Being a digital marketer, one of the questions people keep asking me all the time is how one should get started in the field. The answer I usually give them is that they ought to begin with social media marketing. Let me share the thought-process that lies behind my suggestion.
- First, there are the numbers. More than 2.5 billion people have a social network account, which gives beginners a huge audience pool to work with. Not to mention that these numbers are only likely to grow.
- Second, there is the variety. Each social network offers something unique in terms of content and method of interaction, so it’s easy to find a niche you are comfortable with. You don’t have to become an expert in all of them.
- Thirdly, there is the scalability. You can have a social media marketing campaign up and running in a day on a shoestring budget, and every hour/dollar you put in beyond that will bring measurable improvements.
- Finally, there is the familiarity. Practically everyone has used a social network at some point in their life, which means you will be treading on familiar ground. However, this is where you have to be careful, and not let the mix of work and play on socials start taking up your entire day.
Facts and figures such as these are the reason why I feel social media marketing is a good starting point for a digital marketing newcomer. If what I’m saying makes sense to you, consider giving social media marketing a try for your next promotional campaign. You can start by reading the rest of this guide, where I go over a number of topics that every social media marketer should be familiar with.
One of the main advantages of using social networks for marketing is the abundance of data you have at your disposal. By using in-built, as well as third-party tools, you will gain insight into content creation trends, audience preferences, and competitor behavior. To get the most out of the analytics tools at your disposal, consider taking a course in social media marketing.
Dealing with Feedback
In contrast to traditional marketing methods, social media marketing thrives on immediate customer feedback. The upside to this is that you will be able to tell how effective your campaigns are as soon as you launch them. The downside is that not all feedback will be positive, or constructive, which is why you should learn how to respond to it in a calm, collected manner. Not only that, you should make it a point to implement the things you learn along the way. If your customers are complaining about a certain facet of your business, make it a point to change it. That is the best way to show your customers that you listed to feedback, and are ready to go the extra mile.
Creating content for social media is a careful balancing act. Posting too much will overwhelm your audience, whereas posting too little will cause them to lose interest. To avoid these extremes, you should develop a content schedule. Start by keeping an eye on how long your users are engaging with and sharing your content, and experiment with different times of day/week until you find a schedule that works. You can also check out what the immediate competition is doing that seems to be working, and adopt a similar schedule until you find your bearings.
Even if you are running a one-man operation, social media marketing doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Social networks are the home of so-called influencers, individuals that hold sway over large groups of people online. Partnering with influencers can significantly expand your audience, and it can also be a means for acquiring a new content stream at little extra cost.
You don’t have to reach out to big names either – sometimes a small influencer with a dedicated and engaged following can do more than someone much more popular. The key is to build relationships, rather than focus on the sale alone. After all, the opinions of these people matter online, and if they like your product, they are likely to recommend it of their own accord.
Social media marketing is the most effective when it is applied across multiple platforms. Some parts of your audience will prefer to follow you on Facebook, some on Twitter, some on Instagram, which is why you should make sure that your marketing communications are consistent across all platforms. A lack of consistency will drive people to stop taking your brand seriously, which is something you should avoid.
We have only scratched the surface of the topic that is social media marketing, but hopefully this short overview has provided you with enough material to get started with your own research. Social media marketing is the way of the future, and the sooner you start utilizing it, the more you will capitalize down the line.