Social media is the new normal with regard to business. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the POPI Act and its impact on direct marketing, and the need to establish an online brand, social media marketing has become an essential skill. It is the lifeblood of every online business and without it the survival of your business is at stake.
What is social media marketing?
According to Christina Newberry and Evan LePage, contributing writers to Hootsuite, ‘social media marketing is the practice of using social media channels to sell or promote a brand, product or service’.
Purpose of social media marketing
Social media marketing can help your editing business in various ways. It can increase brand awareness, it can build a community and a following on social media, it can monitor your brand through social listening, it can help to advertise your services to potential customers, and, finally, it can help you to engage with your customers by providing customer service on social media platforms.
Marketing on social media is a strategy and a skill that needs to be learned. But what precisely does a social media marketing strategy entail? A social media marketing strategy consists of marketing goals that are in line with the goals of your business. It also involves the tactics necessary to achieve these goals and the metrics you will use to track your progress on social media.
As far as goals are concerned, it is important to set SMART goals. What are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym referring to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Metrics differ across different social media channels. It refers to measuring the reach of your social media posts and tracking the number of followers that you have.
Your target market
It is important to have extensive knowledge of the audience that you target. Also, be aware of what your competitors do. In this regard, it is useful to make use of social media ‘listening’. This refers to monitoring social media channels in an effort to look at when people mention your brand, your competitors and the kind of services and products you offer.
Social media auditing
Social media auditing is another useful tactic. It involves analysing what you have done on social media so far and looking in detail at your efforts. What works and what doesn’t? Who engages with your brand? Which networks does your ideal client use? Learn everything possible about your audience. This includes demographics like age, income, location, language preferences, job titles, religious and cultural views, values, likes, dislikes and interests. How does your presence and activity on social media compare with that of your competition?
It’s also important to be aware of the different social media platforms and the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Major platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat. Keep in mind that different platforms attract different audiences. Social messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger are also useful.
A flexible strategy
Your social media strategy must be flexible. It’s not cast in stone and should be adapted during changing times. In this regard the type of content you share is important. Create a content plan and work according to a content calendar. The purpose of your content can be educational or it can have entertaining value. The content you share should be related to your brand. Create stories and posts that are time-sensitive. This can include written posts, images or short-form videos. Show your human side and take an informal tone in your messages. Cultivate relationships with your audience members and most of all try to make a difference by providing value. Change your attitude from ‘what’s in it for me’ to ‘what’s in it for them’.
Go for it!
Social media marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s a skill that is within reach of all of us. You don’t need to be a tech genius. It just takes a bit of common sense. There are a lot of resources on Google and even some free courses. Start googling today. The results will blow your mind away!
Newberry, C, LePage, E 2021 How to create a social media strategy in 8 steps. Hootsuite. https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-plan (Accessed 27 June 2022).
Barnhart, B, 2021 Building your social media marketing strategy for 2022. Sprout Social. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-marketing-strategy (Accessed 27 June 2021).
Buffer.com 2021 What is social media marketing? https://buffer.com/social-media-marketing? (Accessed 27 June 2022).