreSocial 

SMM is one of the best ways to persuade people that the products and services that you’re offering are worth buying. It’s important to understand, though, that it’s not about just dropping a link to your company’s website somewhere on Facebook, hoping that it will drive thousands of potential customers.

SMM requires certain strategies to be applied if you want to see benefits such as:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Boost in website traffic
  • Interaction with the target audience
  • Handling of negative feedback
  • Gaining industry and competitors’ insights

Effective marketing on social networks requires a well-designed social media strategy, and some of the main steps to developing such a strategy include:

  • Determining your SMM goals
  • Analyzing the target segment
  • Identifying the platforms which are most popular with your target audience and creating a corresponding social media content plan and visuals

The Platforms

According to Statista, most popular social networks worldwide as of April 2020 are:

  • Facebook (2 billion 498 million) 
  • YouTube (2 billion people) 
  • Instagram (1 billion people)

Another extremely popular platform is TikTok (800 million users) which is relatively new but should not be dismissed.

Facebook

One of the most popular platforms today, Facebook was developed as a network for friends and families to stay in touch and it’s still used by millions for this reason. Over time, it became one of the main sources of entertaining content and news for people worldwide. As statistics show, almost half of the platform’s users get their news through Facebook, and if you are looking for a platform to begin your marketing campaign, this is the place to start. 

Source: WeAreSocial 

YouTube

YouTube is another platform that is used for social media marketing on a huge scale. The world’s largest video aggregator was launched in 2005 and has become the most preferable way to publish videos online. Currently, YouTube has 2 billion users and it’s growing daily. Using this video sharing platform is great for promoting your video content to a really large number of potential viewers.

Source: WeAreSocial 

Instagram

The next platform on our list is Instagram. Launched in 2010, Instagram offers options like video sharing and Instagram Stories – and it’s a great way to market your business to the younger generations such as Gen Z. There are also plenty of Instagram analytics tools to help you manage your SMM strategy accordingly. Instagram is also famous for its influencers – so having the right approach to collaboration is another thing to consider. 

Source: WeAreSocial 

TikTok

If you are trying to target Gen Z specifically, Tik Tok is your platform. The home for super short videos created on a mobile device and enhanced by a filter, background music, and with an option to add sound recording on top. This app has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times on the Apple Store and Google Play.

The current trends on TikTok include lip-synced songs, memes, and comedy videos, but you’re able to post about anything – hobbies, travel, fitness, photography. With advanced algorithms, TikTok is setting the precedent of how a social media platform of the future will be designed.

The Approach 

There are many differences between marketing on TikTok and Instagram vs. Facebook and YouTube. Social networks like Facebook or YouTube allow you to have creative control and build your own marketing strategy, while TikTok and Instagram are filled with influencers, and considering them is a vital part of your SMM. 

Some of your customers might prefer listening to a real person before making a decision regarding your brand. Therefore, focusing on authenticity could be a great strategy for your brand or business to adopt right away. With platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, you have a chance to become an influencer yourself, and although it might take a while to grow your following organically, it is still worth it. 

Content Marketing

After you have determined your marketing goals and analyzed your target audience, you should think about the content you’re going to share – images, videos, graphics, blog posts – or better yet, a combination of all four. The importance of how you deliver the content as well as staying consistent with your style matters more than you think. 

For example, Millennials love Instagram, but while they are more likely to use it for sharing images and engage with their friends or bloggers they are following, Gen Z likes Instagram for its Stories feature – so the content you post should be received well across all ages for it to truly get across.

According to the statistics, Gen Zers are the main content consumers out there and they spend up to 10 hours per day on their favorite platforms. They also have something called an 8-second filter that allows them to sort through content they’re viewing very quickly and determine whether they want to proceed with viewing the content or not. That’s why video is one of the best ways to get their attention – short, interactive, and to the point.

Still, no matter what content you choose for promoting your brand or services, it should always be:

  • Relevant
  • Informative
  • Interactive
  • Useful
  • Shareable
  • Diverse
  • Appealing to users’ feelings

And since a very high percentage of social media platform users are using smartphones and tablets for accessing their networks, all your content and ads should be optimized for mobile devices. Content marketing is always changing and evolving, so staying on top of the current trends is a great way to stay ahead. 

Watch Out For The Competition

Also, remember that your competitors are on every social network as well, so your presence needs to be inspiring, unique, and engaging – otherwise, your chances of getting lost amongst your competition might be pretty high. 

Hence, even with all the useful analytics tools offered to marketers, your success will mainly depend on your ability to understand your audience, and only then you will be able to achieve the best possible engagement with your followers and your community. 

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter whether you are a startup, a small business, or a large enterprise, online presence and an ongoing conversation with your audience is the baseline requirement. If you want to be successful, make sure your audience appreciates your presence and trusts you – and being present across multiple social media networks and providing engaging content every time is a good way to get there. 

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