by James Anderson | 3 Oct 2017
These days, social media is a daily staple for many or maybe even most of us. While most of us use it socially and for recreation, social media platforms are also buzzing with marketing activity.
Social media is relatively diverse in nature, with the most popular ones generally being those which dominated their respective niche most effectively. For many if us, these are household names: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. There are many more of course, but we only have so much time.
Social media marketing is a hugely effective way of growing your business, but what is it? How do you do it effectively?
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a technique which involves sharing, creating and engaging with content on social media networks with the goal of growing
your business. This usually happens by increasing traffic to your site, or simply by generating greater brand awareness.
The primary idea when you’re marketing something via a social network, is to get engagement. More engagement means your content reaches more people, which means more potential customers. Different techniques work on different social networks, but there is a common thread throughout: to get people to engage with you and your brand, you need to pay attention to your audience and become very familiar with what they like, and especially what they don’t like.
Social Media 101
Facebook has the most users worldwide, with over 1.8 billion monthly users. However, it’s crucial to remember that Facebook doesn’t have market penetration throughout the world. In China, for example, Facebook is blocked and QZone is the most popular network, with 632 million active users. So if you are marketing in China, leave Facebook out of it and focus on QZone. These regional variances are a good reason why you should always do your research before beginning any social media marketing – what goes for one place or group of people may not be true of others!
Similarly, there are different conventions for different social media platforms – Facebook has a larger scope than most platforms and has more latitude for lighter content than LinkedIn (which is more professionally focused), Twitter only gives you 140 characters to say your piece and Pinterest is all about sharing collections. Not all of these will be right for your business, but when you find the ones that match with your needs, make sure you know what the relevant conventions are on those networks. If you don’t, you are likely to struggle to get much traction.
What platform is right for me?
There is no easy answer to this, because it depends so much on your specific business. When you’re facing this problem, the best thing to do is to do a little research. Work out who your target market is and then go and find out what platforms they’re using and how they like to be engaged with. Once you’ve found where your market is, it’s time to take the plunge – start engaging!
A few helpful statistics
Before you go, here are some important statistics to bear in mind when starting out. Below that you will also find a cheat-sheet of optimal image sizes and recommended character lengths. Enjoy!
- 74% of social media marketers find that using visual assets is more effective than writing alone.
- Infographics are shared 3 times more than any other type of content
- Adults between the years of 18 and 34 have the highest likelihood of following a brand on social media
- 2.7 billion people use social media in some form worldwide
Lastly, one of the fundamental truths to remember about social media marketing is that it’s always changing, always evolving. To market via these channels successfully, you need to stay be up-to-date with all latest trends in social, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open!
James Anderson – Digital Marketer and former student at NZIE