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October 21, 2021

Social Media Marketing: A Beginners Guide

By Siavash

In recent years, social media marketing has proved to be a crucial part of digital marketing. If you do not ensure your presence on social media, your business will be missing a huge opportunity to engage with target groups and promote your services. 

However, if you are just getting started, tons of articles and educational videos on Social Media Marketing might seem too overwhelming for you.

Don’t worry! This article will help you cover such aspects like:

  • Social media basics
  • Key elements
  • How to start your journey?
  • Common mistakes beginners make

Let’s get started with the basics, shall we?

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What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

Social media marketing or SMM refers to the use of social media channels to connect with your brand’s target audiences, raise awareness and build trust towards your brand, mostly to increase sales. Many businesses put a lot of effort into ensuring social media presence for their brand since it is a great way to connect with their customers through brand storytelling and build meaningful relationships with them.

Each channel requires a broad range of tactics and strategies for content promotion and audience engagement. The most popular social media channels are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

Compared to traditional marketing channels, audiences can be tracked and segmented much better in digital marketing. This gives companies an opportunity to successfully focus their resources on specific audiences that they want to target when implementing their social media marketing campaigns.

Some metrics that brands can use to measure the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns include:

  • Return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment (ROI) is a performance that measures the profitability of an investment or compares the efficiency of several different investments. For example, if $10 was spent on an ad, and the return was $50, we say that ROI was 500%.

  • Website reports

For starters, you need to build a website to increase your company’s credibility. And when you merge the data received from your website with the data from your social media, you will be able to increase pieces of content that drive traffic.

  • Customer feedback

Besides building a user acquisition strategy, your business should conduct social media monitoring and listening. Social media channels are powerful tools to understand how customers feel about your brand, as well as receive feedback. Use them to respond to that feedback and connect with your followers.

  • Specific campaign KPIs

Key Performance Indicators(KPI’s) may differ from campaign to campaign, and each has a specific method of measurement. We will cover KPIs in detail later in the article.

Now that you’re familiar with social media basics, it is time to take a look at the key elements.

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Key Social Media Marketing Elements

To help you get insights about the key social elements, check out the guide to the three important components: community management, strategy, and content.  

Community Management

To get the most out of your social media channels and achieve impressive results, you should set a clear goal of attracting new followers to your brand pages. However, you should not only limit yourself to creating high-quality and engaging social media content. What you also need is to be able to manage the communities that you build. 

So what is Community management? It is a term that is often linked interchangeably to social media management. Community management is the aspect responsible for building long-lasting relationships with your customer base. In other words, it shows how your brand prefers to interact with your community. 

Though social media management is undoubtedly the main component of the social strategy, you should not underestimate the importance of managing your community.

If you think about it, many Kickstarter failures take place because of the absence of a community management strategy. Moreover, according to Forbes 97% of online buyers read reviews before buying a product. This once again proves that customer feedback must be taken into account and greatly valued in your community management strategy. 

Whether you own a small startup or an established international brand, building and staying committed to a community online is a needed step for your digital presence. 

Strategy

What exactly do you plan to achieve on social media? Which social channels do you plan to have? Who are you going to target? 

Your social media strategy should have answers to any questions regarding your goals. Ideally, it should guide your actions and help you track success and failures. 

If this still sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. You do not have to have it all covered at once. The best practice for creating a strategy is by implementing roadmaps to be able to prioritize the tasks, stick to the timelines and perform the most urgent actions on time. 

Let’s say you own a small bakery. For starters, you decide to launch Instagram and Facebook accounts to raise awareness about the brand. This is your objective for the current time, and all your resources will be focused on such assets as creating the content for these channels. 

After this stage, you can also consider some PR for your company. It’s essential to have partnerships and great relationships with people in your industry. So, discover some public relations trends and opportunities, connect with other businesses, and build long-lasting cooperations. This step will not only help you build a great company reputation, but also grow your business at a faster pace. 

Your third step will be tracking the results coming from your social media. You will be able to see which type of content works best and revise the other aspects, for example, an Instagram hashtags strategy.

Above we presented just one possible example for planning your strategy. Start drafting your strategy based on your goals and timelines. 

Content

Your results on social media highly depend on the quality of the content you post. To produce high-quality and effective content, you should take into consideration how each social media channel operates, and who are the potential audiences that you will target.

Your tone of voice, which is the way you communicate, most probably will not remain the same. For example, to promote your business on Linkedin, firstly, you will need to create a copy that will be suited for your potential target audience on that platform and then create Linkedin Ads. 

Besides, keep in mind that your content is not limited to social media posts. Content creation also refers to creating blogs, infographics, videos to provide educational and related materials to your customers. Also, in recent years, podcasts have gained high popularity, so you might as well think about the content for producing high-quality podcasts.

And last but not least, do not forget about your website content. If you plan to sell online, you will need to check out eCommerce platforms to create a successful one for your own business. Content creation might be time-consuming and competitive, yet if applied right, it will be the strongest asset in selling your products or services.

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How to Begin With Social Media Marketing

Setting social media goals and objectives is one of the main steps towards developing and improving the value of your strategy. Documenting the goals and regularly reporting on your progress is a great way to build the plan. 

When it comes to using social media marketing, it is not advised to launch any platforms without a clear action plan. What you need is to organize a framework and follow up on the key points. 

We have identified three of them for you to focus on. 

Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Before you begin diving into social media, you need to ask yourself a number of questions, the answers to which will help you have a clear understanding of the brand goals and objectives in social media.

Is your main goal to increase sales, or is it building long-lasting relationships with new customers? Your whole strategy and course of action depend on asking the right questions. 

If you don’t have an experienced marketing team yet, you might want to consider creating a project management department, which will help develop performance metrics and evaluate the whole project. 

This section will help you set up social media goals in 3 easy steps: 

Conduct an Audit

Before you set a direction for your social media strategy, it will be extremely helpful to get insights into your business’s current position. Consider startup fundings, SaaS consulting, and other professional advice from specialists to understand where your company is currently. 

How are you going to do that? Firstly, conduct a social media audit to keep track of all your existing social media accounts results all at once. 

If you already have a website, constantly use different tools to check website ranking and improve the metrics. As a result, you will always be able to update your content, making it more SEO-friendly and easier for search engines to find. 

Make Modifications

It is surprising how much your audit can tell you! After conducting the audit, your next step will need to be providing better solutions and options that your company should rely on. For instance, you might see that your email marketing campaign is not operating in the way that you have calculated. In this case, consider making changes in your SaaS marketing email templates or changing the subject line.

As a result, you spend a considerable amount of money on email marketing campaigns that do not reach the KPIs you have planned to achieve. That’s when you will need to take action, and for example, consider implementing new email marketing tools for better results. These tools can vary from email clients with A/B testing options to video integration. You can also consider Sender tools for deeper analytics and to understand how your campaign is performing.

On the other hand, your audit might tell you that some channels are even more effective than you imagined. For example, a significant number of orders are coming from WhatsApp. As a result, you will need to consider ways to make the most out of the situation for acquiring new customers.

Choose the Right Framework

Did you waste a lot of time and resources on chasing shiny objects and not sticking to the plan? Well, you are not alone. To create an effective marketing strategy realistic and trackable framework should be chosen.

There is no right answer when it comes to choosing a framework. One of the most popular ones is the S.M.A.R.T. framework! The acronym stands for:

Specific: Your goals should be clear. 

Measurable: You need to have specific metrics for measurement 

Attainable: Your goals should be realistic and within reach

Relevant: Keep it to the point

Timely: Do not forget to set and follow the deadlines. 

Still not clear? An example of a SMART goal might be: successfully selling online courses for two months for target group N2 will exceed the previous campaign results twice by the number of opened emails. 

Choose a framework that you think will be better for your business or even create your own. Do not be afraid to experiment and try new things, on the condition that they are well researched and lead you towards the desired results.  You should keep in mind that setting clear goals and achieving social media objectives should help your business in general. So take your time, find the key elements that you need to emphasize. 

Make necessary adaptations and modifications on the way and make the most of your social media presence. 

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Understand your Target Audience

A target audience is a group of individuals whom you consider to be your ideal customers. You can create target groups based on various factors and demographics, depending on the KPIs that you plan to reach. 

The better you understand your target market, the better job you will do at targeting your ads to the audience that is most likely to be converted into customers. 

How can you find your target audience?

Finding the right target audience will not be as tricky if you follow a clear pathway.  Therefore, you need to compile data on your current customers.

Who are the people who engage with you on social media?

When were your followers most engaged with your social media channels? Was it the time that you posted a funny meme?. Figuring out the answer to these and other important questions will guide you to what content your audience interacts with most. 

If you already have an active social media account, get into the insights as soon as possible. Most social media channels provide basic demographic and behavioral data: 

Age: However, focusing on learning which generation dominates your social media target audience will be the key to creating content. 

Location: Where do your customers live? Do they make purchases from your country or another geographic area? You’ll also learn what hours are your target audience online, to post more effectively. And obviously, you can not create ads without mentioning a specific region it will be shown.

Language: Wouldn’t you be annoyed if you constantly run into ads in a language that you do not understand? So would be your audience! To avoid such situations and make the most of each dollar you spend, it will be wise to research the languages your audience speaks. 

Spending Limitations: What is their approach in purchasing in your price category? Do they have specific financial preferences or limitations? Luckily for you, you do not have to do the research alone. For example, Facebook lets you add such specific details to your customer insights, that you can easily get the message to the right people.

Interests: What are your target audience’s interests and hobbies? 

This question might seem irrelevant, but imagine what results in from showing a tennis racket ad to someone who is in for tennis, and someone who is not. Even if the former will not buy the racket now, he or she will most probably save your page, interact with you, and, provided he has a good experience with your brand, will help spread the word of the month to people with the same interests. 

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Create Buyer Personas

If you do not have a social presence yet, or can not gather the data from social media accounts, you need to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional people you create to represent your ideal customers. 

Let’s create a buyer persona for a small bakery. 

Buyer persona N1

Name: Elisa

Status: Married, has three kids

Occupation: Freelance graphic designer

Challenges: Having three kids and a husband, combined with the work, Lisa barely has time to spend on cooking. 

Elisa is looking for a bakery that she trusts to buy bread and sweets for her family. 

Having all this information about the buyer persona will make it easier to create content that he or she will find useful and trust the brand. Your buyer persona account might include more or less information than ours. However, the more detailed, the better! 

The most effective way is to create buyer personas through research, surveys, and interviews. Send out surveys in exchange for something from a company. When receiving the information, share the results with the rest of your company, so that every department can benefit from the research and get an in-depth understanding of targeting.  

Once you have finished the research process, get ready to see the raw data about your potential and current buyers. This is also a great stage to decide what is the best product discovery platform that you should consider having your products or services in. 

Your next step is separating the information to create at least 2-3 personas and target them. 

Post Effectively

We have some differentiated key points that will help you post more effectively on social media. 

Create Content Calendars

Your entire social media strategy relies on the content calendar that you create. Calendars might be as easy or as complex as you wish them to be. It can be an excel file or a dashboard template, the most important thing is that it should be as detailed as possible for you to avoid minor panic attacks every time you causally remember about posting on a special celebration day. 

Focus On Problem-Solving

Be there with your customers on every step. Create posts about the most frequently asked questions or requests. 

Occasionally review what your customers ask most. If you have customer support and sales representatives, ask them what they are being asked most. As a result of this and social hearing, you might find minor issues that you can solve by talking about them in your posts.

Optimize Your Accounts

To be able to provide great content to the targeted audience make sure you have optimized all your accounts. It means that wherever your potential customers look for information, they need to find it. Your bio section should transfer the history, goals, and objectives of your company.

The same goes for your website. To increase your ROI by up to 143%, all you need is to add a call us now button on your website. 

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Stay Consistent And Trendy

Today, keeping followers is even more tricky than gaining them. You need to be consistent. Your followers will most likely start to disappear if you stop posting, or do it whenever it is convenient for you. What is the point of following ghost pages?

You might also consider following coaching trends to be aware of the recent trends about building successful teams. You can then even share and discuss them with your team.

Keep It Clear

Speak to your audiences the way they love and understand the most. Of course, you need to develop your tone of voice, but before doing so, remember that your content should be engaging and easy to read. 

Consider including some attention-grabbers in your communication 

→ An arrow quickly gets the attention

☞ so does the pointing finger, doesn’t it? 

And of course, do not forget about the emojis. Pick 2-10 emojis that you might use, and try not to overuse them in the texts. 

Hashtags

By clicking on a hashtag in any post, you will see all the posts with the same hashtag. To create a hashtag you simply need to put the “#” character before the word without any spaces or numbers. 

Hashtags can be a great way to increase your reach. Most brands have branded hashtags, so every post they make is automatically under the same category and within an easy reach if someone decides to click on it. Hashtag strategy should be done in the planning stage, followed by profound research. 

Line Brakes

No one would like to read a text that seems endless or is not properly formed. To make your content visually aesthetic and easy to read, consider having logical breaks after the paragraphs. 

Get Visual

Try including visual assets like photos, infographics, videos, and reels to your copies to get more engagement and clicks. 

Influencer Marketing

In recent years one of the main ways of targeting has become influencer marketing. 

Ideally, it works like this. Your brand researches and finds an opinion leader who has an audience related to your product or field and makes partnership agreements to advertise your products or services.

Instagram is the most popular platform to focus your influencer marketing strategy. As opposed to popular belief, an influencer doesn’t need to have a large number of followers on their Instagram account. You just need to find Instagram influencers that are a trusted resource with a significantly engaged following on social media and whom you will trust the share opinion about you. 

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Engage your Audience

Social media marketing is mostly about engagement. Statistics show that more than 3 billion worldwide use social media, many regularly. So, what will be your actions to engage your audience? If you trust us, here are the key points that we recommend you to do. 

Show Your Team

Who is standing behind your company? We live in the world of technology, but this does not mean that we should neglect human assets. Sharing employee video testimonials will help you build trust with the audience by showing real people, people that do their best to provide better solutions and great products. 

Create Challenges

Social media is becoming more and more filled with virus content. Creators and businesses fight for your attention and engagement. This is how trends are being introduced. 

You will come across challenges in any social media channel, from TikTok to LinkedIn, and that’s because they are highly effective.

Share Your Company Culture

Do you have interesting traditions? According to several studies, investment in employee training is one of the key ways to invest in your team. Show your customers how your staff is constantly learning, provide insights about the day-to-day of the company, as well as emphasize the professional level of employees. This will not only help you create a connection with your audience but also improve the employee-company relationship.

Use Stories

Almost all channels have story options. The social media channel that has the most features is Instagram. There are over 800 million Instagram users who watch Instagram stories every day. Impressive, right? 

By not posting any stories or not staying consistent you’re missing out on the potential to build long-lasting relationships with your audience, increase views and traffic to your feed or even website. 

 Let’s explore those features to see which one stands for what. 

Instagram filters:  Thousands of Instagram users and business pages create and upload their filters on Instagram Stories. The filters can be branded, thematic, beauty-related, etc. Some even change the background and add special Augmented Reality effects. 

Draw and write: Adding a text on any background seems pretty basic. All you need to do is to keep it in your brand’s tone of voice, font, and color, to be more professional. 

Location sticker: You can use this sticker feature to add a location to your story. This means that not only do you give your audience insight into your location but this also allows you to be discovered by a wide range of users, who search for the location. 

Hashtag Sticker: The same way as with the location sticker, the hashtag sticker allows you to type any hashtags into your story and gain more reach. If your story performs well, it will also be added to the top of subsequent hashtag stories.

Gifs: Gifs are fun, easy to use, and an effective way to be in the center of attention. With the introduction of gifs, Instagram stories have gone through major impact and gained even more popularity.

Polls: An example of a poll is the A/B poll, where you ask the followers to choose one option. Another poll sample is the Slider Poll, where the user is asked to slide a bar for answering a question. Polls are a great way to gather information and receive feedback about your brand. 

Share your post to stories: This feature is one of the most useful ones. Whenever you have a new post, you may add it to your stories, thus increasing the chance of it being seen by all your followers to your Instagram story and have it link directly back to the post!

Support small businesses sticker: The feature allows users to tag business pages like yours and support them. Anyone who will be interested in getting to your page can simply click on the story. This is a great example of user-generated content that you should encourage people to perform. 

Add songs: Users are now allowed to share their favorite songs right in their Instagram stories! Some restrictions are still working in some countries, but many songs are available and ready to be featured in your stories.

Add highlights: And last but not least, you can group your stories by adding them into categories and saving them. Users will see the stories category on your feed. It is suggested to have at least 2-4 highlights that will also suit your brand colors. 

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Track Performance

Having specific social media KPIs will assist your team in focusing on the metrics that matter the most and track performance from time to time. 

What are social media KPIs?

Above, we mentioned that KPI stands for key performance indicators.

Businesses implement KPIs to measure the performance rate over time, see if the goals and objectives are met.

When it comes to social media metrics, many could be relevant to your business, but in different ways. To be able to effectively track your brand’s social media strategy, you need to prioritize. 

Here are some important social media KPIs you should be tracking:

Reach

The KPIs measuring reach depicts how many users have come across your channels. It does not mean that this person interacted actively with your content since reach and engagement are two different terms. Reach only shows raw quantity measurement, which is data that demonstrates both existing and potential audience and brand awareness figures. 

Impressions

This is the metric that indicates the times your post was visible in the users’ feed or timeline. However, keep in mind that this does not mean that the person that has been shown your post read or noticed it. 

Follower Count

This is the easiest metric to track and can be done simply by comparing the number of followers your social channel has now to the specific time data. 

Average Engagement Rate

There is a formula to calculate the engagement rate(ER) which is to divide all the engagement activities (likes, comments, saves) by the number of followers you have on your social channel. It determines how engaging your copy was and helps to have a content-type direction. 

The formula: Likes + comments + shares/ total number of followers X 100 = Average Engagement Rate (ER)

Conversion

The KPIs for conversion measurement show how many social interactions visit websites, sign up to newsletters, make purchases, or do any other desired action. 

Conversion metrics show how effective your social media strategy is, and whether or not you need to change it for leading to actionable outcomes.

Conversion Rate

These metrics show the number of users who performed the desirable actions (visited your website or landing page, subscribed to a mailing list, made a purchase, etc.) in comparison to the number of clicks on the post. 

The formula is Conversions/ total clicks x 100 = Conversion Rate(CR)

Cost Per Click (CPC)

CPC depicts the amount you pay on ads in social channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram as for the individual click on your sponsored post. It is useful to track this information to see if the amount you’re spending is worth further investment.  

The formula: Total amount spent on Ad/ measured clicks X 100 = Cost-Per-Click 

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

This is a formula that will show the amount of money that you pay every time 1,000 users scroll to your ads. 

The formula: Total amount spent on Ad/ Total Ad impressions X 100 = Cost Per thousand impressions (CPM) 

Click-through Rate (CTR)

To measure the percentage of people who saw your post and clicked on your developed CTA (call to action) you need to calculate the CTR. This lets you get insight into whether your copy grabs viewers’ attention and makes them perform the action that you want. 

The formula: Total number of clicks/ total impressions X 100= CTR 

Besides these formulas, there are many others that will help you track your performance on social media. You will need to use the ones that will show you how the KPIs that you plan to reach are working.

Yet, besides tracking your progress on social media, you should do the same related to your website. For instance, check your folder security report and Google analytics, analyze, save and compare the results after a set time.

Another valuable asset to check is Google trends data like Google Trends API  to see popular search results on google and gain knowledge about market research and SEO data. 

If you are not able to do this all within your company resources consider hiring CTO as a Service (CaaS) to help you with the product launch, testing, and quality assurance.

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Social Media Marketing Budget Plan

As we’ve gone through all the methods and tricks you can implement to create a successful social media marketing strategy, it’s time to get the financial part covered. Whether you plan to raise money for your startup or already have solid financial resources, you need to dedicate some of your budgets to social media marketing. 

Here are some tips for planning your social media budget effectively: 

  • Analyze previous budgeting and expenses

If you’ve been working on a social media marketing strategy, you must have some previous data to look at. Even though social media platforms provide detailed analytics on things like reach, engagement, impression, etc. In this case, you can get a clear understanding of whether your ad was successful or not. In the long term, you can put all these numbers next to each other and calculate the effectiveness of your expenses. 

You can also introduce this type of report when you’re presenting a social media budget proposal since it’s based on data, facts, and analytics. 

  • Use a template to calculate the ins and outs of your budget

As the technical part of budgeting, templates are pretty popular. They help calculate the ins and outs of your marketing, understand whether your strategy is efficient or not, and do more. 

There are two main types of expenses you can calculate with a template. In-house vs outsourced expenses. In-house expenses are calculated based on how much time and effort your staff has spent on social media marketing. Whereas outsourced expenses include ad fees, consulting, etc. 

For example, if you’ve hired a graphic design agency for your social media visuals, you can calculate whether the money you pay them and the results you get are efficient. In the meantime, you need to make sure all company transactions are safe to avoid things like money leaks. One way to do this is by using cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is perfect for global payments as it allows faster and more secure transactions. On the other hand, if you are using different cryptocurrencies, you can use a crypto portfolio tracker to always be aware of the price of your crypto assets and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Calculating both types of expenses will help understand what percentage of your budget goes to an effective strategy and how much money you waste

  • Adjust your strategy with your budget

After setting up your budget you might need to make changes in your overall social media strategy. Do you have enough means for partnering up with influencers? Are you ready for new Facebook Ad campaigns? 

It’s completely normal if you can’t afford some marketing techniques, especially in the beginning phase. The key is to adjust your strategy accordingly with your budget. Whether you choose to gain a loyal follower base organically or boost your social media pages through sponsored ads, make sure it goes perfectly with your financial resources

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Wrapping Up

To sum up, diving into social media marketing requires a lot of work, research, and will, but it is definitely worth all the efforts.

In this article, you have already learned what social media is, what the main elements that you need to consider are, and common mistakes that you should avoid. 

Be sure that you have already theoretically covered everything a social media marketing beginner should know. It is high time that you gain more practical experience now.

Research, experiment and don’t be afraid to create your presence in the social world!


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This post was last modified on November 12, 2021 18:06

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Siavash

Hello people! I'm Cyavash (pronounced see-ya-vash). I'm the head of SEO here at SocialPros. I believe writing content is all about sharing a user's concerns and offering the right solutions. And my job is to provide you with the content you're looking for!

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