A Beginner's Introduction to Social Media Marketing

In today’s online world, social media has taken the internet by storm and it doesn’t look like it’ll be dying out anytime soon. This makes social media an integral part of any digital marketing campaign. Depending on your industry, different social media platforms may work better than others, but the bottom line is clear: if you want to have a successful digital marketing campaign for your brand, you need to implement social media marketing.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of creating content for social media platforms to promote what your business offers. Social media is constantly evolving, with new features and platforms emerging all the time, making social media digital marketing an ever-changing process. The main focus of social media marketing is meeting your target audience and customers where they are and as they socially interact with each other and your brand. While social media digital marketing as a whole is incredibly valuable and beneficial for the growth of your business, it’s important to understand that your strategy will be different based on the most popular social media platform your target market or audience uses. 

Stats that Prove the Importance of Social Media Marketing

Each year, the number of social media users climbs higher and higher, which is why it's vital to utilize the different platforms to reach potential and existing customers. Below are some statistics to really highlight the significant of social media marketing.

Social Media Marketing Services at Americaneagle.com

Pillars of Social Media Marketing

These days, your business needs to be on social media and there should be a decent amount of digital marketing efforts and budget on your digital marketing and social media strategy for it to succeed.

There are five main pillars of social media management, and each one has a unique and significant role in excelling:

Strategy

Creating an effective social media strategy will be the backbone of your online presence. Without a strategy, you will struggle to achieve your goals and reach your target audience. Having a content strategy enables you to drive engagement, create valuable content, and increase conversions. It has clear, measurable goals, specific plans to meet these goals, and benchmarks to check performance and make changes as needed.

Listening & Engagement

While social media may seem like it’s all about posting the right content, engaging with your audience is also incredibly important. Even though the feedback you receive won’t always be positive, it will give you an opportunity to make meaningful changes that impact your audience. Listening and engagement are part of having a successful social media marketing strategy and will allow you to gain insight into your industry, learn new trends, and even find influencers in your niche that can help you grow.

Advertising

Advertising on social media is a massive aspect of having a successful social media marketing strategy. With millions of users across social media platforms, you have the opportunity to reach a lot of people on a consistent basis. The three main types of social media advertising are organic, paid, and earned. They each play a different role in your digital marketing strategy:

  • Organic content is content that is seen by your audience naturally without cost to you.
  • Paid advertising is content that a business will pay for, therefore it will cost money to post.
  • Earned advertising is content that has been posted for free that has then been spread freely through likes, comments, and shares.

Planning

When it comes to planning and publishing content on your social media platforms, the golden rule to follow is this: Be consistent. Not only will this keep your audience interested, but will also show that your business is consistent in its digital marketing, which translates to building trust between your audience and your business. When you’re planning content to post, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who your audience is in order to connect with them in a strategic way. The content posted on social media should be worthwhile and in line with your brand values.

Analytics

One of the most crucial aspects of having a successful social media marketing campaign is having analytics to track and collect your data. This will allow you to not only further understand user behavior, but to also refine your strategy. Refining your strategy includes figuring out which platforms work best for your business and knowing the best times to post and share information.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Social media provides a world of opportunity for brands looking to expand their audience or digital marketing campaigns. There are many benefits to social media marketing:

Generate Leads and Customers

Thanks to features like Instagram and Facebook shops, direct messaging, call-to-action buttons on profiles, and appointment booking capabilities, it has never been easier for your audience to interact with your brand in a meaningful way. Social media strategy for lead generation opens your brand up to become more accessible to your audience and drives more people to convert.

Brand Awareness

Social media platforms are visual in nature, giving your brand the opportunity to build your visual identity across your target audience and expand it.  Not only will this increase your brand awareness, but it will also humanize your business. Through your profile, posts, and interactions with your audience, you will be able to form relationships with them. This will allow your audience to trust your brand and your product. Being active on social media platforms will allow you to become an active participant in your market and build both direct and indirect lines of communication with your followers: discussions, gathering feedback, networking, and connecting with others.

Drive Traffic

Having social media profiles is a great way to drive traffic to the most important aspects of your brand. Whether it’s your website, blog, or anything else, social media has made it easy to implement links in your profile and posts that will give direction to your audience.  

Top Social Media Platforms & Understanding the Differences Between Social Media Platforms

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, but it’s also for consumers to keep up with their favorite brands. Many social media platforms exist, so it’s important to clearly understand each social media platform to choose the best one for your digital marketing strategy.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social media platform and offers marketers the most data, giving them the ability to put out precise and targeted ads. Facebook has a variety of programs within the platform to create digital marketing materials that can be tracked.

Meta Business Manager

The Meta Business Suite tool is important if you want to start any sort of digital marketing campaign on Facebook. The best way to describe this tool? It’s an umbrella to manage ads, pages, people, and inboxes. This tool is a must for any business that wants to use Facebook for its digital marketing and is especially useful because it gathers everything in one place, giving you a way to look at your digital marketing performance in a holistic way.

Advertising on Facebook

When creating a Facebook ad campaign, you first want to choose the goal of your campaign. This will allow both you and Facebook to have a clear understanding of the purpose of your campaign and the best way to reach your objectives. You have the chance to completely customize your audience after you’ve chosen your goal, or you can use Facebook’s suggestions. The final aspect of creating a Facebook ad campaign is to select the devices that you want to target. While Facebook recommends using auto ad placement - if you don’t feel inclined to use this feature, you can customize exactly which devices and locations you want your ads to target.

Instagram

Out of all of the big social media platforms, Instagram has the highest level of engagement. It’s a platform primarily based on images, but its video content has also become popular in recent years. If you’re looking to release content on Instagram, you have the option to create photos, Instagram stories, and short or long-form videos. This type of content gives brands the opportunity to reach a wide network of people and grow their audience.

TikTok

TikTok is a video-sharing app that first launched in 2016 and is currently one of the biggest social media platforms, with over a billion active monthly users. TikTok is structured through short-form videos that can be about almost anything and made customizable through music, filters, and editing. Digital marketing on TikTok is relatively affordable and is an incredible space for your brand to become more creative in your marketing efforts in ways that may not be as effective on the other platforms. 

Twitter

While other platforms like Instagram and TikTok focus on visual content, Twitter focuses mainly on written content. Twitter isn’t as big as Instagram or Facebook, but it has a large audience and works best for brands that want to create a sense of community and interact with their audience in a more casual way.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the oldest social media platforms, and it has changed the way we consume video content. For marketers, it’s an incredible way to share long-form content with your audience. If you’re looking to share content on YouTube, don’t overthink it. Your audience will be attracted to your videos if they’re genuine and in the same vein as the rest of your digital marketing content.

YouTube Video Ads

Alongside creating your own content on the platform, you can also implement YouTube video ads in your digital marketing campaigns. There are currently several types of YouTube ads. Viewers will either be able to skip your ad back after a few seconds or YouTube will make them watch the entire video, depending on the type of ad you choose. When it comes to putting ads on YouTube, don’t be afraid to test out different kinds to see which ones will work best.

Pinterest

Pinterest can best be described as a digital scrapbook, and with over half of its monthly users being female, this is a great platform for marketers looking to target a female audience.  Pinterest is a great platform for brands that are looking to sell products to people. Pinterest pins are organized so that advertisements are able to run seamlessly on their feed pages. This social media platform is one that is based on highly visual content, so it’s important to have quality images as part of any Pinterest marketing campaign. 

LinkedIn

The best way to describe LinkedIn is that it’s all about being professional – casual content won’t do nearly as well on here as it will on other platforms. People scroll on LinkedIn to learn more about what’s new in their industry, how to optimize their work performance, who’s hiring, and more. If your brand is one that helps people in expanding their network or conduct business in a more seamless way, LinkedIn may be the best social media platform for you.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are very similar to Facebook Groups, with the main difference being that LinkedIn Groups consist of like-minded professionals that discuss their industry, topics of interest, and expertise. It’s a good way to establish your business as a leader within your industry, make strong connections with like-minded people, and bring more awareness to your business.

LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn can also be used to run advertising, and this can be especially useful if your business is a B2B. LinkedIn is one of the more effective social media platforms for B2B companies and lead generation because people are there to talk business, so they enjoy interacting with businesses.

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

A social media marketing strategy is the backbone of any marketing efforts your business conducts on social media. Not only does this document help guide your process, but it also outlines your specific goals, the methods you will implement to achieve said goals, and the metrics you will use to measure your progress on those goals. When you’re starting to create a social media marketing strategy, it may be overwhelming to figure out what’s most important to your business. Let’s break down the steps you can take to create a successful social media strategy.

Set Your Goals

Before anything else starts, it’s important that you have clear goals with what you want to achieve in your social media marketing efforts. If your social media marketing strategy doesn’t have any goals, then you have no way to measure your success and ROI. Each of your goals should be relevant, measurable, time-bound, and specific.

Get to Know Your Audience

If you have a clear image of your audience, then you will be able to engage and interact with them in meaningful ways on social media. When thinking about your ideal customer, it’s important to know things like:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Average income
  • Interests

While these should not be the only things you know about your audience, this will provide a solid foundation in which to begin and you’ll continue to learn more about who will follow you and engage with your content.  Social media platforms provide analytics that can provide you with a lot of valuable information about your followers, which will help you refine your marketing strategy and better target your audience.

Explore the Competition

There’s a good chance that your competitors are already using social media; this will give you a great opportunity to learn from the tactics they’re implementing. If you conduct a competitive analysis, you will be able to better understand who your competition is, what they’re doing right on social media, and what they’re doing wrong. This will not only help you get a good sense of the way your industry works on social media, but will also help you spot opportunities for you to grow in spaces that your competitor may be neglecting.

Social Media Audit

This step is important and one you should complete if you’re currently on social media. Take a look at your social media efforts thus far and think about the following:

  • Who is engaging with your content?
  • Which networks does your target audience use?
  • What’s working and what isn’t?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, you can start the process of working to improve what you think could be done better. The end goal of a social media audit is to give you a clear picture of the purpose of each social media account and, if you’ve found an account with no clear purpose, think about whether or not it’s worth keeping.

Create or Revamp Your Profiles

Now that you’re at the point to decide which social media platforms you should be on, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed again. As the years go on, more and more social media platforms are born, making it difficult to navigate which platforms will work best for your business and audience. In order to make it easier to go through, think about the social media platforms you’re thinking about using, then decide what the purpose of each social media account will be. From there, you should create a separate marketing strategy for each platform because each platform works differently and different purposes will have different means to reach the goal.

Once you’ve figured out which social media platforms you should use, it’s time to create your profile or revamp your existing profile to reflect your strategy. When you’re creating a social media profile, make sure to fill out all fields of the profile, use consistent branding across networks to make your profiles more recognizable, and include some keywords that people would use to search for your business. 

Create a Social Media Scheduling Calendar

It’s essential to share high-quality content with your audience, but it’s even more important to have a plan in place for when you’ll share your content in order to make a maximum impact. Having a social media content calendar is key to keeping track of everything you’re posting on all platforms, as well as accounting for the time you spend interacting with your audience.

A content calendar will list the date and times that you will publish content on each channel, making it the perfect space to plan all of your social media activities. These activities can include link sharing, images, or resharing user-generated content to blog posts and videos. Not only does this calendar include content for specific social media campaigns, but also for your day-to-day social media activities. Your calendar will give you the time and energy to figure out which days and times are the most lucrative for your content to reach the most amount of people.

Your content calendar will also allow you to see the different strategies you’ve created for each platform and how they will be implemented. This ensures that the content you post is working towards your goals.

Create Content

Creating engaging and compelling content is the core of social media marketing, but it’s also essential to make sure your content aligns with the goals and strategies you’ve put in place for each platform. When it comes to creating content for your social media profiles, make sure to keep your content aligned with the goal for each platform. Ideally, you should generate different types of content that’s not only suited for the platform, but also for the purpose you’ve set for that particular platform. For example, posting a polished corporate video on TikTok won’t perform because TikTok users expect and engage to see short, unpolished videos on that specific platform.

It’s important to understand that content creation isn’t always easy, so if you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut, go back to basics. Remember which platforms you want to use and why you want to use those specific platforms. Go back and review your goals and make content that aligns with them.

Track Your Progress

Now that your social media marketing strategies are being implemented on your social media profiles, the next step is to track how successful your strategies are. As you continue posting on different platforms in order to achieve your goals, you may find that some strategies don’t work as well as you expected and others are working better than anticipated. Tracking your progress is an incredibly important aspect of a successful social media marketing strategy because it allows you to have a clear view of the progress of your strategies and make changes as needed.

When you’re tracking your progress, you have options as to how you want to track everything, including social media platform analytics and UTM parameters to track which social media posts are driving traffic to your website. Once you’ve started analyzing the data that’s coming in, you should use it to re-evaluate your strategy on a regular basis. This information can also be used to test out different posts, social media marketing campaigns, and even strategies against one another. Constantly testing your social media allows you to have a clear understanding of what works for your social media profiles and what doesn’t, giving you the opportunity to refine your strategy in real time.

If you still have questions regarding social media strategy after reading this section, download our whitepaper titled, “Social Media Strategy: Your Questions Answered.”

How to Measure Social Media Marketing Impact

Measuring your social media marketing impact is one of the most important aspects of having a social media marketing strategy. If you don’t have any way to measure your metrics, it will be difficult to understand how your social media efforts are working in favor of your business. Every social media platform has its own native analytics that you can explore and find what you need. This is especially helpful if you’re just starting out on social media and want to keep your budget low until you have more time or funds to funnel into your efforts. There are all sorts of social media analytics tools that can be used if you’re looking to use more than just what’s offered on the platform itself. These tools will also allow you to create reports and pull different data to ensure you have a full picture of what your social media impact is.

Key Social Media Metrics to Track for Performance Analysis  

One of the reasons that social media can be lucrative for businesses? It allows them to track almost every single aspect of their social media metrics. While this can be effective, it may initially feel overwhelming because there are so many different metrics that can be used. Depending on your social media marketing goals and your business, your metrics may look different than that of other businesses. However, there are some social media metrics that are important for every organization on social media to track.

Reach

In simple terms, reach is the number of people who view your content. While it may seem like a simple metric, it’s a good idea to monitor your average reach across a platform, as well as the reach of each individual post, story, or video. A valuable subset of this metric is that it looks at what percentage of your reach is made up of your followers versus non-followers. For example, if there are a large amount of people viewing your content who don’t follow you, it means that your content is either being shared, doing well on the algorithms, or both.

Impressions

The impressions on your social media indicates the number of times people saw your content, and it’s important to know that this number can be higher than your reach due to people viewing your content multiple times. This can be an extremely helpful metric because if you notice a certain type of content you’re posting has a higher number of impressions than other posts, it may be valuable to understand what exactly is making people look at that piece of content multiple times.

Engagement

On social media, engagement can mean a number of things such as likes, comments, and shares. Your engagement rate is the number of times one of these actions occurs. There are multiple ways that you can track your engagement and it can be done in relation to the number of follows you have or relative to people who don’t follow you, or both.

Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate, commonly known as CTR, is how often people click a link in your post to access additional content, which could be anything from your online store to a blog post. Your CTR gives you a sense of how many people saw your content and wanted to learn more, which is a good indicator of how well your social media content promotes your business.

Conversion Rate

A conversion rate measures how often your social media content starts the process of a conversion event, which could be anything from completing a purchase to filling out a form. This is one of the most important metrics that can be utilized because it shows how your social media helps funnel people into the conversion process. 

Essential Social Media Management Tools for Marketers

There are many different tools out there than can be used to measure and analyze your social media marketing, making it overwhelming when you’re trying to find one that works best for your business. The three options below are some of the best social media marketing tools around.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is unique because it provides you with a deep dive into your performance on one platform or quickly compares results across multiple platforms all at once. Sprout Social can also quickly organize and share your data in simple and presentation-ready reports to see the full view of your marketing efforts on social media. They also offer Premium Analytics, where you can create a custom report that’s tailored to your goals.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a great social media analytics tool that has many different features that can be utilized for any social media marketing goal. They offer expansive graphs and visuals that can be used to break down numbers by specific platforms, audience, impressions, and more. This tool is also a part of HubSpot’s Marking Hub, which is their all-in-one inbound marketing software, meaning that you will have insight into the entire customer journey. This will help your see which marketing tactics are working best for your business, learn about your social media campaign’s ROI, and more.

Google Analytics

Even though Google Analytics isn’t solely a social media analytics tool, it is one of the best ways to track social media campaigns and help you measure your social media ROI. This is especially convenient if you already have an account set up on your website to monitor and analyze traffic, and you will be able to access and create reports specifically for your social media accounts.

Social Media Marketing Resources

Social media marketing is a massive and ever-changing field. With platforms constantly making updates, best practices on different social media platforms can change overnight. Luckily, there are many different tools available so you can make the most of these changes as they happen. These tools will not only allow you to stay up to date on changes in the industry, but to also utilize them as quickly as possible for maximum effect.

Social Media Today

Social Media Today is an Industry Dive publication that provides analytics on what’s happening in the social media world. They offer content in a variety of formats, including articles, webinars, and even full marketing playbooks. They also have a daily newsletter that delivers the day’s top stories right to your inbox.

Sprout Social’s Insights Blog

Sprout’s Insight blog is home to tons of tactical how-to articles, interviews with fellow social media marketers, original research, and more. Explore their page to learn more about the latest in social media trends and tactics.

Workweek’s Social Files Newsletter

Tommy Clark has many bookmark-worth Twitter threads talking about social media marketing. When he’s not breaking the internet with his insights, he’s working on a weekly newsletter called Social Files. This is a great resource for tactic-focused advice that’s digestible and fun to read.

Social Media Marketing FAQs

If you’ve never done social media marketing, it can feel intimidating and overwhelming. Below are some of the most common questions and answers about social media marketing.

What metrics should I measure on social media?

The metrics that your business will use to measure the progress of your social media marketing strategies should be based entirely on your goals. This will look different for every strategy, but here some common metrics used to measure progress on social media:

  • Impressions 
  • Engagement 
  • Mentions 
  • Social Referral Traffic
  • Followers

What are common issues with social media marketing strategies?

One of the biggest issues for social media marketing strategies is that some people don’t curate their content for each platform that they’re using. While it may be convenient to use the same content for both Instagram and Facebook, one may perform better than the other because the two platforms rely on different aspects of content, have different algorithms, etc., so it’s important that you have a clear understanding of the things that will make you most successful on each individual platform.

Why should I invest in social media marketing?

Social media is an incredibly effective way to not only increase brand awareness, but to also build a community of people who follow and trust your business. This makes social media a revenue driver, a facilitator of conversation surrounding your business, and the best way to make your audience feel like it’s a part of your brand. Social media also allows you to boost and target your posts to reach your target audience, which is a great way to launch a retargeting or brand awareness campaign.

Which social media platforms should I use?

These days, it feels as though there’s a new social media platform popping up every other week, so it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a new platform. However, it’s important to understand that each social media platform utilized will require time, energy, and money in order to fulfill your goals. If you’re just starting out on social media, choose one or two platforms that make the most sense and make consistent, high-quality posts in order to capitalize on them.

How effective is video content on social media?

Video content is extremely effective when utilized in a social media marketing strategy, especially on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. When creating video content for your social media platforms, incorporate a mix of live and produced videos in your strategy.

Case Studies and Success Stories of Social Media Marketing Agencies

Through expert advice and insights on effective social media marketing, Americaneagle.com has helped a variety of clients realize success.

Keller Williams MAPs Coaching

Precisely tailored organic and paid social media initiatives were devised and initiated for the Keller Williams MAPS Coaching program. Americaneagle.com constructed inclusive social media schedules for every month and delivered three updates per week on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Promoted content was shared on Facebook and Instagram for swift exposure to prospective prospects. The analytics and reporting systems of MAPS Coaching were extensively revamped to precisely gauge and convey achievements, granting the team a more distinct understanding of the enterprise.

SOLO Supports

In order to captivate SOLO Support’s viewers on YouTube and the Google video network, the team established video advertisements to create extra chances for enhancing brand recognition. Additionally, the digital marketing team initiated a TikTok campaign to effectively target a younger audience, which yielded fruitful outcomes by directing relevant potential customers to the SOLO Supports online store.

Within a span of two months, Americaneagle.com achieved a remarkable 6.2 million impressions through advertising efforts for SOLO Supports, resulting in over 58,000 website visits. This led to a substantial +367% surge in revenue for the ecommerce store compared to the preceding period

Close-up view of a smartphone screen displaying social media app icons: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube.

Partner with an Expert Website Agency to Implement Social Media Marketing Strategies

The internet plays an integral role in the way we market our businesses, and it’s constantly evolving. It’s not a simple process to figure out which social media platforms or features may be best for your organization and that’s where the digital marketing team at Americaneagle.com can help.

Americaneagle.com is a digital marketing and web design company with over 25 years of experience building campaigns and websites that convert. We’ve helped thousands of clients in all types of industries realize measurable growth. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your business achieve digital success, contact us today. 


About Author

Marina Kyriakopoulos
Marina Kyriakopoulos is one of Americaneagle.com’s Content Writers. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Writing and Publishing. Throughout her time at Americaneagle.com, she has gained experience writing for a variety of industries and prides herself on creating content in an informative and engaging way. When not writing, Marina can be found browsing a local Barnes and Noble or watching the latest streaming series to break the internet.


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