Social media marketing is marketing on social media, i.e. using social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter for advertising and promotion, building brand awareness and achieving other marketing purposes. Usually, social media marketing involves building the involvement of network users and broadly understood branding, e.g. in the form of increased brand attachment or brand recognition.
Social media is a great place to do marketing on the web. A professional profile builds brand awareness among users who in turn share content with others.
The most popular social networks are:
Social media breaks records with it’s popularity. It is not surprising that advertisers noticed this and are trying to sell their services and products via these platforms. Advertising on social media has a large reach with a limited budget. However, it carries several dangers.
First of all, Internet users visit social media not to see advertising, but to enjoy entertainment and contact with others. Many people forget about it and use traditional advertising methods, for example, preparing a banner identical to the one on news sites. Meanwhile, Facebook users expect something unique and special. They will not be interested in another spam in the form of an offer.
The online marketing market is changing dynamically. Currently, vloggers, youtubers and other participants of the social media market, who are able to attract thousands and sometimes millions of Internet users, are becoming very popular. As a result, sometimes a very young man filming and presenting his skills on a surfboard can get tens of thousands of people watching and commenting on it via Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Then for example, the owners of a famous surfboard company see the potential of this form of advertising and contact the man. They give him their product to test and advertise on his account and often pay for their company to be tagged on his profile. This is how the term ‘influencer’ was born. Influencers can have a huge impact on the users of social media sites and on the purchases of products, so they are not to be overlooked.
Even portals in contact with vloggers have been created. For a small fee, you can check the popularity of a given blog, reach the topic of interest and negotiate the price for the promotion.
When starting a marketing adventure on social networks, you should consider which place will be most suitable for your company. Some decide to operate in several places at once. There are industries that do well on many different channels, and there are also industries that do better sticking to one form of social network. It is good to observe the competition and see where and how active it is.
Advantages of running a company profile on social media:
- Building brand image among users,
- Engaging Internet users in active brand promotion by publishing interesting and valuable content, which in turn is further shared by users,
- Minimising communication costs,
- Promoting a specific lifestyle that requires the purchase of company products,
- Showing the company as “going with the times”,
- Gaining knowledge about user preferences.
A large number of likes on the company profile or observers does not yet indicate anything. Users usually show their interest for a given brand in this way. Usually, a small percentage of users actively share the profiles of their favourite brands and share the content they publish with their friends. Some users like the company profiles to be up to date with new products, company promotions and competitions.
The weight of communication
When starting your activities on social networks, you should first of all remember the consistency and regularity of published posts. You don’t have to bombard your users every day with posts, but you do need to set a schedule. If new content appears too often, Internet users will not be able to absorb everything anyway, and too much content can only overwhelm them. However, if posts will be published less than once a week, users may not notice them at all, and as a consequence they will associate with the brand less and less. Moderation is the most important thing. Establish an appropriate schedule and stick to it.
Knowledge of universal guidelines that everyone can modify according to their needs and company specifics will help in social media activities.
Here are seven steps to help you communicate:
Strategy – at the beginning it is necessary to set goals that the company wants to achieve thanks to social media activity. Keep in mind that these are long-term goals. You can’t expect spectacular effects after a few weeks or even months of action. The profile on Facebook or Instagram is to improve the company’s image, build trust among users as well as raise brand and product awareness. Activity on social media is not synonymous with an immediate increase in sales or a sudden increase in the number of subscriptions. Building a brand image requires patience and constant commitment.
Tactics – how will the goals be achieved? At the beginning, the most important thing is to obtain new users and then to keep them. The path for an ideal profile observer should look like this: obtain, retain and engage. It is not enough to just have a large amount of viewers. They still need to be interested in the content so that they stay and then share it on their own. Users should be active. They should participate in the discussion under the post, express their opinions on the topic, write comments and forward the content.
Consistency – maintaining a high level of activity in social media is a challenge. Especially that the work is quite specific. Activity must be tailored to users. Most of them most often use social networking sites in the evening and on weekends and holidays. There is no reduced or free tariff here. The biggest mistake of companies is high activity at the beginning of their activity in social media, and then complete silence. This is mainly for financial reasons. Often there is no person in the company dedicated to social media services or there are simply no adequate funds for employing them. This is worse than having no social media profile. If users have trusted the profile, and this suddenly suspended their activities, i.e. left their followers and left them unattended, then such an error is unforgivable and it would be extremely difficult to rebuild user confidence in the future.
Team – the one who thinks that running a profile in social media is not a lot of work is wrong. It requires a lot of energy. For the profile to work efficiently, it’s best to create a new job in the company. In large companies, sometimes each channel is taken care of by a different person. In smaller enterprises, one person should be enough to support several channels at the same time.
Users – the most valuable are those who voluntarily observe the profile and actively contribute to it. Nevertheless, it is worth encouraging others to engage in the company’s activities on social media. Recently, organising competitions is very popular, especially on Instagram. Companies and social media influencers alike take part in this kind of activity. You can win various prizes in the competition that are often very attractive, e.g. the top product of a given brand. The rule of participation is of course to observe the profile, like the post , leave a comment and mark some of your friends in it, and then share the post on your profile. This approach can quickly increase the number of users watching, just the question how many of them will remain after the competition. Nevertheless, there can always be a handful of people interested in the brand permanently.
Monitoring progress – effects are most often measured in terms of reach and involvement of users. Facebook has a basic statistical tool, but you can also use additional programs.
Monitoring competition – watching competitors is a good way to evaluate your own actions. By comparing with your competitor, you can see what works better with us and what needs to be improved. Competition is a source of inspiration and learning from the mistakes of others.
Types of social media
Before making a final decision about the most suitable channel for your company, it is worth getting to know the specific types of social media platforms:
- Traditional social networking sites (Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest) – allow the publication of various content and help you reach a wide audience by posting hashtags, inviting friends and sharing posts with others.
- Video services (e.g. YouTube) – allow you to reach a wide audience using video films. You can create your own channel (something for your own television type) and earn on it after exceeding a certain number of subscribers.
- Expert social networking sites (LinkedIn, GoldenLine ) – they are mainly used to build a professional image, find a job and enable recruiters to find professionals.
- Company blog – if you are a specialist in a given field, then a blog is a great place to share your knowledge with others. The publication of specialist articles builds the company’s image as an expert in a given field. Blogging requires regularity, consistency and commitment. It’s not enough to post and forget about it. You have to consider what users have to say. If they have any doubts or queries about the content you publish, give them an appropriate answer. It is not recommended to discuss religious and political topics on the blog – they will always be the cause of disputes.
- Microblog (e.g. Twitter) – it is used to complement other social media rather than as the only channel. It allows you to publish short posts, rather announcements or punch lines. Twitter is very popular among journalists and politicians. Microblogs can be treated as a customer service office – users can ask questions or make suggestions.
- Discussion forums – enable discussions, exchange of experiences, opinions, advice etc. Currently, discussion forums are becoming less and less popular.
Social principles in social media
The virtual social environment is governed by similar laws as in the real community. In the real world, users can perform various roles:
Leaders – impose a specific style of communication and networking. This is a group that is very active on social media by participating in discussions, commenting, sharing content and encouraging the activity of other users.
Experts – share their knowledge and experience with others. They offer advice and help, they can solve problems, but also point out the mistakes of others.
Passive observers – they generally don’t like or comment on anything, but they read everything carefully and are up to date with news.
Occasional newcomers – from time to time they will share their thoughts, write a comment, but do not participate in discussions.
Excluded – Users who broke the communication rules and are ignored by the group.
Trolls – they are controversial and obtrusive. They have nothing valuable to convey, they write only to cause confusion and attract attention. The best way is to try to ignore trolls, unless they insult you and then you can take the appropriate action by reporting their profile.
Sponsors – they litter the discussion with their entries. They write only to attract customers.
Facebook is one of the oldest social networking sites on the web. Because of this, it is the most well known and you can distinguish the basic principles of communication on Facebook:
- From the very beginning, the company profile should have established rules and subjects of communication. There is no time here for infinite trials, errors and spontaneity. Everything should be refined.
- Users are more likely to read posts if they are not dry content. Each post should be varied with interesting graphics, photo, and film.
- Users can be involved by organising profile competitions, surveys or quizzes.
- Posts should be specific – short, concise and to the point.
- Publishing unfinished posts or posts in the form of queries provokes users to act.
- Be honest.
- Be available to users at all times.
- Use current trends, seasonality and events in your posts.
- Measure the effectiveness of your actions.
Measuring the effectiveness of your activities on social media
The most important indicators of success on social media are:
- Reach – how many people visit the profile, how many people watch, like and actively participate.
- Traffic Sources – Where Do Users Come From? From the company’s website? From your profiles?
- Network size – how many active users are there and how much are they involved?
- Quality of comments – what are the feelings of users? Are there more positive or negative votes?
In researching the effectiveness of a company profile on social media, it is also important for users to work the other way, i.e. how many of them reach the company’s website thanks to social media.
Some e- marketers are also investigating the popularity of individual posts. They check what influences the popularity of a given post , which directs users that they like to comment on it and share the content with others.
This is known as community rhythm. When do users show the most activity, when do they get involved the most? This information will allow you to customise the publication schedule to meet your needs.
The effectiveness of actions on social media can also be realistically measured. The indicator of the degree of ER consumer involvement (Eng. Rate) is used for this. ER is the sum of the number of likes , comments and shares divided by the number of fans multiplied by 100%. According to statistics, the best global brands achieve ER in the range of 0.15-0.46%.
ePR, i.e. public and paid public relations
Taking care of the image of your company and building brand awareness over time turns out to be a good investment. Typically, building brand awareness gives you savings ( of up to 40%) throughout the year compared to investing in paid advertising. The so-called ePR is a set of images promoting the brand’s website.
What forms does it take? These can be articles published online, there are also sponsored ones. It can be cooperation with vloggers and promotions.