The importance of social media marketing

24 February 2023
Fmg Blog Social Media

Content is the currency of the digital age. Content. Content. Content. Ka-Ching!

We can’t emphasize it enough. But how does that currency move, you might ask? And how is it transferred? There’s no tap-and-go when it comes to content. No swipe-and-pay.

Social media.

If the content is the currency, then social media is the Visa or MasterCard or Amex – and that means Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are the banks that prop up this digital world of retweets and email blasts.

The importance of social media marketing – using platforms, like those just mentioned, to increase brand awareness and proffer products and/or services to potential customers – can’t be overstated.

So, we’re writing this blog to explain how social media marketing can transform your business. Don’t know a hashtag from a mention? Still confused about why social media is not just important but integral to the commercial viability of your business?

Then this guide is for you.

What is social media marketing?

We’ve already covered a simple definition: utilizing social media to promote your brand and sell products or services to customers.

If your brand launches a new item – be it a cruelty-free face cleanser or a renewable feedstock made from leftover food – and you tell your audience via social media, then guess what? That’s social media marketing.

If you begin an open dialogue online, engaging with people in the comments section, then that’s social media marketing, too.

If you’re telling stories in the digital age – whether it’s with words, images, video, or audio – then that’s also –

You get the point. Social media management tools and a dedicated team of competent copywriters and savvy social media professionals can support you and your business on this journey.

Fmg Blog Social Media Icons

Why is social media marketing important in digital marketing?

Before we try to answer that question, here are some figures for you:

According to the social media management platform Hootsuite’s The Global State of Digital 2022 report, 59.3% of the human population are active social media users. Let that sink in – and that’s 4.2% (or 190 million people) more than last year.

Hootsuite also found that social media giant Facebook is gaining a 39 million year-on-year increase in active monthly users. (And to think people consider Facebook a dying platform!)

It also registered a 12% growth in social advertising spending between 2021 and 2022, plus a 50% increase in the potential audience of Facebook Reel advertisements.

Those figures can’t be undermined or ignored. So, let’s get to the point: Why is social media marketing important in digital marketing?

Because social media marketing is digital marketing. More specifically, it is a form of digital marketing that can help achieve an overall marketing goal.

Through social media, businesses can represent their brand and attract the relevant audience, gaining potential new customers while also keeping existing ones excited and abreast of the latest updates. Responding to likes, comments, and shares will foster a sense of community and build engagement across the target audience.

The importance of social media marketing is made abundantly clear by Hootsuite’s report alone. The world is becoming an ever-increasingly digital one. ‘Log in or switch off,’ the 21st century seems to be saying. ‘There’s no third option.’

Is social media marketing the future of digital marketing?

Short answer? Yes.

If you want to increase brand awareness, generate new leads and sales, boost online or in-person community engagement, grow your audience, and drive traffic to your website and social media pages, then you need to be engaging with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Let’s talk about the latter. According to The Social Shepherd, in 2021 TikTok was the most downloaded app in the world, with much of this growth brought about by viewing habits of the pandemic. During the Covid-19 lockdown period, TikTok registered a whopping 180% growth in viewers aged between 15 and 25.

That’s had a lasting effect. Data shows the average user now opens the popular social media app 19 times per day. As such, advertising on TikTok has become extremely powerful; algorithms make sure the right content is seen by the right people, and that kind of behavior- and search-based profiling can provide excellent value for companies looking to create engaging ads. These can target individuals based on their location, age, sex, and interests.

The future has been famously hard to predict. In the 1950s, people assumed that by 2023 the world would be orbited by flying cars and smiley-faced people wearing neon jetpacks.

Yet one thing is certain: unless a comet dictates otherwise, our world is only going to get more digital. At its core, then, social media marketing is an acknowledgement of this very fact, and there’s no doubt that platforms like TikTok will play a big part in the future of digital marketing.

You don’t have to like it – but you do have to accept it. And with global companies all vying for a slice of the digital pie, there has never been a better time to put together a social media marketing strategy.

‘Just do it,’ as one incredibly successful sportswear brand tells us. Do you think it’s skimping on its social media strategy? Not a chance; that box has an elongated tick running straight through it.

Illustration of social media marketing

How to create a social media marketing strategy

Here we are: The meat (or vegan alternative) of our blog-guide-burger. The how. Let’s break it down into six clear points, which you can use to begin a potential social media marketing strategy:

1.     Goal

Depending on the business and its commercial interests, goals will inevitably vary. But they all have one.

It could be increasing brand awareness or website traffic. It could be growing sales or email sign-up figures. It could be selling 20,000 units of a cruelty-free face cleanser or informing 10,000 people about a new renewable feedstock made from leftovers.

It could even be writing a blog post explaining the importance of social media marketing. Whatever it is, the ends inevitably provide us with a blueprint for the means. And, typically, the means will be putting together a strong social media marketing strategy.

2.     Find your target audience

Finding your target audience is another non-negotiable. By doing so, you’ll be able to make better decisions for your brand. Reaching a small number of the right people can garner much better results than reaching a vast amount of the wrong crowd, especially when you’re paying for social media engagement.

Questions you will need to ask to include: Who are they? What do they like? What do they dislike? What’s important to them? How old are they? Or as Don Draper might put it: What do they want?

Find out the answer to these, and you will find your audience. Think of it as a game of Guess Who – but, you know, your business depends on it. This will effectively lower your cost-per-result for online clicks, and those engaging with your posts will be more likely to act on them.

3.     Find your tone of voice

This blog post has a distinct tone of voice, doesn’t it? It’s familiar, it’s conversational, and it’s not afraid of a dad joke (apologies for the latter). But we wouldn’t use this tone of voice in an email negotiating a sale.

As the maxim goes: It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Though we’d argue both are important, make sure what you’re saying is always said with intent but also a tone that suits the content.

Indeed, we can’t stress how important finding the right tone of voice is for your brand. McDonald’s will, for instance, have a very different tone of voice when compared to J.P. Morgan because their products, services, and audience expectations are very different.

Though, admittedly, social media will naturally inspire a more relaxed lexicon, sticking to your brand’s tone is inevitably going to pay dividends in the long run.

Sure, you’ll want to show some personality, proving that your business is comprised of humans and not one omniscient AI like HAL 9000, but to truly stand out from the crowd you must convey trust and credibility to your audience. To do that, you need to have a consistent tone of voice.

4.     Select platform(s)

Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You need to know these names and what they might be able to offer you.

If you’re putting out a high-resolution image of your face cleanser, then you’ll want to skip YouTube and go straight to Instagram.

Likewise, if you’re releasing a ten-second clip showcasing the combustion of your renewable feedstock, avoid Pinterest and opt for TikTok.

As with your tone of voice, find a platform that amplifies your content in the most applicable way. Then you can put together a plan of how and when to release it.

5.     Create a content strategy

Another maxim: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Now we’ve covered what counts as social media marketing, let’s talk about how we can prepare a plan (and avoid failure, together).

If you’ve got to this stage, then here’s the good news: You’ve already begun to create a content strategy.

You have a goal; you know your audience, and you’re channelling a tone that works for them. Plus, you’ve landed on the relevant platforms for your output.

All that’s needed is structure. By planning ahead and scheduling posts with calendar tools like Hootsuite and Sendible, you can stay ahead of the competition and publish your content at the most relevant time.

For instance, according to Facebook Business Suite, a post may receive the most engagement at 6:00 pm on a Wednesday evening. However, to get the most out of insights like this, we’d always recommend consulting a social media professional as they’ll be able to accurately pinpoint what works best for your content and your business.

But don’t stop there: content strategies shouldn’t be static. Rather, they should remain in a state of flux. With tools like Google Trends and Semrush, you can identify the hottest, most talked about and searched topics to inform your content. Stay relevant over time, and your posts will consistently perform.

6.     Measure and evaluate the performance

Finally, it would be wise to see how your content is performing.

The most important metrics to gauge with organic social media posts include reach, impressions, engagement (likes, views, shares, and comments), and audience growth rate. Whereas, with paid equivalents, you’ll want to also measure click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and conversion rate.

With tools like Google Analytics or in-house insights from social media platforms like Facebook, it has never been easier to find out what works – and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

Posts might be too boring. Alternatively, they might be too IN YOUR FACE. The key is noting what works and doing more of that, while still being confident enough to try new things and track how they perform. For example, is there a pattern behind your high-performing posts?

By cracking the code, your next post might just become the newest viral sensation.

All you need to do then is adjust accordingly. It’s the same kind of evolution that took you out of the sea and onto dry land, giving you the means to sit and read this very post.

Content adapts and trends change. Stay abreast of them and you’ll not only stand out from the crowd, but you’ll also watch your business transform – all thanks to the power of social media marketing.

Are you looking for help with your social media? Get in contact with us here and find out how we can help.

 

Written by Alexander Caesari.

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