Social Media Marketing for Business

What is Social Media Marketing for Business?

Social Media Marketing is a valuable form of internet marketing. It entails creating content for Social Media networks and sharing it to social audiences as a brand-new way to connect with both existing and customers online. 

“The importance of Social Media for business has grown rapidly and Social Media Marketing is now considered an essential part of the marketing mix for both B2B and B2C businesses” explains Mary-Jane Owen, Founder & President of Asset Digital Communications.  

A Short History of Social Media for Business 

The dot-com bubble years from 1995 to 2002 proved critical in setting the stage for the internet to become an exciting new marketing tool. It began with search marketing which set in motion website creation for businesses to have an online presence. 

With the arrival of Social Media platforms in 2003-2004, users discovered new ways of networking and making friends. Businesses and marketers reacted to this positive effect of Social Media and started creating their own profiles on popular networking sites. This is how Social Media Marketing showed itself as a promising marketing opportunity.

Today having an online presence is not enough in this highly competitive world. It has become essential to business growth. Social Media has empowered even the smallest businesses to begin a dialogue with a wide audience. It has proved to be a potent way for businesses, irrespective of their size, to reach prospects and customers.

Importance of Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing needs both creativity and strategy. Even though it may appear to be overwhelming, its importance cannot be overstated. It has become the most influential space where you can not only network but also advertise your products and services. 

The power of Social Media lies in the fact that a single post can expose your business to many people within seconds of posting it. This is achieved at an exceptionally low cost without compromising your reach to your potential audience. When over half of the world’s population is on social platforms, it is a missed opportunity to simply let it pass by, where most users spend a larger amount of their time.

I think the real question here is: Does your business need Social Media Marketing?

While I wish my answer, which is a resounding YES! would convince you, here are some compelling reasons to take Social Media Marketing seriously.

  1. You get to tell your Story
  2. Grow An Audience with A Small Budget 
  3. Increases Website Traffic
  4. Builds Customer Loyalty
  5. Creates Conversions
  6. Learn About Your Competitors
  7. Increases Brand Awareness
  8. Insight into Buyer’s Journey
  9. Creates a Brand Identity and positive Brand Association
  10. Improves Communication and Interaction with Key Audiences

This digital marketing era has really enabled businesses to tap opportunities that were only available to big corporations in the past. As hordes of businesses flock to social networking platforms hoping to connect with their audiences, the competition for visibility and engagement is intense. There is a content overload which makes it a challenge to stand out. 

Your business needs a clear and precise Social Media Marketing Strategy. This is where a Social Media Marketing Agency can really prove valuable in achieving your goals. Staying updated with Social Media trends is a task on its own when Social Media platforms constantly introduce new features and change their algorithms.

Suggested Read For You: 4 Ingenious Social Media Campaigns that Grew These Companies Overnight

As an agency, it is our job to stay attuned to the latest trends. Our clients love to ask us, “So, what are the Top Social Media Trends?” Being quick to adapt to the latest trends with your Social Media Strategy can give you improvements in content performance, and help you stand out in the crowd. Here are 5 Social Media trends that you need to be aware of for this year and beyond.

  • Social Commerce Will Continue to Grow

Social Media platforms have become a new retail avenue for businesses to sell their products and the term for it is Social Commerce. Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have set up shops and enabled this trend to grow faster and stronger. 

Social commerce is on fire and increasingly considered at par with other mediums like websites and physical stores. This trend is only going to strengthen as more and more platforms introduce pro-selling features. 

  • Video Content Will Dominate

There is no denying that video content is one of the most engaging forms of content on social platforms. This trend will dominate the content strategy. If your business produces videos, no matter the length, it is recommended to find a place for them on Social Media. 

There are several ways to use video content. It can go on as ads, posts, or stories. They can even be used on platforms where you use text or image content like blog posts or white papers. 

  • Local Targeting Will Become More Popular

Businesses who are active on Social Media attract local audiences by geo-tagging their posts and stories. This works similarly to local SEO. By adding location to your Social Media content, you start to attract local audiences. For example, Instagram allows you to search for posts based on your location. 

By adding location to your content, you will show up in more local searches for your products and services. This is how people can discover businesses near them. 

Geo-targeting is also a great option to promote or advertise yourself using filters to advertise only to a relevant, local audience. An efficient Social Media Marketing Agency can help you leverage it in ways that will be most profitable to your business. 

  • The Use of Social Media for Customer Service

Social Media may have begun as a place to connect with friends and share photos and videos. Social Media has grown to represent much more to both consumers and businesses. Today Social Media is used as a retail platform, discovery platform, and now even as customer service. 

Businesses realized that more and more of their customers preferred to reach out to them on their Social Media channels. This can be due to delayed communication on other fronts or simply because this is a direct way to reach businesses. 

This is not a trend that is ending soon. Businesses have no option but to provide an answer. As it is a channel with massive repercussions businesses need to handle these customer interactions well.

  • Personalization Will be Vital

Personalization is one of the most liked trends by customers across the world. It is a fairly new concept when it comes to Social Media. Social Media posts are created keeping in mind Buyer Persona to target different audiences. Social Media ads can be customized to target different segments. 

With advanced targeting available on Social Media now, businesses have a greater range of options to show the right ads to the right people at the right times. Social Media also shows you ads for similar products from different brands.

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Why is Having a Social Media Campaign Strategy Important for your Business?

I bet you have more than one Social Media profile, especially when you consider both personal and business uses. This familiarity provides a level of confidence in managing Social Media from a business standpoint because you are well versed with these platforms. 

I do not doubt your capabilities but here is why a professional Social Media Marketing Agency can do a better job. An agency creates Social Media Marketing Plans for different industry verticals on a regular basis. They have several types of content strategies, tools, graphic design options, and knowledge of the latest trends. An agency removes the guesswork out of your Social Media Marketing Strategy to deliver consistently high-performing campaigns as well as the persistent eye on the platforms which is so essential for growth and engagement.

Plus, an agency can develop both the strategy, plan and allocate the resources to generate goal-attaining performance with nothing more than an oversight on your part as the client. How liberating is that!

We have already established that there is a huge potential for Social Media Marketing to increase sales & traffic to the website, brand awareness, boost engagement, customer loyalty, branding, audience reach and insights. The first step to an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy is to define your goals.

The 5 questions below basically make your Social Media Strategy.

  • Why do you want to be on Social Media?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are you going to share?
  • Where are you going to share?
  • When are you going to share?

A strategy helps you build a strong, organic presence online. This means your Social Media account posts will be planned, approved by you, and scheduled to be posted at a certain time. This will help you stick to Social Media rule number one: posting consistently. Inconsistent updates are a big reason why accounts stop growing.

The time you put in experimenting on your Social Media accounts can be better utilized in managing your business. Part of the strategy is to decide the platforms you need to be present on, what content would be posted and that depends on the type of business, goals, and buyer persona.

Everything is brought together to create a content calendar. Agency can help you to put your best foot forward. Reputations get built and destroyed on social networks each day. You do not want to risk your business name which you took years to build.

Agencies know the best practice and can avoid pitfalls that can cost your business. They use creativity with design, content, and video. They also know how to capitalize on timing, posting on Social Media to get the most bang for your buck with your budget. Hiring an agency assures new content ideas and campaign strategies along with access to a full suite of paid tools.

How to get to Know your Target Audience?

Often as business owners, you may be asked, “What is the target audience for your business?”.

While a business can sell to everyone, it is crucial that you identify, define, and understand your audience to dominate them on Social Media. This is like drafting your company’s buyer personas.

You can start by defining your present customer’s job, age, and income. You can find these demographic details in your analytics of past campaigns. Further, you should be able to define their pain points or challenges, and how your product or service solves them.

You can add more customer traits like their spending power and habits, interests, the time they spend on Social Media, stage of life, what times are they most active on social. Most businesses have more than 1 persona depending on different products and services.

Once you have determined your target audience on Social Media, next you need to find out the platforms that your target audience is most active on.

Professionals – This is a genuine professional social networking platform that businesses should not ignore. With over 500 million members, the platform offers many ways to expand the network and connect with other industry professionals. A business can use this platform to generate leads as well as recruiting. A company page would enable you to get customers and potential customers to follow you.

Artists & Designers – Social platforms are a great way to showcase your creative work, gain new jobs, get inquiries for collaborations, and so on. However, with so many platforms, how do you choose the right platform?

Day flash is a new platform with an iOS app. Looks and feels like Instagram but with no algorithm. It allows full-frame and high-resolution images/videos to be published. 

Behance is another platform to showcase portfolios. It allows you to cover any project details and the best part is that it is all shareable and an ideal place for inspiration. 

eCommerce – Social platforms are quickly transforming into eCom portals. The important thing here to keep in mind is that Social Media was designed for socializing and not shopping. So, make sure you engage with customers, build loyalty, and at the same time improve customer experience.

Facebook is the largest Social Media network that has an active audience from ages 18 to 65 and up. Shopify analyzed that health and beauty, photography, home and garden, sports and rec, web design, pet supplies, apparel, drop shipping, music and movies, jewelry and watches, and food and beverage industries dominate this platform.

Pinterest and Instagram are visual platforms. eCommerce brands use these platforms to share their products. Shopify suggests that Pinterest gets a lot of antiques and collectibles, service businesses, books and magazines, and IT/computing pins while lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities, and luxury brands are extremely popular industries on Instagram.

Consumer brands, news agency – Engagement is the name of the game on Twitter. Content is what drives this platform. Beyond engagement with consistent efforts, you can gain valuable customer insights. 

Businesses can also build their brand personality by supporting the causes they believe in and generate more awareness for themselves. This is also a platform where you can build a sense of community. 

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What are the Pros and Cons of Top Social Media Marketing Platforms?

Modern white keyboard with colored social network buttons.

When looking at Social Media Marketing Strategy it is always important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of popular social networks.

  • Facebook – With over 1 billion people, it is a recommended way to find new customers and engage with existing audiences on this platform. Facebook is a network that works for more types of business. Not only does your business get access to a massive audience, but you can also interact with customers through private groups, but you can also do targeted advertising and study analytics tools for further improvements. 

This platform has evolved over the years. You can choose between marketing campaigns and ads. Facebook ads platform is very sophisticated and offers deep analytical insights.

  • Instagram – This is a platform that is visual and popular with younger audiences. It is created for a mobile audience so if most of your traffic comes from mobile then Instagram will work for you. It is also set up for eCom. Thus, making it easy for businesses to adopt this platform. 

Instagram is known to drive more traffic to the website, along with increasing brand visibility and awareness. Instagram needs an aggressive posting schedule that constantly updates posts and stories. Its ad feature is also less advanced than Facebook.

  • Twitter – This is a go-to platform for businesses, celebrities, journalists, and even politicians. Twitter ads are an effective way to engage with followers and influencers. It lets you target for free with # and @. 

However, it is difficult to keep track of conversions as there is lots of “noise” on it. It requires multiple tweets in a day and even though it may drive traffic, they may be lacking in quality leads. 

  • LinkedIn – A great platform for networking professionally and sharing content as industry thought-leaders. It lets you be part of several industry-related groups and create a company profile page to build further connections with the target audience. LinkedIn ads offer excellent targeting options, unlike any other platform. You can advertise through images, videos, or posts to tell your story. 

LinkedIn still does not offer customized reporting like others. There are also issues with the usability of the interface e.g., no bulk editor or duplication tool. 

  • YouTube – A video platform that is more popular than Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. A platform to learn something new and for entertainment too. 

By creating a video channel, a business can connect with its Social Media users, show products, grow an email list, and even create tutorials. It is, however, crucial to optimize videos for SEO. Videos have proven to drive more conversions and go well with different marketing strategies. 

Videos do take longer to be produced. Viewer’s expectations for visual and audio quality have gone up. Also, with so many videos being uploaded each day it is difficult to rank your video.

  • Pinterest – Pinterest is one of the most popular platforms for small businesses. With over 291 million active users, it is dominated by millennials of which over half are women between the ages of 25 and 54. 

The ads are comparatively less expensive than Twitter and Facebook, resulting in better ROI. It is easy to drive traffic and perfect for visual brands. Thus, the drawback of Pinterest is that it does not serve all types of businesses. It can also be a time consuming tool, as you need to constantly update the pins. The more pins the better the traffic. However, this directly helps to boost your SEO. 

Top Tools of Social Media Marketing

With more and more businesses opting for Social Media Marketing, there are several tools available in the market right from creating and publishing content to analytics and reporting. There is no easy way of deciding on these tools. 

Here is a list of tools that especially work for small-to-medium businesses:

A trusted tool by businesses, agencies, individuals, and brands on Social Media; Buffer is a clean and intuitive tool. It is used for publishing, team collaboration, and measure engagement analytics. It is also said to have friendly and responsive customer support.

Hootsuite is an all-in-one platform. It lets you connect with over 35 social networks and monitor multiple accounts. You can curate and schedule content, run social ads, measure the ROI, and a lot more.

Sprout Social offers everything from scheduling to monitoring, to reporting just like Hootsuite. However, its customer relationship management (CRM) features make it unique. 

There are several other popular tools like AgoraPulse, Sendible, eClincher, Social Pilot, CoSchedule, MavSocial, and Friends+Me that are suitable for small-to-medium businesses.

Difference between Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization are two different concepts in the digital sphere but they often confuse people. Let us understand their meaning, difference, purpose and impact of both.

Social Media Optimization or SMO is a process that optimizes your website for social media users. It includes refining the usability, performance and interface of the website so when exposed to social platforms, it promotes sharing and interaction across all the networking sites. 

This not only includes popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, but also blogging, forums, and social news sites.  Thus, SMO is all about making on-page changes to the website in order to encourage more traffic and visibility on social media. 

Social Media Marketing or SMM comes after SMO. SMM refers to exposing your optimized website to different social media channels. This is the time to publicize the website and flaunt all the products and services with organic or paid efforts. Social Media posts can be blogs, ads, images, or videos promoting your business as well as the products and services. 

Final Thoughts

I hope you can devise a strategic social media marketing plan for your business with all the tips, tricks, tools, and solutions that I have shared. 

Social Media Marketing is an ideal growth strategy that can elevate your B2B business to new heights. It is the best way to stay ahead of the competition and reach new potential clients. A top social media marketing agency can speed up this process with a plan that is tailored for your business.

Get in touch with us today!