Social media marketing is a form of online marketing in which social media platforms are used to connect with an audience that is ideal for brand-building, increasing sales, and driving traffic towards a website/ product/ service. It mainly involves creating and sharing content on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat with the intent of engaging consumers. There exist a range of social media management tools that help businesses enjoy profits by correctly marketing on social media platforms.
Social media marketing was first started with the publishing of content on social media to increase traffic on their websites and eventually boost sales. But with technology maturing with each passing minute, social media has matured as well. There are so many platforms available and each of these is used to share different kinds of content and market different kinds of products and services as well. For example, YouTube is used for video content, Instagram for graphic/pictorial content, and Twitter for text content. Also, different mediums are used to target different demographics of prospective customers. For example, if the target audience is professionals, then LinkedIn is used and if the target audience is teenagers, then Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat is used for marketing.
Along with content type and target audience, other factors are also taken into consideration while choosing the platform for marketing purposes. For example, if a business is concerned about people’s opinions about its brand, then it would monitor the conversations on these platforms and respond to relevant mentions. A company that wishes to understand it’s performance on social media would use social media analytics tools to analyze its reach, engagement, and sales. When all these factors are taken into consideration before finalizing on one or more mediums and strategies, the process is called as social media management.
Social media marketing structure stands on four pillars- Strategy, Planning and Publishing, Listening and Engagement, Analytics and Reporting, and Advertising.
- Strategy – Coming up with a social media marketing strategy is the very first step. It includes understanding the goal to achieve which the company is investing in social media marketing. The goal can anything from increasing brand awareness to increasing traffic on website. Then comes the part where the company is required to make a decision on which platform they would like to market upon based on content type and targeted demographic. With the trend of new and up-coming platforms like Tik-Tok, WhatsApp, and Messenger, companies can reach varied consumer demographics online. This process can be made easier by deciding on the type of content your marketed product requires to boost sales. For example, a fashion brand would require to market using pictures, so Instagram would be an ideal platform.
- Planning and Publishing – Publishing on social media though seems as simple as posting a blog, an image, or a video on a personal Facebook profile, it requires planning before creating and publishing the marketing content. Planning the content and spontaneously publishing it just might be the difference between making a brand image and getting lost in the quagmire of content. Planning content and publishing the content that the audience wants at the right time and on the right platform can increase the brand’s reach on social media by multiple folds.
- Listening and Engagement – Once a company’s social media following grows, people start commenting on their posts, tag the brand, or even messages directly sometimes. One way to listen and engage people is by manually checking all the notifications across all the platforms. But it is a highly inefficient method and the posts in which the brand is not tagged will not be visible. To solve this, Companies can use social media listening and engagement tools to better connect with the consumer by either delighting them with a reply or offering support when complaints are made.
- Analytics – When all the above steps have been followed, it is natural to want to know the company’s marketing performance on these mediums. Many of the social media platforms provide basic information regarding the number of followers, the number of hashtags used in the posts, etc. But to get more in-depth analytics information, a wide range of analytics tools are available for use.
- Advertising – A huge sum is not required to run a successful social media marketing campaign, but if available social media marketing is an area that should be considered. These ads allow the brand to reach people other than their existing followers. With social media platforms become more powerful every day, one can now specify the audience they want to target based on demographics, interests, behaviors, etc.
Social media platforms are ever-evolving. Today, every type of content has a platform where it can be shared with minimum clutter and get maximum engagement. More than three billion people are using social media in one form or another. When such a huge population of prospective customers is present somewhere it becomes crucial for brands to maintain a consistent presence there. By just being present and visible on social media a brand can successfully get discovered by future costumers, generate engagement, create a community, and serve as a customer support channel for the customers.
The power of social media and marketing on these channels cannot be denied. These mediums provide an unbiased space for all businesses, irrespective of their size and the kind of products and services they offer, to acquire new customers and entertain the existing ones. These platforms can be game-changers, especially for small or new businesses. For example, Picchika is an Insta store that sells hand-painted Indian outfits, and with the help of social media, every A-list celebrity knows about this brand and has been spotted wearing their clothes. Social media marketing is very potent and is always changing. So what is working today might not tomorrow. That is why it should be handled by professionals like us. We can create a social media campaign that can not only boost sales but keep the customers hooked.