The last decade has seen the advertising landscape change drastically. With the inception of social media, businesses have since found that having an online presence is crucial in gaining new customers.
If you’re a business that’s been running for several decades, then you may be used to gaining new clients through word of mouth and offline channels.
Whilst this is still an important method for increasing brand awareness, you’re likely wasting more resources than you need to.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of using a social platform to advertise your business or product. With over 4 billion people using some kind of social media platform, it’s important to understand how each one functions as no two social platforms are designed the same.
Regardless of which platform you choose to promote yourself, your campaign will always fall under one of two categories – paid social media and organic social media.
Organic social media in its simplest terms means that you’re trying to draw in customers at no cost to yourself e.g. writing posts on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter page, or posting images to your Instagram feed.
Paid social media is exactly that; you pay the platform to advertise your business. This allows you to reach a considerably wider audience than the people who are already on your radar and also enables you to be much more targeted in your marketing efforts.
Different businesses will have different budgets and requirements for their campaigns, however one thing they all have in common is that they deploy a strategy that utilises both types of social media marketing. I will explain this further shortly.
How Do I Use Social Media to Market My Business?
Before you even get started on your first campaign, it’s important to create a strategy. This applies to small and large businesses alike. It’s common for businesses to assume that blasting out hundreds of posts is effective because it’s free, but you still run the risk of wasting time and effort, which are both costly business investments.
To make things more straightforward I will signpost the most important steps when starting a social media campaign:
When it comes to goals you should be able to identify what your overall goal is. For example, is your goal to get potential customers to buy a product or book a phone call? Do you want to raise brand awareness by bringing people to your website?
Irrespective of how you want people to get there, you must identify your key overall goal for your business (hint: this can take a while, but it’s crucial that you do so before starting a campaign.)
Who is your current competition? What kind of activity do you see on their social media platforms? You might find that your competitors don’t have the same goals and you should therefore widen your research to find companies that more closely match your objectives.
By tapping into competitor research, you’re taking an objective seat to identify the strengths and weaknesses of similar companies, which saves you from making the same mistakes!
One of the most important things to discover is which platforms your competitors use. Are they a B2B company and use Twitter and LinkedIn more than Facebook? Or do they work in the FMCG sector and use Facebook and Instagram to promote their business?
By doing your research you can uncover useful insights into which platforms are the most appropriate for your company.
Now that you’re closer to creating your first campaign, it’s important to create a schedule that you stick to. Whilst posting every day is ideal for most, it might be more beneficial to start by posting 3-4 times a week and scale from there.
We’ve found that the best time of day to post on social media is 12pm for LinkedIn and 6pm for Facebook & Instagram, but this can differ depending on your sector (again, competitor research can be massively helpful here).
Paid vs organic social media
It’s important to note that every single business should be using both paid and organic social media if they want to see an increase in conversions and brand awareness as they both offer very different user outcomes.
Congratulations, you’ve done your research and confirmed your goals; now you’re ready to set up your accounts and start your first social media campaign!