A Guide to Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing (SMM) is one of the most effective ways to promote your business and gain customers, provided you understand how to use social media effectively and appropriately. Many businesses are now using social media as a way to market their products and services, but only by following the right social media marketing (SMM) techniques can you achieve the results you want in your business. So what are some things you should know about SMM? Read on to find out.

SMM Basics

To start off, a definition: Social media marketing is marketing on social media networks. But wait, you say—aren’t all forms of marketing done on social media? Yes and no. No doubt about it, social media has become a staple for any company looking to get its name out there. And while it can be argued that it’s almost impossible not to market on social media (for better or worse), SMM goes one step further. It allows companies to directly interact with their customers and fans in a way that resembles face-to-face communication rather than simply blasting ads at them via email or other electronic means.

Where Should You Start?

When you’re new to social media marketing, it can be hard to know where exactly you should start. But if you’re like most businesses, there are a few areas that might need some help when it comes to finding your niche. Some common needs include getting people engaged with your brand on Facebook and Twitter, improving conversion rates on Pinterest, or coming up with a stellar strategy for Instagram. In any case, chances are good that you need a little guidance on how to approach SMM as a whole before diving in headfirst.

Create and Maintain a Strategy

A strategy is a set of goals, tactics and tools that help you achieve your vision. It’s also a way for you to track your progress and make sure you’re making progress at all. Whatever marketing system you choose, whether it’s online advertising or blogging, creating a strategy helps ensure that no matter what happens in today’s quickly changing digital landscape, your social media campaign stays on track. Once your plan is in place, stay flexible so you can shift strategies if needed—but don’t forget about that long-term vision.

Research Your Audience

Identify who you’re trying to reach and what they want. Learn about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, favorite TV shows and websites. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be for you to craft content that resonates with them. It’s a good idea to spend a week or two doing primary research into your chosen topic – reading up on your potential audience and familiarizing yourself with their habits. Taking time out of your day-to-day life to do some research helps you get an outsider’s perspective on how customers think – helping you better determine how they’ll interact with new ideas or products based on what they already like/prefer.

Create Content – Both B2B & B2C

If you think creating a Facebook profile for your business is social media marketing, think again. B2B and B2C strategies are very different, and SMM strategies for each type of customer can be completely different as well. The bottom line: You can’t just do social media – you have to do it correctly. Take time to research best practices for using social media in your industry; many universities offer free training for small businesses with limited budgets. Your company might also offer some training programs or recommend specific companies that provide consultation services – take advantage of them! As a general rule, larger companies will often pay $500+ per month while smaller businesses may spend closer to $200 per month.

Engage in the Conversation

Engaging in conversation with your audience is an important part of social media marketing. Not only will you improve your brand’s relationship with its customers, but you’ll also make potential buyers aware of products and services they might not have known about otherwise. Another benefit? This type of interaction helps build credibility with those who may be looking to work with someone in your field, whether it’s as a vendor or a customer. Make sure you set aside time each day for engaging on social media platforms that matter to your business. The more effort you put into connecting with others and sharing useful information, the greater your ROI will be.

The Importance of Analytics

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what your brand represents, it’s time to get out there and tell people about it. It might sound counterintuitive that promoting your own brand involves actively promoting other brands, but once you start connecting with more like-minded individuals and companies, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to promote each other. Keep in mind that promotion doesn’t always mean writing your own reviews or giving free publicity. You can also write content for their websites or create original pieces that include references to others in your industry. The key is networking and collaborating whenever possible.

Put It All Together – Promoting Your Own Brand

If you’re promoting your own brand, there’s a certain social media etiquette that goes along with it. Like it or not, people are watching what you do online, so be sure to post with tact and discretion. It’s a good idea not to mix business with pleasure either; trying too hard can make you look unprofessional. Most importantly, remember that social media marketing is about building relationships; nobody cares about your product or service nearly as much as they care about themselves and their lives—and sharing content related to them will help them find out more about you in return.

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