Social Media Marketing
Whether shopping online in the comfort of your own home or at a store where you can see and try the product is all a matter of preference and has become a topic of a much debate among social media marketers.
However, it has become almost a necessity for businesses to have an online presence on one or more appropriate social media platforms, whether they have a brick'n'mortar store or not. Which leads to a question:
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a type of digital marketing that amplifies the unique power of many of the most popular social media networks, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. It's important to realize that there are dozens of other major social media sites where your users congregate. Social media marketing is both a powerful and proven way to reach prospects and customers.
Not Just a Place to Post Ads
Many businesses have the mistaken idea that social media sites are just for posting paid ads. Nothing could be further from the truth. What they're really for is given in their name, 'social media'. While users understand that all social media sites have to generate revenue, and that they are the 'product' so to speak, the wise business understands that you must be social on these sites. That can include:
- Maintaining an Up-to-Date Profile
- Posting updates, including pictures, videos and long form content
- Commenting on other user's posts, sharing them and generally, engaging.
- Following others, interacting with influencers, including micro-influencers and of course, your customers.
Know, Like and Trust
By doing all of the above, on a sustained basis, you'll be well on your way to being the brand and business that people think of when they are in the market to solve a problem. However, for many businesses, the first problem they face is focusing in on the right social media channel.
There are Many Social Media Channels
For example, stores that market themselves on Etsy are mostly small business owners from all across the globe who run their business' selling online only.
Individualized Social Media Marketing Strategy
Recently, I have stumbled across a couple of very unique websites that offer a whole new way to shop using a very unique and effective social media strategy. Each of these social media platforms also offer a variety of advertising options.
Social Media Marketing
Pinterest - A Visually Appealing Social Media Platform
Pinterest is a social media platform which has been around for quite a while, allows users to “pin” or share things that they like from any website onto personalized boards based on whatever themes they like.
Luvocracy - Leveraging User Generated Content
Luvocracy, unlike most social media platforms, is a website that is similar to Pinterest but instead the website acts like a shopping broker where you can actually purchase items based on the boards created by others and have the capability to make money off your boards if other people purchase your recommended items.
StyleSaint - Unique Content for Unique Users
Now the website StyleSaint has some of the same elements of the other websites, which is to create a fashion community by creating personal fashion magazines for users to share online but they have also turned to its users as the inspiration for their own StyleSaint clothing brand where it's sold only online and at an affordable price.
Digital Marketing Plan Done Right
These three websites are proving how a business can turn their consumers into the creators, the sellers, and the buyers all in one online social community. Some call this social marketing. I call it having a brilliant social media market plan!
An Ecommerce Marketing Strategy Twist
These are just a couple of good examples of how businesses are taking their ecommerce websites and changing the way people shop with the implementation of social media concepts and community sharing. It also reflects the power and impact of different types of content.
What has happened is that shoppers have morphed their shopping habits because of all the different social media tools and social media marketing platforms and businesses have used these new social media platforms and changed consumer behavior to their advantage.
Take a look at three ways that social media has changed the shopping habits of the average person:
- You Have Become the Content Creator
You, dear shopper, have become the editor, creator and stylist of a culmination of products from Pinterest boards, fashion lookbooks, online magazines, Vine videos, and Instagram pictures and Instagram Stories (now widely copied by other social networks, including parent, Facebook) for everyone to see.
This puts the consumer into two roles: the inspired and the inspirer, which allows the business to win both ways with product exposure in a variety of forums, formats, and points of view that many consumers may have never thought of on their own.
- You Have Become Social Sharer
The art of sharing random thoughts, articles, pictures, where you ate dinner, and what cool product you just purchased has become the norm.
Social sharing on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter has brought to life a whole new way for businesses to market their products for practically free. Facebook and YouTube are considered the top social networks for Gen z and millenials, although plenty of baby boomers are on there as well. LinkedIn is more oriented toward the business world, while Instagram, being a highly visual network, trends toward the younger crowd, and is primarily accessed via mobile devices.
TikTok is a relative newcomer to the social media space, but has already established itself as the 'go to' space for all manner of short form video creators, and seems to apply to both young and old, and has a very global audience.
Every business website now has the option for you to share with the social media world what you just bought or what concert you are attending because you never know who else may want to tag along!
With the combination of content creation and social sharing, shopping has been brought to another level due to peer recommendation because who can we trust if it’s not the people we know or respect?
- You Have Become the Brand Advocate
If I love something, I love to tell the world about it.
Businesses have relished word of mouth marketing because people are becoming brand and product advocates all on their own!
Social media has allowed consumers to voice their opinion, likes and dislikes which heavily influence others within their social network to check out products they would have never have heard of if it were not for social media.
Have you assumed any of these roles with or without knowing it? Probably! It just goes to show that social media has massively affected our shopping habits and will continue to do so.
With businesses increasingly depending on social media for sales and exposure, a sense of social connectivity and community has become a very crucial aspect to the modern day shopper.
What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing
While there are a variety of social media platforms out there, each offering their own take on the social media space, as a business owner, you want to know what the primary benefits are you can expect:
- Make Your Business More Authentic - By authentic, what we really mean is to humanize your business.
- Drive an Increase in Website Traffic - Because each social media channel can be linked to various places on your own website, it is one of the best ways to drive traffic that already knows you.
- Generate New Leads and Customers - Each of these platforms has the capability, right on their platform, for you acquire leads, make a sale, or book an appointment. Pro-Tip: One of my favorites is to put my Hubspot book a meeting link on my Google My Business page.
- Drive an Increase in Brand Awareness - The power of a brand can not be overstated. By creating a consistent, cross-platform visual identity and consistently engaging within your theme and context, you will build measurable brand equity.
- Build New Relationships - The entire point of social media platforms is to provide multiple channels to communicate with your tribe. This can be through direct interaction as well as indirect influence.
Looking For Social Media Marketing Help
Social media marketing agencies come in different flavors. We specialize in developing social media marketing plans that leverage the power of your Hubspot based, Inbound Marketing focused, business website, with Facebook and LinkedIn to reach your target audience, exactly where they are. Our team also includes experts in Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Your unique customized social media marketing plan will be tailored to attract just the right people to your business.
Our Social Media Marketing Plan Development Process in a Nutshell
Like every business process, developing and executing a successful social media marketing plan follows a process:
- Review Your Existing Social Media Accounts to Get a ‘Feel’ for Your Messaging and Positioning
- Research Your Buyer Personas and Audience.
- Determine Which Social Media Platforms You Should Be On and How You Will Market Yourself on Them
- Review the Social Media Accounts of Your Competitors to Make Sure Your Marketing Stands Out and is Unique to your Brand
- Conduct a Competitive Analysis Using Well Established MBA Level Techniques
- Finally, Produce a Social Media Execution Plan that is Sustainable and Which Positively Impacts Your Business
After all of those steps have been accomplished, then we continuously monitor the analytics of each channel and make adjustments to the plan as required.
Implementing Advanced Digital Marketing Strategy
While the key to success of any social media marketing plan is execution, most business owners don't have the time to actually do this. What's the key, then to success? Social Media Tools. These tools are an essential part of digital marketing, allowing users to measure the performance of their posts, create and publish content, engage with customers on social media, and much more. They come in three main categories:
- Social Media Management
- Social Advertising
- Content Creation
Part of the social media plan and execution includes selecting the right tools as well as the right social media platforms.
Perhaps Pinterest is For You?
Want to learn how a social media website like Pinterest can work for your business to generate leads and sales? Check out our e-book on How To Use Pinterest For Business.
Until Next Time...