Social media marketing and content marketing are sometimes used interchangeably. If you still don’t know the difference, let’s get right into it because on your way of marketing your business, you will need to know exactly what you are doing. If you are wondering why to use content marketing, please go to this link, and you will have a detailed explanation of why it is effective.

But for now, let me give you a brief intro to social media marketing. Content marketing and social media marketing are connected in some ways, but they are more supplements than substitutes. Social media has 2 main functions we should focus on. First, it is a distribution channel for an already existing content set. Second, it is a tool for getting closer to the audience, interacting with them, and collecting feedback. 

The most common mistake that businesses make is rushing into social media marketing because they’ve heard that it is good for online branding and for raising awareness. Many might look at it as an easy way to go, “I mean, what’s the problem? Social media marketing is free, it takes just a few minutes to set up an account, and of course, I can make a few posts in a week.”  

However, it’s not as easy as it may seem. If you want your social media marketing to be effective, you should have a strategy, a posting plan, a budgeting plan, and much more before you create any accounts and start making posts. 

Photo by Diggity Marketing 

1. Strategize and plan

Creating a social media strategy is one of the most important success factors. If you don’t have that, it’s like walking into a dessert without knowing why or where you are going. If you don’t have a plan and don’t know where to start and how to use social media marketing and social advertisements, then you better not start at all. 

It is essential to study first, set your goals, and understand what it is that you want from social media. Is it more traffic to your website? Do you want to raise brand awareness? Are you trying to create a loyal fan-base? The list goes on and on. Or maybe you want to do a few of these at once. Either way, you need to decide what you want so you can plan your actions accordingly. 

Along with setting your goals, you should also decide which social media platforms you are going to use. Sometimes people think that if they start using social media, they have to use all the platforms that exist. But, that’s not efficient. Start with your audience and see where they mostly hang out. Try to choose 2 or max 3 social media platforms to be active on so you can be more focused on delivering quality instead of quantity.  

While planning, you should also remember about having some marketing budget for social advertisements. Social media is considered to be a free tool to market your business, but without budgeting, you might not be able to achieve your goals.

2. Be consistent in your shares

Another important factor for having effective social media marketing is consistency. To be able to maintain consistency, it is best to develop a guideline where you list all the things you expect to be followed in social media posts, conversations, and comments. 

Photo by Erik Lucatero

It is crucial to understand the tone you are going to use while talking. Is it going to be formal or conversational? How are you going to post the links? How much text should you have for each post? Are you going to post only in one language or 2 languages? There are many more questions to think about. And when you have the answers to all of these questions, it is important to follow them every single time when posting something. 

Consistency helps you build your brand. It helps your audience remember you. Let’s say the font and the colors you use on your images are the same every time. So when someone from your audience sees it somewhere else, they are going to recognize it because you have been in front of them on social media this whole time. Eventually, consistency helps you build brand recognition. 

3. Authenticity

For many years authenticity on social media was ignored. Businesses tried to look perfect on their pages. But people are not interested in that anymore. In all the professional pages that are out there, people are looking for things that are real. Authentic text, images, and interaction are the most valued nowadays. 

Are you worried about how to be authentic? Here are a few tips for you. 

First of all, be honest and try to show everything as it is. If you are producing something, let people be a part of the journey, share moments from the process, and be real. 

Secondly, don’t add a call to action in your every post. It sounds like you are trying to sell all the time. It will most probably annoy your audience. 

Thirdly, if you have messed up, then don’t cover it up, be honest about it and show what you’ve learned from it and what are the things you are going to change based on that experience. 

However, even if being authentic is good, it still doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be professional. If you think clicking a photo in very bad quality and posting it on your social media is okay, you might be wrong. 

Before doing that, it would be wise to consider how your audience feels about you. If you are a celebrity with millions of fans and you post these perfect pictures and activities all the time, having a bad quality photo will help you seem more real and closer to your audience. But if you are reading this article, probably you are not a celebrity. So, please, be careful when trying to look authentic. There is a fine line between being authentic and careless in your posts. 

Photo by Tengyart

4. Emotions

It might seem that business is all about cold numbers and decisions, but it is about people and emotions just as much as it is about numbers. Think about it, every movie we watch every class we take about business tells us to keep our emotions in check. But we interact with our audience and customers on a daily basis. Do we really need to be cold there too? After all, what is marketing? It is the ability to showcase your company and connect with the audience in a way that makes them want to buy your products or services. It is all about human connections. 

Let’s take a moment and think about friendship. Our friends are the people who understand us the best and who we understand the most. They are with us in our happiest and worst moments. We share joy and sadness with each other. And most importantly, we love and respect each other. What are these, if not emotions? And we don’t keep our emotions in check with our friends. We may get angry, happy, sad, and so much more. Is that bad? No, it’s human, just like our strengths and flaws. It makes us real. 

Businesses are not people; I get that. But, if you want to have an effective interaction with your audience, you should be able to be their friend. And the best way to do that is to be humane. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that being professional is bad. You should still be professional as much as you can, but along with that, you shouldn’t forget about being real. Talk to people like a person and let them relate to you, even if you are a business.

Do you want people to share their wants, needs, and dreams with you? Make the first move and show them some emotions. But remember it is not about saying you are sad or you are happy. Being emotional in your social media marketing means sharing stories that will make people smile, cry, or bring any other emotion possible. Can you make them think about your post the whole day? Good, because that’s what you should aim for. 

Photo by Luis Quintero

5. Analyze your actions and the behavior of your audience

Last but not least is analysis. It is worth saying that without analyzing your actions, you won’t have much success in social media marketing. This might come out a little harsh, but if you are not tracking and analyzing your actions, however hard, you try the results will never be as good as they could be.

If you don’t track and analyze your social media performance, you won’t be able to learn from your mistakes. You won’t be able to get better at understanding your audience and providing them with what they need. It’s like walking on the street with your eyes folded. I bet you wouldn’t do that in real life, would you? 

Use the analytics tools built into social media platforms. If you don’t want to use those, you can always find a great use for Google Analytics which is made beautifully to analyze almost anything you want. Do you need to know how many people viewed your post? How many of them liked the post? How many commented? Geographical statistics? Demographics? You name it. The analytics tools have it all. All you have to do is study those stats and base your decisions on those insights. This is particularly helpful when creating the social media strategy and the social media plan for a specific period of time. 

Overall, these are the most important factors for effective social media marketing. Always start with the strategy and know where you’re headed, and what you really want to get from social media. I would recommend setting realistic goals; otherwise, you are going to be disappointed with the results when you don’t meet your goals.

When you have your strategy and start posting, don’t forget to be consistent, authentic, and emotional in whatever you are putting out there. If you have already done all that, it’s time for some analysis. As soon as you analyze everything and have new insights, go back and start the cycle all over again. This time put your findings into action. 

Social media marketing, just like anything else in the world, is a constant learning process. All you have to do is to get the most out of it. 

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