Marketing for Beginners: Social Media

Social media has changed the way humans interact.

Then marketers got a hold of it, and ruined everything.

Sorry y’all.

For business owners, though, there is reason to rejoice. You are no longer burdened with the task of raising considerable funds in order to reach out to your current and prospective customers. With comparatively little resources, you can reach out to a large number of targeted people on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and display your message en masse.

Social media marketing has given millions of businesses the capability to quickly reach out to their targeted customers with their best foot forward, and a perfectly targeted and refined message.

However, a lot of individuals and businesses are still a bit weary about having a social media presence, and how to do it properly. So — in this article, we will take a high level look at the basics of social media marketing and how you can utilize it to grow your business.

What is social media marketing?

According to Wikipedia, “Social-media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service.”

In other words, social media marketing involves using the social media channels to gain attention and create awareness about products or services. It’s a powerful medium through which businesses can reach out to customers and prospects by creating shareable and engaging content. Social media marketing aims to drive targeted traffic, to increase brand visibility, create interest, and generate sales.

Why social media?

It’s where the attention is. It’s where people’s eyes are. As of writing, according to a study by Mediakix, the average person will spend more than five years of their life on social media. If you are not placing your message, your logo, your slogan, your face, and your product(s) where the attention is — you’re missing out.

Here are some reasons every business needs social media marketing

  • The fastest way to create awareness for your brand – Your post can go viral within minutes, bringing massive engagement and brand visibility. This is not possible with other marketing channels.
  • Enormous Engagement –  1.47 billion people spend time on Facebook every day and you can quickly put your business in front of them.
  • Social media advertising allows you to choose your desired target based on location, age, gender, etc. This allows you to easily target the right set of people and limit resource usage.
  • 74% of the 2.4 billion people accessing the internet use at least one social media network. This provides a massive opportunity to generate traffic to your lead funnel.

How to get started

Starting a social media marketing campaign is easy.  However, you need to determine what you intend to achieve and how to go about it. This means creating a marketing goal and strategy. Starting your advertising campaign without these two in place is like building a structure without foundations – it may last for a while but will collapse upon itself.

If you have already determined your goals, outstanding!

If not, you can ask yourself the following questions when trying to determine your social media marketing goals:

  • What do I want to happen with my business, as I run my campaign(s)?
  • What kind of people do I want my message to get in front of? What are their likes, their hobbies, their traits?
  • What can I say that will attract their attention and interest?

You should also create a marketing plan in line with your goals

  • Outline how you will engage your audience. Would you be using texts, images, or video?
  • Will you drive traffic to your website or engage your audience on Facebook, or the other medium you plan to use?

Creating goals and strategy might be the most challenging part of content marketing. However, having them in place makes your social media marketing journey a lot easier. Measure twice, cut once if you know what I mean.

Always have in mind that your audience wants to be entertained and engaged, so all content should be created for the followers, with their desires in mind.

I feel like I need to dig a little deeper with this part, hence this awesome formatting. Your audience wants to see, what it wants to see…not what you want to post. Let me repeat that in another way — what you want to post is of no consequence. What they want to see, is what matters. You may think that your company is the coolest company on the planet, but if your customers only care about your #1 selling widget, then that is what you need to focus on. Without a near perfect understanding of your target audience, it’s very easy to put out messages that have little to do with things they care about. For example — this piece of content that you are reading, right now. We’re a shipping insurance company. U-PIC is not a marketing agency. We have nothing whatsoever to do with marketing. We just know our audience. If you are reading this, there is a decent chance that you’re in the eCommerce space, and you are looking for ways to expand your business. If I sat at my desk all day writing about shipping insurance, we never would have met! This article exists solely to help you learn a little more about marketing, so that you can increase your business. And if you are insuring your parcel with U-PIC, that’s an added bonus for us.

Know. Your. Audience.

How to select the best social media platforms for marketing

There are several social media platforms available, each unique in their design, which requires a varied approach. Below, you will find an overview on how to get started on the specific social media platforms that you may want to look into.

Facebook

As of Q2 2018, Facebook had over 2.3 billion active users. Let’s put this to scale. There are 7.442 billion people on Earth. One in every three people on Earth, is on Facebook. If you want to talk about attention arbitrage, you absolutely cannot, without talking about Facebook. It’s a massive market where people relax with their friends and family. Share their thoughts on things like movies, food, and politics. Maybe a little too much politics, but I digress.

Its very easy to get started on Facebook. You will need to create a Facebook business page, then set up all the required sections, and you can begin creating content and putting it in front of your target audience. In future posts, we’ll detail the How-To for creating Facebook ads.

Twitter

Marketing on Twitter revolves around building a broad base of followers, and engaging with them constantly. You need to tweet engaging and shareable content to your followers consistently. When your content is retweeted, you’ll likely gain more followers, so make sure what you tweet is valuable.

Twitter is an excellent tool for brand promotion and lead generation, but it’s built around dialog, so you need to interact with your audience on a regular basis. You can search for hashtagged words to find discussions to join. For example, if your company sells snow shoes, you can search #snowshoes on Twitter to find people talking about them, and join the conversation. But don’t be too pushy! Give, don’t ask.

YouTube

YouTube is the renowned platform for creating and sharing video content. Millions of people visit YouTube daily in search of solutions and entertainment, and you can use these videos to promote your business. Create videos that answer your customers questions, unveil new products, show how to use your products, show your company’s personality, etc.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform for professionals. It provides an avenue to connect and share content with your business network. Here, you need to share relevant content and provide answers to questions to show your expertise. If your business provides B2B products or services, LinkedIn is a good place to focus some of your social media marketing efforts.

Instagram

Perhaps the best platform for visuals, Instagram is a must for most businesses. Whether you sell products, commodities, or services — a properly curated, timely, and visually stunning Instagram account can take your business places. Instagram is owned by Facebook, and when you are creating Facebook ads, within the same architecture, you have the ability to run them on Instagram concurrently. Big time saver, and very effective!

Social Media Marketing Tips

Here are some easy ways you can get more out of social media marketing.

  • Plan your content ahead of time, in a content calendar. Don’t just create and post content for the sake of it, plan it ahead of time to ensure that you post interesting and valuable content to establish your authority.
  • Post regularly. The more you post, the more engagement and visibility you will get. You want to have enough time between your posts so as to not overwhelm the platform and have your visibility scaled back, but you need to have several posts go live per day on some platforms. This should be a big part of your planning.
  • Research your competitors. It’s important to keep your eyes on your competition to know what moves they are making. It’s unhealthy to compare your business to theirs, but it pays to be vigilant and understand what is and is not working for them, and planning your content accordingly.
  • Proper crisis management. From time to time, you will face negativity in the social space. Have a plan in place before you begin posting and marketing on social media, that details how your organization will respond to criticism. Whatever you do, DO NOT take it personally and respond from a place of emotion. It’s very easy to sink even a large ship on social media, if your crisis management skills are not top notch.
  • Use paid promotions. It’s hard to attain the level of success you desire without putting in extra. Engaging in paid ads will help you achieve great results in a shorter time. You may also want to look into social influencers to help push your business and your products. We’ll talk more about them in the future.

Social media marketing is a powerful tool if properly used and cared for. While this has been a very high level overview of social media marketing, I am happy to answer any questions you have down in the comments. Until next time!

Posted in Marketing for Beginners.

Director, Business Development for U-PIC Shipping Insurance

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