How to get started with social media marketing
Social media is a critical element of any marketing strategy. But social media is always evolving. Market conditions, technology, industry standards, tools, and consumer expectations shape how businesses should use social media.
There’s value in social media, but you need to invest in this marketing strategy to get results. Whether you’re just starting out or you want to refine your approach, we’ll show you how to craft a more effective social media marketing strategy going forward.
In this guide, we’ll explain how you can get up to date with social media marketing, as well as some actionable tips to help you compose the perfect social strategy.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What is social media marketing?
- Benefits of social media marketing
- Components of a successful social media marketing strategy
- How to create a social media marketing strategy
- The main social media marketing platforms for business
- Social media marketing tips
- Types of social media marketing technologies
- How to get started with social media marketing
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses the power of social media to connect a business with its target audience. This isn’t about simply existing on social media but creating a strategy that allows businesses to achieve their goals via social platforms, content, and connection.
Every social media strategy is different. It needs to conform to your business’s unique proposition and target audience pain points.
Most businesses participate in social media marketing by:
- Posting compelling content to stop scrolls and increase views
- Responding to comments and messages to encourage audience engagement
- Interacting with followers, other brands, and influencers to boost clout online
- Completing and regularly refreshing profile information to foster brand consistency
- Checking analytics to see how their target audience is responding to content
Consumers flock to social media to learn about companies, check out their products, and even make purchases. Ultimately, the purpose of social media marketing is to foster tighter bonds with your target audience, establish your brand as a thought leader, and increase brand awareness.
No two companies do social media marketing the same way. While there are best practices you can follow, your brand should always try to find its own lane to make a bigger splash with your target audience.
Benefits of social media marketing
Social media marketing obviously isn’t new — it’s been around in some form since the early 2000s. But even though it isn’t a new strategy, marketing for social media still offers plenty of benefits for brands.
Increase brand awareness. There will be nearly 4.9 billion social media users around the globe in 2023. If you need extra brand awareness, social media marketing gives you more opportunities to share content with billions of people — increasing the odds that your content will show to the right audience.
Generate leads and customers. Your customers aren’t just looking for you on Google. They’re searching for brands on social media during the purchase process too. In fact, <u>25.9% of users</u> are on social media to find products to buy. Social media gives customers added confidence in your products. It also offers more context about your products, which can increase both web traffic and sales.
Save on marketing expenses. You don’t have to spend a dime on social media marketing if you don’t want to. Sure, you need to invest time and resources into creating content, but organic social media content is more affordable than other marketing strategies.
Foster relationships with your customers. Before social media, most businesses were large, faceless entities that consumers couldn’t interact with. But social media gives you the option to humanize your brand with one-on-one customer conversations at scale. Over time, you can build real connections that lead to long-term brand loyalty.
Understand your target audience’s needs. Social media gives you a direct line to your customers. It’s a priceless opportunity to learn more about the people who support your business.
Social media offers your brand the ability to connect with more leads, boost your authority, and increase awareness. With the right strategy, social media marketing can become one of your company’s top-performing channels.
Components of a successful social media marketing strategy
While social media can potentially propel your brand to internet fame, it’s easier to find success on social media when you have a solid strategy in place first.
A strategy will help you align your business goals with your content, branding, and behavior on social media — and that can have a big impact on your social media return on investment (ROI).
Every successful social media strategy should include these components:
- Insights on your audience’s social media behavior. First things first, you need to have a good understanding of your target audience. Know where they are online, the types of content they want to see, and when they’re active on the platform. It doesn’t make sense to start a TikTok account if your audience isn’t on TikTok. To add structure to this process, create buyer personas for your audience. This exercise will help you understand your buyers’ pain points and habits so you can craft the perfect strategy.
- Strategy for creating compelling content. Know what you’re going to say on social media. What you post matters, so craft a strategy to guide what you’ll say and in what format. Strategize how you’ll offer value to your followers. You need “sticky” content that immediately draws people in. Follow new trends, host contests, or take part in hashtag challenges — do what you need to do to get engagement.
- Content schedule or calendar. A content calendar is a master document that organizes your campaign timing across all social media platforms. This allows you to plan and schedule posts in advance, helping you save time and stay organized.
- Competitor analysis. While you shouldn’t copy your competitors, it’s good to see what they’re doing on social media. Undertake competitor analysis to understand what the competition is doing well and where they’re falling short.
- Analytics. You need objective metrics that tell you whether your strategy is working or not. Every social media marketing strategy needs to include analytics, which will tell you how your posts performed. It’s the best way to know whether what you’re doing is effective or needs a tune-up.
- Social listening and engagement. Put the “social” back in social media. Your social media marketing strategy needs to block off time for your team to engage online. You can quickly reply to comments, spot trends, and encourage follower engagement if you make a habit of engaging on social media every day.
- Brand identity and values. Your brand identity will set the tone for your business’s personality on social media. Include branding guidelines in your marketing strategy to present a consistent public image.
These components are the foundation of a successful social media marketing strategy. Be sure to document these components in writing so you can refer back to them when you’re creating content.
How to create a social media marketing strategy
At this stage, you have the components for a social media strategy. Now you need to synthesize them into an actual strategy. Follow these five tips to create the perfect social media marketing strategy for your business.
1. Determine which social media platforms you will market on
It’s tempting to create profiles on every known social media platform, but that isn’t the best use of your time. Check your buyer personas to see which platforms your audience uses most often.
For example, if you love using Twitter personally but your audience is on Instagram, it makes more sense to build an Instagram account.
Resist the temptation to create a profile on every social network. At most, you likely need two or three to start out.
2. Set goals and KPIs to track performance
How do you know if your social media strategy is effective? Set goals for your campaigns — and use key performance indicators (KPIs) to support those goals — so you know whether your hard work is paying off.
You don’t need to track every single KPI under the sun. You just need to pick the ones that are the most important to you. Depending on your goals, that might include KPIs like:
- Reach. This metric measures how many unique users saw your content.
- Impressions. This is the number of times your content appeared, including repeat views.
- Engagement. This one assesses how often people interact with your posts. It’s measured by the interactions on your post divided by total impressions.
- Followers. This KPI measures how many people subscribe to your brand’s content on social media. It’s a decent indicator of audience interest.
- Profile visits. These are the number of times people visited your main profile.
- Shares. These are the number of times users reposted your content to their own social media feeds.
- Mentions. These are how often users tag you in their content. This is a common metric on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Choose the most important KPIs for your business goals and track them on a monthly basis. You can create a custom dashboard to track performance across all social platforms, so you don’t have to check your metrics manually.
3. Create useful and interesting content
You don’t want your social media feed to morph into spam. Your content needs to entertain or educate your followers — otherwise, they won’t stick around.
Make sure your content ticks these boxes:
- Minimally promotional. Yes, people need to know about your brand’s offerings, but keep the sales pitches to a minimum.
- Shareable. Your content needs to be interesting enough that people feel compelled to share it.
- Unique. By and large, your social media content needs to be different from what’s on other brands’ feeds. It’s okay to follow trends, but always give them your unique spin.
- Diverse. Don’t fall into the trap of repeating the same types of content. Use different formats and topics to keep things fresh.
4. Organize your posts in a calendar
Posting consistently is the key to social media success. To stay on track, you’ll need to create a schedule to keep your team accountable.
Whether it’s a social media scheduling tool or a simple spreadsheet, a posting calendar ensures you create content on a regular, predictable schedule. You can pre-plan for the week, month, quarter, or even the entire year at once. This helps you take advantage of seasonal content and reduce the burden of daily content creation.
5. Assess and update your strategy regularly
No strategy is set in stone. Things change, and your social media marketing strategy should flex to fit current conditions.
Don’t be afraid to let go of content or approaches that aren’t working. Check your analytics regularly to see if you need to make any adjustments. Your metrics will tell you which posts were more successful, when your audience is online, and other essential data.
The main social media marketing platforms for business
Not sure which social platforms your business should join? Your audience is likely on a handful of these major platforms.
Founded in 2004, Facebook is the world’s largest social media network. It primarily caters to a more mature crowd of millennial, Gen X, and boomer users.
Most people use Facebook to check the news, stay in touch with friends, and access business contact information. It might not be the hippest social network, but plenty of brands rely on Facebook to generate leads, increase brand awareness, or provide basic business information.
- Industry use: retail, ecommerce, real estate
- Audience: Gen X and millennials <u>aged 35 to 44</u>
- Size: <u>2.9 billion monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: community building, B2C, livestreams
Meta now owns Instagram, which is the world’s most popular visual social media platform. On Instagram, users can post photos, videos, stories, and more. They can turn more heads with filters, music, and stickers too.
Since 2010, this image and video-sharing platform has incubated the influencer marketing phenomenon. Over half of Instagram’s users are 34 or younger, so this platform is ideal for millennial and Gen Z audiences.
- Industry use: fashion, food, travel, beauty, art
- Audience: men and women aged <u>18 to 34</u>
- Size: <u>1.3 billion monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: visual storytelling, influencer marketing, user-generated content
Twitter is a text-based microblogging platform. Users submit 280-character text snippets, which are called tweets, and share them with the world. Twitter makes it possible to contact just about anyone with an account, so large companies and celebrities often use it to stay in touch with the public.
Twitter has been around since 2006. Although it’s an older platform, it’s most popular with millennial and Gen Z users aged 25 to 34.
- Industry use: B2B, airlines, food, fashion
- Audience: men and women aged <u>25 to 34</u>
- Size: <u>544 million monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: trending topics, customer service, news
TikTok is a short-form video platform where users can submit videos ranging from 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. Known for its virality, users love TikTok’s challenges, tutorials, dances, and more.
The platform is a Gen Z favorite, with 60% of TikTok users in the 16 to 24 age group.
- Industry use: ecommerce, B2C products, fashion, beauty
- Audience: teens and young adults aged <u>16 to 24</u>
- Size: <u>1 billion monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: trends, influencer marketing, B2C
Like TikTok, YouTube is exclusively a video-sharing social network. But unlike TikTok, YouTube allows for long-form video with a search engine-style UX.
Since 2005, this platform has given users across the globe access to explainer videos, demos, tutorials, and more. Most YouTube users are 18 to 34 years old.
- Industry use: technology, retail, DIY, fitness, CPG, food
- Audience: people aged <u>18 to 34</u>
- Size: <u>2.5 billion monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: video SEO, explainer content, advertising, entertainment
First launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a business-focused platform that’s uniquely suited to the needs of B2B companies. The platform is primarily used by white-collar professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, and job seekers. More than 57% of LinkedIn users are male, and most users are between the ages of 30 to 49.
Because LinkedIn has a professional focus, it’s more popular with B2B businesses. Use this platform to showcase your core values, mission, and corporate culture.
- Industry use: B2B, professional services, recruitment
- Audience: millennials and Gen X professionals, <u>30 to 49 years old</u>
- Size: <u>875 million registered users</u>
- Best purposes: B2B content, industry news, subject matter authority, networking
Snapchat is a messaging app turned social network. In 2011, this app introduced the concept of FOMO (fear of missing out) to social media, as messages only live on the app for 24 hours before disappearing.
Users primarily use Snapchat to stay in touch with their friends, so businesses can’t do one-on-one outreach to customers on this platform as easily. Even so, it’s ideal for location-based marketing that targets Gen Z teens and young adults.
- Industry use: food, CPG, entertainment, ecommerce
- Audience: Gen Z teens and young adults aged <u>13 to 24</u>
- Size: <u>576 million monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: video content, local marketing, livestreaming
Pinterest is an image-sharing social network that’s been around since 2010. People use it to find inspiration for crafts, meals, outfits, and more.
Nearly <u>77% of Pinterest users</u> are female millennials or Gen X. While you likely won’t find a lot of Gen Z users here, the app makes it simple for users to save content and view it again and again.
- Industry use: food, DIY, fashion, influencer marketing
- Audience: millennial and Gen X women
- Size: <u>445 million monthly active users</u>
- Best purposes: visual content, advertising, influencer marketing
Social media marketing tips
You’ll need to follow social media best practices to get the most traction out of your marketing strategy. When in doubt, follow these tips to get more mileage out of your social media strategies.
- Collaborate with influencers. If you want to make a big impression on your followers, partner with influencers. These high-profile social media users know how to create viral content that your buyers will love. Just make sure your audience overlaps with the influencer’s niche.
- Use different content types. Stale material won’t get you far on social media. You need to constantly switch up your content to keep your followers engaged. This means you need to create content in different formats, including text, image, and video. Switch up your topics too. Try how-tos, news, memes, contests, surveys, and announcements to keep your feed fresh.
- Repost user-generated content. Are your customers making content about your brand? Get their permission and reshare that content on your own feed. User-generated content not only speeds up your internal content production but also persuades other buyers to make a purchase.
- Audit, reshare, and repurpose content. You don’t have to start from scratch every time you create social media content. Reinvigorate your old posts with new information, survey data, or multimedia. You can also reshare previous high-performing posts to turn more heads.
- Respond to comments and participate. If you want engagement, you have to engage. Social media success requires socializing. Respond to all comments and be an active participant in the conversation. That means logging into your social accounts at least once a day.
- Try social media advertising. You can get a lot of results with organic content, but if you want to speed things up, try social media ads. Every social network offers paid ads, so don’t be afraid to expand your reach with ads tailored to your target audience.
- Use hashtags. Users can’t find your content if you don’t make it searchable. That’s why you need to add relevant hashtags to every social post. This makes it easier for potential leads to find content in your niche.
Types of social media marketing technologies
Social media marketing has a lot of moving parts. You’ll need several technologies in your toolkit to make sense of it, including:
- Posting platforms. These tools help you manage scheduling and posting content for all of your social media. Manage a content calendar, plan posts ahead of time, and control your follower interactions from a single dashboard to save time.
- Content creation tools. You don’t need graphic design skills to make custom social media graphics. Plenty of <u>content creation tools</u> will help you drag and drop your way to success. Use content creation tools to make social media visuals, logos, and even infographics in less time.
- Tools or services for managing social media advertising. If you choose to run ads on social media, you’ll need to track your performance. Many social apps have analytics baked into the platform, but you’ll still need to spend time managing ad campaigns. This is why so many brands outsource the heavy lifting to a social media advertising agency.
Get started with social media marketing
Good social media marketing increases brand awareness, generates leads, reduces costs, and deepens customer relationships. Whether you’re just getting started or refining your social media marketing strategy, your next steps should be:
- Choose your platforms.
- Set goals.
- Create amazing content.
- Post consistently.
- Assess your performance over time.
But you don’t have to manage social media manually — or alone. Evaluate your marketing automation solution and ensure it gives you the audience insights you need to develop targeted and compelling content and ads that increase conversions.
If it’s time for a change, try Adobe Marketo Engage for social media marketing. Marketo Engage specializes in customer engagement for complex B2B buying journeys.
Want to learn more? Watch the overview video or take a free product tour to see how you can build engaging, personalized experiences at scale and improve your brand’s impact with Adobe Marketo Engage.