Remember a time when our biggest hopes and aspirations in terms of technology were to have a cordless phone, well we surely got more than we wished. Today, the world is crawling and filled with all types of cellular, satellite, audio & video communication methods.
One of the emerging means of keeping in touch and interacting with the world & individuals around you would be the many social media platforms surrounding us such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more.
These previously mentioned social media channels have not just modernized the way we communicate with our friends, it has also been extremely effective as a marketing tool, which leads us to our topic today which is what exactly social media is and why its an essential part of your success and a cardinal part of any digital marketing plan.
1) What is Social Media?
So before we dive into the benefits of social media and how it could benefit your business, specifically small businesses, let’s first identify what the term social media & social media marketing plan is.
According to Wikipedia, the term social media refers to all the computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the addition and sharing of ideas, emotions, career interests and more. In addition to the definition, social media networks usually have a common format or traits like:
- They are usually web 2.0 internet-based applications
- They usually feature user-generated content such as posts, comments, engagements among others
- Specific profiles are created for each website
- Social media platforms create a network of connections via connecting user profiles
As for the definition of social media marketing is the utilization and usage of social media platforms to communicate their brand to their customers, increase sales or your products or services, and drive traffic through the sharing content.
2) Pillars of the Social Media Marketing plan
now that you know what social media and social media marketing mean, it’s time to discuss the main elements of a social media marketing plan and here they are.
This is the first pillar of your social media marketing plan and the stage where you will be asking yourself and seeking answers to questions such as what are your objectives, what social media panel you’re gonna be focusing on, what type of content do you want to share.
Basically, you’re planning out the big picture of your social media marketing plan.
- Plan and Publish:
Social media is one of the best places and platforms through which you can increase your brand awareness as its home to about 3 billion people. This is why it’s worth spending adequate time to plan it all out, as for publishing it’s as simple as sharing a post, an image or a video in any panel.
- Listen and Engage:
This is when your prime concern is listening to what social media has to say, tracking the conversations going on about your brand and engaging with your customers or target market.
Managing and tracking all of those different conversations, especially when he might not be talking about you but it was a wrong place at the wrong time.
- Analyze and Advertise:
One of the key steps of analyzing any social media campaign is analyzing it and reflecting on the results to better the performance of the campaign, how many shared your post, how many engaged positively, how many people did you reach on social media.
3) Why it’s important
So what’s all the fuss about, why is social media marketing so important and should be the pillar of any company’s marketing strategy nowadays?. Well, that’s a result of separate reasons but first let’s have a look at some statistics from 2020, courtesy of Oberlo.
- 73% of your consumers say that they are most likely to recommend a brand to their friends and families because of a positive experience with a brand on social media.
- 77.5% of generation X, 48.2% baby boomers, 90% millennials all are active social media users.
- 49% depend on influencer recommendations on social media
As for the benefits of marketing on social media, these are some of the first reasons that come to mind
Grab their attention & build awareness
For people to become your loyal fans and regular customers, they need to know who you are and what your product is, and social media is one of the best ways to do so.
Point in case, one of the most common types of content that customers are engaging with after written articles or blog posts are videos and images since most social media platforms are highly visual or visually dependent.
This means that social media is not just great for content marketing, but you’re gonna be able to reach a wide range of potential customers with minimal effort,
A great way to engage with customers
Nowadays customers aren’t just looking for somewhere to buy a pack of baby carrots or a gallon of milk, their booking for value beyond just the product for cash.
This means that today’s customer is looking for a place where he can identify with and feel at home, and a great way to kick start a conversation with potential customers & maintain a relationship with new ones would be social media
Through these conversations and genuine engagement, you will be able to gather nuggets of info and understand the customer’s workflow and what he’s about to better optimize your marketing efforts towards him.
Improves brand loyalty
As clarified from the statistics mentioned above, social media is a great method to garner and nurture brand loyalty. It is not unconditional, however, to benefit from this aspect of social media marketing you need to engage with your customer.
One of the main reasons why people are loyal to a brand is not just the merits of the product or service itself, it goes beyond that.
How special he feels as a customer, how well is the service, what goals he has and how does this place help him achieve it, what morals and causes he stands for and how are they contributing to that? All of these and more are things that build brand loyalty and brand advocates.
Enhanced SEO & increased traffic
This might be news for you but recently your search engine optimization efforts are bound to be enhanced by your social media presence as it is not one of the factors that go into consideration when indexing and ranking your website and pages.
This presence can be achieved through maintaining and engaging with your customers across posts, surveys, private messages….etc. It’s also to keep your content updated and always add visual and written content that is relevant, engaging and unique.
Its cost effective
In terms of the advertising strategy, social media might well be one of the most cost-effective means to advertise your product, or service or brand. The key is starting small and experimenting with small amounts, aka failing fast & failing cheap.
Start experimenting with a small creative and with non-large sums of money and A/B tests between different variations and adjustments until you find a format that works and then analyze the results and see where there might be areas of improvement.
Makes you aware of your market
An essential part of any successful marketing effort or any business move, for a matter of fact, is situational awareness aka knowing your market, what your users need, what you have to offer that the competition does and having a panoramic understanding of the market forces in play.
Social media gives you some form of a live feed and real-time reflection of the changes in your target audience interests, events you should be on the lookout for making it a great market research tool that is worth utilizing
In conclusion, these were mostly the points you would need to know about social media marketing plans and creating them. It’s a marvelous world we live in today with rapid changes and things that require instant reaction, making social media a much-needed tool in the modern world of business.