Do you want your brand to be viral? If you answered a resounding yes (who wouldn’t?), then here’s our social media marketing 101 for you.
According to a Statista report, in 2019 the revenue brands earned because of social media reached an incredible $39 billion and is expected to reach over 48 billion by 2021. Organizations today must be willing to engage directly with customers through various social platforms if they want to grow.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of Americans have at least one social media profile. This makes these platforms an excellent means of engaging with consumers across a wide range of demographics.
To reach people on these platforms, your business needs to understand where your targeted customers like to engage and how to create a marketing campaign that will interest them. Here is your guide to social media marketing 101.
Why do you need social media marketing 101?
The social media basics and importance
To understand social media marketing 101, let’s begin by looking at the incredible influence that these platforms have on customers.
- 81% of the buying decisions a customer makes are influenced by their friends’ social media posts (Market Force). In other words, when your followers engage with your page, you not only connect with them. You also potentially influence all of their connections as well.
- 71% say that social media referrals make them more likely to purchase (Hubspot). When people refer you on social media, you boost your potential for sales with everyone who sees that post.
- Conversions jump by 133% when your shoppers on mobile see good reviews about you before buying (Bazaarvoice). Great reviews on Facebook and other social media sites can help convince customers to give your business a try.
Customers today look for brands on social media. The platforms offer an easy way to contact brands, find out more about their organizations, and browse their friends’ opinions as well.
Learn how to effectively build your presence on these sites so these statistics start working in your favor. That is what our social media marketing 101 guide will tell you.
What are the major social media platforms?
LinkedIn has a strong and well-earned reputation as the networking center for professionals. According to the platform, they boast over 303 million active monthly users and garner 40% daily visits in 200 countries and territories, making it an important platform to cover for social media marketing 101.
As the largest professional networking site, it provides an excellent opportunity for B2B companies. Brands can use the platform to connect with or research potential buyers and sellers. With information such as schools attended, job histories, and even hobbies and skills, the information contained on a profile can provide valuable insight for any professional.
Although the opportunities for B2B brands might seem endless, B2C companies can use it wisely as well. LinkedIn offers opportunities for recruiting, finding influencers, or even performing market research.
Brands like Nordstrom often receive notice for their efficient ways of using the platform. Recognizing that the prospects landing on their LinkedIn page likely work in professional environments, their suits and other professional attire take center stage.
Tips for getting noticed on LinkedIn
To attract attention to your brand, you need to first build a strong business page. Tailor your summary and services descriptions to your audience– busy professionals. Consider what you would say at a networking meeting. Use relevant keywords when you can to boost your chances of appearing in searches.
Anyone can publish content on LinkedIn, so take advantage of it. Write material that will be helpful and engaging to this professional audience. Remember to keep the topics of all material written or posted closely aligned with the atmosphere of the platform.
People use LinkedIn because they want to engage about business. Helpful articles related to your business as well as more generalized pieces– such as work/life balance, leadership, or time management– will be appreciated.
Also remember your audience when posting. For you, it might be most convenient to make postings while you sit at your desk over the course of the work day. That is not when people engage on LinkedIn, however.
The peak usage times for the site run before the work day starts– about 7-8 am, during the lunch break– around 12 pm, and after work– about 5-6 pm. Post scheduling can help you ensure that your posts go live during these windows to maximize engagement.
Your employees can also help represent you on LinkedIn, Since your current place of employment and work history appear on your profile, encouraging employees to demonstrate expertise in the industry and engage on the platform can boost your own reputation.
Imagine Facebook as the modern water cooler. It is where people go to relax and converse about everything, from their hobbies to their recent purchases. This results in a more casual atmosphere than LinkedIn. But don’t mistake this casual vibe as a way to ignore social media marketing 101 tips. You need them on this platform now more than ever.
It also has an incredible influence on people’s lives. According to Hootsuite, a whopping 78% of US consumers discover products to buy on Facebook. Facebook is now becoming a product discovery platform wherein it ranks higher than other social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
People on this platform tend to be very visual, preferring images added to their posts. Since the audience usually comprises of individuals, instead of other businesses, the site leans towards the B2C sector, but a number of B2B brands have learned to use it efficiently as well.
GE offers a great example. On Facebook, they personalize their stories, using the platform as an opportunity to form individualized connections.
Tips for getting noticed on Facebook
With social media marketing 101, you want to make sure you understand the basics of engaging with people on Facebook.
Use the highest engagement periods. Users are most likely to be on Facebook from Thursday through Sunday, with the highest usage rates over the weekend. The most popular times appear to be around 9 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. Posting in these windows can help increase engagement.
You also want to create a strong business page. Use keywords, create a summary targeted towards the average browser, and include the business’s contact information.
Once you have the page created, keep it active. Post interesting articles followers will like. Do not just post things you have written. They can be by other brands if you believe your readers will appreciate them. This platform allows you to build friendships, so imagine speaking with a friend as you write.
As you bring people to the page, encourage them to engage in conversations. Ask open-ended questions and answer any messages sent directly to you promptly. Let people know that you want to engage with them.
Finally, encourage people to follow you. Post a link to your Facebook account on email newsletters, on other social media sites, and on your main website. If you want more in-depth social media marketing 101 tips for Facebook specifically, check out our 7 Step Facebook marketing process.
Twitter stands out for its low character counts, which typically run about 280 characters. It has dominated headlines for its role in politics, business, and entertainment.
It provides a beneficial platform for all businesses. The goal for businesses is to follow relevant organizations and then encourage your own followers by ‘tweeting’ interesting, helpful information and images. Consider how the pizza restaurant, Lou Malnati’s Pizza, uses Valentine’s Day for creative imagery to engage followers.
Tips for getting noticed on Twitter
On Twitter, commutes and breaks provide the best opportunities to reach people. The peaks of engagement occur around lunch time, 3 pm, and between 5 and 6 pm.
Remember that Twitter feeds move quickly, more like a conversation, than other types of social platforms. This means tweeting a few times during each of these windows– rather than one post the way you would on Facebook or LinkedIn– will give you the best results. Understanding this rate of posting is an important component of social media marketing 101.
You can even occasionally reuse tweets, particularly those that have a high value for your organization. Having an important tweet go out twice in one day, provided that you also tweet other unique content, can help get that important information in front of a greater percentage of your followers.
You also need to recall the social aspect of Twitter. Retweeting the tweets from others in your industry when you think they would benefit your audience will help you attract attention. Include people or businesses in your tweets when they are relevant by using the ‘@’ sign to signal them. Including #hashtags will also make your posts more searchable and help people find your brand when you use a #hashtag about topics that interest them.
Be consistent in your Twitter engagement and creative in your posts. Include images, tweet content that you personally developed and content created by others in your field.
YouTube actually serves as the second largest search engine in the world, falling behind only Google. People use this platform to upload videos on nearly every topic imaginable.
From a business perspective, YouTube provides an excellent opportunity to get noticed. Video continues to grow as a popular channel for consumers. Animoto found that not only do 4 out of 5 customers find demo videos to be helpful, but 4 times as many people would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
Videos also provide you with another layer of personal interaction. Videos need to be narrated and they often contain footage of real employees or customers. They put a name and voice to the brand.
Tips for getting noticed on YouTube
To build viewers for your videos, you need to focus on building an entire quality channel. The YouTube algorithm looks at how the channel performs as a whole when determining video rankings. The number of followers you earn, the number of videos they watch, how much of the videos they watch, and the interactions sparked by the videos all factor in.
You can see here that HubSpot has built a successful channel with thousands of followers by producing interesting, engaging videos that will interest their audience.
YouTube looks at how audiences respond to individual videos as well. Promote your video to draw views. Focus also on the opening scenes, because the more of the video people watch, the higher your ranking will rise.
Design videos that will be of use to your audience. They could present news from your industry, product demos, tips and tricks for using your products, or even behind-the-scenes looks at your business. Monitor what people respond to best.
YouTube also looks at the relevance of your individual videos. It matches keywords in the title and description of the video to queries typed by users, so be sure to write relevant, keyword-dense, useful descriptions.
Pinterest boasts 250 million active users and has a strong impact on retail. Based on a recent survey, 72% of the users said that the pins they find in this platform somehow entice them to shop even without realizing it.
The platform has long been dominated by women, with Pinterest themselves reporting that 60% of new sign ups being female. Hootsuite also notes that the majority of the users are under 40 and most use it to find things they want to buy.
The platform presents companies with an opportunity to showcase the visual side of their business, such as products they sell, designs they have created, or even food they serve.
Brands that do not have an obvious visual component can also find value, however. Pins can be comprised of infographics or visual data representations to demonstrate a brand’s value.
Tips for getting noticed on Pinterest
Create visually engaging pins, and share pins created by others. Pinterest also allows users to create videos, and they have become increasingly popular. Pinterest reported a 60% increase in the videos over 2016. The platform also allows for promoted videos as ads, and says that these videos offer brands 4 times the brand lift than non-video ads.
Promoted pins, which look just like regular pins, allow you to showcase your content which will attract more attention. Create pins with images that will draw the attention of users, like the one below. It uses imagery that many women can relate to, encouraging them on a commonly-held goal.
Pinterest also has one-tap pins, which will bring users right to the page where the content originated. Consider this option and design your page accordingly to engage any users who click on your one-tap pins.
Instagram also has a highly visual emphasis, making it a great option for any brand that wants to use images to showcase their creations. Use creativity to really help your posts shine here. Images that show company culture or the people behind your business can be interesting and engaging for users. They help to create a more personalized relationship between you and your followers, an important component of social media marketing 101.
Consider the images that the Content Marketing Institute uses to promote their events and express personality.
You can also upload short videos to Instagram, so take advantage of this feature on occasion as well. Additionally, there are Instagram Stories, which are slideshows that appear for 24 hours. Use these options to invite people into your brand and let them feel as though they have had a sneak peak behind the scenes. You can also use them to showcase important times for your brand, or to create an appealing invitation for them to try your business.
Tips for getting noticed on Instagram
The most popular times for this platform are Mondays and Thursdays from 8-9 am and then again at 5 pm.
Create a business profile that will allow you to add a phone number to your bio. You can also add a link to this area of your profile. Although many use it to promote their website, think also about updating it to relevant pages, such as event registrations.
As you create posts, use #hashtags to make your posts more searchable. Aim for about 7-10 hashtags per post. Following all of these tips can help you make the most of the benefits Instagram offers to your business.
When it comes to meeting people in the Millennial generation and younger, Snapchat provides excellent opportunities. According to Business Intelligence, 90% of users on the platform are under the age of 25.
On this platform, users can send ‘snaps’ or images and short videos to friends and followers that can be viewed for up to 10 seconds before they disappear. You can also create ‘stories’ that last for up to 24 hours, a trending type of social media content.
It might seem like a challenging platform to use for businesses, but several brands have seen success with promotions such as flash sales, giveaways, and sneak peeks to new launches. To learn social media marketing 101, it can help to look at their examples.
When users take these pictures to send, they can use fun lenses to make the pictures unique. Starbucks, for example, created a promotional filter for their frappuccino. When people used the lens to take their picture, they also promoted the drink to all their friends.
Tips for getting noticed on Snapchat
Snap Ads let you create videos that appear between Stories on the platform. Snapchat claims that the rate for engagement on these ads is five times higher than click-through rates for ads on similar social media platforms.
Adidas saw success with their “Here to create” series on the platform. They used inspiring stories to encourage people to engage further with the brand.
Creating sponsored lenses and geofilters can also help you promote your business in a fun way for Snapchat users.
Within your own Snapchat story, create engaging images that people want to share with others. Craft a story that will entertain people while also raising awareness for your brand.
You can also offer coupons and deals exclusive to the platform. Since Snaps only last a few seconds and Stories last 24 hours, people have to actively follow and engage with your brand to find all of the opportunities.
Although we covered the major platforms on this social media marketing 101 guide, there are a number of other smaller platforms. If you have a business that falls into a highly specific niche, you might find some of these platforms helpful. For example, the music.ly app is a social platform for music lovers. Those in the music business may find this a useful place to engage with prospects. Other potential social media sites to investigate would be:
Making sense of this social media marketing 101 guide
If you have read our social media marketing 101 guide because you want to get started with your own social media campaign, do not feel overwhelmed. Follow these steps to get started.
Step 1. Select the social media platforms that make the most sense for your brand. Think about your target audience and where you will likely find them. Aim to find about 2-3 platforms to begin. You can always add more later as you begin to develop a regular routine with social media.
Step 2. Create your profiles. Remember to create a brand profile that reflects your audience on that platform. This means you do not want to copy and paste the same description from one platform to another.
For example, when you create a profile on LinkedIn, think about what you would say at networking events. On Facebook, think about the watercooler or how you would tell a friend about your business. When creating a Twitter account, think about a few key descriptors that will engage readers.
Step 3. Consider the type of content you want to post. The post, like the brand description, also needs to reflect the audience. There will likely be some overlap, particularly between platforms like Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn, however, requires more professional content than Facebook.
Your posts across these platforms should also include images. Posts with visuals receive higher engagement rates across the platforms. Remember that the picture and the headline captures people’s attention as they scan through their feeds. Make these portions of the posts memorable.
Whatever industry your business is in, you also shouldn’t forget making videos a part of your content calendar. Yes you’re right, it’s because people love watching videos. In fact, according to HubSpot, over 50% of brands followers prefer videos compared to the other content types.
Step 4. Be consistent. For all of the platforms, consistently engaging with people on your chosen social sites will boost your credibility and the number of people who follow your account.
Step 5. Take off the advertising hat and put on the personal one. Social media offers you an opportunity to demonstrate your personality to your prospects and let them know the human side of the people behind the brand. You do not want to use it to just promote your brand and products. Social media provides you with a place to start the conversation with prospects, so use it.
Customers today look to social media to connect with their friends but also to learn more about businesses and their products and services. They value personal relationships with the brands they buy from, and social media gives you the chance to nurture this relationship. When you realize the value of social media and want to start creating your own presence, use this social media marketing 101 guide to get you pointed in the right direction. Feel free to contact the experts at our social media marketing agency to help you get started or fully plan a campaign for you.