What is social media marketing? Why is it essential for your business?
Social media marketing is the new buzzword for companies and businesses today, but what exactly is it? And how do businesses benefit from it? Social media marketing uses social media platforms to connect with potential customers, build a strong brand image, generate leads, and thus drive business growth. Social media marketing involves everything from creating and publishing content on social media platforms, interacting with followers, and running social media advertisements. It is all about connecting and interacting with your audience online to turn them into potential customers. The most commonly used platforms for social media marketing today are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. With new platforms and features emerging by the day, social media marketing as a whole is constantly changing and evolving.
Social media marketing is a valuable strategy that can bring many advantages to businesses when used and capitalized upon adequately. First, let's consider why social media marketing is helpful for companies.
- Social media is the biggest platform for brands and businesses to connect with their users: According to statistics, 90.4% of millennials (Age group: 26 – 41) and 77.5% of Generation Z (Age group: 42 -57) use social media actively.
- Influence of social media on consumer behavior: Research has shown that 71 percent of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are very likely to recommend the brand to their family and friends. Also, 81 percent of people use Instagram to research products and services.
- Cost-effective tool: There are several tools and mediums available for brands to market and advertise their businesses; however, social media is the most cost-effective of all the options. Most of the time, setting up and running a social media account for a brand involves negligible to zero costs, and even when companies want to run paid ad campaigns, the ROI is relatively high.
- Real-time feedback: One of the most prominent features of social media marketing and other mediums of advertising and marketing not possess is the ability to get real-time reactions and feedback. Companies can gauge their audience's response to comments and engagement metrics by running a social media advertisement or campaign.
Different types of social media marketing
Social media marketing can divide into three categories,
- Organic marketing: Organic marketing refers to the campaigns, advertisements, or content posted by a brand or business that automatically picks up views and engagement. A well-crafted social post that automatically draws users' attention and brings in engagement through shares and comments is an example of organic marketing.
- Paid marketing: As evident from the name, paid marketing refers to the content and advertisements the company pays for to increase its reach and attract the attention of social media users. Sponsorships, YouTube ads, collaborations with influencers, and PPC campaigns are all examples of paid marketing.
- Earned Marketing: In layman's language, earned marketing can be word-of-mouth marketing. Any engagement company or brand generates automatically from its users is called earned media. Customers sharing product reviews, user experiences, or positive feedback are all examples of earned marketing.
Social media marketing is more than running a Facebook or Instagram ad campaign or constantly uploading pictures on a brand’s official page. Let’s take a look at the different forms that social media marketing can take,
- Content Marketing: Content marketing focuses on consistently creating relevant and attractive content to attract and build an audience base. The ultimate aim is to convert this dedicated audience base into profitable customers. Webinars, blogs, e-books, and educational videos are content marketing examples.
- Influencer Marketing: This type of marketing relies upon endorsements, product mentions, or product placements from social media influencers. A social media influencer is a person with an active follower base with whom they actively engage. In addition, and most importantly, the influencer has the power or capability to influence the purchasing behavior of their audience.
- Sponsorships: Sponsorships refer to financial or in-kind support by a business or a brand to a particular event, sports team, organization, or charity to attain specific business objectives. The advantages that a company or brand aims to gain from sponsorship help create a solid brand image, positive word-of-mouth, increased publicity, and increased sales.
- Community Building: Social media community building is the process of building a bond with people with a common interest around a particular product, brand, or activity with the help of active and consistent engagement. The most significant advantage of community building is that by engaging followers in active conversation, brands and companies can gain valuable insights and feedback regarding their products and services.
These are a few of the most common popular forms of social media marketing. However, with social media constantly evolving with new platforms, apps, and trends, this list will keep expanding with more recent forms of social media marketing.
Signs your business needs a professional social media management company
Social media marketing, when implemented and carried out right, can benefit numerous benefits to a business. However, the key is to ensure that your business has a sound strategy to leverage the advantage that social media can bring to a business. Here are the top signs that your business needs a professional social media management company,
- Lack of a strategy: Social media accounts or channels where you constantly post or upload images are insufficient. To generate engagement and consistently grow your following, it is necessary to have a coherent strategy and clear-cut goals and objectives.
- Engagement is minimal: One of the most significant KPIs to track the success of your social media campaign is the engagement it generates. If the comments, likes, or shares on your social media account or the content you share is low, then it indicates that your strategy needs a revamp.
- Growth is stagnant: Because reaching out to potential customers is one of the most important aims of social media marketing, your followers or audience must grow consistently. If your growth has stagnated for an extended period, it may be time to bring in professional help.
- Interaction rates are low: One of the unique features of social media is that it allows for real-time interaction with users and audiences online. As a result, social media users often ask queries or post complaints online on the brand's social media pages. Not responding quickly to such comments or not responding at all creates a wrong impression for the business.
- Lack of conversions: Social media marketing aims to generate leads and increase the revenue for the business. A well-structured and implemented social media strategy will be able to show conversions enabling the company to measure the ROI. However, to achieve this, the social media strategy should involve coordination between the websites, the social media pages, and the landing pages.
Suppose your company's social media marketing strategy suffers from any of this. In that case, it may be time to hire a professional social media management company to take care of your social media strategy.
Benefits of hiring an expert social media management company
Besides crafting and executing a well-curated social media campaign for your business, an experienced social media marketing agency can bring many advantages. Some of the benefits of hiring an expert social media management company are,
- Access to experts: By choosing to work with an experienced social media management company, you get to collaborate and work with professional social media strategists with prior experience and expertise in creating and executing well-rounded social media campaigns.
- Knowledge of the latest trends and technologies: Social media management agencies know the pulse of social media and have knowledge of the latest trends and practices online. Hence, they can help craft the most effective campaigns to increase your growth and ROI. Most importantly, working with an experienced social media agency reduces your strategy's room for trial and error.
- Brings in a fresh perspective: One of the most significant advantages of working with an external social media ad agency is that it brings a fresh and new perspective to the strategy. Conversely, the company will most likely miss out on this perspective by working with an in-house social media management team. Therefore, it is essential if the company aims to rebrand itself or overhaul its social media strategy.
What does a social media marketing agency do?
A social media firm will collaborate with you to comprehend your company's needs and gaps, pinpoint your target market, choose the social media platforms and channels that are most effective for your company, and develop a strategy that will broaden your audience and increase leads. A professional social media marketing agency will take care of everything from constantly creating and sharing content, monitoring and engaging with your followers, and reporting the results with predetermined metrics so that you can determine the campaign's effectiveness.
How to find the right social media marketing firm for your brand?
Finding the right social media marketing firm that perfectly suits your business is the first and crucial step in ensuring your social media marketing strategy succeeds. So how do we find the social media agency that best suits your needs and requirements?
- Establishing your needs: The first step is knowing what your requirements from the social media agency are, i.e., what services you expect from them. To assess the campaign's efficiency, it is also essential to have a clear-cut idea of the project's end goals and aims, your budget, and your KPIs.
- Finding the right agency: This is perhaps the most tricky and challenging part. This step involves doing due research, analyzing the hundreds of social media agencies online, and narrowing it down to the ones that suit your business best. Again, web directory sites like Selected Firms can help you with this step.
- Asking the right questions: To find the right social media agency from amongst the ones that you have shortlisted, it is necessary to sit down with them and have one-on-one interaction. It is essential to ask whether they have worked on similar projects before and what parameters they use to measure the success of the project? Etc.
By following these steps, you can find and hire the right social media marketing agency to capture your business's essence and create an effective social media strategy.