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In the world of different types of marketing, social media marketing is considered the “cool kid.” Why? Because the stats don’t lie — a staggering 90.4% of Millenials use social media, with Generation X trailing closely behind at 77.5%. Even Baby Boomers make up a significant number of users, with almost half of them active on social media platforms. 

All of this comes as no surprise — where else could you connect with your friends and family so effortlessly? And see puppy videos, personal celebrity posts, and pictures from your best friend’s Friday night shenanigans, all on the same feed? No wonder people spend almost three hours a day perusing and messaging through social networks. 

However, we’re not here to wonder whether people have thumbprints anymore from all the scrolling (but wait — do they?). We’re here to talk about social media marketing: What it is, its benefits, and its core components. (Psst — we’ve also included a template at the end to help you get started on your social ads).

What’s Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of using various social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote your business and products. This involves creating engaging content that’s tailored to specific platforms to help build your brand, increase web traffic, and boost revenue. 

The top five social media platforms (for the time being) are:

  • Facebook (surprise, surprise): It’s the social media OG, after all, with a total of 2.38 billion users. Although Newsweek says that “Facebook is officially for old people,” don’t be fooled — worldwide ad spending on Facebook and Instagram combined will reach nearly $95 billion in 2021, and Facebook ad revenue is slated to make up 71.5% of it.
  • YouTube: YouTube remains popular (with 2 billion users!) because it’s a smorgasbord of free video content. Want to learn how to build a treehouse? Cook a fancy beef wellington? Properly unclog a toilet? It’s all on YouTube.
  • Instagram: Instagram has a whopping billion users and the number is steadily growing. It’s especially popular for younger users because they’re more responsive to imagery than words and audible cues.
  • LinkedIn: With 645 million users, LinkedIn is a platform that caters to all age groups. Nowadays, a physical resume isn’t enough to get a job — you have to have an online presence, too.
  • Twitter: Twitter is still a popular platform with 68 million users. Why? Because whether it’s world news or your favorite celebrities’ thoughts, anything can be turned into entertaining, digestible Tweets.

Why is Social Media Marketing Important?

Please refer back to the numbers above — they’ll tell you exactly why social media marketing is relevant (and will likely remain that way for a while). People are social and changeable creatures — they want to connect with others and be entertained at the same time. Sprinkling marketing efforts across social network channels is — we can’t stress this enough — massively crucial to your company’s brand awareness efforts and bottom line. 

There are three main components of social media marketing:

Strategy

Without a social media strategy in place, you’ll essentially be navigating in the dark. You can’t just start posting without rhyme or reason and expect results. When creating your strategy, break it down into sections: 

Set your goals. The first question to ask yourself is what you want to gain from using social media — are you looking to increase revenue? Do you want to boost brand awareness? With goals in place, it’s easier to determine how well your social media strategy is performing and the steps you should take to improve.

Choose your channels. Contrary to popular belief, your business doesn’t have to be on every social network. When selecting channels to be on, you need to think about what works best for your customers: What’s their demographic? Which networks do they use most? What type of content resonates with them?

Then, think about your team and which channels make the most sense for your business. For example, a clothing store would probably be a big player on Instagram because they have to showcase their clothes through a visual-heavy platform. In contrast, a B2B business might prefer platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, where they could post and circulate the latest industry news.

Create a content calendar. Social media can sometimes seem cluttered and messy (because there’s just so much darn content out there!), but to establish a solid brand identity, you need consistency. So, keep it organized and spread out best-performing social campaigns across a content calendar. For instance, during one week, you can post a related content article on Monday, a social proof post on Wednesday, and a GIF on Friday. Be mindful of creating evergreen content so that you can repackage and repost to cut labor costs. 

Establish a posting schedule. Sure, you can manually post across different channels, but it’s a lot easier when you use an automated social platform that does it for you. 

Reporting

Through your social platforms, you should be able to get a basic level of data to help you understand how your social media marketing is performing. Here are some of the most important social media metrics to track

Likes, comments, shares, and clicks: These are examples of engagement metrics — in other words, you want to know how much people are interacting with your account and how often. Look at a combination of engagement metrics to determine steps for improvement. 

Reach and impressions: If your business is big on brand awareness, then it’s critical to measure reach and impressions. Reach encompasses the total number of people who see your content. For instance, if fifty people have seen your content, then your reach is fifty. Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed on a screen. For example, if you see a post from a friend and another friend shares that post, that’s two impressions for the same post.  

Volume and sentiment: It’s critical to know how many people are talking about your brand and how they feel about it. Your social media platform should have listening features that enable you to understand discussion volume and sentiment

If you want more comprehensive analytics that’ll allow you to dissect your conversions and return on investment (ROI), you can’t just rely on pulling data natively — you also have to look into additional social media analytics tools. 

Advertising 

Social media ads allow you to reach a wider audience outside of your followers. You’re able to create target audiences and segment them based on demographics, behaviors, interests, and much more. 

All the major social networks offer advertising services — Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Snapchat ads, Instagram ads, the list goes on and on. You don’t have to use all of them, but you should think about which social networks are most popular with your target audience and would perform the best organically.

Once you have that figured out, consider searching for a social media advertising tool so that you can automate the process and make bulk changes while optimizing your ads.

Here’s a template to help kickstart your Facebook and LinkedIn social ads, with copy suggestions, character count limits, and image sizes. It’s a great way to keep your ads organized (and you can add tabs for other social platforms you’re using, too!).
Author

Angie is the Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.