The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020
Jay Gross

Social Media Marketing, Guide to Social Media Marketing,

Are you social media marketing right now?

The odds say you are. Because you’ve heard that you have to be on social media or the social media demons will place a curse on you and your business will never succeed.

But even if you are, there’s a chance you’re doing it wrong.

And I get it…

It’s hard, it’s unknown, and it’s overwhelming. And it takes the thing that most of us don’t have enough of in the first place.

Time.

We barely make it through our ten to twelve-hour workdays, sprinting from task to task – And now we have to add this?

And, to be honest, it’s just social media, right? 

What’s the big deal if you don’t get that post out today, or if you don’t put in the necessary time to create a great post but just get something out there. Or if you just skip it for the rest of this week and start again next week?

The fact is, it’s a huge deal. 

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”

~Erik Qualman

Without a proper social media plan and consistent posting, you’re losing customers daily. Customers that are going elsewhere – probably to your competitors.

So it’s time to pick yourself up and get right with it. It’s time to implement a strategy that’ll reach your right audience on the right platform. It’s time to post excellent content and watch your audience float to you like bugs to your patio light while you’re sipping on a cool lemonade.

Because when you have a brilliant plan, do all the right things, and use all the right tools, you can make this process easy and stress-free. So you can get back to the rest of your to-do list and maybe, just maybe, find a little time for yourself.

You might be asking, “But how? Where do I even start?”

Well, you’re in luck because Digital Marketing Tools (DMT) has you covered. We know how important it is for you to get out there and be successful in the social media marketing world.

Whether you’ve been doing this for a while now but are unsure if you’re doing it right, you’re just starting out and are at stress-level pulling your hair out, or you’re standing at the deep end of the pool, debating on jumping in (because we all know: that pool’s cold!), we’ve got something for you. 

So it’s time to buck up and jump in.

 

Choose Your Own Adventure in Your Social Media Marketing Journey

When we set out, we wanted to have the most comprehensive article one could find on social media marketing, and we’ve done a heckuva good job of that. Since this is so much information, we broke it down so you could get where you needed.

Editor’s Note: This is just the beginning of DMT. Many of the sub-topics you find here are in the works to get an in-depth article all their own. Check back often, they will be up on www.digitalmarketingtools.com/blog, and many will get linked in this article once complete.

One last thing before you get started – Enjoy! And please post in the comments, any questions, thoughts, or opinions that you have.

Contents hide

 

Social Media Marketing Terms You Should Know

Everyone’s on social media, talking about social media, or thinking about social media in 2020, and if you’re not, well, it’s time to hop on that bandwagon.

But it can be hard – what the heck is everyone referring to? Hashtags, shares, organic, SEO, content…and on and on. 

To help you get going, we’ve compiled a few terms:

  • Content: Content is anything you post. A photo on Instagram, a pin on Pinterest, a story on Medium, a status update on Facebook, or a new Podcast. You always want any content you are posting to be valuable and engaging.
  • Shares: Shares are a social media marketers goldmine. When people share your content, it gets to more eyes and ears. The more that share it, the more that see it. 
  • Hashtags: You’ve seen hashtags everywhere, from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram. Hashtags help to describe your content and are searchable, meaning they can help your content get discovered.

Below, we have a few we want to discuss more in-depth…

 

What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

Social media marketing is the act of using specifically selected social media channels to share informative, helpful, creative, and engaging content to connect with your ideal audience, so you can achieve your marketing goals. Whether that’s to drive traffic to your website, to build your brand, or to increase sales.

But successful social media marketing is not just about publishing great content, it’s also about analyzing the results to see what works, what doesn’t, and what absolutely crushes it. 

And then modifying your approach.

And successful social media marketing isn’t about you, your product, or even your brand. It’s about one person:

Your client.

Organic Social Media Marketing

“People want to do business with you because you help them get what they want. They don’t do business with you to help you get what you want.”

~Don Crowther

When people hear the term marketing, they think paid advertising.

But we are here to talk about organic social media marketing

Organic is creating all the content yourself. No pop-up ads, no Facebook ads, and no paying an outside source to create and run those ads.

Organic can be done, and done well, in-house. And if you think it’s not valuable just because it’s not paid, you would be wrong. In fact – we would venture to say that it’s even more valuable.

Organic social media marketing can be more beneficial to you and your company in the long run because you can build a trusted and loyal following of your brand. 

There’s a place for paid social media marketing in any business. However, organic social media marketing can take your business to new heights if you’re playing the long game and getting good at it.

Your overall marketing strategy should involve both, but whatever you do, don’t push organic social media marketing to the wayside. 

 

Why You Must Know Content Marketing

Why you must know content marketing

Content marketing can be the cornerstone of any business. We already discussed content, but what is content marketing?

The term seems to get thrown around a lot these days, and to best define it, I’ll leave it to a marketing guru:

…content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.

~Neil Patel

Instead of pitching your product or service, content marketing focuses on delivering relevant and useful information to your current and potential customers.

The goal is to show people that you understand how they feel by telling them stories that resonate with them. If you let them see your personality it will help you create trust and a loyal following.

So, what does this have to do with social media marketing?

Everything.

Everything you post on social media should directly relate to your content marketing strategy. 

Read on and we will show you how.

“If you build it… you may still need Google AdWords.”

~Jennifer Mesenbrink

While organic marketing is the best for long-term sustainability,  paid social media marketing, or social media advertising is well worth considering.

Most use pay-per-click advertising, so it can fit any budget.

What is pay-per-click in a nutshell? Advertisers (you), pay a fee each time someone clicks one of your ads, sending the visitor to your website.

Think of it this way: Imagine you pay $2 for a click that brings a visitor to your website. They then sign up for your email list (potential future profit) or purchase something for $50.

You can just set a monthly cap, and away you go.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular, and Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is the biggest. These are the ads that you often see on the top of the Google page.

There are also platform-specific ads – I’m sure you’ve seen them pop up when going down the Facebook or Instagram rabbit hole that we all end up in from time to time :).

 

What is SEO and does Social Media Marketing Help?

What is search engine optimization (SEO) and does social media marketing help with SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the process of getting increased quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search results.

Imagine you search for something on Google, you skip the paid ads and you look at the non-paid, or organic, search results.

The order, or rank, of those websites, is determined by SEO. And SEO, my friends, is controlled by you. That’s why a search engine optimization strategy in any business is a must.

But since the focus of this article is on SMM, the real question here is:

Does social media marketing help with SEO?

And the answer is yes…just not directly. But both are very closely related and can be co-beneficial.

Nobody really knows how much Google has access to from the major social media sites, and we also don’t know if Google uses it for tracking purposes. But what we do know is this:

Social media plays an indirect role in helping people to find your brand in the search engine results, and can lead people to your website when used right.

And that’s all that really matters.

 

Do You Need Social Media Marketing for Your Business?

Why you need social media marketing - social media marketing images

If you are reading this, then the answer is yes!

Though the answer is more like, why haven’t you started yet? What are you waiting for? 

Or…

What are you doing reading this blog post, get out there, and start social media marketing, already!

Why?

Because 7 in 10 Americans are now on some form of social media, and the narrative that it’s just for the younger generation isn’t true anymore. As of 2016, 74% of adults 50-64 were active on Facebook – and that number continues to grow and expand to other networks.

And get this – on average, users spend two hours on social media sites every day

If potential customers can’t find your business on social media, they will find someone who is – namely, your competition.

So grab your accounts – there are some great tools available to help you. Grab as many as you can, even if you have no immediate plans to use them. You never know how you could expand.

And if you’re still on the fence, read on…

 

The Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Your Business

benefits of social media marketing for your business - social media marketing strategizing

You may be thinking, But what about the businesses that are doing just fine without social media marketing?

It’s true – there are businesses out there that not only work – but thrive – without a social media presence. Just like some thrive without a website.

But those businesses are the anomalies. The outliers. The rare exceptions to the rule.

The truth is this: The odds of your success is greatly increased with social media marketing in your tool belt. 

And if all that isn’t enough, check this:

73% of consumers say that they’re affected by a brand’s social media presence when deciding to make a purchase. And 32% have admitted to looking at a brand’s social media accounts before even glancing at their website…

shocked at the benefits of social media marketing to your business

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The feeling’s mutual.

 

Everyone You Know is on Social Media

I mean, my 75-year-old aunt now messages me on Facebook.

She’s not too good at it (sorry Aunt Shirley), but she’s out there. And that’s becoming more and more the norm. 

72% of the US population actively use social media, which breaks down to:

  • Millennials – 90.4%
  • Gen X – 77.5%
  • Baby boomers – 48.2%

So if you thought you could get out of this because your core customers are baby boomers, think again, because even they’re hopping on the bandwagon.

Following Brands on Social Media is the Bees Knees

95% of 18-34-year-olds follow brands on social media. 

And that’s even more amazing when you realize that data is from 2015

But people won’t just follow your brand for the heck of it – as we will go into depth later, your content must engage them.

And if you can do that, then the odds begin to work in your favor really fast.

 

Social Media Marketing is Cost-Effective

One of the most significant advantages of social media marketing for your business is that it helps you to cut marketing costs, without sacrificing results.

The great news is that you can benefit by only spending a few hours a week. In fact, Hubspot reports that 84% of marketers were able to generate increased traffic with as little as six hours of effort spent on social media per week.

 

Improve Brand Loyalty

Social media marketing gives you the unique ability to show people that your brand is different and stand out from the crowd. Show them you understand them and that you care about them. 

red flower in a field of yellow - being different while social media marketing

Photo by Rupert Britton on Unsplash

Do this by engaging with your audience by sharing valuable information, compelling content, and having genuine conversations with potential customers…and don’t forget about current customers, because if you continue to engage with them, they could become the ultimate tool in your belt.

 

Create a Brand Advocate

Once you get someone to this stage, you have a client for life. And while that’s nice, brand advocates do so much more than that.

They will wait in line for your next product, give you glowing reviews any place they can, and rave to everyone about you.

It’s true love.

heart shaped tree depicting a brand advocate due to your social media marketing presence

Image by 272447 from Pixabay

And here’s the fantastic part about this relationship: A brand advocate does your marketing for you. And people heed their advice, because people trust other people, especially when they’re not getting paid by you to say anything. 

Consider this: 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above ALL other forms of brand messages. And 50% of consumers find User Generated Content (UGC) more memorable than any brand-produced content.

So how do you create a brand advocate?

Many businesses make this colossal mistake – they think their job is done once they’ve converted a lead into a customer and gotten a sale.

Au Contraire Mon Frère – your job has just begun.

Because now you want to keep your customers happy and coming back for more.

This is where social media marketing shines.

Because of its personal nature, you can use social media to interact directly with your customers and continue to develop a relationship with them. 

And that’s where the magic really happens…

Cycle of a Brand Advocate

In short, a brand advocate will generate leads for you.

Implement a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

The mistake I see repeatedly is not taking the necessary time to create a great strategy.

Sure, it seems like a lot of work, but it will save you time and potential heartbreak down the road.

Because a proper strategy will guide your social media marketing path for the foreseeable future. 

It will help you make the right decisions, avoid the wrong ones, and capitalize by gaining customers who will reward you for your valuable information, engaging content, and conversations by purchasing from you.

So, how do you target the right person?

 

Target Your Ideal Social Media Marketing Audience

Despite the importance of creating your ideal customer avatar, many companies overlook this step. Don’t make that same mistake.

Don’t know where to start? We will show you how.

And if you’re thinking: “But…I’m marketing to everyone! I want everyone to buy my product!”

Uh oh.

Because here’s the truth:

how to target your social media marketing audience

Put in marketing terms:

If you are marketing to everyone, you are marketing to no one.

It will fall on deaf ears, and that incredible, life-changing product or service of yours will go unnoticed and fall the way of the 90% of startups that fail.

We don’t want that to be you. 

So take the time to get to know your ideal client. You should know your ideal client as well as you know your business.

I don’t just mean “a guy in his forties who likes pants.” You must get specific. The more specific and descriptive you can be, the better off you will be.

get specific with your social media marketing customer avatar

And that’s when things get awesome. 

A good avatar will help you identify your target market – where they hang out, which social media platforms they use, and what their day-to-day struggles are. You will even be able to distinguish what types of products they could want in the future.

Take some time to picture your ideal customer. Here are some questions you can answer to start you off:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Income
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have children? How many?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • Where do they live? Small town or big city? House or apartment?
  • Why do they want your product?
  • What are their day-to-day struggles?

The deeper you dig, the more you can glean out of it for your marketing needs.

 

The Importance of Social Media Marketing Your Business Brand

You may think of your product, logo, or tagline as your business brand.

But your brand is so much more than that.

It conveys who you are and what your business stands for. It builds trust in current and potential customers.

Think of your brand as what people see and how they feel when they see your product or logo. 

Consider this from one of the best at branding over the years:

Or this:

You see? Coke isn’t just a soft drink loaded with sugar and no health benefits to speak of. 

Coke is sharing and caring. It’s a party and it’s fun. It’s a place you want to be and how you want to feel.

So, what’s your brand? What sets you apart from the crowd? Doing this correctly could take your business to new heights.

Digital Marketing Tools Tips for Branding:

  • Create a great logo and place it everywhere
  • Create a unique brand voice and use it everywhere, consistently
  • Be unique, fun, creative
  • Create a memorable slogan or tagline to use where you can

Remember – Your brand is everything. It should extend from your physical products or designs to your website, to all of your social media sites.

 

Do You Know Your Unique Selling Proposition? 

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a selling point that makes your product unique from the competition. Pay careful consideration to what your ideal customers value.

how Nerd Fitness shows their unique selling proposition, including on social media

Nerd Fitness has always been one of our favorite examples of a great USP. In fact, this image has many great qualities, including one we just discussed (branding) and one we discuss below (creating a tribe).

Unless you are a very unique business like a Doll Hospital, or if you want to take out your aggression by smashing plates at The Smashing Place, then you will need a USP to stand out from the crowd.

Because if you can’t differentiate yourself from your competition to your ideal customer avatar, then you’re just another voice lost in an overcrowded niche for the same product or service.

So ask yourself this question: What does your product or service do that sets it apart from your competitors? 

Better yet, what does it do to solve your ideal customer’s problems?

If you are still having trouble, try this little copywriter’s trick.

Digital Marketing Tools Actionable Step:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and write down your ideal customer’s problems at the top.
  2. Under that, put a line down the middle of the page.
  3. Add the headings Features | Benefits.
  4. Under Features, write the features of your product or service that solve your client’s problems.
  5. Under Benefits write the benefits to those features.

Pro tip: People don’t buy features, they buy benefits.

What can you glean from this information? Can you find anything that makes you unique?

Here’s a more in-depth guide for identifying your USP.

 

Your Social Media Marketing Goals

using smart goals to do social media marketing plan

SMART goals come in handy whenever you’re taking on a big task, such as creating a social media marketing strategy.

Break your big and overarching goals into small, bite-sized, and easy to accomplish goals. You will need small wins on your journey.

Because if your goal is to look like The Rock in the gym, but you’re not seeing small muscle gains each week as a win, you’re going to give up.

An excellent strategy in any capacity takes time to accomplish, and many steps to get there. So don’t get flustered and lose sight of the reason you’re doing this.

 

Choosing Your Social Media Marketing Marketing Platforms

The time has come to choose, and you must

via GIPHY

Because the entire point of social media marketing is to connect you and your brand with your ideal audience. So if you’re targeting Generation X and are running videos on TikTok, then we at DMT have not properly done our job.

Below we will go more in-depth on some major SMM platforms. Choose the platforms that best fit your avatar and strategy, then choose the one or two you will start with. You can always expand to more platforms later.

As you walk through, remember this:

It’s better to crush it at one than to be mediocre at two, or even worse, to fail completely at three or four.

~Digital Marketing Tools

 

Facebook

social media marketing facebook platform stats

Image Credit: StatusBrew

What is Facebook?

Facebook is a website that allows users to connect with friends, colleagues (or people they don’t know) online, and to share pictures, music, videos, articles, as well as their own thoughts and opinions.

Everyone who creates a Facebook account has a profile and news feed. When someone in your friend group, or “network”, posts a story, photo, or video, it will show up in your feed.

But the key for you is that you can create a business page to increase brand awareness and connect with your audience.

While Facebook started as a way for the younger generation to connect online and to be able to communicate and share their thoughts (and funny images) with their “friends”, it has exploded and become a staple in many organizations.

And with the explosion has come expansion. Facebook isn’t just for funny images and sharing your thoughts anymore, as videos and Facebook Stories are all the rage. 

 

Who is Facebook for?

Facebook is for – well – everyone. In fact, 75% of Americans between 18-49 years old use Facebook, and within that age range, there is little variance. 

But don’t discount seniors (people over the age of 50), because while they are the smallest demographic, they are also the fastest-growing.

 

Why You Should Use Facebook

Facebook is still one of the most used social media platforms in the US. 

But, it is the number one platform for adults, and of those that use it, 74% visit the site at least once per day.

Given its popularity, odds are likely that your competition already has a Facebook page.

With the options of stories and videos, there isn’t much you can’t do to reach and engage with your customers.

 

What to Post on Facebook

  • Videos – Most valuable type on Facebook; focus on humor and providing value
  • Link Shares – Your own content and outside content
  • Photos – Products, Events, Company Culture
  • Graphics – Tips, How-To’s, Quotes, Memes
  • Stories – Showcase behind-the-scenes and company culture
  • Go Live – Share breaking news; product announcements
  • Photo Carousels – Add a link to build a scrolling carousel
  • Photo Slideshows – Turn photos into a video, of sorts

 

How Often to Post

  • 3-5 times per week is optimal for Facebook.

 

Instagram

social media marketing platform stats - Instagram

Image Credit: StatusBrew

What is Instagram?

At its simplest, Instagram is a photo and video sharing app, for people to share ‘stories’ of their lives, and engage with others in your friend network.

Similar to Facebook, within Instagram, you create a profile, and you have a news feed, in which photos or videos shared within your network are displayed.

With everyone’s somewhat recent obsession with mobile photography and video, Instagram usage has increased monumentally.

Facebook saw the value in Instagram almost immediately and purchased the 13-person startup 18 months after its launch (for a cool $1 billion).

 

Who’s on Instagram?

90% of Instagram users are under 35 years old, so if your target market is millennials, Instagram is your hotspot.

 

Why You Should Use Instagram

Don’t use Instagram? You better get out there because that’s where “all the cool kids are hanging out.” 🙂

While I’m (partially) joking, Instagram has over 1 billion active users, with over 500 million considered daily active users. Over 25 million businesses are taking advantage of those growing numbers.

And you should, too.

It doesn’t have as many users as Facebook, word on the street is that it could take over Facebook sometime soon.

 

What to Post on Instagram

  • Photos – Products, Events, Company Culture.
  • Graphics – Tips, How-To’s, Quotes, Memes.
  • Carousels – Products/Services, How-To’s, Tutorials, Tell a Story (scrolling photos or videos where you want to tell more of a story).
  • Feed Videos (60 seconds or less) – Tips from blog posts, quick advice, tutorials, how-to’s.
  • IGTV Videos(60 seconds to 60 minutes) – Teach/educate, Give expert advice, update on industry trends, provide value.
  • Stories – Ideal for engagement & in-the-moment content.
  • Memes, Quotes, and Tips – These really work for all brands (including memes), just make sure they are relevant to your industry.

Note: Don’t forget about Instagram Stories. 1 in 3 daily “Instagrammers” indicated they had become “more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Instagram Stories.”

 

How Often to Post on Instagram

  • 1-3 times per day. Start by posting once per day (or close to it) and increase to up to 3-times per day as you feel more comfortable.

 

Linkedin

Social media marketing platform Linkedin stats

Image Credit: StatusBrew

What is LinkedIn

Linked in is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, with over 660 million users worldwide.

It’s a place for you to build your professional network and share business-related news and stories. And many also use it for career development. 

Despite it being around longer than Facebook, and its popularity amongst business professionals, so many neglect to think of LinkedIn in their social media marketing strategy.

And that’s a mistake. 

 

Who’s on LinkedIn?

37% of US adults between the ages of 30 and 49 are on LinkedIn.

But the age may not be as beneficial as the fact that its comprised of all business professionals.

 

Should you Use LinkedIn?

Professionally, the answer is yes, you should be on LinkedIn. 92% of Fortune 500 company executives and 77% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, so it’s definitely a place you want to be.

If you are targeting business professionals in any way, then LinkedIn should be on your radar.

Not convinced? How about the fact that LinkedIn has proven to be 277% more effective than Facebook at generating leads.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment…

Now, don’t walk – run – to get your LinkedIn account registered.

 

What to Post on LinkedIn

  • Videos – Advice and case studies.
  • Images – Stats and quotes.
  • Events – Share awards, your own events, events company members attended.
  • Articles – Your own and outside shares.
  • Company culture – Leaders, news, and updates.

Note: Anything you post on LinkedIn should be company or leadership focused.

 

How Often to Post on LinkedIn

  • 2-3 times per weekLinkedin itself recommends posting every business day, but realistically I would say start with 2-3 times a week and work your way up once you get in a groove. And no need to post more than once a day, as HubSpot notes, engagement plunges after posting more than once per day.

 

Twitter

Social media marketing platform Twitter stats

Image Credit: StatusBrew

What is Twitter

Twitter is a social networking site, or ‘microblogging’ system, in which you can post up to 140-character ‘tweets’, or status updates, seen by anyone who has followed you.

It’s common to post unique headlines and linking to a relevant article or a video within your tweet.

Twitter users follow other users (or organizations), and you can see the tweets from those you follow in your Twitter ‘timeline’.

 

Who’s on Twitter

If you are targeting Millennials, Twitter is a place you should be. 38% of adults 18-29 use twitter, and as the age increases, usage declines. Just 26% from 30-49 and 17% from 50-64.

 

Should You Use Twitter for Your Business?

There are 262 million Twitter users worldwide, with 152 million daily active users, so the numbers are there.

You have to post more on Twitter than other mediums, but you can create posts in less time.

After Facebook and Instagram, it may just be your next best option to consider. 

It’s also noteworthy that 85% of small to medium businesses use Twitter for their customer service.

 

What Should You Post on Twitter

  • Text – Advice, case studies
  • Images – Memes are big
  • Articles – Your own and outside shares
  • Lists – List posts
  • Ask questions – Engage your audience
  • Breaking news/industry updates
  • Trending topics – Make sure they apply to your business or brand

Note: Stand out on Twitter by being unexpected

 

How Often to Post on Twitter

  • 3 times+ per day. Up to 30 times if you are feeling really cheeky :).

 

YouTube

Social media marketing platform YouTube stats

Image Credit: StatusBrew

What is YouTube?

YouTube turns the tables a little from the other sites that we mentioned, in that it only deals in videos.

Technically, YouTube is a video sharing service where users can watch, like, share, comment, and upload their own videos.

As an individual, or company, you create your own YouTube channel to post your content, and if it’s quality content, people will subscribe to your channel.

 

Who’s on YouTube?

73% of adults in the US use YouTube. Compare that with 69% for Facebook. Yep, that’s right.

YouTube is bigger than Facebook.

In fact, YouTube is the second most-preferred platform for watching video on TV screens among adults 18-34 years old.

 

Why You Should Use YouTube

If video works in your marketing, absolutely use YouTube.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and in marketing, that rings true. Engagement soars when images are used vs. plain text.

The same thing happens when you use video. 

And get this: Not only is YouTube the most popular social media network, but it is also the second most popular search engine, behind only Google, with over 3 billion searches per month.

 

What You Should Post on YouTube?

  • Advice
  • Case studies
  • Trending topics
  • How to’s

 

How Often Should You Post on YouTube?

  • 1-3 times per week. Start low unless you have the time because to create good videos that get engagement, you have to edit and make them shine. But you will want to increase that when you’re comfortable because reports are beginning to show that YouTube channels that post more than once per week are performing  better and getting more recommended views.

Just a quick blurb on a couple more that may interest you.

 

Pin-it to Win-it

Social media marketing platform Pinterest stats

Image Credit: StatusBrew

While Pinterest has lower engagement rates than most other social media platforms, it can be a useful tool for generating sales.

93% of Pinterest users use the platform to make purchases or plan future purchases, and it drives an eye-popping 25% of all retail website referral traffic.

If you have a visual product or service, and especially if you have an e-commerce site, you should definitely look into what Pinterest can do for you.

For those interested, Pinterest also has a sophisticated ad platform similar to Twitter and Facebook.

The Front Page of the Internet

social media marketing platform reddit picture

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

What, no infographic chock full of interesting statistics?

Nope, not for Reddit (aka the front page of the internet.)

Reddit is a unique place and that’s why we wanted to touch on it a little.

While many don’t consider it a social media platform, it can act like one. 

Reddit is a place people go to talk about anything and everything. It’s composed of subreddits that contain very specific niches; for example, there are communities for horror writers, vegetarians, unicycles, and stamp collecting…just to name a few.

From authors to marketers, many entrepreneurs have established themselves on Reddit and gone on to be successful.

Find your niche and start commenting and answering questions. In time, you will establish yourself as an authority in that field.

Note: Do NOT advertise on Reddit. Talk, comment, and help people out. 

 

How to Set Up Your Social Media Accounts

There are some rules you should follow when setting up your social media accounts, but a surprising number of businesses pay no attention.

  • Fill out your profile completely. Take the time, right away, to fill everything out. Don’t be that company that doesn’t have all their information listed or even worse, lacking a profile pic!
  • Consistency across platforms. We’ve mentioned your brand a lot, and you should consider this (and your website) part of your branding. Remain consistent. Make your social media platforms look similar and they should follow the basic layout and color scheme of your site.
  • Images. Remain consistent with your profile images. You want people to recognize you on any platform they see you on. Pay close attention to the social media image sizes. They can be easy to get wrong, as each platform is a little different.

 

Social Media Strategy when Posting

We’ve gone through a lot of the strategy to get to this point, but it’s finally time to figure out what to post on social media, and how to make it engaging to your audience.

We will show you how to be the light, beat your competition, and grow your audience like you didn’t even think possible.

 

The Three C’s of Social Media Marketing

You’re probably thinking: “What type of stuff do I post!?”

Because creating content 3-5 times per week (or more!) on even a single social media platform is intimidating!

Let us help you out with The Three C’s.

Brainstorm Your Own Content (Create)

Create your own content. simple infographics or take a picture and ask your audience a question.

What content works best will differ per your strategy and platform, but some things that you can create are:

  • Infographics
  • Pictures
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Quotes

Create some content, follow the best practices below, and voila, you’re posting original content.

 

Steal from Others (Curate)

Shame on us, but yes, we are telling you to steal. But this is a good kind of stealing that you will want to get in on. And we promise you won’t get in trouble!

curating content for social media strategy

Some of your posts can be stolen from others, otherwise known as curated content. In fact, content curation can be a considerable part of your social media strategy – just make sure it applies to your brand (be as creative as you want), and that it still follows the best practices that we go over below.

It can help build your authority as a trusted source of valuable information. Finding, organizing, and sharing relevant and engaging online content builds trust and authority with your audience. Especially when you curate from other leaders and influencers in your niche.

But don’t think you can get out of being creative – make it your own and add your own unique voice to it by creating a captivating headline, images, etc.

 

Talk to Your Audience (Conversate)

Get personal and have real-life conversations with your customers. It encompasses monitoring and responding to any of your customer’s questions, concerns, or comments – speedily. 

Not only should you be monitoring and responding, but you should also be promoting discussion with your posts by asking questions.

Reach out even just to say, “thank you.”

All of this goes a long way to build brand advocates.

 

Your Social Media Marketing Secret Weapon

With a little sneakiness up-front, you can figure out a lot about what you should post:

  • What works for your competitors
  • What your ideal audience loves
  • What they could do without
  • What questions your audience is already asking
  • And much, much more…

…before you post a single thing.

Most of the strategy you need to be successful in social media marketing for your business is already out there, you just have to know where to look.

So, what do you do? 

 

Stalk Your Audience

Maybe stalking isn’t your thing (and, well, it shouldn’t be), but you will want to start.

Because by stalking your audience, you can find out exactly what they want, what they need, and what they engage with.

Find your ideal audience (hint: your customer avatar) out there in the wild, and once you find where they hang out – pounce.

via GIPHY

Digital Marketing Tools Actionable Steps

  • Scour the following sites for your ideal customer avatar
    • Quora
    • Reddit
    • Facebook Groups
    • AlsoAsked
    • AnswerThePublic
  • Once you find them, research them. Copy and paste or write down the following:
    • Questions they’re asking
    • Topics they’re seeking
    • Content they’re engaging with

But don’t stop there. Once you’re more comfortable, start engaging with questions, inserting yourself into groups, and keep your finger on the pulse.

And then…

 

Spy on Your Competition

Social media marketing brings a unique opportunity for you, my friends. One that you can’t get in any other part of your business. You get to spy on your competition. 

And if you pay attention, they are showing you exactly what it takes, exactly what works, and exactly what doesn’t.

All you have to do is watch.

So it’s time to break out those binoculars!

via GIPHY

Digital Marketing Tools Actionable Steps

  • Write down your top 3 direct competitors
  • Write down your top 3 indirect competitors
  • Answer the following questions:
    • What are they doing well that you can implement?
    • Knowing your audience too, what are they NOT doing well that you can capitalize on?
    • What content is their audience engaging with?
    • What’s their posting frequency?
    • What hashtags are they using?
    • What kind of Calls to Action (CTA) are they using to drive their audience?
  • Create a spreadsheet for each. Make notes, take screenshots, do anything that will help you zero in on your strategy, so you can target your audience with laser-like precision.

 

Additional research you can do to spur your creative muscle

  • Look at brands you think your target audience would follow
  • Look at brands you like and respect (even if they aren’t in your industry) – spur your creative muscle
  • Find brands you think might create similar content
  • Find some influencers in your industry (we discuss influencers below)
  • Ask friends, family, co-workers for some of their favorite accounts

 

Social Media Marketing Strategy for Posting

“Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.”

~Susan Cooper

Based on everything you now know, come up with a formula to test on each social media marketing channel you have chosen.

This formula should be based on:

  • The research you’ve done
  • Your bandwidth
  • Your current content
  • The platform(s)

For example, here’s a formula we came up with for a client for Instagram: 

  • 2 quotes
  • 1 tip
  • 1 relevant image (with a question to the audience)
  • 1 how-to video clip

That’s 5 posts per week, every week.

Do that for every platform you plan to use.

Now, before we get to analyzing your results, we will go through some of the most important things to remember when posting anything.

Social Media Marketing Best Practices

“Content Doesn’t Win. Optimized Content Wins.”

~Liana Evans

What do you post to get the greatest reach and highest engagement?

What will your ideal customers love so much they head over to your website, make a purchase, and share your content with their entire network?

Before we get to the important analytics discussion, let’s go through some best practices for you to use when posting on social media.

Use these to drive engagement, build a great community, and make your competition want to research you.

 

Every one of your posts should do at least one:

  • Educate/Inform
  • Inspire/Motivate
  • Entertain

When you are about to hit the Enter button and put any post out there into the digital universe, ask yourself if your post hits on at least one of the three rules. You know what they say, the more the merrier.

 

Visual Appeal: Social Media posts are almost always as important for how they look, as for what they say. Take the time to make each post as visually engaging as possible. 

In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than the written word. 

The takeaway? Add visuals.

 

Inspire Your Customers to Take Action: Include a Call to Action (CTA) in every post. Whether you ask a question, drive people to your blog or website, or inspire a sale, always tell your customers to do something.

  • Ask a question
  • Drive to a content piece – “Swipe Up”, “Click HERE”
  • Ask for input – People LOVE giving their opinion/recommendations
  • Use your brand voice
  • Be unexpected

But be sure NOT to do the next thing…

 

Don’t Over Promote: Yes, you want to promote your business, but keep in mind that social media marketing is all about providing valuable content that can entertain and educate.

And NOT about promoting your business, post after post. Because you will watch your audience slip away. 

Some businesses go by the one-in-seven rule – one promotional post in every seven posts. The other six should be content-based: articles, comments on current events, and asking relevant questions.

You don’t have to avoid mentioning your brand, just don’t sell too hard.

 

Relevancy: Make sure every post is relevant to your brand. It doesn’t have to be a direct correlation, just make sure the link is there.

 

Consistency: I can’t say it better than Neil Patel.

“If you make a habit of posting several times a day and then transition to only a few times a week, you will start to lose followers and generate less engagement per post. This means that the best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the rest of your natural life.”

~Neil Patel. 

Create a content calendar to help you remain consistent, day-after-day, and week-after-week.

 

Your Social Media Bible: A content calendar can help you map out your posts for the week, month, and even year. This will be your bible and will help you remain consistent.

It will also save you time by planning out your posts complete with links, images, hashtags, and anything else that will help you when it becomes time to post.

You can either create one yourself or find one on the web.

Here’s an image of one I’ve set up:

social media strategy - content calendar

Do something similar or find something else online. But plan out your content days, weeks, even months in advance to help you succeed.

 

Create Videos: Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but videos are the newly crowned king. And it’s not just for YouTubers anymore.

Even on Facebook and Instagram, videos should be a part of your social media marketing strategy.

 

Use Subtitles: Speaking of videos, here’s a stat for you:

Only 15% of people watch Facebook with the sound on.

Think people on buses, in dentist offices, in their work office. So when creating videos make them easy to understand without sound, or use subtitles.

 

Tell Stories: Don’t forget about Facebook and Instagram story features. While they may not seem like much for social media marketing at first glance, not only are they, but the storytelling factor, the engagement, and the rate of growth is pushing brands to do everything they can to embrace the medium.

Don’t forget about them once you’re up and running. The ‘stories’ features may be very beneficial to you.

 

Hashtags: Most major channels use hashtags, and you could leave readers behind if you’re not using them. So make sure you use them and that they’re relevant. 

#hashtags #relevant #yourbrand

 

Listen to Your Customers: With social media, everyone has a megaphone (even me!). 

listen to your customers - social media marketing best practices

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

And we both know that’s good and bad.

But for you – it’s great because people love to talk. And if you focus on listening to what your audience is telling you, they will tell you exactly what they like and what they don’t. 

 

Quality over Quantity: The lifespan of a social media post differs significantly by platform, but the takeaway is this:

Focus on what you’re posting rather than overwhelming your customers with post after post. Make it engaging and make it great. Your goal should be to get as much engagement on a single post as possible.

Those who focus too much on quantity lose sight of working to make each post great.

“The goal is no longer to spray and pray — it’s to get as much interaction from a single post as possible.”

~Shannon Johnson

 

Don’t Get Lazy with Your Writing: We’ve drilled into you to use visuals, pictures, videos, but don’t forget about what you’re writing.

Sure the visuals will catch some eyes, but to get people to engage and move beyond that point, you must have good writing. Be creative and use your brand voice.

 

Drive Customers Where You Want Them to Go: Don’t forget to use links in your posts to drive customers to your website, sales page, blog, or wherever you want them to go.

 

Build a Tribe: People love to be part of a group, especially an exclusive group. Think Facebook groups, where a certain group of people can get together and talk about something specific to your brand. Is this something you can incorporate?

 

Use these best practices to liven up your posts and to get the engagement, likes, and shares you want.

And then…

 

Fine Tune Your Social Media Strategy with Analytics

Social media strategy through social media analytics

Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay

You may think most of the work is behind you once you post, but that’s only half the battle.

Because as important as creating a strategy is to your success, assessing and adjusting your strategy carries the same weight.

You need to dig in, see how your posts are performing, find what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your strategy as necessary.

“You may be catching red flags too late or missing massive opportunities to better your audience’s experience on your social…Every data point is an opportunity to better your social strategy.”

~Marissa Heckman at Power Digital Marketing

But you know us at DMT by now, and we will not leave you hanging. Below, we go over some social media analytics tools (below). With them, you can dig down to see precise information about your posts, including engagement rate, followers, impressions, actions on a specific page, and even likes and shares…

Bottom line: Always focus on analytics and continually optimize your strategy based on what you see.

 

The Answer to Your Social Media Prayers

I know what you’re thinking:

“How on earth will I find the time to do all of this?”

And you’re right – social media marketing can take a lot of time.

But take a walk with us, and enter the world of social media marketing tools

Because with them, your life is about to get a lot easier.

The tools and the cost will depend on your needs. Prices range from free to over $100 per month. 

Note: Many tools also have a free trial period so you can test the product out and see how well it fits with your needs.

There are seven categories of social media marketing tools that we discuss below. We will briefly go through each one and list a few examples.

Note: (mostly) gone are the days where a tool falls into only one category (and some even fall into many), so do your own research to pick the tool(s) that work best for your needs.

 

Social Media Research Tools

By now you know how important research is when you play the social media marketing game, so of course – there are tools to help you out with that!

  • Buzzsumo comes instantly to mind as one of the great research tools. It can help you create content when you’re stuck.
  • From the “mouth” of Ahrefs – Ahrefs helps you learn why your competitors rank so high and what you need to do to outrank them.
  • While Ubersuggest is new to the game (with a fair amount that you can do for free) and is still a work in progress, it shows you how to “win the game of SEO.” Oh, and it’s created by Neil Patel – you could do worse than trusting him with an SEO tool.

Social Media Scheduling Tools

Key when you begin posting – these tools can help you compose posts, curate content, organize, and schedule all your posts at once. Even across platforms.

  • Buffer started off as a scheduling tool for Twitter alone. But now it supports all of the major social media platforms (including Instagram…which isn’t as common as you would think.)
  • CoSchedule primarily focuses on content vs. social performance, with features such as the “ReQueue” Bucket to reuse your performing content.
  • At Feedly the name of the game is quality content curation.

 

Social Media Analytics Tools

We’ve already mentioned social media analytics, and these are the tools to help you see what you need to see.

These tools are crucial to your marketing strategy because these will help you see what works and what doesn’t. You can measure: click-throughs, impressions, growth on a specific platform.

  • Google Analytics is one of the most widely used analytics tools, and for most small businesses the free version will work just fine. As you grow, they also have a paid-for subscription option.
  • While Sprout Social could fall under most categories on this list, it’s cross-channel social media analytics really stand out.

 

Social Media Engagement Tools

We mentioned the need to interact with your audience (conversate) and if you can imagine, there are tools for that too.

This allows you to view and respond to messages from all of your social platforms in one interface. So you can stay on top of questions, comments, and even reviews from your fans, quickly and easily.

  • Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media engagement tools out there, and it can also help with some analytics and collaboration between team members.
  • Agorapulse is worth looking into, especially if your main jam is twitter. And their app really shines as well, and easily lets you respond when you’re not near your computer.

 

Social Media Listening Tools

It’s always an excellent idea to keep your ear to the ground to find out what people are saying about you. 

You can see what people are saying, respond, collect data, and make shifts in your strategy, and even your product line, based on the information you can gather with these tools.

You can also use these tools to create and curate content, and see what people are saying about your competition.

Social media listening focuses on large sets of online data to do this. And you can use all this data to help with your overall social media strategy.

  • Mention is a big player in the game of social listening. It allows you to monitor, analyze, and report on any mentions your brand is getting in the online world.
  • Awario stands tall among the competition by prioritizing which mentions deserve a speedy response. It also listens to relevant keywords and terms related to your industry.

 

Social Media Monitoring Tools

Social media monitoring is the process of searching for, collecting, and interacting with individual mentions on social media (rather than focusing on large sets of data). While I wouldn’t recommend it, social monitoring is actually possible without tools to help you.

  • While some of our aforementioned tools (Mention, Buzzsumo, Sprout Social) also help with social media monitoring, Tweetdeck is a different breed, focused primarily on monitoring your Twitter presence.

 

Social Media Automation Tools

These are here to make your life simpler, but they should never make your social media posting “hands-off.”

They are to make your life simpler by automating the constantly repetitive, but you still have to have a human touch.

Think things like Chatbots or emailing automated feedback request forms, or even for reviews.

  • I’m sure you’ve heard of IFTTT, or if-this-then-that. It’s been plugging away on people’s cell phones or computers for a long time now. And it can help you set up automated rules for your social media marketing as well, by creating rules that trigger specific actions when something specific happens.
  • IFTTT is easy to learn and a little simpler, but if you want to take your automation to new heights, Zapier may be for you.

 

Social Media Advertising Tools

We will touch on one more type of tool briefly. Social media advertising tools help you with…well…advertising!

  • Adespresso helps you to create, test, analyze, and retest as needed to see the results you want when advertising on social media. 

Digital Marketing Tools will have an in-depth guide to social media marketing tools coming your way soon. So check back often, we will post the link here.

 

The Power of Social Media Influencers

I’m sure you’ve heard the term influencer before, whether or not directly related to social media marketing.

An influencer is someone with a dedicated following in a particular niche, in which he or she actively engages. The power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, position, knowledge, or relationship with their audience.

A social media influencer is someone who has a dedicated following in a specific niche on social media, typically on one particular platform, and has gained a large following of engaged people who pay close attention to what this influencer says and does.

They have the power to affect purchasing decisions because of their authority, position, knowledge, or relationship with their audience.

When used right, they can be an essential asset in any social media marketing strategy and the possible success.

 

Types of Social Media Influencers

Mega-Influencer

A mega-influencer typically has over 1 million followers. They have often gained their fame not on a social media platform, but offline. Think celebrities such as movie stars, football players, musicians, etc. 

They typically work with agents and can charge up to $1 million per post.

 

Macro-Influencer

A macro-influencer has between 40,000 and 1 million followers on a particular social network. They could be a B-movie actor that hasn’t risen to mega-influencer territory or a micro-influencer who is a successful online expert and has risen to this level.

They are easier to attain than a mega-influencer and can be more used to working with brands.

 

Micro-Influencer

Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 40,000 followers on a single social platform. 

The numbers may be smaller, but they are both cheaper and can be hyper-focused on a particular niche, therefore, could be very beneficial to your brand.

 

Nano-Influencer

The nano-influencer is the newest to the group. They typically have under 1,000 followers but operate in a very small niche market.

It may be hard to really gain any traction with a nano-influencer, but if you found the right one, with the right fit, they can have a significant amount of sway with their followers.

 

Social Media Influencer Platforms

As you can imagine, social media influencers all have their own platforms through which they influence, but a few of them may surprise you…

 

Social Media

This is where most influencers have cut their teeth. And the most popular influencer social media platform is Instagram, where they craft their posts around a captivating image.

Which makes sense, given that this is where social media influencers started.

But you can find influencers across all the big social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.

 

Blogs

Blogs have become enormous over the past fifteen years, with more being established every day.

Many bloggers have built significant followings in niche fields, making them an authority and an expert that many follow. 

 

Podcasts

Which leads us to podcasters. Basically blogging with a voice.

Podcasting is another medium for people to share their voice and spread their word on a specific subject. By now you probably listen to a podcast or two regularly.

 

YouTube

Video is only getting bigger, and that has given way to YouTube influencers. Each video maker on YouTube has their own YouTube Channel, so brands can often align directly with popular Youtube channels of the content creators.

The bottom line: there are many different ways you can go with influencers to align them with your business, and the cost range can vary depending on many factors.

If it’s something you’re interested in, you’ll probably want to start by looking into micro-influencers and go from there.

 

The Future of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing - the future and beyond

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

We could chat with you about the future of social media marketing for hours, but the truth is, nobody knows for sure.

But there are a few things that the path to the future seems obvious.

 

The Continual Rise of Video

We’ve already established the value of a visual component, and that video is king, so this should come as no surprise. 

The rise of video marketing, how-to videos, and live Q&A’s are just a few of the reasons that video is a trend that could define the future of social media marketing. 

 

Stories are Here to Stay

Stories started on Snapchat but soon followed on Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp. They are highly engaging and have caught the attention of millennials because of their interactive nature. 

Stories are simple to create and don’t require a lot of post-processing. It’s hard to see this trend reversing anytime soon.

 

Micro-Influencers will get bigger

59% of marketers already plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2020.

Micro-influencers are gaining more traction, as their cost is relative, they have a major influence in their niche, and their content is rarely driven by sponsors.

 

Be a Part of a Social Media Community

Communities aren’t an unfamiliar concept, but the way brands are now creating them is changing the way we interact with them – and this trend is likely to keep taking shape in the coming years. As mentioned in the best practices, people love to be part of an exclusive tribe – should you build one?

 

Alternative platforms are on the rise

TikTok is the definition of this right now. But there are others, and some that have yet to be created.

The key takeaway for the future of social media marketing? Continue to pay attention and learn. 2021 will likely see a new platform rising, a fresh way to tell stories on the medium, and original trends worth monitoring.

Social media trends move fast – but if you keep your ear close to the ground, you can be, and stay, on the cutting edge.

“The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time. What won’t change is the community’s desire to network.”

~Kami Huyse

 

Have a Social Media Marketing Party

party celebrating learning social media marketing and strategy

Photo by Neal E. Johnson on Unsplash

You made it to the end. Give yourself a pat on the back – you now know everything you need to know to get started with social media marketing. And a whole lot more.

It can all be stressful and overwhelming. There’s so much to know, it’s continually evolving, and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time in the day.

But all you have to do is follow the path we lead you down in this article. It’s not about how much work you do, it’s about doing the right work. 

And if you do that, you’ll be just fine.

So set up your ideal strategy, choose your platform(s), follow the best practices, and most importantly – just start posting.

In a month from now, you’ll be gaining followers, tracking your shares, analyzing your engagement…

And you’ll be having fun doing it.

As you go forward, continue to check back with us, Digital Marketing Tools, for great new content on social media marketing. 

And if you want to stay on the cutting edge of social media, sign up for our monthly magazine, with some of the best articles collected from some of the best marketing minds out there – sent directly to you every month.

Now – go forth and conquer social media marketing!

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