Social Media Marketing for Businesses

Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach prospects and customers. Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’re missing out! Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals. Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and and other content that drives audience engagement, as well as paid social media advertising.

We’ve created this guide to provide you with an introduction to social media marketing and some starter social media marketing tips and training to improve your business’s social presence.

With these tips, you can begin developing your own social media marketing expert plan.

Social Media and Marketing: Start With a Plan

Before you begin creating social media marketing campaigns, consider your business’s goals. Starting a social media marketing campaign without a social strategy in mind is like wandering around a forest without a map—you might have fun, but you’ll probably get lost.

Here are some questions to ask when defining your social media marketing goals:

• What are you hoping to achieve through social media marketing?

• Who is your target audience?

• Where would your target audience hang out and how would they use social media?

• What message do you want to send to your audience with social media marketing?

Your business type should inform and drive your social media marketing strategy.

For example, an e-commerce or travel business, being highly visual, can get a lot of value from a strong presence on Instagram or Pinterest. A business-to-business or marketing company might find more leverage in Twitter or Linkedin.

How Social Media Marketing Can Help You Meet Your Marketing Goals

Social media marketing can help with a number of goals, such as:

Increasing website traffic

• Building conversions

Raising brand awareness

• Creating a brand identity and positive brand association

• Improving communication and interaction with key audiences

The bigger and more engaged your audience is on social media networks, the easier it will be for you to achieve every other marketing goal on your list!

Best Social Media Marketing Tips

Ready to get started with marketing on social media? Here are a few social media marketing tips to kick off your social media campaigns.

• Social Media Content Planning — As discussed previously, building a social media marketing plan is essential. Consider keyword research and competitive research to help brainstorm content ideas that will interest your target audience. What are other businesses in your industry doing to drive engagement on social media?

• Great Social Content — Consistent with other areas of online marketing, content reigns supreme when it comes to social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and interesting. The content that you share on your social networks can include social media images, videos, infographics, how-to guides and more.

A great Facebook ad should be consistent with your whole brand image

• A Consistent Brand Image — Using social media for marketing enables your business to project your brand image across a variety of different social media platforms. While each platform has its own unique environment and voice, your business’s core identity, whether it’s friendly, fun, or trustworthy, should stay consistent.

• Social Media for Content Promotion — Social media marketing is a perfect channel for sharing your best site and blog content with readers. Once you build a loyal following on social media, you’ll be able to post all your new content and make sure your readers can find new stuff right away. Plus, great blog content will help you build more followers. It’s a surprising way that content marketing and social media marketing benefit each other.

• Sharing Curated Links — While using social media for marketing is a great way to leverage your own unique, original content to gain followers, fans, and devotees, it’s also an opportunity to link to outside articles as well. If other sources provide great, valuable information you think your target audience will enjoy, don’t be shy about linking to them. Curating and linking to outside sources improves trust and reliability, and you may even get some links in return.

• Tracking Competitors — It’s always important to keep an eye on competitors—they can provide valuable data for keyword research and other social media marketing insight. If your competitors are using a certain social media marketing channel or technique that seems to be working for them, considering doing the same thing, but do it better!

Measuring social media performance through Twitter Analytics

• Measuring Success with Analytics — You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your most triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them. And be sure to use the analytics within each social platform for even more insight into which of your social content is performing best with your audience.

• Social Media Crisis Management — Things don’t always go swimmingly for brands on social media. It’s best to have a playbook in place so your employees know how to handle a snafu. Check out our guide to social media crisis management to see examples of the worst social media disasters, plus tips on how they should have been handled.

The following are the various Social Media platforms you can consider for your business growth.

VIDEO

Video and marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly.

From traditional television commercials in the 1960s to today’s YouTube, Snapchat, Vimeo, and even Facebook Live, it’s no secret that video has become a staple of our everyday lives.

While convenient and efficient for the consumer, video marketing provides marketers with an attractive, versatile, and extremely shareable medium to reach their audiences.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • 75 Million people in the U.S. watch online videos everyday.
  • Merely mentioning the word ‘video’ in an email subject line, the click-through rate increased by 13%.
  • Nearly 50% of all video is watched on a mobile device.
  • By 2019, internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic
  • Videos up to 2 minutes long get the most engagement.

Video-Marketing-Infographic.jpg

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INSTAGRAM

Marketing on Instagram


Instagram stats

First, let’s take a look at the stats behind Instagram’s success.

Instagram Stats
At six years old, Instagram is one of the oldest mobile social networks in the world.

It sold to Facebook just after two years, which gave Facebook the biggest digital archive of photos in history.

Today, Instagram has 500 million monthly users and 300 million daily users, about 6.7% and 4% of the world’s population, respectively.

These stats are even better for US-based companies — 89.4 million Americans use Instagram. That’s about 28% of the country checking their Instagram accounts every month.

This is all good news for Instagram. But is there proof that it’ll continue to grow?

Instagram growth

Instagram’s growth has been incredible.

Instagram Growth
Since 2015, its revenue is expected to quadruple (and then some) from $600 million in 2015 to $2.81 billion in 2017.

That kind of revenue means Facebook has helped Instagram tap into its advertising potential — and it’s working.

Instagram is growing in terms of users, too.

It has more than 1 billion downloads on the Google Play store alone, and its user base is expected to grow by 15.1%.

For perspective, the average social network will grow 3.1% next year.

With revenue growing by 4x over two years and usership growing 5x faster than average competitors, Instagram is clearly here to stay.

But what about their users?

Instagram user engagement

Thanks to Instagram’s simple platform — posting images — it has one of the youngest and most engaged user bases in the world.

Instagram User Enagement
90% of Instagram users are under 35. If you want to reach the Millennial and Gen Z demographics — the people who are changing the workforce — Instagram is the ideal place to start.

Overall, 46% of American Millennials use Instagram as well.

Instagram also has an even split in terms of sex, with 51% male users and 49% female, and 35% of all users accessed Instagram multiple times per day in 2015.

All told, 20% of all Internet users worldwide have an Instagram account. Each of them grows their follower count by 16%, on average, including brands.

These users also upload 95 million photos and videos per day, 91.7% of which are only photos.

They post 4.2 billion likes per day (14 per daily user) and comment quickly.

50% of all comments happen within 19 hours of posting, and 10% of all comments come after 19 days.

In other words, your content has a shelf life on Instagram — but it’s surprisingly long.

All in all, these stats prove that Instagram naturally engages its users.

But what about brands?

Brands on Instagram

Instagram is a goldmine of interaction and sales potential for brands.

Brands on Instagram
First, the average brand gets 4.3% engagement from its followers. So the more followers you can get, the better you’ll do in terms of engagement.

On top of that, brand posts on Instagram average 120x more interactions than brands on Twitter. Couple that with 58x more organic engagement than Facebook, and it’s clear that Instagram is the way to reach your main audience.

The top brand accounts on Instagram average 4820 likes per post, too. So if you want to generate interest and boost your brand awareness, Instagram is clearly the place to do it.

Brands use their posts wisely. 73% of brands on Instagram post one photo or video per week, which is just enough to maintain an active presence.

(But posting more probably helps.)

Finally, brand adoption of Instagram is growing. 71% of top brands used Instagram in 2015. After only a year, 86% of top brands used Instagram in 2016.

With that kind of growth, it’s safe to assume that if you’re not on Instagram, your competitors probably are.

Top 5 brands on Instagram by followers

So if you’re just starting on Instagram, how do you know what, when, and how to post content?

Thankfully, you can look at the top five brands for some insight.

Instagram Top 5 Brands by Followers
These five brands know how to highlight their products.

National Geographic (natgeo) posts photos of people, cities, landscapes — anything that illustrates the scope and breadth of the incredible world in which we live.

Nike (nike) takes part in all things sports. From product commercials to throwbacks and more, Nike is synonymous with quality in athletics on Instagram.

Victoria’s Secret (victoriassecret) [POSSIBLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK] is a lingerie company that uses Instagram to promote its image of youth, sexiness, fitness, and wealth.

FC Barcelona (fcbarcelona) is a world-famous football club that has millions of fans around the world. Their Instagram is packed with photos and information about the team, including action shots and promotional ads.

Real Madrid (realmadrid) is another one of Europe’s premier football clubs. The Instagram is full of photos of the team’s practices, awards, behind-the-scenes exploits, and finest moments.

Now that we have some examples, let’s take a look at how to handle one of Instagram’s integral features.

Top 10 hashtags on Instagram

Just like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram lets users post hashtags to tag content with certain descriptions.

And just like Twitter and Facebook, some hashtags are more popular than others.

Instagram Top 10 Hashtags
This chart shows how many times users have posted each hashtag on Instagram.

#love is far and away the most popular with nearly 1 billion posts.

But other Instagram-specific hashtags — like #instagood and #photooftheday — have also made it into the top 10.

Users constantly add to the number of these hashtags as well, so you may see different stats if you check for yourself.

But the important takeaway here is the sentiment of Instagram users.

The value love, good times, regular posts, beauty, happiness, and followers.

In a nutshell, that’s your average Instagram user, according to the most popular hashtags.

But if you looked for yourself, you’ll notice some content uses more than one hashtag.

So how many should you use?

How many hashtags to use on Instagram

This is a part of Instagram that’s completely unique from other social networks.

Typically, more than one or two hashtags on social media means people will skip your posts because it looks spammy.

But on Instagram, more is better — at least up to 11 hashtags.

How Many Hashtags to Use on Instagram
Who knows why this happens on Instagram, but the most popular quantities of hashtags for photos are 5, 9, and 11 based on user interaction.

So if you want followers to interact with your content, use a dozen hashtags per post — or something in that area.

Top 10 emojis on Instagram

Because Instagram is a visually-focused social network, it’s also important to talk about emojis.

Instagram users love emojis — not quite as much as hashtags, but they’re still popular.

Top 10 Emojis on Instagram
The heart is the most popular emoji, which makes sense since #love is the most popular hashtag.

Subsequent emojis also revolve around love, happiness, and self-esteem — similar subjects to the hashtags.

So if you feel that 11 hashtags in the description of your content just doesn’t cut it, try adding some emojis.

Instagram posting best practices

With all of this in mind, there’s still some important data to mine about posting to Instagram.

Instagram Best Posting Practices
Most importantly, photos are more valuable than videos, in terms of engagement.

Photos earn 2x more engagement than videos. And when they show faces, they earn 38% more likes as well.

On top of that, photos with lots of negative space earn 29% more likes, and images with a dominant blue color earn 24% more likes than photos with a dominant red.

So there’s just one last piece of the puzzle — when you post to Instagram?

When to post on Instagram

Because Instagram is so large, there’s not really a best time to post.

But there is a worst time.

When to Post on Instagram
Basically, post on Mondays (when the week just starts) and / or Thursdays (when the week’s dying down) any time except 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

These posting times appear to be based on Instagram’s young user demographic. Most users are leaving school or work between 3:00 and 4:00 on weekdays, so they probably won’t check their Instagram accounts.

Similarly, users want to gear up for the week on Mondays and loosen up for the weekend on Thursdays.

They’ll love the visual content you provide at any time (except the late afternoon).

Ideal Instagram content

With all of that said, your ideal Instagram content is:

  • A photo
  • With a face
  • Negative space
  • And blue dominant color
  • With 11 hashtags in the description
  • At least one of which is in the Top 10

With that approach, you can create a strong Instagram presence for your business in no time at all.

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FACEBOOK

Gone are the days where Facebook is only for personal use. Instead, Facebook is arguably one of the best online marketing platforms for any business and when it comes to online advertising Facebook is the leader of the pack.

With more than two billion people using Facebook it’s no wonder why Facebook advertising is such an effective tool for businesses.

Here’s why you should include Facebook Ads in your marketing campaign…click below for all you need to know about facebook

 

TWITTER

With around 200 million users sending out the same number of micro-blogs (approximately) every day, Twitter is certainly an effective channel for communication. However, this social networking site is not just for teenagers or celebrities tweeting about their daily activities. The power of Twitter as a marketing tool has been realized by many small business owners, who are using it to help their businesses grow. Considering that it costs very little to market a product on Twitter, small businesses should definitely use this tool for boosting their internet marketing activities.

 Click below for all you need to know about Twitter Marketing

 

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is probably the most underestimated and underused social media site on the web. They have over 101 million members, including executives from every Fortune 500 company. According to Alexa, it is the most important social network after Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

Yes—they are a force to be reckoned with. Every business should be leveraging LinkedIn in a social media marketing strategy.

Why use LinkedIn:

Influence: 50%+ are decision makers in their companies

Older crowd: 72% are between 25-54 years old.

Intelligent: 95% have a college education or higher.

Senior positions: 48.3% are middle management or higher.

Verticals: Huge networks of professionals in medicine, IT, finance, etc.

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