When starting out, Social Media Marketing can be a confusing and overwhelming concept.
Chances are that if you’re reading this, then you’re interested in trying your hand at Social Media Marketing.
Am I right?
Yes? I thought so! But you might not be sure what it actually is or how it works.
Well lucky for you we are here to give you a crash course in what all the fuss is about!
Think of this article as a “Social Media Marketing for Beginners” kind of introduction. It will help you get an understanding of what the main components of Social Media Marketing are and how to use them effectively.
So what is it?
Let’s start with the basics:
You’ve probably noticed that Social Networks are the latest hype when marketers talk about (digital) marketing strategies.
In fact, according to SocialMediaExaminer.com‘s latest Industry report, 92% of marketers said that Social Media was important to their business.
But that still leaves the question:
“Why is it so important?”
Compared to traditional marketing channels, Social Media Marketing gives businesses new ways of interacting with their customers…
… But also (most importantly) it is very cost effective. And, until recently, it was also free!
Now before you start cursing about how everything costs money nowadays, hear me out!
Using Social Media as a marketing tool is still free. Hurray!
So you can still make and manage a page for your business on every Social Media platform and put our content for your customers.
Now, this is where it gets important:
Creating a page and posting to your audience (for free) has been coined as Organic Social Media.
Utilising a Social Network’s (not free) promotion features is…
… you guessed it, Paid Social Media.
Organic Social Media
Now you know the two main building blocks of Social Media Marketing!
Let’s continue by taking a closer look at what Organic Social Media is.
In a nutshell:
It’s what you do with your personal Social Media account.
You make a page/profile and you post stuff. Sounds simple enough right? There is a little bit more to it than that!
When utilizing Social Media Marketing understanding your audience is arguably the most important factor.
And here is where it can get a bit complicated:
Different Social Networks attract different types of audience.
See where I’m going with this?
Different Audiences might use Social Networks for different purposes, and at different times of day.
This means before getting over excited and making an account on every Social Network you can find, you need to figure out who your audience is and what Social Network they’re likely to use.
Correctly identifying your audience can help boost the reach, volume, and engagement (the list goes on but I’ll spare you).
In the Digital Marketing world, these statistics are referred to as metrics.
Understanding your metrics is crucial, as they give you an understanding of how you should release your content.
What does this mean?
Making sure that you post your content when whoever you’re trying to reach, is likely using that Social Network.
Twitter and Instagram are especially important to consider for this since their posts generally have a shorter lifespan.
Here is a quick overview of the user Bases of the 5 (arguably) most important Social Networks
source of statistics: www.brandwatch.com
Paid Social Media
To best explain Paid Social Media, let’s use an analogy:
Paid Social Media is basically the cool kid in town that everyone wants to be friends with. Let’s name her Mary.
Why does everyone want to be friends with Mary?
Because Mary knows everyone. And (for a price) she can introduce you to whoever you want!
Paid Social Media lets you reach anyone, anywhere, at any time on demand.
You can reach people that don’t follow your account directly. Some people might never have even heard of you!
That’s a pretty convenient tool for businesses.
Which is why all Social Networks offer Paid Social options for advertising. Yup, that’s right all of ‘em. They know.
When you pay for a post it’s usually referred to as a promotion.
Businesses usually utilize various promotions in a campaign effort to e.g. boost sales or increase brand awareness.
Paid Social Media has also seen a huge amount of growth recently.
Why is Paid Social Media Marketing becoming more important?
I’m going to be blunt with you:
Organic Social Media has been declining over the years.
“So there is no point in using Organic Social Media?”
Organic Social Media still has a valuable role, but I’ll get to that later (so stick around 😉 )
Let’s first try to figure out why Organic Social Media has been in decline. To figure that out, we have to look at how Social Networks have developed in recent years.
Let’s use Facebook as an example.
With their recent adjustments to their news feed algorithm, it has become harder for the content that businesses post to appear on consumer newsfeeds.
The idea behind this?
It’s not to force businesses to engage with Paid Social Media Marketing, but to improve the quality of the content that consumers see.
Businesses can’t just post three times a day with meaningless content, or post poor quality content (i.e. like-if-you-agree-that-puppies-are-cute kind of posts).
If you want to increase the engagement your posts receive you need to produce good quality content.
However, simply writing a nice post is not always enough.
Your organic reach will naturally plateau off. Note my emphasis on naturally.
Think about it.
You may post genuinely great content. But chances are that other businesses will be doing the same.
Your content may get lost between posts of other businesses even if they don’t target your specific audience.
…This is where Paid Social Marketing comes in.
For the sake of consistency and the fact that it is the biggest Social Network let’s carry on using Facebook as an example.
When you promote one or more of your posts on Facebook you don’t just hand over a few Pounds and hope for the best.
That would be like playing roulette. It would be risky.
And when it comes to creating an effective strategy the less risk the better.
So why should you use Paid Social Marketing?
Paid Social Marketing allows you to target a specific audience at a specific time.
If you know your target audiences are young professionals that care about eating vegan, doing yoga, making smoothies, and using vintage cameras (they’re coming back!)…
… Then why waste time and effort creating content only to deliver it to people that have a burning passion for Italian gourmet steak cuisine (delicious by the way, I recommend trying the steak Fiorentina!)?
The point is:
Paid Social Media Marketing allows you to take advantage of what you learn from your metrics, helping you target the segment you’re aiming for.
Neat, right? It gets better:
Recently, this has become even more effective with Facebook and Twitter releasing their new analytics tools.
These tools allow businesses to get a much better understanding of who their audience is.
This can be useful for various reasons:
- It may turn out that your target audience is actually very different from what you initially predicted.
- New potential target audiences can be identified.
For B2C companies this can also be a very effective way to boost brand awareness in the relevant market.
In terms of metrics, your brands reach will increase.
But that’s not all:
But Paid Social Media isn’t all about finding you one perfect demographic.
It is also important to find people that are likely to invest in your product or service (even if they may not fit into your ‘usual’ demographic).
Paid Social Media let you add a Call-to-Action (CTAs for short) button to your posts.
These are buttons that will encourage your audience to “Find out More”, “Buy Now!”, and “Start your Free Trial Today”
If you want to find out more about CTAs this is a great article.
When is it best to use Paid Social Media?
Now, it is also important to note that, while I have emphasized the decline of Organic Social Media, is still important.
Especially if you’re just starting out, organic metrics can help paint a picture of who your customers are.
It’s a good starting point.
You wouldn’t want to start a Paid campaign with absolutely no idea (or at least statistical proof) of who your target audience is.
You can apply whatever you learn from your organic posts to your promoted posts and vice-versa.
Paid Social Media should complement the rest of your (digital) marketing strategy.
Combining Paid Social Media with Email Marketing by linking your social profiles in your emails.
Alternatively, you could encourage people to sign up for your email service through your social channels.
The beauty of Paid Social Media is that it can fulfill a variety of different objectives simultaneously.
A campaign that aims to boost sales can also boost brand awareness at the same time.
Paid Social Media can be a good way to give your business a boost of online presence.
Unlike with traditional marketing channels such as print media or TV ads, Paid Social Media gives you a lot more control over whom you target, making it exponentially more effective.
If you want to find out more about Social Marketing drop us a line!