Social media marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways of modern marketing, using social media apps as a marketing tool. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, allow businesses to connect with their target audience in order to build their brand recognition, increase awareness and sales of their products and build a social media network of followers to engage and share content with, in the hope that their followers will also share the content for a wider reach. Businesses can retrieve customer feedback through social media platforms too, enabling customers to contact the business directly and allowing the business to respond.
As with all marketing campaigns, the first step of social media marketing is to devise an appropriate strategy in advance. The business must:
❖Define goals: Identify if social media can help to achieve these goals. Any social media goals that are set as part of this strategy (e.g. – increasing awareness and sales) should align with the overall goals of the business.
❖Choose social media platforms: Identify which social media platforms are most frequently used by the target audience of the business. For example, if you want to appeal to a younger target audience, Instagram would be an appropriate choice.
❖Content sharing: As each social platform focuses on different media content, it is important to use the correct content and to use a mix of content where possible to keep the interest of your target audience. This can include videos, blogs, images, links, live interactions, etc.
Once the strategy has been devised, the next step is to begin publishing content. Publishing content to social media platforms can mean uploading a new video or image or sharing a blog post or link to a relevant page. To build a network of followers and reach a wider audience, businesses must have a constant media presence and be consistent in their social media posting.
Businesses that create activity on social platforms can see growth in interaction and conversations about the brand and products. Users will comment on and share posts, tag the company in their own posts, and even begin communicating through the instant messaging functionalities. These types of interactions are ideal because there are notifications in place to alert social media managers. This enables them to practice good customer service, which in turn boosts the customer experience.
It is important to measure the performance and impact of the business’s social media presence. The business should establish which posts have the most engagement, how often the business has been mentioned or tagged, the number of people who have been reached, etc. Data collection, analytics, and reporting are vital factors to the success of any marketing progamme, as the business can use this information to make informed decisions about what is working well and what needs to be changed.
It is relatively easy to utilise many social media platforms to grow a business, and increase followers and awareness. While a lot of social media marketing can be free of charge, paid social media marketing can be a good investment as it can specifically target advertisements to the desired target audience of the business based on many different factors such as behaviour, interests and demographic information.