In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, mastering social media is not just an option; it’s a necessity. This comprehensive guide to social media marketing and management, presented by Traffik Monster, a leading digital marketing agency, is your passport to navigating the dynamic world of social media.
We will empower you with the knowledge, tools, and strategies needed to create successful campaigns, connect with your audience, and achieve tangible results across various social media platforms. From the fundamentals to cutting-edge tactics, this guide has it all, ensuring you’re ready to dominate the social media sphere.
Table of Contents
The Power of Social Media Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide (Part 1)
In the age of the internet, social media has emerged as one of the most influential tools for businesses. It’s not just a platform for sharing cat videos or vacation photos; it’s a powerful marketing tool that can transform the way you connect with your audience and grow your brand.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the benefits of social media marketing, how to create a social media marketing plan, the role of social media research, the choice between paid and organic social media, selecting the right social media platforms, posting frequency, ideal posting times, leveraging social media for SEO, building a social media audience, the art of social listening, effective social media community management, the realm of social media advertising, essential social media management tools, tracking social media ROI, and the crucial decision of outsourcing or keeping it in-house.
Benefits of the Guide to Social Media Marketing
The benefits of the ‘Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing and Management’ by Traffik Monster are immense. This comprehensive resource provides invaluable insights and strategies for anyone looking to excel in the world of social media marketing.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting, this guide equips you with the knowledge and techniques needed to achieve success in the ever-evolving landscape of social media. With Traffik Monster’s authority in the field, this guide is a must-read for those seeking to harness the full potential of their social media efforts.
The Importance of Social Media for Businesses
Not too long ago, businesses considered social media as just a passing trend, a distraction for kids with nothing better to do with their time than to scroll through endless news feeds.
Nowadays, it’s becoming clearer every day that the importance of social media for businesses that want to reach a larger audience is high.
Social media has proven to be one of the most powerful marketing tools businesses have ever seen.
Get this: there are 3.77 billion global internet users, and over 2.8 billion active social media users. If social media were a country, it would be the biggest nation in the world.
Don’t forget that due to its gargantuan size, social media can provide you with more exposure and brand awareness than any other traditional marketing tool out there. Some of the most popular platforms have become such an integral part of our lives that we are willingly telling the world about our needs, preferences, problems, and burning desires.
Savvy businesses know how to benefit from the huge amount of data that users generate in real time. Sure, the numbers are overwhelming – every day, people send over 500 million Tweets, upload 95 million photos and videos on Instagram, and like 4.5 billion posts on Facebook. But, behind this mammoth amount of information, there are valuable insights about your customers: who they are, what they like, and what they are willing to pay for.
Social Media Marketing: Going Beyond the Basics
So, there’s no question that social media can benefit your business greatly.
But what exactly is social media marketing, and how can you harness its power effectively?
Defining Social Media Marketing
Imagine you are taking your first scuba diving lesson. You are given the equipment without being told what each item is, how it works, and why you need it. You wouldn’t feel too comfortable diving into the deep dark depths of the ocean without knowing how to differentiate between your submersible pressure gauge and your dive computer.
The same stays true for getting started with social media marketing without understanding what it is or how it works.
According to Wikipedia, social media marketing refers to the use of social networks to promote a product or service.
That’s a rather broad and superficial definition, don’t you think?
Let me take a swing at it.
Social media marketing is not just about promoting a product or service; it’s about using social media platforms to identify and connect with key audiences in a meaningful way. While your ultimate goal is to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and promote your products or services, you can’t do that without building meaningful relationships with your network first.
Unlike traditional marketing, where you bombard prospects with sales messages, social media is a two-way process. You need to listen, engage, show empathy, become involved, and provide value if you want to create a seamless relationship with your prospects that can eventually lead to sales.
If you can’t do that, your social media marketing is likely to fail.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media has become such an integral part of a brand’s marketing efforts, that over 97% of marketers are using it. Unfortunately, not all businesses seem to understand the benefits social media can bring. Recent studies show that about 50% of small businesses aren’t using social media marketing to promote their products/services. More than that, 25% of those businesses say that they don’t even plan to use social media in the future.
Apparently, there is a big gap between those who understand the value social media can bring and those who still see it as a passing trend.
If you’re one of the few businesses that struggle to see the value of social media marketing, here are some benefits to consider:
Consumers tend to buy from the brands that they recognize. Social media can get your business in front of the right people and entice them to engage with your brand even when they aren’t ready to make a purchase.
Humanizing Your Brand
Social media makes it easier to show your customers that you aren’t just a faceless corporation that is only after their dollars. It allows you to build a voice and showcase your personality, or the personality of your team.
Establishing Yourself as an Authority
Social media is an excellent platform to share helpful content that proves your expertise. Respond to industry-related questions, participate in discussions, and share valuable resources with your network to become an authority in your niche.
Improving Your Customer Service
You may think that social media is a waste of time, but your audience expects you to be there. 67% of consumers go to social media for customer service.
This list could go on forever. Social media can also help drive traffic to your site, assist with link building for SEO, keep an eye on your competitors, and so on.
Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
This quote has withstood the test of time, and it’s never been more relevant than in the world of digital marketing and social media.
Unfortunately, many business owners and digital marketers approach social media haphazardly with no clear direction. They “need to have a presence,” so they set up pages on every social platform out there and start publishing inconsistent content.
If you want to make the most of social media for your business, first you need to understand what you are trying to achieve. Then you need to create a structured and specific approach for moving towards that goal.
Key Areas for a Social Media Marketing Plan
Social Media Research
You know that understanding your audience’s needs and expectations are vital to social media marketing success. So it’s important that social media research becomes a key part of your ongoing social media strategy.
And, it makes perfect sense if you think about it: the more you know about your customers, the easier it becomes to create content that caters to their specific needs.
There’s just one problem: the volume of conversation on social media is so big that it can feel like an insurmountable task to look for potentially valuable insights.
Don’t panic yet. With the right approach, social media research is doable.
First, start by asking the right questions.
Imagine that you are a web design company and want to know what people are talking about when it comes to photography sites. Some of the possible questions you may ask are: How are people responding to this topic? What themes are the most popular? What are the other web design companies mentioned when it comes to photography site themes?
Now that you have your questions and topics, create a list of the possible words and phrases your audience might be using to discuss this area of interest. Keep in mind that people often use slang on the internet or misspell words, so try to include some fringe key terms in your list too.
Jump on social media, starting with the most relevant platform for your audience, and use the search feature to see what people are saying about your list of topics.
Look at your results and refine the list. Exclude anything that isn’t relevant to what you’re looking for or doesn’t provide any useful information.
With your data at hand, try to answer some basic questions, such as what is the overall sentiment for websites in this space, what audience categories are the most vocal about it, and so on.
Don’t be afraid to take your research a step further and explore what’s beneath the surface.
This information can frame your approach to marketing your product or service offerings to this group of people.
Paid vs. Organic Social Media
If done right, social media marketing can help you grow your business without burning a hole in your budget. Of course, that takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work.
Perhaps paid social media advertising is a better option when it comes to increasing brand awareness, traffic generation, and customer acquisition.
Well, let’s find out, shall we?
Organic social media marketing can help you put your business in front of the right audience for free (apart from your time of course). That is if you learn the rules of the game and play by them.
Here’s the thing: just as with search engine optimization, the algorithm for each social network changes regularly. Facebook, for instance, has significantly dropped the average organic reach for businesses in recent years and it plans to lower it even more in the future. The social network has made it clear that it will only show content that is useful, relevant, and valuable.
It’s no surprise that retail is sitting smack bang at the bottom of that list, given the direct response nature of buying products online and how it can be directly attributed to Facebook advertising spend.
Yes, cracking the algorithm and getting your content in front of your audience is becoming increasingly difficult, but there are a few advantages to relying on organic social media rather than paying attention straight away:
- Being consistent can benefit your business long-term by developing authority.
- If you have a tight marketing budget, it’s much more affordable.
- Your audience likely trusts “organic” engagement and messaging, more than they do paid advertisements.
On the flip side, paid social media advertising can help you achieve your goals faster, but its longevity is limited. A paid campaign will stop driving traffic and leads the moment you switch it off, but evergreen social media content can generate ROI indefinitely.
In the end, there’s no absolute winner. You need to look at your metrics and budget to decide which option fits your business best. The reality is that each of the social networks is a business themselves, and they need to monetize their audience to stay in existence. As this industry continues to mature, the ease of organic reach will continue to decrease. So if you think that social media is a “free” way to market your business, you will end up being disappointed.
Picking the Right Social Media Platforms
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is that they see “social media” as a homogenous entity. Sure, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all social networks, but they are so different that everything from the audience to the style is unique.
So, how can you ensure that you’re focusing on the social networks that benefit your business’ goals?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Consider User Demographics: Size isn’t always important. Instagram may be one of the fastest-growing networks, but if you are a B2B company selling SaaS services to logistics companies, then it would make more sense to focus your resources on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Resources: Do you have the skills or personnel to create the right content for the networks you’ve chosen? Instagram and Pinterest, for example, require creative images and videos while Twitter emphasizes quality articles.
- Time: Unless you have a dedicated social media marketing department, you won’t be able to post on every social media channel. Keep in mind that you should aim to post daily on each network.
In the beginning, focus your effort on the social network(s) that are MOST relevant to your customer group, and give them your best shot. As a rule, I’d recommend picking your customer’s top 3 most frequented networks and sticking to them to start.
How Often You Should Post on Social Media
CoSchedule looked at 14 different studies and found the ideal social media posting frequency for the biggest networks. Here’s what they found:
- Facebook: 1 post per day
- Twitter: 15 tweets per day
- Pinterest: 11 pins per day
- Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
- LinkedIn: 1 post per day
- Google+: 2 posts per day
Bear in mind that these are just general guidelines. What works best for your business may be different. You need to look at your data and metrics to determine the best posting frequency.
Ideal Posting Times on Social Media
The timing of your posts also plays a crucial role in their success. Posting at the right times can significantly increase engagement and reach.
Here are some general guidelines for ideal posting times on popular social media platforms:
- Facebook: Post between 9 AM and 3 PM on weekdays for the best results. The highest engagement typically occurs on Wednesdays.
- Twitter: The best times to tweet are between 9 AM and 3 PM, with peak engagement on Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Instagram: Post between 9 AM and 11 AM or 7 PM and 9 PM for the most engagement.
- LinkedIn: The best times for LinkedIn posts are between 10 AM and 11 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
- Pinterest: The optimal times for Pinterest pins are between 8 PM and 11 PM.
- TikTok: Post between 6 PM and 10 PM on weekdays and between 11 AM and 5 PM on weekends.
These are just general guidelines, and the best posting times may vary depending on your target audience and industry. It’s essential to analyze your social media analytics to determine when your audience is most active and engaged.
Leveraging Social Media for SEO
You might be surprised to learn that social media can have a significant impact on your search engine rankings. While social signals themselves may not be a direct ranking factor, there are several ways in which social media can indirectly influence your SEO efforts.
- Increased Website Traffic
When you share high-quality content on social media platforms, it can drive traffic to your website. The more people visit your site, the better it can perform in search rankings. Additionally, if your content gets shared and linked to by others on social media, it can generate valuable backlinks, which are a known ranking factor.
- Improved Content Visibility
Social media can help your content gain visibility and reach a broader audience. When your content is shared, liked, and commented on, it can appear in more users’ feeds, increasing its exposure. This increased visibility can lead to more people discovering and engaging with your content, which can positively impact SEO.
- Brand Authority and Trust
Having an active and engaged social media presence can help establish your brand as an authority in your industry. When people see your content being shared and interacted with on social media, it can boost their trust in your brand. This trust can translate into higher click-through rates (CTR) when your site appears in search results, which can indirectly impact your SEO.
- Social Signals
While the direct impact of social signals on SEO is debated, there is evidence to suggest that Google and other search engines consider social signals (such as likes, shares, and comments) when assessing the quality and relevance of content. While social signals alone may not determine rankings, they can contribute to a broader picture of content quality and user engagement.
- Local SEO Benefits
For businesses with physical locations, social media can play a crucial role in local SEO. Optimizing your social profiles with accurate business information, encouraging customer reviews, and posting local content can help improve your visibility in local search results.
To leverage social media for SEO, it’s essential to create and share valuable, shareable content, engage with your audience, and optimize your social profiles for search. Additionally, monitoring your social media analytics can provide insights into which content performs best and how it impacts your website traffic.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this comprehensive guide, where we’ll delve deeper into building a social media audience, the art of social listening, effective social media community management, the realm of social media advertising, essential social media management tools, tracking social media ROI, and the crucial decision of outsourcing or keeping it in-house. Together, these two parts will equip you with a complete understanding of harnessing the power of social media marketing for your business.