Social media marketing has been building a head of steam for the past decade. Today, social media platforms are an undeniable outlet for any company, organization or individual that wants to reach the masses, no matter how big or small they are. The fact of the matter is, when you want to sell an idea, good or service, you have to be where your audience is. Today, that simply means you have to be on social media. Period.
Why Does Social Media Marketing Work?
If you don’t know what social media is by now, you’re pretty far behind the curve. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., allow users to stay in contact with one another, sharing ideas, videos, updates, news, recipes, etc. Social media is exactly what it means: a place to be social and share media (and more).
For brands and individuals that are looking to connect with their audience, being on social media gives them a unique opportunity to engage their demographic. Social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter allows you to open a direct line of communications with the masses, one that they can then respond to, share or ignore as they see fit.
With some social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.), you have to get your audience to connect with you first before they can regularly see the content you post. With other platforms (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), your content goes out to the world, but people can still choose to connect with you to better follow.
Joining In the Conversation
One popular method of getting others into the conversation is called “hashtagging.” A hashtag (the pound sign followed by a keyword that represents the topic e.g. #SocialMedia) gets people to join the conversation, yourself included.
When you join the conversation about topics near and dear to your brand, you set yourself as an authority in the industry. This is how you get people interested in you on social media. Once they are following you (or “liking” you or “friending” you or whatever), your content will go directly into their newsfeeds.
When this happens, you have a direct line to your consumer to tell them anything you want. This means you can talk about your new product line, give them information they need and want, or any other number of things. Of course, you don’t want to just sell yourself – you want to keep them interested in what you have to say, so providing them with data, information, useful tips, funny stories, etc., will keep them coming back for more.
It will also create a viral aspect to your social media marketing since your followers will want to share your interesting, fresh and helpful content with their friends. In turn, this brings more followers, viewers and ultimately, dollars to your brand.
Which Social Media Platforms are the Best for Marketing?
Generally speaking, the best social media sites for marketing are going to be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any one of the other few dozen out there – as long as your audience is there. Each social media site has a fairly reliable user profile in terms of age group, interests and online habits.
• Facebook tends to attract a middle-aged to older crowd (think college graduates and up) while Twitter lends itself to the younger to teen crowd.
• LinkedIn is mainly used by business and industry professionals as well as those looking for careers (not jobs)
• People who use Pinterest are more likely to be into crafts, the arts, cooking and DIY home projects
If you know your audience, you can directly translate that into knowing where your audience is on social media. Then, it’s only a matter of being there and engaging – of course, that’s the part that takes a little bit of know-how.
Social Media FAQs
Q: Should I be on more than one social media platform?
A: You should be on as many social media sites as you will be able to constantly keep updated. A poorly kept social media site is worse than no social media profile at all. It also makes no sense to be on social media sites if your target audience isn’t using them.
Q: Is social media marketing free?
A: While some of the social media marketing success you will have will be organic (and thus free), it’s becoming more common for paid social media campaigns to be a normal part of marketing spend. This trend towards paid social media marketing campaigns’ results being worth the spend in terms of ROI is expected to continue to increase.