Social Media Marketing: Definition, Strategies, and Trends
by Quinn Curtis • March 11, 2022
As a business owner, it seems like if you’re not sharing your business on social media, you’re doing your marketing wrong. Years ago, Facebook and Instagram marketing would be enough to get the awareness necessary to capture leads and move them through your sales funnel. While the list of social media platforms just keeps growing, the number of people who currently know how to manage them all seems to get smaller and smaller.
Why is your social media marketing important, and how can you make it work for you? This post goes through leading social media platforms, creating a strategy, and giving you valuable insight into what’s currently trending. With this knowledge, you’ll be ready to start today on a plan that expands and improves your marketing approach.
What’s the Deal With Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing targets your ideal customer base through their preferred social media networks by creating relevant content they’ll interact with. You can try social media marketing for goals such as awareness and reach, social media growth, lead generation, and more. Social media marketing is a way of meeting your audience where they spend time — specifically their leisure time. How can you show up for your ideal buyer on social? Let’s first go through which social media channel options you have.
Different Social Channels To Experiment With
Choosing which social media platforms to tackle can be complex if you don’t know what each of them has to offer. Experimenting with different types of social media content and social networks can often be the best crash course to understand what works best for your target audience — the people you want to reach with your social campaigns. Let’s get to know the leading platforms a bit to assess which ones will be best for your business.
Facebook and Instagram
Despite both being owned by Meta, these two social media platforms are very different. Think of Facebook and Instagram as siblings — not twins — from their active users’ ages, interests, and behaviors to the very nature of the content you’ll find on them. Understanding the differences between them will help you know which content to post on them, curated for the specific buyer persona you’re looking to reach.
What makes the two networks unique? Facebook remains the go-to network to find like-minded people. Whether your interests revolve around a particular podcast, a language, arts and crafts, or anything else, you’ll find your tribe on Facebook. Posts on Facebook vary from mainly text-based to photos and video.
Facebook’s monthly active users as of Q4 2021 were at 2.91 billion, with the most significant number of users in India, the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil. More than half of its users are outside the 25–44 age group, the main playground for other major platforms. Additionally, it became the platform on which users spent the most time in the United States earlier the same year.
With video on the rise on all platforms, YouTube is a go-to for many businesses. The site is the second most popular social media app, sharing the spot only with WhatsApp. Businesses on YouTube can tackle their B2B social media marketing, creating B2C content, or working with content creators to reach larger audiences. With its projected 210 million viewers in the United States, YouTube is a beneficial platform to approach your target audience at every stage of the marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration and even conversion.
Since the pandemic, TikTok has seen a growth that social media apps can only dream of. The app was released in 2017 by the Chinese company Bytedance and has grown exponentially year after year. As of January 2022, TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users who spend an average of over 14 hours per month consuming content. This time spent is only slightly less than that of US users on Facebook, clocking in at 16.5 hours per month on average.
This engagement opens the opportunity for businesses to approach users with short-form video and, done authentically, in a way that compels them to learn more. B2C companies especially have seen an enormous opportunity within TikTok, with the #FoundItOnAmazon hashtag becoming such a trend that the sales platform has a dedicated list for shoppers from the video app.
While video apps’ accomplishments, controversies, reach, and engagement make up most of the headlines about social media, the hyper-visual app Pinterest isn’t one you want to underestimate. The app pitches itself as an experience far beyond showing funny, engaging, quirky content. Pinterest offers itself as a place where their 431 million monthly active users don’t doomscroll — they find inspiration, often with a credit card closely at hand. While historically Pinterest’s userbase has been mainly female, which still dominates at about 60%, male audiences have flocked to Pinterest at a rate of about 40% year over year. These growing rates and the fact that 45% of U.S. households with over $100K income are on Pinterest make it a goldmine for B2C marketing opportunities.
How To Create a Social Media Strategy
Creating a social media strategy can be overwhelming if it’s your first time. Still, a way to tackle it more efficiently is by breaking it down step-by-step. Start by setting goals and taking into account your target audience so that you’ll reach the right people. Then, define what you’ll consider a successful social media marketing campaign so you know what your expectations are. Finally, create and schedule your content and assess the results. To get you more acquainted with the process, let’s go into each of these steps in detail.
Set Goals for Your Business
What exactly do you want to achieve by starting your social media marketing? Most business owners will simply say “sales.” But are there ways that you can reach people earlier in the marketing funnel through social?
Setting expectations and business goals can help your campaign perform better and shape its approach. Think about goals you can arrange for your social media marketing, such as the amount of engagement you want from a particular campaign, regardless of sales. If you’re running a giveaway or referral campaign, set goals for how this campaign will benefit you. Will you try to receive 1,000 fresh leads during the length of the campaign? Perhaps you’ll try to grow your social media following by 10% as part of your giveaway.
Identify and Research Your Target Audience
Another key to getting started with your social media marketing will be to know whom to target. Why will this prove essential to your campaign? Think about it this way: If you’re trying to find your friend who often hangs out at coffee shops, you’ll know where to look because you understand them. The same goes for your ideal buyer and target audience for each campaign.
If you think like them, you’ll find them where their interests are. For instance: If you’re trying to reach 18- to 24-year-olds on Facebook, you might find it more challenging than targeting them through on TikTok. Learn about and understand the people you’re trying to reach. Then, tailor your campaign to their needs, interests, and favorite types of content.
Determine KPIs That Will Measure Success
If your campaign is for referrals, tracking the sharing of referral links, codes, or social media posts can be crucial for measuring your campaign’s success or failure. For each type of campaign or social media effort, you’ll want to measure your success using specific key performance indicators (KPIs). You can also add KPIs like engagement rate, click-through rate, and more to measure your results. This step will give you a clearer picture of how your audience interacts with and responds to your content.
Create Compelling Content
Now that you’ve set up the kind of campaign you want to create, set expectations for what results you want and how you’ll measure them, it’s time to make your content. Take into account your target audience, define which social media you’ll be using, what message you want to deliver, and how you expect them to interact with it. To get inspiration, visit similar business profiles to learn about what’s popular, what you want to avoid, and how you can put your spin on trending content.
Notable Social Media Marketing Trends
Social media marketing and strategy are by no means static. Just think, the popular content in 2019 became almost obsolete in 2020. Suddenly, what was trending revolved around working from home, fear of mass contagion, and so on. Even when the changes aren’t related to a worldwide event, trends come and go quite quickly. What was booming a month ago is recycled content this month.
What can you try this year that will not be yesterday’s news by the time you post? These are some of the top social media marketing trends to follow this year.
Increase in Personalization When It Comes to Ads
These days, creating a better brand connection and tighter emotional ties in advertising will make you stand out among competitors. Personalize ad content to present the viewers’ identity back to them. Show them that you understand what they care about and how their goals are your goals, too. The more you relate to them, the more they’ll feel like you’re the right choice. You can learn more about paid social media ad management with Disruptive Advertising.
Short-Form Video Content
Short-form is perfect for delivering quick messages to be shared guilt-free. The sender taps twice to share, and the receiver will spend no more than a few seconds watching before moving on to the next. Consumption of short-form was at a shocking 37.5 minutes per session in 2021 across the four major social media video platforms — Instagram Reels, TikTok, Snapchat Spotlight, and Triller. Theories about why we consume shorter videos in such high quantities vary from our increasingly short attention span to our love of quick, witty memes.
Leveraging User-Generated Content
Part of the appeal of social media is the opportunity for reach and the possibility of online communities. After all, what better way to create your first 1,000 true fans than on platforms with millions of highly engaged users? The downside is, of course, that you do have to spend time, effort, and money creating content for them to consume and interact with. Sometimes, this barrier to entry can seem so high that brands shy away from committing to it altogether. One loophole around content creation is partnering with experienced content creators and loyal product users. Find a balance between posting the authenticity of real user content and the quality of professional material. This way, you can show potential users how much better life can be when using your product or service.
The popular board game “What Do You Meme” has gathered 3.9 million followers on TikTok and 61.7 million likes by using generated content from people playing the game. Since meme culture and quick wit are essential to both the social platform and the game, the TikTok content made by this board game’s players is ideal for attracting more of them.
Social Media Communities
Businesses have already used groups and communities on social media before. Now, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Clubhouse have made the experience even more engaging. Facebook dropped new features like customizable colors, greetings, community chats, and even awards and badges. Twitter launched Spaces for audio experiences, following Clubhouse’s lead. Much like an email list, a social media community provides you with a group of users and leads where they can interact, even becoming brand advocates and supporting one another.
The Importance of Having a Social Media Presence
Since we spend so much of our time on social media — and it just keeps growing — being present in these “public” spaces is essential for any business. This is especially true if you’re looking to appeal to your ideal buyer long before the competition gets a chance.
So now you’ve learned about the different social media channels and how they work. You’ve seen how audiences and content differ from one another and maybe even started brainstorming about which ones will prove best for your business. Now that you’ve learned how to create a strategy and reach your target audience, you can give some of these social media trends a try. Start by making one campaign across a couple of platforms, set your goals and KPIs, create your content and assess your results for your next attempt.Ready to take on a bigger marketing strategy but not sure how? Learn more about your social media and other marketing options with Disruptive Advertising.