What is Social Media Marketing [SMM]?

social media marketing - behtash moojedi
Social media marketing, in simple terms, is when social media platforms are used by persons or businesses to connect with their audience to build the brand, increase sales, or drive traffic to their website. To do so requires, first and foremost, delivering great content to your audience on social media, followed by listening and engaging with your followers, analyzing the success of your campaigns, and lastly, running ads on social media. 

As of this moment that I’m writing for you, the major social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Snapchat, and the one that has caused significant noise out there, Tiktok. 

Brief Overview of Social Media Marketing

It all started with publishing. Businesses started by sharing content on social media to generate traffic to their website and increase sales. At that time, social media was young, and the competition was less than it is now and therefore, rules of engagement were different. Now, the platforms have matured far beyond just a place for broadcasting content or performing aggressive sales. Instead, social media is becoming a place to nurture and nourish new and long-term relationships with your customers. The idea of selling today doesn’t work quite as well when customers hear the same sales pitch repeatedly. It becomes confusing and exhausting.  Today, businesses use the platforms for different reasons. First, businesses use the platforms for brand monitoring to see what other people are saying about their brands. Second, a business can use the platforms for brand awareness and establishing trust, analyzing its brand performance and memorability, run ads to target specific audiences based on certain criteria, and lastly, customer experience. ZARA, the most prominent fashion brand in the industry, is a perfect example of this. The company started a specific page, “ZARA Care” that focuses on answering customer inquiries and engaging with current customers. 

Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing

1. Strategy

Before we even start discussing posting content on social media, we must step back and examine the essential step in advertising: creating the plan and strategy What are your business goals? How can social media marketing help you achieve those goals? Who are the players in your industry? Who are your target audiences? Where do they spend most of their time? Depending on whether you are a D2C or B2B business, your answer to some of these questions might differ. However, answering these questions can help you create a complete social media strategy for your business.

2. Planning and Publishing

Social media planning might look different from business to business. Primarily, social media for small businesses might require persistent content delivery since the budget might be tight on ad spends. The focus might be more on organic delivery rather than paid ads. The more you post on social media, the higher your chance of discovering your future customers will be. The good news is, there are over 3 billion users on social media. While not all will be in your target group, your business will have a better chance of broadening its reach and capture more attention. Also, unlike more traditional ways of advertisement, you have analytics within your reach. You can learn from trials and errors and improve your content daily. 

Publishing on social media can be as simple as sharing a blog article from your website, posting an image or a video just as you might do on your social media accounts. However, to be effective, plan ahead of time, create your content calendar and always…post great content that can benefit your audience with an effective time and frequency in mind. 

There are social media management tools out there that can help you post more effectively and more frequently to spend more time planning and less time scheduling content. 

3. Listening and Engagement

You have done your homework, created an effective social media strategy, planned your engaging content, and posted it. Now, your brand is growing. People are having conversations about your product, commenting on your social media posts, tagging you on their posts or stories, even messaging you directly. 

People might even talk about your product or brand without notifying you. Social listening will allow you to keep up with the conversation, whether outside of your vision. If it’s a positive conversation, you can drop by as a friendly business and surprise them with your appreciation. On the other hand, if your business received negative comments by utilizing social listening, you can engage with those unhappy customers and remedy their hardship. 

4. Analytics and Reporting

By utilizing your analytics and reporting, you may keep track of your content performance and see what platform is working best for you. Depending on the social media platform, you will have the ability to track the following KPIs. Social Media KPIs are considered to be the metrics you use to determine the success of your social media strategy. They are the data that you track related to the company’s presence on social media platforms. 

Social Media KPIs should be tied to your SMART goals. 

SMART goals can help you stay on track and commit to your goals and the consistency of the work.  Here are some KPIs that you might want to consider tracking for your business:

Reach KPIs

These KPIs measure how many people your social media channels can reach. The reach can both be a passive interaction with your channel or engagement with your posts. 

Impressions

This KPI measures how many times your post was visible to someone either on their feed or timeline. It doesn’t mean that the person actually interacted with the post or even saw it. 

Follower Count

This KPI tracks the number of people that are following your social media channels. 

Audience Growth

You also want to keep track of your growth percentage. Essentially how much and by what speed you are growing your follower base. 

calculating social media growth rate - behtash moojedi

Potential Reach

This KPI measures the potential number of people who could see your post during a certain reporting period. This is a great measurement to use to calculate the potential reach your post may have if someone shares your post with their network. Your outreach in that case goes beyond your normal capabilities and we can consider 2% to 5% of their followers as your additional reach. 

Side note here, you can see the importance of delivering engaging, valuable, and relevant content here. The more you leave a positive impact on your audience, the more chance you have to expand on your reach. 

calculating potential reach on social - behtash moojedi

Social Share of Voice

This metric is used to track how many people are mentioning your brand and compares it to the number of people that are mentioning your competitors. 

This is a good metric to keep track of because it shows the relevancy and success of your brand in the digital realm. You may use social media listening tools to measure your mentions within a certain timeframe. 

calculating social share of voice - behtash moojedi

Social Media Engagement KPIs

These KPIs are a set of metrics that track your engagement and quality of the interactions across the board. Some of the clear KPIs in this realm are likes, shares, comments. 

Other than the 3 mentioned above here are some other KPIs to consider for your engagements: 

Applause Rate

Applause rate only tracks the positive interactions made by people. For example, if someone likes, saves, retweets, or favorites a post. 

To calculate the applause rate, use the formula below: 

calculate applause rate - behtash moojedi

Average Engagement Rate

This metric shows on average how many people are engaging with your posts.

5. Advertising

Lastly, you may go the paid advertising route if you have the budget and funding to grow your social media marketing on different channels. Social media ads allow you to expand your reach outside your network of followers. 

Social Media platforms have powerful advertising platforms that allow you to target audiences specifically for your business needs based on demographics, interest, behavior, and more. 

Due to recent Apple iOS 14.6 updates that allow the users to opt-in or out of their information being tracked, social media platforms like Facebook might see massive changes to their advertising capabilities, along with their measurement and reporting capabilities. Therefore, it is best to focus on growing your network organically before getting started on paid ads. Specifically, if you are tight on budget, we will expand on this iOS update in later posts. 

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