Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a term flung around all the time, but what really is it? Social media marketing is the art of using online social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. When done correctly, social media marketing can be a very cost-effective way to connect with customers, raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.

Best practice social media marketing is done by creating the best content and micro-content possible with the hope that consumers of that content will want to like, comment on or share it. Many businesses are finding that having a well thought out social media strategy has helped them to compete with other businesses with much higher marketing budgets. With over 2 billion social media users worldwide, there’s no reason you can’t connect with your target market. What is social media marketing I get told all the time ‘But my ideal audience doesn’t use social media’. Chances are they do use social media, you’ve just not found them yet. The stats don’t lie.

According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.

When you do find them and you give them something valuable (content, conversations, entertainment etc.) that’s when the magic really starts to happen. This is what we do at Blue Cliff Media. We help businesses manage their accounts, create great content and use tools such as paid advertising to find their ideal audience.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

I have already started to explain some of the benefits of social media marketing above, but here’s a list of my top 3:

Increased Brand Recognition

Every opportunity you have to promote or share your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Social media has become the number one way to share your content to world and rightly so. It allows you to become easier and more accessible for new customers and also makes you more familiar to existing customers. All your competitors will be on social media, so you have to be there too. There’s no more cost-effective way to get your brand recognised than on social media.

Increased inbound traffic

Every social media page/profile you have is just another path leading to your site. Every piece of content you put out is another opportunity for a new visitor. Therefore, the more sites you’re on (and using correctly) and the better the content you’re producing, the higher chance you have of getting more inbound traffic. More traffic = more leads and more conversions! What is social media marketing

Higher chance of conversion

Your website should be a machine to gather leads in some form, like capturing emails. Every single post you make on social media and every bit of content you produce is an opportunity for the consumer to react, like going to your site and signing up to your mailing list. Not all of yours posts are going to be written to try and convert someone but every interaction you have increases the likelihood of someone converting in the future. I don’t want people to think solely about converting users either. This is solely a benefit of using social media correctly. Your number one aim should be to provide value to the consumer. Only when they feel confident and trusting enough in you will they sign up to something or buy your product.

Where Companies Go Wrong

1. Hard selling

There are so many companies that get social media marketing all wrong. Instead of it being an opportunity for them to provide value, share great content and interact with their audience, they try and use the hard sell. Over and over and over again. That is the right way to go if your goal is to lose followers, trust and interest in your brand. How can you expect someone to buy your stuff if you’ve not given them any kind of value? It’s crazy. Too often, businesses treat social media like it’s a TV ad. The purpose of social is still to connect with individuals and have a conversation. Not to just post out one-way messages.

2. Not knowing their audience

This could also be titled something like ‘posting the wrong things’. So many brands do it. Many companies think if they just post something, people will engage with it no matter what. Wrong. The content you produce must be of value to your audience. A study by Kentico found that 68% of US consumers mostly/always ignore brand posts on every social network. Nearly half stated they didn’t believe brands should be on social media or that they didn’t personally follow brands. This just shows you. You really have to put out great content for it to be noticed. If it’s not great, it won’t get noticed and you’re wasting your time.

3. Buying fans

This isn’t cool but it’s done all the time. There are tools such as twitteraudit.com that allow you to check how many real followers you have! At the time of writing, we have 510 followers. 504 are real and only 6 are fake! That’s pretty good going. (You’ll always get some fake ones) What is social media marketing Buying fans is simply pointless. As I’ve mentioned, social media is designed for conversations. How can you have a conversation with a computer? There are much better ways to grow your following, even if it does take time. When it comes to followers/likes: Quality > Quantity Check us out at @BlueCliffMedia

Examples of it going right

Let’s not focus on the doom and gloom! Here are some examples of killer ‘jabs’:

1. Dove

This video from Dove is just genius. They posted it a couple of days after Father’s day. It shows what Dove claim to be the most important moment in a man’s life: being told their going to be a Dad! They only mention Dove shortly at the end of the video as well. It’s powerful story-telling and it works. You can see in the comments that it even brought people to tears.

What is social media marketing

2. Oreo

This is a quick 3 second video by Oreo. The ‘YES’ changes colour whilst everything stays still. But why is this great? Oreo knows that Facebook videos now auto-play, so as someone is scrolling down their newsfeed they’ll see this as a moving image. It’s obviously going to catch their attention.

What is social media marketing

3. Humans of Edinburgh

Humans of Edinburgh is a copy of the popular ‘Humans of New York’ page but since we’re based in Edinburgh, I thought I’d feature them. Their page works because it is all personal story telling. Every piece of micro-content that they put out is engaging. The image here is great, the text is kept short and concise. It’s just a great bit of content.

What is social media marketing

And finally…

Social Media really isn’t hard to get right. As I said in our ‘What is Social Media?’ post, social media is simply another form of communication. It’s just online, rather than offline. You should treat it no different to offline conversations. Give value, have conversations, be nice to people, share great stuff and you’re on to a winner. It might be tempting to promote and go for the hard-sell, but that’s not the way to go. It won’t work. If you’ve found this helpful, join our community.

Take care,

Gavin

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