Social media marketing: a beginner’s guide

Social media has been around long enough now for marketers to know just how vital it is to become a part of it. Using social media for marketing can not only enable businesses to engage with their customers and investigate exactly what services they require, but it is a chance for them to push their content and drive traffic to their websites. Your customers are able and ready to interact with brands through social media, so having a strong social media presence on the web is the key to growing your business by tapping into their interests.

If you know what you’re doing and you create a successful social media marketing strategy, you could bring great success to your business.

Take a look at our guide to mastering social media marketing.

Create a plan

All successes begin with a clever and well-thought plan, which is why it is vital that you have one in place before you start. You need to consider your business goals and what you want to achieve by joining the social network. Are you trying to increase your following, promote your business or a new product, or simply trying to find out more about your customers? Try brainstorming with other members of your team to determine who your target audience is and how you will go about finding out when your target audience are likely to use social media and what message you would like to send. You will also need to discuss how often you will be using your social media accounts to reach out to your audience.

Remember content is key

You’ll need to draw the attention of your customers in order to gain a respectable following, which is where content comes in. Don’t spend your time tweeting about the weather or the fact that it’s only Tuesday, instead consider what you’re saying and why you’re saying it. What reaction do you want to receive, are you hoping for answers? Try where you can to link back to content that you have already created on your website as this will help to encourage people to visit your website again in the future. If you plan to schedule your content, as some social media sites allow, ensure the content is still always relevant. Consider using keywords and referring to popular trends to increase the likelihood of people reading your content.

Ensure a consistent brand image

Whether you are using one social media platform or several, using social media for marketing enables you to project your brand image, so you must make sure it is consistent throughout. Each platform has its own unique environment and voice, but your business identity should remain the same. This includes the topics that you talk about, the opinions you give and the people you choose to interact with. Your brand needs to become familiar and reliable, which it won’t be able to do if you are constantly changing your identity. The brand image should be something you already have down to a tee and should have discussed when making your initial plans. How will you ensure it comes across clearly?

Measure your success

It’s highly likely that you are already measuring the success of your website using some form of analytics to tell you what people are searching to find their way to your site, the click-through rate and how long they are staying on each page for. It is equally as important that you track data to determine the success of your social media marketing strategies too. Google Analytics will help you measure your techniques and inform you which aren’t working so well and are better left behind. You will be able to see how many times certain posts are shared or retweeted, how many followers you gained each day and have the ability to investigate why. Without keeping a close eye on this data, you’ll have no way of knowing whether you’re doing it right or whether you need to rethink your strategy.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.