Explore the usage of social media marketing to produce leads, increase conversions, and elevate brand awareness.
According to 2021 HubSpot Blog Research, marketers’ top goals from social media are to advertise their products/services and boost brand awareness. The struggles from many brands these days include making fascinating content and reaching their target audiences. Social media plays an important role in social media marketing – what it is, what it can do for your brand, and how to create a social media marketing strategy that works for you.
What is social media marketing?
It involves the practice of creating content for social media platforms to promote your products and/or services, build community with your target audience, and generate traffic to your business. Social media marketing is constantly growing, always with features that are new and platforms appearing anytime.
This social media marketing is all about meeting your target audience and customers where they are and how they interact with one other with your brand on social media.
Social media marketing is extremely advantageous to your business’s growth (as you’ll see in the next section), your strategy will vary depending on which social networks your target audience uses. Let’s segment the strategy by platform before diving deeper into social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing Platforms
Number of users: 1.9 billion daily active users worldwide
Audience: Includes an even spread of Generation X and Millennials
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Brand awareness; advertising
Facebook, the most popular social media platform. It has become a vital tool for B2C enterprises since its introduction in 2004, delivering powerful advertising tools as well as organic prospects.
Number of users: 1 billion active monthly global users
Audience: Primarily Gen Z followed by Millennials
Industry impact: B2B and B2C
Best for: Short-form, inventive video content; brand awareness; user-generated content
TikTok is definitely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of short-form video. The platform became increasingly popular in 2020, and it has no signs of slowing down. It’s one of the top venues for community building, ranking second only to YouTube among marketers.
Number of users: 1 billion monthly active users
Audience: Primarily Millennials
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: High-quality images and videos; advertising; user-generated content
Despite that Instagram was only created 12 years ago, it has taken the world by storm. When it comes to sharing visually captivating content, that is where brands go. The advanced ecommerce tools are another feature from the platform that distinguishes it.
Instagram is a difficult platform to surpass because users can discover brands, view their products and/or services, and complete a purchase without ever leaving the app.
Number of users: 211 million daily active users worldwide
Audience: Primarily Millennials
Industry impact: B2B and B2C
Best for: Public relations; customer service; community building
While Instagram focused on images, Twitter focused on text. Since last time of tweeting only 140-character Tweets, the platform has grown, and now they have an audio tool called Twitter Spaces, a community-building tool called Twitter Communities, and a feature called Twitter Moments that allows you sharing fascinating content with your followers.
Number of users: 774 million active users worldwide
Audience: Baby boomers, Generation X, and Millennials
Industry impact: B2B
Best for: Business development, B2B relationships, and social selling
LinkedIn is the professional cousin of Facebook. It’s possibly the only platform with a clearly defined target audience: Working professionals looking to expand their networks and explore new possibilities.
As a result, it’s the best platform for B2B enterprises trying to find key decision-makers and develop an industry-specific network.
Number of users: Over 315 million daily active users worldwide
Audience: Primarily Millennials and has a strong audience across gender and age demographics
Industry impact: B2C and B2B
Best for: Long-form entertainment; brand awareness and how-to videos
YouTube is the world’s second most viewed website as according to HootSuite. Moreover, marketers consider YouTube to be the finest platform for fostering community.
In addition to being a very popular platform, its users prefer to stay on it for longer periods of time because it primarily includes long-form content, making it an excellent medium for sharing educational content.
Number of users: 306 million daily active users worldwide
Audience: Primarily Generation Z
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Brand awareness; advertising
In 2011 when Snapchat was launched, the ephemeral content was at the forefront. It introduced content that you could share with your friends but had a 24-hour expiration time.
The platform reached its peak in 2015 and has been stable since then. When Instagram released Stories, a similar feature with a new moniker, many people assumed the brand would go away. However, Snapchat is still popular among young adults.
Number of users: 444 million monthly active users worldwide
Audience: Mainly Millennials with a solid audience in Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomers
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Visual advertising; inspiration
Taking into consideration that Pinterest is a visual storyboard where users may find ideas for everything from fashion to home decor.
Pinterest is where 85% of Pinners start a new project, according to the survey. Furthermore, 80% of weekly Pinners claim the platform has introduced them to a new brand or product. As a result, it’s not only a terrific discovery tool, but it’s also a means for brands to tell their tales through visual stories.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Let’s look at the experience from the user’s point of view to demonstrate the advantages of social media marketing. That is, from my point of view. Every day (cough, cough…multiple times a day), I see fresh posts and stories from The Frye Company as I browse through my Instagram feed. I’ve always admired their boots, apparel, and accessories, but I’m also a big lover of the content they post on Instagram.
When visitors, like me, explore their page, their profile looks professional, artistic, and organized because all of their photos have the same filter applied to them.
Frye’s account also increases engagement between the company and its followers by giving them a specific hashtag to use so that their photos with Frye products can be featured on the page.
Frye’s Instagram account is an excellent example of effective social media marketing: it’s visually appealing, authentically Frye, engages with 200K followers, and promotes their products.
But what is the significance of social media marketing? And how can you create a social media marketing strategy that works for your particular business?
There are numerous reasons why your company should engage in social media marketing. We’ve compiled a list of the most compelling reasons to think about it.
Let’s get started.
1. Develop your brand awareness
If you don’t have a presence on social media when we have many users, you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach thousands, if not millions, of people.
Indeed, social media has been proven to increase brand awareness through engagement. Comments, likes, shares, reposts, and saves are all examples of social engagement.
It also aids in the promotion of your brand by sending traffic to your website. Include direct links to your website in your profile, bio, and posts to accomplish this.
2. Increase lead generation and boost conversions
The purpose is to advertise to individuals who have chosen to engage with you, for example, they are following your account, promoting and sharing your items on social media. This is a straightforward approach to drive lead generation, conversions, and sales.
Here are a few examples of how you can use social media to increase your lead generation.
• Create contests on your social media to have your visitors and followers to join and participate.
• In the bio part of your profile, have links that can direct to your website and offers.
• Sharing updates and making product launches by hosting live videos.
• Running a social media marketing campaign.
• Social profiles can be used to sell your products. In your profile, enable tools like Facebook’s Shop Section or Instagram’s Shopping feature. These features allow visitors and followers to access information such as price, material, and size by clicking on products you’ve shared in posts. Visitors may then complete the checkout process on the platform and purchase the product directly from you.
3. Develop long-term relationships with your customers
You’ll be able to establish long-term relationships with your social media followers by connecting and engaging with them. This can be accomplished by interacting with them on your postings, replying to their questions and comments, and offering them any assistance they may require.
Moreover, you may establish trust and show them how much you respect their feedback and support by asking your followers questions about your products, their pain points, or create giveaways.
4. Study your competitors’ strategies
Social media is a wonderful way to maintain track of your competitors’ social media strategies, products they’re marketing, campaigns they’re running, and amount of involvement with followers.
You can use social media to check the strength and weakness of your competitor’s company that can help you to decide about your company’s approach; what should and shouldn’t be changed .
Finally, studying your competitors’ social media profiles will assist you to ensure that your marketing stands out and is distinctive to your brand.
Discover how to manage a competitive analysis to learn how you can beat the competition.
Now, let’s talk strategy: there are a few things you can do to make sure your social media marketing approach is long-term and has a beneficial influence on your brand.
Create Social Media Marketing Strategy
- Examine your buyer personas and target audience.
- Choose which social media platforms you’ll use to boost your brand.
- Create a list of important metrics and KPIs.
- Learn about your competitors.
- Create content that is both original and entertaining.
- Make a posting schedule.
Despite the fact that social media is continuously changing, the majority of the fundamental actions you need to succeed remain the same. In essence, you’re doing the same steps you’d take to develop a marketing strategy and focus it down to a specific channel.
Let’s go over these steps in further depth, so you can start implementing them in your business.
Step 1: Examine your buyer personas and target audience.
The first step in developing a social media marketing strategy is to identify your buyer personas and target audience, so you can cater to their specific requirements and interests.
In order to do so, consider who you’re aiming to reach and why, as well as how you’d categorize them as a group. If you offer contemporary leggings and joggers, for example, you might categorize your target audience as millennials who enjoy wearing stylish sports clothes on a regular basis – a style known as athleisure.
You’ll be able to evaluate what content will attract the type of followers and consumers you wish to gain by analyzing your buyer profiles and audience. In addition, you’ll discover how to develop compelling content that will keep your followers engaged.
• Buyer Persona Templates
• Make My Persona Tool
Step 2: Choose which social media platforms you’ll use to boost your brand.
As a social media marketer, you must decide which platforms you will use to promote your content.
Deciding which social platforms your business should use, there isn’t always a right or wrong answer – it’s more about your target audience’s demands and where they spend their time.
“It’s vital to stick at where your potential customers are today, and tomorrow,” Andrew Delaney mentioned, the previous social media marketing manager from HubSpot.
For example, if you’re targeting athleisure-loving millennials, you might want to concentrate most of your social media efforts on Instagram, because the majority of the platform’s users are millennials.
Stephanie Morgan, the founder and CEO of the social media platform Social Lock, agrees.
“Check out where they usually hang out online. If Pinterest their destination to hang out at, use that platform for your brand. If it’s TikTok, use that platform for your brand,” Morgan adds. “If they’re not so active on that platform, never waste your time there.
Recommended Tools and Resources
• A Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat for Business
• 50 Facebook Ad Examples We Actually Clicked
• YouTube for Business: A 30-Day Roadmap for Growth
• How to Use Twitter for Business (+ Follower Tracking Template)
• 12 Pinterest Templates for Business
Step 3: Create a list of important metrics and KPIs.
The approach of using social media should be data-driven, regardless of your goals or industry.
That means focusing on the most crucial social media metrics. Rather than focusing on vanity metrics, look for data that is directly related to your goals.
What are the metrics? Take a look at the following breakdown:
• Reach. The number of unique users who saw your content is known as post reach. How much of your content makes it into users’ feeds?
• Clicks. This is the total number of clicks on your content or account. It’s crucial to track clicks each campaign to figure out what piques people’s interest or pushes them to buy.
• Interactions. The number of social interactions divided by the sum of impressions. This reveals how well your audience views you and how willing are they to communicate with you.
• Importance of hashtag. What hashtags did you use the most? Which hashtags were the most closely associated with your brand? These answers are helpful in shaping the direction of your content in the future.
• Organic and paid likes. Beyond a conventional “Like” count, these interactions are attributed to paid or organic content. Given how difficult it is to gain organic engagement, many brands resort to advertising. Checking out the differences assist you in planning advertisement budget and the time you spend on various formats.
• Sentiment. This is a metric for determining how people react to your content, brand, or hashtag. Did your recent campaign offend your customers? What emotions do people associate with the hashtag you created? It’s always a good idea to explore a little further and see how people talk or feel about your brand.
• Which Social Media Metrics Are Marketers Tracking?
• The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Analytics
Step 4: Study your competitors.
Make a competitive analysis will help in figuring out who your competitors are and learn whether they’re a match or not. You will then know of what’s needed in your business, which will come in handy when making your own goals in using social media.
In the meantime, you can also identify opportunities.
It might occur to you that your competitor is famous on Facebook but not much in Twitter or Instagram. Instead of attempting in stealing viewers from a strong opponent, you might focus on platforms where your niche is at.
Step 5: Create content that is both original and entertaining.
When we have billions of social media users around the globe, it is likely that some of your followers or those who are exploring your profile have witnessed your competitor’s or other businesses in your industry’s content.
That’s why you require interesting social media content that shines and gives people a reason to click “Follow” and interact with your brand.
Unsure what’s considered compelling? Morgan has a suggestion for you.
Her first tip in creating social media content that is engaging is to research on the market because in the end the one deciding whether it is engaging (or not) is the audience. It is crucial to learn what they like and excited to know about in a content.
Explore and learn from your competitors and how they share their content. This way, you will learn to be innovative especially in promoting your products. Also, make use of the features offered from the platform you’re using.
For example, you may use Facebook Live to share the most up-to-date details about a product launch or to host a giveaway.
You may also engage the support of your present customers and promoters to create content. You can accomplish this by re-posting their content or encouraging them to use a hashtag to share their own stories and photos when using your items.
Finally, take advantage of the trends. Trends in social media are always changing, particularly on short-form video platforms like TikTok. Don’t be hesitant to participate, but you must be deliberate in your approach.
Recommended Tools and Resources
• The Social Media Trends Report
Step 6: Make a posting schedule.
Using a social media management solution is one of the simplest ways to ensure your content is spread as planned. You may use these tools to write captions, prepare images and videos, and schedule posts ahead of time. They also share your content on a regular basis and keep track of all post interactions and engagement for you. Hence, this software helps in saving time as you can focus on other things.
There are a variety of solutions to choose from; here are a few examples.
As part of its marketing software, HubSpot provides a social media tool to help you publish and monitor content and build genuine interactions with your followers. You may schedule and publish your content ahead of time, as well as compare detailed information on the interaction of your posts for better understanding on the performance of different platforms, types of content, and publishing timings.
Sprout Social is a social media marketing and management tool that will assist your team in organising and planning content creation, managing campaigns, understanding engagement, and reviewing content reports and analysis.
Hootsuite is a social media management for content discovery, scheduling, management, and reporting tool. You can schedule posts across all of your channels in advance and track your ROI with comprehensive content analysis.
When it comes to social media, how often should you post?
You may now be asking how frequently you should update your social media channels.
As a general rule, only post on social media when you have valuable content to share. There’s a reason you’re posting the content. This is how you’ll find the proper balance between publishing frequency and quality.
Morgan claims that the most common error she sees brands make when it comes to social media marketing is focusing on quantity over quality.
Instead, she advises reducing the quantity while increasing the quality.
You can learn about social media post frequency standards by industry and platform from a variety of studies and resources. Every business is different, so figure out what works best for your target audience.
Recommended Tools and Resources
• Social Media Content Calendar Template
• Social Media Content Calendar Template for Startups
How to Evaluate the Impact and Results of Your Social Media Marketing
One of the most crucial components of social media marketing is ensuring that your efforts are effective in assisting you to achieve your goals. It is crucial to monitor your posts across all channels actively. This can be accomplished by reviewing and monitoring your social media metrics.
Social Media Metrics
Data on the success of your postings and their impact on your audience and customers on multiple platforms are known as social media metrics. Data about your level of engagement, likes, follows, shares, and all other activities on each platform may be included in these metrics.
Here are some of the most crucial key metrics to keep track on:
Engagement: This includes your social media posts’ clicks, comments, likes, and replies. There are additional platform-specific sorts of engagement, such as Instagram’s “Saved” posts and Pinterest’s “Pinned” articles.
Reach: Your reach is the number of individuals who have seen any of the content linked with your page or profile.
Followers: This is the amount of people who have clicked the “Follow” button on your profile and see your content in their feeds on a regular basis.
Impressions: Number of times your audience sees a posting, whether they click it or not from your profile or page. When someone scrolls through their newsfeed without clicking on anything, this frequently happens.
Views from videos: Sum of views any video receives on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or any other social media platform with video capability.
Visits on profiles: Your profile visits are the amount of people who have visited your social media page.
Mentions: This is the number of times when audience members have mentioned your profile in their posts.
Tags: This occurs when your audience member tags another post with the name of your company’s profile or your hashtag.
Reposts: This is when a member of your audience shares a piece of your content on their profile.
Shares: These are the posts that your followers and audience share with their networks after seeing them on your profile.
Using the same strategies you’d use to create leads and drive conversions, you can influence all of these metrics, grow your social following, and improve overall engagement on your profile.
Measure Social Media Metrics
You may look at social media stats in a variety of ways, including using the analytics tools integrated into the platforms you use. Listed below are a few examples:
• Twitter Analytics
• Facebook Analytics
• Instagram Insights
You might also use a service like Google Analytics to track and analyse your data. Finally, as we said earlier, many social media scheduling tools include monitoring and tracking features by default.
All of these metrics tracking tools will help you learn what your followers and audience respond favourably to, as well as what you should do to boost engagement.
Now, let’s have a look at the numerous resources available to assist you.
Social Media Marketing Resources
You can utilise a variety of social media marketing resources to develop a social strategy for your business. With the help of the following courses, training, and books, you’ll feel more confident about working on your company’s social media marketing initiative.
Courses and Training in Social Media Marketing
If you believe it is important for your specific business situation, here are three ways to obtain a social media marketing education.
Obtain a certificate issued by a company.
A certificate is a quick and easy method to learn everything about social media marketing.
HubSpot offers a free social media certification course that teaches you how to communicate with customers and increase conversions. You’ll also learn how to improve your approach, expand your reach, and track your social media ROI.
Another platform where you may get a certification and display it on your profile is LinkedIn Learning.
Make use of YouTube University
When it comes to educational content, YouTube is a gold mine.
Hundreds of long-form videos offering in-depth training on social media marketing can be found with a quick search. Granted, you won’t be able to communicate with a live educator. However, it is free and can be a good place to start before enrolling in a paid course.
Books on Social Media Marketing
Read relevant content is another strategy to learn more about social media marketing. Here are a few examples of well-liked books on the subject.
- Dave Kerpen’s Likable Social Media, Third Edition: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on All Social Networks That Matter
The book shows you how to create engaging content that your followers will interact with and share with their networks. Author Dave Kerpen also explains why you must continually satisfy your followers to avoid losing them at any time.
- Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World The secret to social media marketing success, according to author Gary Vaynerchuk, isn’t pushing out a lot of content — it’s pushing out particular content customised to your target audience and using the ideal platform to do so. Vaynerchuk explains how to achieve this in his book, as well as how to use social media to interact with your followers and customers on a deeper level. You’ll learn how to develop remarkable, one-of-a-kind content that stands out from the competition’s.
- Kipp Bodnar’s The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and More Kipp Bodnar, HubSpot’s CMO, writes on how B2B businesses can use social media marketing to produce more leads and conversions.There are practical steps you can take to grow your audience, generate leads, and assess the ROI of various B2B social media marketing initiatives.
Platforms for Emerging Social Media
According to recent HubSpot Blog Research, marketers are on the lookout for new or emerging platforms on a weekly basis.
Though it takes time for platforms to take off, once they do, you’ll want to have a strategy in place to deal with them.
Brands like Chipotle, for example, were among the first to experiment with TikTok’s short-form video content. As a result, they have a strong presence on the platform, whilst many others are still figuring out where they fit in.
Emerging platforms may provide a new technique to reach your target audience that is more effective than what you’re currently doing. Some of the most popular emerging platforms include Clubhouse and Discord.
Others, such as Flyy and SpaceHey, are attempting to build a name for themselves.
Do you want to learn more about what’s available? Check out this article for a list of new social media platforms to watch this year.
Start Marketing on Social Media
Given the billions of people who use social media nowadays, it’s understandable why so many businesses and marketers use it to advertise their products and engage with customers.
Although deciding on a social media strategy for your company may appear difficult, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by learning about social media marketing trends and utilising some resources available on the subject. So, to grow your number of followers, improve engagement, and raise conversions, start working on your company’s social media marketing strategy now.
Note from the editor: This article was originally published in March 2019 and has been revised for accuracy.