5 Main Pillars of Social Media Marketing (+ What’s In It For Your Business)
With active users spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media platforms, savvy social media marketing is more significant for businesses than ever.
As an agency, we’ve been helping businesses achieve success on social media since 2014 — with Facebook and Instagram as our primary platforms of focus, and YouTube advertising as a secondary focus.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the main aspects of social media — there’s a lot more to it than just designing and copywriting!
1. Crafting an insightful strategy
Doing any form of social media marketing on the fly is a one-way ticket to eventual failure. Research is absolutely essential and so is carving out a proper strategy.
Your overarching business goals are integral to your strategy. Do you want to establish brand awareness? Engage and communicate with your audience? Reach out to more users who are similar to your current customers?
Next, find out which platforms are the best for your business’s needs. For instance, if your target audience is under 35 and you’re in any of these below industries, Instagram would be a top choice:
- Sporting Goods
Creating accounts on too many platforms is a common mistake that brands make — overextending your content is bound to hamper the quality of posts. Unless you’re confident of your resources, focus on one to two platforms to streamline and sharpen your efforts.
Now, if you’ve decided on your business goals and which platforms to concentrate on, it’s time to consider the nature of content (videos, images, articles) that your business can share.
Different types of content require a different amount of time or budget investment, so find out the types of content your target audience engages with most.
The easiest (and free) way is to do so via the platform’s own Insights, but the bulk of the work really comes from analyzing the data and making meaning out of it. We’ll touch more on this under the Analytics section of this article.
2. Prepping your content
Consistency is king when posting on social media. A steady, pre-planned posting schedule shows your audience that your brand is reliable, accessible, and professional.
This is typically known as a content calendar, where you have a series of posts already lined up for the upcoming days in a month. To produce content at scale, we find planning out content pillars in advance to be very helpful.
Content pillars are general themes that guide the individual pieces of content to be produced. Not only do they speed the idea generation process up, they also give your brand’s content on social media some consistency — so your fans know what to associate your brand with.
Once you’ve got your content ready, publishing your posts at dedicated times when they’re most likely to reach your audience is a must. If you’re just starting out, there are a plethora of guides for the best times and how often you should post on each platform.
However, those times aren’t gospel. As you get more familiar with your audience’s behaviors on social media, make the necessary amendments to suit your business.
3. Audience interaction
After the successful execution of the first part of your social media strategy, it’s time to care about having conversations.
Clients and customers may tag your brand in posts or respond directly to your content. They might even write about your brand without your knowledge.
While you can’t control everything that’s said about your brand, you must know what’s being said so you may react accordingly. Ensure that positive comments are met with enthusiasm and appreciation, while negative feedback is deescalated and rectified.
This is what we call Community Management — literally managing the community you’ve built, through proactive two-way communication.
At Appiloque, part of our job scope as a social media agency means that we function as our client’s brand representative. We typically reply to fans within a 24 hours turnaround time — social media moves fast and attention spans keep getting shorter. Plus, for a positive brand reputation, you don’t want to leave people hanging for too long.
Community Management is extremely important, so before you embark on social media marketing, always ensure that you’ve set out resources (be it your own time investment or by hiring an agency), to engage and build your community. Content alone just won’t cut it.
4. Paid media & advertising
Now, we’ve covered content planning and publishing above. These organic posts are free (apart from the time taken to produce the content), thereby providing a perfect “trial” for businesses just dipping their toes into the social media waters.
However, organic content has its limits. In fact, you might be surprised to know that any given post’s organic reach is only 6.4% of your page’s total likes.
That’s a really small number!
If you want more out of your social media marketing, we highly recommend getting a paid media strategy done up. Social media advertising helps your business reach a broader, more targeted audience — just take a look at how you can target people based on:
- Location: Countries or cities where you want to do business
- Demographics: Gender, age, relationship status, education, job title
- Interests: Specific interests that can range anywhere from bodybuilding to personal finance
- Behavior: Past purchase behaviours or device usage
- Connections: Your existing fans or their friends
- Contact lists: Email addresses which can be matched with users’ social media accounts
- Site visitors: Past visitors to your website who’ve shown interest in certain products or services
- App users: Individuals who have used your mobile app
- Lookalike audiences: Individuals who are similar to your customers
The myriad of targeting options makes social media advertising extremely valuable to your business — regardless of whether you’re a new brand or an established one.
5. The numbers game
Whereas the value of traditional marketing is virtually impossible to quantify, it’s relatively easy to see how your brand is performing on social media.
Each platform offers standard tools that illustrate your social media traction. However, with the wide array of metrics offered by platforms, it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide on which metrics matter.
Making a decision usually ties back to your business goals. For instance, if your business wants to engage with its community and understand how content is performing, some important metrics that we would personally highlight in our reports include:
- Page Engagement Rate
- Average Post Engagement Rate
- Total Reach
- Video Views
- Total Reach
- Fan Demographics
Always dig into the numbers for insights on what you’re doing right or wrong. Your social media strategy is not a “set and forget” operation. Your audience will change, and so do platform features and algorithms.
Regular reviews help, but there’s no need to keep peeking under the hood. We find monthly reports to be the most helpful, because that way you give your social media marketing efforts a good enough duration to gather data, before adjusting the strategy accordingly.
What can social media marketing do for your business?
Now that we’ve painted a more holistic picture of what social media marketing is about, let’s talk about what’s in it for you — the marketing professional.
Social media bolsters brand awareness
For a business, there’s nothing better than being part of the conversation.
What does that mean, exactly?
It means people are talking about your company to their peers and keeping your products and services at the top of their mind.
Through the simple act of publishing a post, you get a chance to create a memorable thread, get your content shared, and create a talking point for your audience. Decades ago, you would have to blow the budget on television, radio, or newspaper ads — but now, you can reach your audience and increase your brand awareness, at a fraction of that cost.
Social media helps you generate leads
“A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form. As a lead, you’d hear from a business or organization with which you’ve already opened communication.
For example, maybe you took an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. If you got an email from the auto company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you take care of your car, it’d be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance, right?
And from a business perspective, the information the auto company collected about you from your survey responses helps them personalize that opening communication to address your existing problems.”
Some methods to generate leads on social media include:
- Creating contests which require an email address for participation — this opens up the opportunity for email marketing in future
- Running lead ads that allow interested parties to fill in a pre-populated form, directly on the social media platform
- Including your website link in your profile, within your post captions or swipe up feature in your Instagram Stories — then retargeting people who have visited your website
- Using Facebook Shop or Instagram Shopping to get people on your product page — then retarget them with ads on that product
- Providing great customer service and reaping the rewards of word-of-mouth referrals
Social media cultivates relationships
Relevant, high-quality social media content — when placed in front of the right eyes — has a way of resonating with your audience.
Your brand is providing them with something valuable; whether it’s an informative article, an entertaining video that brightens their day, or a tips-and-tricks infographic, for example.
Combine that with proactive Community Management, and you can create a two-way relationship with your potential customers. Communicate with your audience directly through the comments or through direct messages — knowing that there is a person on the other side of the brand makes people more loyal to your brand.
When that happens, they’re more likely to reciprocate by purchasing your products or services and spreading the good word about your brand.
Ease your workload with a professional social media agency
Social media marketing takes professional levels of dedication to achieve business results.
You’ve read about the 5 main pillars that are crucial to making your marketing efforts a success. There is so much more to do than just taking a photo with your mobile phone and posting it up on a social media platform.
If you’re a marketing professional with an already packed schedule, speak to us. We’d love to discuss the fantastic things we can do for your brand on social :)
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