What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of using social media platforms to promote and sell your products, services, and brand. Brands can use both unpaid (organic) and paid social media marketing tactics to increase online sales and generate awareness.
Social media sites include the common ones that most people know, like Facebook and Twitter, but there are also lesser-known social media sites that brands can tap into. Determining the right social media channel for your brand depends on what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and your overall business goals.
Benefits of social media marketing
When used effectively, social media can produce major benefits for your business. According to a Smart Insights survey, more than half of companies that use social media marketing find that it increases revenue and sales.
Beyond helping businesses boost online sales, social media marketing allows brands to have two-way interactions with consumers. This provides valuable feedback about your brand, products, industry and even competitors. Plus, it’s a great testing ground for ecommerce brands.
Now let’s dive into how you can implement social media marketing tips into your strategy.
1. Post compelling content frequently
To grow your social following over time, it’s crucial to post content consistently. Studies suggest that audiences respond differently depending on your posting frequency, so make sure you test to figure out the best cadence for your brand. You can also compare your posting frequency and engagement rates to your competitors.
Numerous companies have looked into the optimal number of times to post on each channel, and it’s worth pointing out the potential appetite of users on each platform. But as consultant Jay Baer notes, your daily or weekly cadence is minutiae compared to having a plan and a process to create genuinely compelling posts on a regular basis. There are no “neutral” reactions, so if it’s not good, don’t post it.
Two helpful tools for scheduling future posts are Hootsuite and Buffer. You can integrate them with your browser and dozens of other apps and schedule posts to your social networks. These apps can help you cut down on time spent executing your social marketing strategies.
2. Create micro content for social feeds
Consider the context in which most users are browsing social media. Maybe they’re on a mobile device during their commute, taking a quick brain break at their desktop at work, or killing time as they wait for their show to come back on after the commercials.
There’s one thing those scenarios have in common: Social media users are often scrolling in-between other tasks. That’s why bite-sized content is an effective way to captivate your audience. This social media marketing strategy works particularly well on platforms made specifically for quick experiences, such as Snapchat.
3. Host a Twitter chat with your audience
Engagement is critical to keep any online community alive and well. A great tactic to grow your Twitter following and boost online sales is by hosting a weekly Twitter chat.
You can either co-host an existing Twitter chat or start your own. Co-hosting allows you to tap into an existing audience, while you’ll need to do more work promoting it if you were to host on your own. Over time, others in the space will take part and you’ll gradually establish your brand as an authority in the space.
Tip: Pick a hashtag related to the Twitter chat and ask your community to use it within their tweets. This helps with branding, makes the practice familiar to those who choose to take part, and allows you to search the chat later for content and recaps.
4. Make it easy to share your products
Social share buttons are a key element to increasing the “virality” of your site, which can in turn drive traffic and boost online sales. Make sure the buttons to the popular social networks—Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest—are easy for users to find.
You might want buttons that match your store’s visual aesthetic. But if you find visitors aren’t using the social share buttons enough, it could be worth swapping them back to their original colors, like how The Wilde Merrion has on their product pages.
5. Be active on the right #hashtags
The hashtag has organized a big part of the social web according to conversations, making it easy to join in on discussions and events by posting under the ones that are relevant to your brand.
A social media monitoring tool like Hootsuite can help you find, like, retweet and reply to posts under several hashtags. You can use a tool like Hashtagify to find other hashtags related to the one you’re trying to target, such as these food-related hashtags below.
Be careful not to treat hashtags the same on every channel. Here are some general best practices from various studies we’ve come across:
- Twitter posts with a single well-placed hashtag tend to generate more engagements than tweets with three or more
- Instagram posts, on the other hand, see the most engagement when using multiple hashtags, even 10+ in a single post
- Facebook posts do better without hashtags
If you know of a high-profile event coming up, you can prepare in advance to make sure you’re ready to get in on the action. The more targeted, the better. If you’re a fashion brand, for example, consider live-tweeting or covering high profile events and commenting on what celebrities are wearing.
Most events are accompanied by hashtags that you can hop on. But the key to hijacking a hashtag is not to hijack it at all. Instead, you should aim to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful, natural way.
6. Align your posts with a trending topic
You can also reach new people with your social content by aligning your posts with trends that are relevant right now. If you pay attention to hashtags and news cycles, you can likely find an opportunity to add your voice to a conversation or parody what’s happening in the world.
Take this tweet from Pizza Pops, for example, that capitalizes on the hype and conversations around the previous Pokemon Go craze.
7. Invest in an infographic
Investing in a professionally designed infographic is one way to drive trafficand potentially build backlinks, which are great for search engine optimization (SEO). The cost ranges greatly for quality infographic—depending on what you need and the skill level of the person you hire—but it can be well worth the investment.
Need an idea for an infographic? Check out sites like Visually for inspiration. Once you’ve chosen an idea, research the topic and identify the points that you’ll cover in the infographic. You can hand this outline over to a professional designer as direction for what you want the infographic to cover (or as a guideline for yourself if you’re going the DIY route, in which case you should check out tools like Canva or Piktochart).
Let’s say you sell bicycles and related gear. You might create an infographic that talks about the environmental benefits of bicycling. Some points or figures you might include in the infographic could be how much a daily commute saves in fuel emissions, as well as a comparison of the total number of car owners and bike owners.
That message speaks to your customer base, but is also compelling enough that many blogs and even news sites might want to feature and link back to it.
8. Pin your best posts to the top of your profile
Any time you engage with others through a social profile, you’re not just building your online presence. There’s also a chance that those people you engage with might quickly check out your social profile feed and click through to your site or content.
Be sure you’re using all the features at your disposal so your profile communicates what you want and funnels clicks where you want:
- Update your cover photo to something eye-catching like a product image or a banner to promote a sale
- Include links back to your site in your bio or profile
- Strategically feature or “pin” a post at the top of your feed
While you might be inclined to pin a post about one of your products or promote a sale, also consider pinning posts that did particularly well so they can continue to show off your engaged audience plus generate retweets, likes and shares for you instead of simply getting buried.
9. Participate in or own a Facebook group
Facebook groups are online communities that Facebook users can join. These groups are usually based on shared interests, so it’s best to join and contribute to a group that’s relevant to your industry and target customer.
The key is to add value through your participation, not jump in and start selling your products. Over time, you can nurture those relationships and establish your credibility in the group, and other members will naturally become interested in what you do.
Starting your own Facebook group is another option, if you have the resources to dedicate to it. Bath 2 Basics runs the Lovers of Natural & Organic Skincare Facebook group. With just under 300 members, it allows the brand to have an intimate and authentic interaction with members, strengthening relationships and keeping the brand top-of-mind.
10. Test out retargeted ads
As it becomes increasingly more difficult for business pages to gain traction in the News Feed organically, paid retargeted ads on social media have become a crucial component to many websites’ marketing strategies.
You also have more control over targeting who you want to see your content, as opposed to being limited to your existing audience for your organic efforts. The best part is, you can start with as little as $50.
When you run retargeted ads, you send ads to users who have been to your site. These ads can be personalised based on their behaviour.