Introduction To Social Media Marketing

You’ve surely heard of Social Media or even Social Media Marketing. You probably already use Facebook or something like Whatsapp in order to keep up to date with friend’s and family. But, social media can be so much more powerful than that especially to a small business or brand.

You may have heard about how great it is as a tool for customer / client engagement. That’s potentially true but it’s not a magic one-size-fits-all solution. The reality is that Social Media is an incredibly broad term. It covers a wide spectrum of tools, platforms and services. How you choose to use Social Media is the real key as to how successful your marketing campaign will turn out to be. So, let’s take a look at some keys things to consider before diving in.

What Is Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is essentially the act of using any of the many Social Media Platform(s) with the goal of promoting your brand. It covers activities involving social sharing of images, content and videos, for marketing purposes. Twitter for example is a social platform designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities. LinkedIn and Xing by contrast are geared towards making professional and business connections. These, are just four of the 100’s of social networks that exist!

Search Engine Optimisation v Social Media Marketing

It often seems like there’s never enough time in the day when it comes to running a small business or being a freelancer. So which marketing avenue is best for you; Search Engine Optimisation or Social Media Marketing? The truth is that the two are closely related and one can impact upon the other. SMM is important even if you don’t have a Website of your own. Implementing SEO on your social channels can lead more prospective clients to your profile from search engines.

Social Media Marketing is also an influencer of the search engines and can impact your SEO. Social media often feeds into the discovery of new content such as news stories, and “discovery” is a search activity. From time to time Google actually includes tweets in the results it shows for popular searches. Social media can also help build links that in turn feed into SEO efforts. Many people also perform searches at social media sites to find social media content. Social connections may also impact the relevancy of some search results, either within a social media network or at a ‘mainstream’ search engine. So, it’s wise to treat these two marketing avenues as a part of your over all marketing strategy.

Know Your Target Audience

If like our Digital Marketing Agency your business is based outside of a major City, you may be wondering if there are enough locals using social media to warrant a SMM campaign. You may run a niche business with a very specific user base. You may even be based in a Country such a Germany, where Social Media use isn’t as prevelant as it is in the UK or USA.

Regardless, the fact remains that the Internet and Social Media gives you a simple low cost route to a global audience. This includes those in your local area! However, your campaign is going to be much more effective and easier to maintain if you plan ahead. One of the reasons that so many social media platforms exist is because different people in different locations, like different things. So, work out who your target audience is, and then choose the platform(s) that caters to that demographic in your region. For example Linked-in is the professional networking site of choice in the UK and USA. However, in Germany Xing is by far the more popular site.

Location isn’t the only factor to consider; age and gender are also important. PEW Research, shows that 59% of Instagram users are aged 18-29, whereas this percentage drops to just 36% on Twitter. However, the figures for the 50-64 age group remains consistent at approximately 20-24% across Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter. Pinterest is the only service where females are by far the most frequent users. Here, the percentage of users remains fairly consistant across all the given age groups. It’s clear just how important it is to know who you need to promote your brand to. Their age, location and gender are all important. So, do some research before deciding on which platforms to start your marketing campaign(s) on.

Don’t Preach

Typically, inexperienced marketers take a shot at using Facebook or Twitter to try and promote their business. Initially sending out posts about how great their business / product / brand is, only for it to get just a handful of reads, and little or no ‘likes’. Then they wonder why no-one likes the page or follows them, with a resultant low level of interest and feedback from those people. As time goes on, the posts get less frequent, and they put less effort in. Until, eventually the page / profile becomes stale and abandonned. Ultimately, this ends up reflecting badly on the brand. Any visitors will see a sad unloved page and this reflects back on to the business / brand itself.

The reason why this happens is almost always down to the marketer putting little effort into the campaign and expecting people to love it. The truth is, our customers aren’t stupid. They won’t love us, or our products simply because we tell them to. They need a reason and they don’t wan’t to be told what to do. But, they also need to feel like we appreciate them and their support of our business. They’re human’s too!

So think carefully about what you post. Make sure there’s a good reason to post. Most of all, give your followers a reason to like your post. If you do these things, your follower numbers will grow organically. This will, in turn, improve interactions with your newly found customers. Play things right, and eventually some of these people will become brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors freely promote and share your content to friends, family and beyond!

Bad Social Media = Bad Brand

It’s so easy to get it wrong on social media, and even big organisations get it wrong on occasion. So in some respects no Social Media is better than Bad Social Media. So whether it´s an unloved page or a social faux pas, you really need to consider pretty much everything you post. One way to do this is to have a strategy….

Next Steps

Follow the rest of this series of articles, for more info and advice on how to get the best from your Social Media Marketing campaigns. If you need some help with your Social Media Marketing give Code Clinic a call.

Oh, and don’t forget to like our Facebook Page!

If you have any questions about Social Media Marketing, or have anything to add leave me a comment below.

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Phill Healey
[Technical Director]
Phill has been designing and developing websites since 1986 in the early days of the web. As a self taught teenager, he built one of the world’s first Internet radio stations. Since then, he's gained numerous qualifications and several awards for his work in the industry. As a result he has had the pleasure of working in agencies in Manchester & London UK, and now Bavaria, Germany.

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