Guide to social marketing for business
When you meet someone new, there’s a good chance you can connect with them on one or more social media platforms. That’s why social media marketing can be an effective tool for almost all businesses, playing a critical role in getting your brand in front of your ideal customers. Unlike traditional marketing channels, social media offers more versatility, freedom, and the opportunity to be less formal and perhaps a little more “human”.
This guide is for you if you run a business or marketing team and want to implement social media marketing, create a social strategy, and improve your overall marketing strategy. Whether you’ve already started using social media for your business or it’s something you’re considering, you can use this guide to understand which platform(s) will best suit your business and start to gain followers, but more importantly, you’ll be able to boost your engagement and conversions.
What is social media marketing for businesses?
Social media for business is exactly what you’d think – it’s simply using social media platforms for business purposes. But that doesn’t mean it’s only about selling your product or services. As with personal use of social, it’s about engagement, sharing, and connections. Selling is secondary. While that might seem counter-intuitive, it’s crucial to understand that organic social media marketing (rather than paying to advertise on social media, although that certainly has its place, too) is much more successful when you’re not overtly pitching your products.
Your content should be optimized to each specific social platform (commonly Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram). Doing this ensures you use each platform’s strengths and audience to leverage your brand awareness and engagement rates.
Like most marketing channels, with social media marketing it’s important to know your audience so you can meet them on the platform they use. For example, if you’re marketing to new moms, you likely want to be active on Instagram and Pinterest because that demographic frequently uses Instagram and makes purchasing decisions on the platform. Knowing your buyer personas ensures you’re on the channels they use most.
Why should businesses use social media?
Your business, no matter how big or small, has the opportunity to grow its potential audience and reach your marketing objectives through social media. A quick look at the statistics shows its potential:
- Around 3.6 billion people use social media
- 90% of all millennials use it
- 73% of marketers believe that social media marketing is effective
- 54% of all social browsers use social media to research products
- 49% of consumers depend on social media influencers
If you can create great quality, unique, and relevant social media content, you can generate a lot of engagement and reach more people. One big advantage of using social media platforms is that it’s free (unless, of course, you pay to advertise) – although there are costs in time to create quality content in your written, video, and graphical content.
4 benefits of social media marketing
The value of social media marketing is increasingly apparent as more people interact with and find information and products through social media.
Increased brand awareness – social media can boost brand awareness because of its innate share-ability. Engagement such as likes, comments, and shares put your brand in front of more people and drive traffic directly to your website or social page.
Generate leads and increase conversions – creating interesting content linked to your brand and products can help you generate leads and boost conversions.
Build relationships with your customers and potential customers – As your number of followers grows, you can engage with them through your content and comments. Those who interact with your posts are an opportunity to connect with them to start a conversation and build a relationship.
Learn from your competitors – check out what your competitors are doing and where they’re succeeding. Use what you learn to improve your own content.
How to create a social media marketing strategy
Just like traditional marketing campaigns, you should have a clear plan for your social media marketing strategy . It must be coherent but flexible enough to adjust to dynamic and changing situations. Creating a social media strategy will allow you to maximize your resources, minimize risks, and optimize your desired results. To create a strategy, you need to think about:
- The problems and opportunities – research the market throughly, including your competitors
- Your target audience – it’s crucial to understand their interests, wants, and needs. This will help you create content that means something to them.
- Which social media platform(s) you’ll use – there’s no right or wrong answer to this, it’s totally down to what suits your business… and your audience. You might only operate on one platform, or you might consider having a presence on more than one.
- The resources it will take to run effective social media marketing – can you do it in-house? Will you need to outsource someone to help you, or even hire an agency that can create and execute a strategy for you?
- The type of content you’ll create – people will only engage your content if it stands out. Give your audience a reason to engage and interact with your brand.
- How you’ll measure your results – what social media metrics will you use to determine how successful your social media marketing strategy is? Amongst other things, you could measure:
- Engagement – the number of clicks, likes, or comments you get
- Video views
- Number of followers
- Mentions – how many times your profile is mentioned by your audience
Each of the social platforms provides analytics capabilities to help you determine what’s working, and what’s not.
Linkedin for businesses
Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Linkedin is designed as a social networking platform for professionals and employers. While it is often misunderstood to be a tool primarily for job searching and recruiting, it’s become increasingly more social over time, and is now a popular network for professionals to collaborate, network, and gain through leadership.
A Linkedin company page is designed to network potential clients, employees, and partners or investors, generate awareness, drive traffic to your site, and increase leads.
By following best Linkedin practices, you can use the power of Linkedin marketing to attract more leads and potential prospects.
Explore our tips for using Linkedin for business.
How to succeed at LinkedIn for businesses
When you use LinkedIn to market your business, it’s important to keep in mind that even though this is a professional network, it’s still about connecting with people on a personal level. That means you should take time to engage with your followers, have conversations and interactions with them to show your presence. Doing this takes time, but it’s essential to getting your brand in front of your target audience.
Five tips you can use to succeed at LinkedIn include:
- Encourage your teams to share and comment on articles you post, and therefore amplify your message
- Have someone who’s accountable for running your LinkedIn page on a daily basis. This is an important investment of time that will allow you to comment on others’ posts, share relevant content, connect with people on a one-to-one, and send DMs that feel authentic.
- Learn from your LinkedIn analytics. You can find out who’s visiting your business page, what they do there and how they engage with your content, how many people visit, and when they visit
- Optimize your page for search. Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t limited to your website. Make sure you’re using your keywords on your LinkedIn business page, too. That way, you make it easier for your ideal customer to find you
Post rich content. Images and videos don’t just work on personal social media platforms – they make your LinkedIn posts more engaging as well
Find even more tips, read our article on how to succeed at LinkedIn for business.
Facebook for businesses
With its more than 2.4 billion users, Facebook remains the largest and most influential social networking platform. Facebook for business opens many opportunities in terms of reaching potential customers. Businesses can use Facebook in several different ways.
You can use Facebook to promote your business and achieve organic leads or paid leads through ads. Like all social platforms, you will need to invest time, effort, and dedication to succeed in using Facebook.
Among the various ways to promote your business on Facebook is by creating a business page. Your business page on Facebook is different from a personal page. A business page doesn’t have follower limits which means you can acquire thousands to millions of followers on your page. It also offers promotional features such as boosting posts and ads which are helpful in analytics.
Another way you can use Facebook for your business is through Facebook groups. A Facebook group is useful if you want to build an active community that relates to a certain brand. A group will always engage your content and will be more responsive.
Twitter for business
Twitter is a marketing tool that can be adapted for people with short attention spans. As a microblogging platform, Twitter is designed for short posts and rapid (viral) trending. There are few distractions and you can easily use the platform when you are on the go.
You really do need the time and resources to dedicate to a Twitter account to make it work effectively for your business. It’s also important to set your account up properly and make sure it ties in with your brand identity. Once that’s done, it’s all about engaging your customers…
Listen to what your customers are saying. Don’t just bombard them with what you think they want to hear. It’s important to take the time to understand their needs, wants, and pain points. If you do that, you’ll be able to provide content that they really want to see. You should also interact with your customers by replying to comments and sharing or liking their tweets.
Twitter can be an excellent marketing tool for business. It can provide leverage for your online presence, reaching a wide range of potential customers. Some of the reasons why Twitter works for business are:
- Generating leads from your target audience
- Discoverability of your brand
- Interactive real-time response
- Great potential for building networks
Learn more about using Twitter for your business.
Instagram for business
While Instagram is exploding with users, many businesses still don’t actively use it. Instagram is mainly designed for photos and video content. Its filters allow users to create photos that look professionally taken. Users can directly edit their photos or videos when using the Instagram app and it doesn’t require high-level photo or video editing skills. So how can Instagram work for businesses?
Instagram works most effectively when you create content that tells a story. When you set up a business Instagram account, you can also create an online store and social promotion. Posting pictures of your product or videos of your services here helps boost brand awareness and gain more organic conversions.
Want to find out more about using Instagram for your business?
Social media marketing myths – BUSTED
Social media can be tricky. If you’ve been reading post after post of tips and following every “best practice” to be found, you may be led down a rabbit hole that provides limited success. While it’s good to research trends, changes and best practices, there’s a lot of incorrect, outdated or misleading information around. At best, these flaky social media tips will give you zero results, but at worst they could hurt your social performance and business. We want to set the record straight about the real best and worst practices in social media marketing.
We bust social media marketing myths here.
- Social Media Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
- Social Media Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
- The Guide to Social Media Marketing for Businesses
- How to Write Buyer Personas
- LinkedIn for Business: The Ultimate Marketing Guide
- 10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic]
- 10 Surprising Stats you Didn’t Know About Content on LinkedIn