What is Social Media Marketing? Your Step-by-Step Guide

what is social media

What is Social Media Marketing? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started

2018 is the year of social media. There’s no question about it.

Right now, LinkedIn has more than 530 million user profiles, 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once a day, and 72% of the world’s total population uses Facebook.

If those numbers aren’t enough to convince you that social media is a big deal, we’re not sure what would be.

Facebook has only been in business now for the past 12 years.  In the 2nd quarter of 2018, Facebook crossed 2 billion monthly active users.

The entire world population is currently 7.6 billion and growing, which means that one in every four humans on earth have a Facebook account.

Facebook is quickly taking over the world where 22% of the world’s population is using Facebook.  A staggering 62% of the population in North America are using the platform.

social media marketing stats graph

The catch with social media, is that lots of companies get tripped up when it comes time to use it for marketing. With so many options, possibilities and opinions, it’s tough to know where to begin.

Luckily, we’re here to help. If you’ve ever wondered how to get started with social media marketing, this post will act as your complete guide.

Read on.

What is Social Media Marketing?

According to Search Engine Land, “Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.”

Sound simple? It is pretty simple. The only complicating factor is that there are literally hundreds of ways to do it. In addition to the fact that “social media” is a catch-all term for sites ranging from Twitter to Snapchat, marketing on those platforms can take dozens of different forms.

The Marriage of Search and Social Marketing

Social media marketing serves several important purposes: it raises awareness for your brand, promotes sales, enhances your online image, and allows you to interact effectively with your target market. It also improves your overall responsiveness, and gives you a leg-up on the competition. One of its most important functions, though, is to enhance your efforts to appear in Google’s SERPs.

Because social media marketing includes an essential “discover” component, it’s a great way to build links that support your overall SEO effort. In some cases, the social connections afforded by social marketing may impact the relevance of your results, boosting your ranking and driving more traffic to your page.

5 Steps to Start Marketing on Social Media

A disclaimer here: the exact path you take to social media marketing will depend, in large part, on the platform(s) you use, your business, and your goals.

Luckily, these steps apply to every company and every platform out there, and it’s easy to customize them according to your needs:

1. Define Your Goals

First things first, why are you trying to market on social media? What do you hope to get from your efforts? Are you trying to generate sales? Are you looking to boost your customer service? Do you want to build relationships with consumers? Are you trying to share informative content?

No matter what your goals are, defining them now is essential to making sure you meet them in the end.

2. Consider Your Resources

What resources do you currently have to dedicate to social media marketing, and what resources will you have to invest in? Who will create your content, handle the posting and interaction and take care of customer service?

Identifying these things now will help you plan your resource allocation and budget for places you may need to augment your current arsenal.

3. Understand Your Audience

Given the fact that social platforms have a combined force of about 2.77 billion users, it’s statistically impossible to expect that you can speak to or please them all. As such, it’s important to define your target audience and know who you’re willing to invest resources to reach.

Do this by creating a target persona. The process is simple and you can update your persona down the road should your audience change.

4. Create Some Content

Once you understand your goals and persona, then start creating content for your social media channels. Blog posts will work, as will live videos, graphics, and virtually anything else you can come up with.

No matter what you do, make sure your content is professional and designed with your goals in mind. This will help ensure it serves its purpose in the long-run.

Related Article: 10 Content Marketing Mistakes All Marketers Make

5. Develop a Schedule

You now have content and your social platforms set up. Presumably you’re already using a mixture of platforms like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Medium, Quora, and Periscope.  Now it’s time to develop a schedule and get going!

A schedule keeps you on track and helps ensure you’re not missing important marketing opportunities, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Here are a few great social media marketing templates to use to get started.

Related Article: Facebook vs Twitter: Which Social Media Should You Be Using?

Looking Forward

As you continue your social media marketing efforts, don’t forget to check in on your results. Social media is an inherently dynamic environment, and it will continue to shift and change in years to come. This said you may need to update your strategy to ensure it remains relevant. Just so long as you continue to keep quality content and the interests of your target audience at the top of your mind, you’ll have no problem growing your social presence and achieving your objectives both now and in the future!

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