What Is Social Media Marketing?

BrainStation’s Social Media Specialist career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative new career in digital marketing. To start, find out more about social media marketing.

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Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your brand, connect with your target audience, increase traffic to your website, and boost sales and revenue. It’s also a great way for brands to monitor conversations and competition.

Effective social media marketing requires that you create strong content on your social media profiles, engage and communicate well with your followers, keep a close eye on your results, and run social media advertisements and campaigns. You must also decide which content is right for which platform and adapt your voice to fit the varying audiences of major social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube.

There are a lot of tools to schedule, monitor, and track social media activity, some popular examples are Hootsuite, HubSpot, and Later. You can also use channel native tools like Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule content and review metrics.

The core pillars of social media marketing are strategy, planning, publishing, listening, engaging, reviewing analytics, and advertising, with key metrics including growth in followers, engagement, and click-through rates.

What Do You Mean by Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the use of social media websites, apps, and social networks to market a company’s products and services and increase its brand reputation. Social media marketing provides companies with a way to find new customers, engage with existing customers, and promote their culture, mission, or voice. Also associated with terms like “digital marketing” and “e-marketing,” social media marketing has purpose-built data analytics tools that allow Marketers to track how successful their efforts are.

Social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube allow Marketers to employ a broad array of tactics and strategies to promote content and engage their target audiences.

Many social networks ask that users provide detailed demographic, geographical, and personal information, giving Marketers a huge amount of insight into what messages are most likely to resonate with their target users. Because Internet audiences can be more cleanly segmented than other traditional marketing channels, companies know for a fact that they’re focusing their resources on the right audiences.

Campaigns can be crafted to appeal to current and prospective customers, employees, bloggers, influencers, the media, the general public, and other stakeholders (such as third-party reviewers or trade groups). Metrics used to measure the success of a social media marketing campaign include website reports (such as Google Analytics), customer response rates, return-on-investment, and reach.

What Is Media Strategy?

Media strategy describes the usage of the right media mix to achieve desired and optimum outcomes from an advertising campaign. Media strategy plays a crucial role in advertising campaigns. The objective of media strategy is not just to gain customers for a product or service, but also requires placing the right message in front of the right people at the right time. And it’s also crucial that the message is persuasive and relevant to the specific people seeing it.

There are two questions that need to be asked during any effective media strategy planning campaign.

  • Where to advertise? All advertising budgets have limits, so it’s crucial to figure out where to display an advertisement to reach current and prospective consumers. Depending on your target demographic, you might choose to advertise on social media, websites, TV, blogs or out in public.
  • When to advertise? You need to make sure your timing makes sense, again keeping in mind the needs and tendencies of your target audience. Some campaigns simply make more sense at different times of the year, and others may be tied to a specific holiday or a seasonal product.

What Is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising is an extremely direct way for companies to use advertising to reach the exact audience they want, and it is a must if you’re looking to reach a new, targeted audience – fast.

With organic reach becoming more and more difficult to achieve, it’s possible that the idea of making viral content without a little boost from paid advertising might be gone forever.

All the major social networks offer advertising options. When choosing where to place your ads, it’s crucial to know which networks are most popular with your target audience. Which platform is your target audience giving the most time and attention?

Interested in reaching teens? Advertise on TikTok. If you want to reach an older generation, look to Facebook. Try looking at which social networks perform well organically for your brand. Where does your content naturally strike a chord with fans? This is an obvious choice for your first social ad campaign.

What Is Social Media Content Creation and Distribution?

Social media content creation and distribution is the process of creating, sharing, posting, and promoting content across different social media platforms. This content may be created exclusively for social, or it could also be content that has been re-formatted and used on social.

When you’re creating and distributing social media content, you should know where and how you’re going to publish and promote your content before you begin any steps in the creative process. Otherwise, you risk wasting your time.

Creating content isn’t necessarily a fast process, either. In fact, 60 percent of Marketers create one piece of content each day. When you consider how much content is distributed – 952 posts are published on Instagram each second, 8,726 tweets are posted to Twitter each second, and Google answers 3.8 million search queries per minute – it’s increasingly important that content be strong and properly distributed to get the attention of a distracted audience.

Content distribution channels are the channels you use to promote and share your content. The channels you use to distribute your content will vary based on your audience and resources, but they can be broken down into three specific distribution channels: owned (your own website, social media accounts, or blog); earned (mentions, shares, and reviews); and paid (PPC, social ads, and influencers).

What Is Community Management?

Community management is essentially about relationships and how your brand capitalizes on opportunities to interact with your community in online spaces.

Community management is often used interchangeably with social media management and although it is certainly an integral part of any social media strategy, managing your community becomes increasingly important as your customer base grows larger.

Your community consists of your current customers, target audiences, and all the people who interact with your brand directly and indirectly online. This community can be spread out all over the Internet: on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, forums, and the comment sections of articles. If you plan to build a long-term business with a strong brand, community management is an increasingly worthwhile investment.

What Is Social Media Reporting?

Social media reporting is simply the collection of data and stats. Which data and stats you should include likely depends on your specific social media strategies and goals.

  • Followers are the number of people who want to connect with your brand. The benefits of looking at followers are knowing more about the reach of your content.
  • Clicks let you know that the content you’re sharing is of interest to your users.
  • Retweets tell you that the content you’re sharing is interesting enough that your users want to share it with their followers.
  • Favorites can be a little bit less reliable than the other types of data and stats. It’s hard to know exactly what someone is thinking when they favorite, ranging from showing appreciation to bookmarking content for later.

What Are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?

The benefits of social media marketing are numerous, ranging from boosting sales and revenue, improving brand reputation, retaining and building a customer base, and learning more about your target audience.

Social media marketing is quickly becoming one of the most important parts of marketing strategy, with companies around the globe finding new ways social media can contribute to success and growth in all areas of their businesses. According to Hubspot, 92 percent of all Marketers felt that their social media marketing efforts have created more exposure for their companies, while 80 percent of Marketers said their social media marketing efforts increased traffic.

Other benefits include:

  • Content is easily customized and distributed
  • You will gain more influence and prominence within your industry as you grow your follower count
  • Traffic to your website and social media accounts will increase
  • You’ll unearth better audience insights
  • You’ll have the opportunity to provide superior customer service
  • Your SEO rankings could soar

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, after becoming the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts and currently sitting at more than 2.6 billion monthly active users.

As of the second quarter of 2019, Facebook had a combined total of 244 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada, and in 2018, 67.5 percent of Americans used Facebook regularly. According to numbers compiled by Statista, 90.9 percent of American mobile users accessed the Facebook mobile app, followed by 64.92 percent for Instagram and 57 percent for Facebook Messenger. The next most popular social media apps were Twitter (43.62 percent), Pinterest (35.81 percent), Reddit (25.63 percent), Snapchat (24.62 percent), and WhatsApp (13.69 percent).

Facebook isn’t just the undisputed leader in terms of overall number of users, but it also has the most engaged users. Another Statista study found that Facebook users on average spend 769.16 minutes on the platform, better than runner-up TikTok (498.09 minutes), Messenger for Google (335.51 minutes), and WhatsApp (292.4 minutes).

YouTube and WhatsApp are the second-most popular social media platforms, each with 2 billion monthly users. Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users, WeChat has 1.2 billion users, and sixth-ranked photo-sharing app Instagram had over 1 billion monthly active accounts.

The next three most popular social networks are all based in China. Fast-rising TikTok has 800 million monthly users, QQ has 694 million users, and microblogging site Sina Weibo has 550 million users.

Pinterest was the fastest independently launched site to reach 10 million unique monthly visitors. It now sits at 367 million users.

Which Social Media Platform Is Growing Fastest?

TikTok is the social media platform that is growing fastest, followed by Snapchat and Reddit.

TikTok launched in September 2016 and by mid-2018 it had already reached half a billion users. In other words: TikTok gained on average about 20 million new users per month over this period.

Snapchat reported earlier in 2020 that it posted an increase of 11 million daily active users to 229 million, which represents a 20 percent jump in active users year-over-year.

And at the end of 2019, Reddit announced its user base grew 30 percent over the past year to reach 430 million monthly active users, as of the end of October. Its users also contributed 199 million posts, 1.7 billion comments, and 32 billion upvotes, the company says.

The overall growth across different platforms is striking too. The percentage of American adults who use social media increased from five percent in 2005 to 79 percent in 2019. Even on a global stage the speed of diffusion is striking: Facebook surged from covering around 1.5 percent of the world population in 2008, to around 30 percent in 2018.