The Definitive Guide To Social Media Marketing For Businesses

Social media has never been more popular. More than 2.77 billion people are actively using at least one of the major social media platforms.

These platforms initially began as convenient ways to stay connected with your friends, family, and professional peers.

Since their humble beginnings as glorified phonebooks, they have transformed into amazingly powerful tools for brands to connect with buyers. Marketers can utilize the vast amounts of data these companies have on their users to target their ideal customer with a message designed just for them.

Because social media has become so crucial in the marketing landscape, you must understand how to use it to build brand awareness, drive conversions, and ultimately increase revenue.

social media marketing

Why is social media marketing important for businesses?

If you have a business, you need to be marketing on social media. Full stop. No excuses.

Here’s why.

High penetration rate

2.3 billion of the world’s 7.53 billion people use social media ‒ a 30% penetration rate. This percentage increases substantially in developed nations like the United States, where 69% of adults have at least one social media account.

It’s ubiquitous

Social media is used in every aspect of our lives ‒ work, personal life, politics, news, and more. Everyone has access to social media on all of their devices ‒ their phones, their computers, even their car. Because so much of your audience uses social media, you need to meet them where they are.

It boosts SEO

Most businesses use their website as a hub for their marketing efforts. Marketers use various strategies to push people to a website that is set up to engage and convert.

Social media aids in this conversion process by helping your website rank higher in search engines. The clicks to your site you get from social shares can improve your time-on-site and bounce rate metrics. The increased engagement with your website provided by interested social media users will improve SEO.

It’s the best way to leverage networks

According to Nielsen, 90% of people believe what their friends and family say about a business or product. If you can get your followers to share your posts with their networks, it’s the best form of advertising available.

Many people research products on social media

Depending on the social platform in question, between 36% and 43% of users use said platform to research products they’re considering buying. By incorporating social media into your marketing strategy, you can get your products or services in front of interested consumers who are actively looking for them.

Preparing your social media marketing strategy

social media marketing strategy

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

While we’re not chopping trees over here, we are preparing for a pretty enormous endeavor. Marketing your business on social media is a complicated task. Diving into it headfirst without adequate preparation is essentially planning for failure.

Don’t worry, though. I’ve laid out all of the preparation you’ll need to do in the next few sections.

Establish social media marketing goals

The very first thing you need to do is plan your goals.

Your ultimate goal will be to increase revenue ‒ and that’s fine. Put that down as your first goal if you like.

If you want this goal to be helpful though, you should get a bit more specific. What needs to happen for you to see a revenue increase?

  • Do you need to acquire new customers by building brand awareness?
  • Do you need to generate leads by driving traffic to your website?
  • Do you need to increase sales with paid advertising?
  • Do you need to nurture current customers and turn them into brand advocates?

Whatever your business needs from social media, write it down, and work to achieve it.

SMART goal-setting

If you want your goal to be practical and achievable, it needs to be SMART:

We’all know this goal approach very well; it has to be…

  • Specific ‒ The goal is clear and well-defined.
  • Measurable ‒ There are specific metrics you can measure that will tell you how close you are toward achieving your goal.
  • Achievable ‒ The goal is not impossible to achieve.
  • Realistic ‒ The goal fits into your life situation at the moment.
  • Timely ‒ The goal has a defined timeline with a start date and an end date.

Create an audience buyer persona

An audience buyer persona is a fictional person who represents your company’s typical customer.

Why create an audience buyer persona?

Making an audience persona helps you learn what types of content you should make. Does your audience like dense, 50-page guides? Do they prefer informational videos? Are infographics their main thing? This information will help you make effective content from the get-go.

You’ll also learn which tone and style to use when communicating with your audience. Some demographics like a light, conversational tone. Others like a direct, no-nonsense tone. Others still trust a more formal tone over the alternatives.

On top of this, it will also help you decide which topics to make content about. Guessing which topics your audience wants to know about is silly when you can simply ask them.

How to create an audience buyer persona

If you want to build a well-researched audience persona, here are a few things you can do:

  • Create a customer/prospect survey ‒ Chat with your customers or prospects in the store, on the phone, create a poll on social media, share a SurveyMonkey survey with a promotional offer for those who complete it, send out some questions to your email list ‒ there are a ton of ways to do it.
  • Research your ideal customer ‒ Choose a particular individual and look through their online presence. Which social platforms are they on? What do they post on those platforms? What kinds of content are they liking? Create a document with links to relevant information.
  • Use a template ‒ the easiest way to make an audience persona is to use one of the many professionally-made templates out there. Here are a few of my favorite options:
  • Hubspot’s Buyer Persona Template
  • Xtensio User Persona Template
  • Digital Marketer Customer Avatar Worksheet
  • Demand Metric Buyer Persona Template

Don’t be overly exclusive

The microtargeting capabilities available on most social platforms make it tempting to create an extremely narrow and specific audience persona. While this might be useful on other mediums, it’s best to stay relatively broad on social media.

Map your goals to the customer lifecycle

stages customer lifecycle

The customer lifecycle describes the stages that typical consumer experiences as they move through the marketing and sales funnel.

Understanding this lifecycle and adapting your goals and messaging to fit a particular stage is integral to successfully attracting, converting, and retaining customers.

Incorporating the customer lifecycle is important no matter which marketing strategies you employ. But the personal and direct way that social media connects you to your customers makes it an ideal place to use lifecycle-related strategies.

While the exact phases differ depending on your industry and the specific product/service you offer, the customer lifecycle can be broken down into five main components:

Discovery/Awareness

Discovery/ awareness is the phase in which a consumer starts searching for a product or service. They might be trying to solve a problem or replace an older version of a product they currently own.

Whatever their reason, the Discovery phase is typically characterized by internet searches, reading customer reviews, and comparing competitor brands. You can increase your chance of capturing audience interest on social media by posting plenty of early-stage messages and understanding the social platforms your target audience spends the most time on.

Education/Engagement

Once a consumer is interested in your brand, you need to answer their questions and address their concerns.

  • What are the features of your product?
  • How does the product address their pain points?
  • How does your product work?
  • Why should they trust you?
  • How do they obtain the product?

Also, educate them on the unique selling point of your product and brand. By differentiating yourself from the competition, you increase the odds of landing a conversion and moving this consumer to the next stage of the lifecycle.

Develop/Nurture

At this point, the customer has already made a purchase. It’s now your job to remain in contact with that customer and build a relationship with them. Not only do you want to ensure that their initial purchase was satisfactory, but you also want to turn them into repeat customers.

Retention

The Retention phase is an extension of the Develop/Nurture phase. Your main goal here is to convince consumers to keep making additional purchases, upsell them on other products, and eventually turn them into advocates.

Advocacy

The last stage a consumer goes through in the typical customer lifecycle is the advocacy stage. When they get to this point, they are so thoroughly connected to and impressed by your brand that they recommend you to their social networks. This can include friends, family, and acquaintances that they are primarily connected to via social media.

Understand the most popular social media platforms

 

Facebook

With more than 2.23 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social media platform on the planet. Much of its success is due to their extreme focus on a quality user experience, as well as the fact that they were one of the first social networks to come into existence.

Over the years, Facebook has morphed from a fun way to stay in touch with friends and families into a marketer’s playground. With over ten different ad formats and a ton of organic ways to interact with your target audience, Facebook is an excellent platform for your business regardless of your industry.

Facebook’s primary content discovery system is called the News Feed. Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes content that it thinks users will find particularly interesting or helpful.

The key to success on Facebook is consistently getting your posts into your audience’s News Feeds. This is easier said than done, especially because Facebook’s algorithm is proprietary. However, we do know of a few metrics Facebook analyzes when determining the relevance of a post.

  • Time spent reading a post ‒ Facebook measures how long each of their users spends reading a post. Posts with higher engagement times are pushed to the top of your audience’s news feeds, while posts that people skip over are generally not shown.
  • Time spent with content ‒ Facebook also measures the amount of time users spend consuming pieces of content.
  • Video actions ‒ Video behaviors are different from post behaviors, so Facebook gauges relevance on videos differently. They measure the length of the video that was watched, whether they turned the sound on, whether they made it full-screen, whether they turned on HD quality, etc.

Twitter

With 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is significantly smaller than Facebook. However, this number is more than enough to support an extremely active community of people looking for instant updates on events and newsworthy happenings.

Twitter has become an essential element in any social media marketing plan. It’s a great place to establish yourself as an authority on a topic, and the direct and public interactions between you and your audience make it a good tool for developing consumer-business relationships.

The key to success on Twitter is to build up a large following of people who genuinely care about what you have to say. To help you build up a Twitter audience from scratch, you can use the following tips:

  • Craft interesting Tweets ‒ Twitter is all about Tweeting, or sending 280 character messages to other people on the platform. If you write a Tweet that other people find intriguing, you can go viral overnight ‒ landing you a bunch of new followers in the process.
  • Use the right hashtags ‒ The hashtags you use will dictate the people who follow you. Use hashtags relevant to your industry to attract an audience who is interested in what you have to say.
  • Use @ mentions ‒ You can send a Tweet directly to another person by placing the @ symbol in front of their Twitter handle. The person receiving the Tweet will be notified that you @’d them and will have a chance to respond.

Instagram

Looking to accelerate your social media marketing?

Instagram is an image and video sharing platform that is becoming increasingly more lucrative to market on. With a respectable 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram lends itself well to a variety of promotional strategies.

As I mentioned earlier, images are the most popular form of content on Instagram. Here are a few tips to help you post quality content and build a following on Instagram.

  • Make your photos look fantastic ‒ Many Instagram users are drawn to photos with professional editing and photography concepts applied to them.
  • Post personal content ‒ People like to see the behind the scenes of the brands they follow. Post images that both humanize your brand and provide this background view into your business’s daily operations.
  • Use hashtags ‒ Like Twitter, your being discovered on Instagram is largely dependent on hashtags. By using hashtags, you’ll place yourself in the feed of people who follow those hashtags. If those people like your content, they’ll give you a follow ‒ and potentially become a customer down the road.

LinkedIn

With more than 460 million users, LinkedIn boasts the world’s largest network of professionals. What started out as a networking platform and hiring board has become a B2B juggernaut, complete with sophisticated advertising functions, sleek and functional company pages, and the ability to publish blog posts and other types of content.

The key to success on LinkedIn is building up an authoritative brand presence. This presence will help your business attract partners, employees, and sales. Once you build up a presence, you’ll want to use it to engage with your network by posting articles, product information, industry news, and more.

Here are a few tips to help you build an exceptional presence on LinkedIn:

  • Craft the perfect profile page ‒ Your profile page dictates how other users will perceive you ‒ so take the time to pick superb images and messages.
  • Build a network ‒ A large part of your image on LinkedIn is inextricably linked to the size and quality of your network. Make an effort to reach out to people you want to connect with ‒ you’d be surprised at how many people you don’t know accept your connection request.
  • Create or join a group ‒ A LinkedIn group is a community where like-minded people can share content related to a particular niche or topic. Joining an established group ‒ or making your own ‒ can make it easier to build a better network.

YouTube

YouTube is more of an aggregation video site than a social network. However, with more than 1.9 billion users, it would be silly to leave it out.

Success on YouTube is dependent on your ability to create high-quality videos. Once you’ve got the video uploaded, you’ll need to attract a following.

Growing a large subscriber base on YouTube can be tricky, though. Here are a couple of tips to make the process a bit smoother:

  • Post consistently ‒ Persistence is key on YouTube. Your top priority should be to post new content on a regular schedule, even if nobody is watching it yet.
  • Use the right keywords ‒ Many of your first subscribers will find you through YouTube or Google search results. By using keywords that accurately describe your content, you increase your chances of getting some organic search traffic.

Avoid common mistakes

Social media is a wildly different beast when compared to other marketing platforms. To complete your goals successfully, you’ll need to avoid some common mistakes that many social media marketers seem to make.

Don’t oversell

The ultimate goal in social media marketing is to increase revenue. However, that doesn’t mean you should treat your Facebook page as a free way to spam endless advertisements. Excessive self-promotion will turn off prospects and annoy your existing customer base.

Measure your ROI

We’ll talk in-depth about ROI measurement later, but it needs mentioning here. Many marketers fail to measure the ROI that their social media efforts generate. If you don’t know how much revenue social media is generating, you don’t know if your efforts are effective.

Don’t use every social media site

It’s tempting to start accounts on every single social platform in existence. But while this idea is good in theory, it doesn’t work well in reality. Maintaining a continuous presence on social media requires constant engagement and content creation. If you’re juggling ten different social media accounts, none of them will get the attention they need.

Creating your social media content

create content that attracts and engages

Social media is driven by content. Without text, images, or videos that engage and inform, you’re going to have a hard time landing a single follower.

To consistently create content that attracts and engages, there are a bunch of factors you need to account for. This section will discuss all of them at length.

Content length

Most consumers use social media with a relatively low attention span. With dozens of posts jostling for attention in the news feed, it’s going to be incredibly hard to get your audience to view your post for more than a few seconds.

The number one tip I have is this: make it helpful ‒ but make it short. At least at first.

Your audience interactions on social media will basically be a series of successively longer engagements. Here’s an analogy that might help you visualize this better:

Think of each audience member as someone you consistently see at the bus stop on your daily commute to work.

You start off by saying “hi” each day ‒ a brief engagement, nothing crazy. Even if you wanted to have a longer conversation with this person, they probably wouldn’t want to. After all, you’re still a total stranger to them ‒ why should they give you more than a few seconds of their day?

After a week or two, you start having longer, more meaningful interactions. Maybe you let them know it’s going to rain later, or that the bus is running a bit late. If your advice is helpful, they’ll start to trust you a bit more ‒ and will be willing to give you more of their time in the future.

Soon they’ll be willing to give you whole minutes of their time. As long as you keep providing content that helps or entertains, they will keep listening to what you have to say.

The end goal here is to have this audience member actively seeking out your advice/content. You don’t want to rely on your posts popping up in their feed to get them to engage with them. You want them intentionally going to your page and checking up on the latest stuff you’ve posted.

In actuality, unless you’re using paid advertising, you won’t be able to target newer followers with shorter content and older followers with longer content. If your accounts have been around for longer than a few months, you’re going to have a mix of new and old followers.

This is fine ‒ it just means you need to align your content size with the progress of your social accounts.

Newer accounts should have a focus on shorter content. Because most of your target audience is unfamiliar with you, most will only be comfortable giving you a few moments of their time.

Once you’ve established a following who is beginning to trust you, you can start posting longer content more frequently. Because you’ve proven that you know what you’re talking about, they’re going to give your words more weight.

Note: The need for trust is dependent on the industry you’re in. If you’re in the market of selling flashy party favors, trust-building is going to be less important than it is for a lawyer trying to find more clients. The more impactful your product or service, the more trust you need to build among your following.

That isn’t to say that less serious industries can’t engage in trust-building. If a party favors store establishes itself as party-throwing experts, consumers are more likely to buy from them than competitors who haven’t built up the same authority.

One caveat I need to add: these are all rough guidelines based on the gradual trust-building process that occurs in most consumer-business relationships. If you have a killer piece of long-form content that you’re just itching to post on a new account, go ahead and do it. Some people will still find it interesting, and you can always repost the content down the road when you’ve got a more substantial following.

Define your writing style

Every piece of content and text you post should be crafted with your target personas in mind.

If you were thorough in creating your audience personas, you should have a firm grounding in the style and tone your audience expects.

The writing style you use will also depend on the social platform you’re on. If you’re targeting regular consumers on Facebook, you’ll probably want to use a more formal tone. But if you’re trying to sell to C-level executives on LinkedIn, a formal and respectful tone is going to be more appropriate.

B2B writing

If you’re engaging in B2B marketing, you’ll need to write to the position you’re targeting. For example, lower-level individuals are going to be more interested in step-by-step guides on how to complete certain tasks. Executives, on the other hand, are going to want content that focuses on high-level strategies and personal development.

When it comes to B2B writing – finding a great writer that communicates your message well can be tough. You can find great writers in the B2B space at The Content Authority. Click here:

finding a great writer link

The 4 Rs of Social Media Content

Content is the lifeblood of social media marketing. Without it, you won’t have anything of substance to engage your target audience with.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and effort to create a high-quality piece of content. If you were to make one social media post for each blog post, video, or infographic you create, your social accounts are going to be pretty empty.

The answer isn’t to make a lot of sub-par content, though. To provide your social audience with a consistent stream of helpful media, you’ll need to get creative with the content you already have.

To do this, you can follow the 4 Rs of social media marketing:

Repurpose

Repurpose content means taking a large chunk of content and breaking it into smaller pieces for posting on social media. An easy example is posting small snapshots from an infographic you’ve made in the past. These snapshots could portray charts, quotes, statistics, and more. After isolating them from the infographic, you could post them at regular intervals on your social channels.

Rewrite

If you have a lot of older written content on your blog, you can freshen up that content with updated statistics and share relevant snippets with your followers. And even if you don’t want to take the time to update everything, some of your content is probably evergreen ‒ meaning it will be useful for years to come.

Retire

While rehashing older, outdated content is a valid strategy; it can be risky. If the content is too dated, you risk alienating followers by making your brand seem behind the times. If you come across any content that meets this criterion, consider removing it instead of sharing it.

Redesign

Visual trends change, and your content design needs to change with it. If you’ve got an infographic or video with quality content and dated design, consider sprucing things up and giving it a visual overhaul. The content will be more appealing to your audience, and it’ll make your brand seem modern and ahead of the curve.

Deciding what types of content to post

One of the biggest content-related challenges that social media brings is deciding which kinds of content to create.

Different audiences will prefer different types of media, and the various social platforms are each optimized for certain types of content.

You also need to take into account how capable you are of producing certain types of content. If you’ve got a huge marketing budget and a professional videographer on staff, then making high-quality videos might be a no-brainer. But if you’re running a one-person operation on a shoestring budget, creating certain kinds of videos might not be in the cards at the moment.

The type of content you create is ultimately up to you. To help you decide, here are some of the most common pieces of content created for and shared on social media.

  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Funny images/memes
  • E-books
  • Whitepapers
  • Podcasts
  • Audiobooks
  • Slideshows
  • Checklists
  • Photos

The best social media content for Facebook

Facebook is probably the most versatile platform when it comes to the types of content you can effectively post. It’s a great place for text, images, videos, and a bunch of other niche forms of content.

That being said, some types of content perform better on Facebook than others.

Videos

With more than 8 billion views every single day, videos on Facebook are one of the most popular forms of content on the platform.

However, you should know that over 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. If you do plan on using video to engage with your audience, be prepared with text overlays and easy-to-read captions.

And if you’re posting video ads, know that they’re less effective with younger people than they are with older people. According to Facebook’s own data, the video ad attention span for users ages 18-24 is 75% less than it is for users in the 65+ crowd.

Personal content

People love personal content on Facebook. The platform has become the world’s soapbox, and you can take advantage of this to engage with your audience on an individual level.

Any content that shows the human side of your business qualifies as “personal content” in my book. Here are a few examples:

  • A photo of your staff
  • A particularly moving success story about how your product or service helped someone in a meaningful way
  • A video of pets hanging out in your office
  • A text post about a charity event your business participated in. Bonus points if you include a photo of you and your team at the event.

Questions

People love to engage with questions on Facebook. And the text-based nature of the posting system makes it the perfect platform for questions.

If you’re not sure which types of questions will best engage your audience, here are a few starter options to get your mind running:

  • Questions about things that have impacted people. Books, movies, quotes, etc.
  • Fill in the blank questions: “If I could have dinner with anyone from history, it would be ___”
  • Questions about their lives: “How do you relax after a stressful day at work?” or “What’s the best on-the-go meal for a busy professional?”
  • Would you rather questions: “Would you rather win the lottery or build a successful business?”

Asking questions is also a subtle but effective way to perform market research. If you’re brave enough to ask “What’s one thing you would change about our product/service?”, you might be surprised at the amount of direct and actionable feedback you receive.

The best social media content for Twitter

Twitter is a platform built around brevity. No matter what you post, you’ll want to keep it short and to the point.

Images

Twitter is a great place to post interesting images. This isn’t just my opinion either ‒ according to Twitter, users are three times more likely to engage with Tweets that contain photos.

Polls

Twitter has a neat little feature that lets you embed polls in Tweets. You can use these to engage with followers and perform market research.

If you’re not sure which poll questions to ask, here are a few ideas:

  • If you have a line of products, ask your audience which they prefer using.
  • If it’s Friday, ask what everyone will be doing this weekend.
  • If you’re considering making a few different products, ask your audience what they’d like to see you produce.

Industry news

Twitter is probably best known for its extremely active ‘newsosphere’. If anything of substance happens anywhere in the world, someone will be posting about it on Twitter seconds after it happens.

While it’s unlikely you’ll be at the forefront of relevant industry news, it’s pretty easy to follow journalists who are and Retweet them ‒ which brings us to our next piece of shareable content.

Retweets

Not all content you share needs to be your content. If someone in your industry posts something that you think your followers will like, you can Retweet that that post to share it with your audience.

Everyone wins with Retweets. Your audience gets interesting or helpful content. The person you Retweet might get some additional followers. And most importantly, you get to engage with your audience in a meaningful way without lifting a finger.

The best social media content for Instagram

Instagram is a platform

Instagram is a platform built around pictures and videos. And to the surprise of no one, these are the best types of content to post here.

Images

Instagram was made for images. It has dozens of filter options to improve the look of your photos, and the entire feed is built around moving from one square photo box to the next. In fact, Instagram doesn’t even have an option to simply post text ‒ if you want to post something, it has to be an image of some kind.

If you have a knack for graphic design ‒ or you hire someone who does ‒ making images for is a terrific way to engage with your Instagram audience. If you’re not sure about what kind of images you should post, here are a few ideas:

  • Segments of infographics ‒ I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating. If you have an infographic that contains interesting statistics or charts, those make for great social media shares.
  • Memes ‒ Posting lighthearted, funny content is another effective way to connect with your Instagram audience. You don’t necessarily have to make these yourself ‒ if you type in “[industry] memes” into Google, you’ll find thousands of shareable images right at your fingertips.
  • Photos ‒ The image-centric nature of Instagram makes it an excellent medium for humanizing your brand. Posting photos of you, your staff, and your customers will remind your audience that there are actual humans behind your brand logo.

Videos

While images will always be the king of Instagram, the platform is an excellent place to post videos too. Users typically prefer shorter content, so cutting out a segment of a longer video and sharing it on Instagram is a good way to recycle existing content.

Instagram does have a place to post longer-form videos, though. It’s called IGTV, and brands who post on this newer platform have been experiencing a 300-1000% increase in views since the service first started.

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to migrate existing video content over to IGTV. If you want to rake in the IGTV rewards, you’ll need to take the time to make brand new content.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing ‒ new content will typically more topical and relevant than older content. However, making a new video does require a commitment of time and resources.

In the end, deciding whether to participate in IGTV or not is up to you. Many brands have found success in it though, so I recommend giving it a try if you’re able to.

The best social media content for LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. Much of the lighthearted, funny stuff you can post on other platforms won’t really fly here. While you don’t have to strictly post about things related to your work, remember that much of your network will be industry peers ‒ so work-related content is what they’ll be most interested in.

Blog posts

Unlike the other platforms mentioned, marketers on LinkedIn thrive on blog posts. It helps that the platform encourages users to post long-form written content by providing a “Write an article” link at the top of each page.

The nice thing about posting blog content on LinkedIn is that you don’t have to worry about SEO when choosing a topic. Blog content written for a website is typically written to rank in the search results. If you want to write an article about something, but the competition for that keyword on Google is ridiculously steep, you probably won’t end up writing that article.

That doesn’t matter on LinkedIn. You’re writing content to share with your network and to attract others to follow you for your content and ideas. This gives you the freedom to write whatever comes to mind ‒ which can often be more unique and interesting than content designed to rank on search engines.

Images

Images also work well on LinkedIn ‒ but the types of images that get engagement on less formal platforms won’t typically do well here. If you’re sharing an image, it should be a well-designed and industry-relevant chart or statistic. LinkedIn is a social platform for business, and the content you post should reflect that.

Slideshows

Slideshows don’t do well at all on other platforms ‒ but surprisingly, they perform admirably on LinkedIn. This is likely because so many people use slideshows to present ideas to their peers at their workplace.

In fact, using a slideshow you made for a work presentation can be a great way to recycle content and get some value out of it. Just make sure you remove proprietary information and change up the slides to be more general and less company-focused.

The best social media content for YouTube

YouTube is obviously for videos. I’m mentioning it here because I want to talk a bit about the types of videos you should be sharing on this particular platform.

Long-form educational videos

While videos on other platforms are more effective when they’re shorter, that isn’t always the case on YouTube. When someone clicks on a YouTube video, they’re often prepared to sit there and learn about a particular topic for over an hour. If you have enough knowledge and expertise in your field that you can create many hours worth of useful video content, starting a YouTube channel is an excellent idea.

Industry interviews

If you have some connections with interesting or important people in your industry, setting up a filmed interview can make for a fantastic piece of unique content.

It can be difficult to physically get both you and the interviewee in the same room though, so don’t worry if you need to do it over video chat. Just make sure both of your faces are being shown ‒ nobody wants to listen to an audio recording of an interview when they can get the video version.

Early-, mid-, and late-stage content

When posting content, you also need to take into account the stage in the customer lifecycle the target for that content is in. Knowing whether the consumer is in the beginning, middle, or end of the cycle will affect the content you create.

Early-stage content

Early-stage content is fun and entertaining, with a bit of education sprinkled in. Examples include sharing or curating relevant news and giving useful tips.

Mid-stage content

Mid-stage content is also educational, though typically has a more serious tone than early-stage content. This type of content helps move the prospect toward a goal. Examples include contests, a free subscription to an email newsletter, or an invitation to an event.

Late-stage content

Late-stage content is also educational, though it has a primary focus on conversions. Examples include a click-to-purchase, demo offering, or a sign-up for a free trial.

The 4-1-1 mix

One of the more confusing parts about posting content is knowing how much of each type of content to post.

Opinions on this will differ depending on the marketer you talk to and the industry you’re working in. However, I’ve found that the 4-1-1 content mix is an excellent guideline for those who aren’t sure about what they should post.

Here’s what I’m talking about ‒ Every 6-post cycle should look something like this:

  • Four educational/entertaining posts ‒ these can be blog posts, infographics, informative videos, etc.
  • One soft promotion ‒ an offer designed to strengthen your relationship with the consumer rather than convince them to buy something.
  • One hard promotion ‒ offering a free trial, a discount, or a demo.

This content mix ensures your social accounts offer more significantly more value and substance than promotional material.

While it might be tempting to blanket the feeds of your audience with hard-sell promotions, doing so will make it harder to land a sale. This is because you would be diluting the trust and patience of your audience.

Posting some promotional stuff is okay though. Your audience isn’t dumb. They know you’re trying to sell them something ‒ why else would you be posting all of this helpful content? Because they know this, they will be tolerant of the occasional soft sell or hard conversion attempt.

Just don’t overdo it. Once you lose an audience’s trust, you’re probably not going to get it back. You’d have to restart with a brand new audience ‒ something that would take a lot of time and resources to build back up to its former glory.

What about emojis?

Emojis are like spices ‒ when used tastefully, and in small quantities, they can add extra punch your content needs. But if you overdo it, they can ruin the entire presentation.

If you do use emojis, make sure your audience will be receptive to them. They’re perfectly acceptable if you’re trying to build brand awareness with light and fun content, but I wouldn’t use them if you’re trying to land some high-profile businesses as clients.

And before you start throwing those little yellow faces around, make sure you’re familiar with what each face means. You might have one perception of what an emoji means, but your target audience might have a completely different understanding. An improperly used emoji can distract from your entire message and leave your audience scratching their heads.

Refining your social media marketing strategy

hone and refine your marketing strategies

Now that your social media marketing plans have come to fruition, it’s time to hone and refine your strategies.

Retaining customers

Retaining existing customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones. Here’s the data proving it:

  • A study from Harvard Business School found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.
  • According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of converting an existing customer is 60-70% ‒ while the probability of converting a new prospect is only 5-20%.
  • According to The Balance Small Business, repeat customers spend an average of 33% more than new customers.

While customer acquisition is important, you also need to focus on engaging and retaining your existing customer base. These are the people who will truly have an impact on your bottom line ‒ forgetting about them would be most unwise.

Emphasize customer service

Providing quick and helpful customer service on social media is important. According to JD Power, 67% of consumers have contacted a business through social media for customer support.

And it’s not just about being helpful ‒ it’s about your bottom line too. A study by Bain & Company found that businesses that provide customer service over social media receive 20% to 40% more revenue from the customers they help.

One of the best ways to quickly find customers who need help is to monitor the internet for mentions of your brand. Also known as “social listening,” this strategy is more effective than hiring someone to stare at your social inboxes all day.

Like everything else in the marketing industry, there are multiple software options that send you an alert whenever someone mentions you on social media.

  • TweetDeck ‒ A free listening service specifically made for Twitter.
  • Mentionmapp ‒ Another free twitter-specific mentioning service. This one creates a map to help you visualize your audience network.
  • Mention ‒ A paid tool built specifically for social listening. If you’re going to use any standalone listening service, use this one.
  • Khoros ‒ A paid marketing suite with a social listening tool built-in.

Share your latest products/services

If customers liked the product or service they initially purchased from you, they’ll probably like the next thing you come up with. By sharing your newest stuff on social media, you can increase product awareness and generate more revenue.

Social media is also the perfect place to provide development updates. Many of your most loyal customers will enjoy a behind-the-scenes look into how you make things. This can also let you build up hype before a product launch.

Final Thoughts on Social Media Marketing for Businesses

There’s no way around it ‒ social media marketing is essential in the modern era.

Too many members of your audience are spending tons of time on these social platforms. To ignore them by refusing to market on social media is to turn down a substantial amount of additional revenue.

Although this form of marketing can seem more intimidating than others, it really isn’t. Once you know what you’re doing, social media marketing honestly becomes one of the easier and more enjoyable forms of marketing out there.

So if you’ve been considering getting your business on Facebook, Twitter, or another platform ‒ I say jump in. Plan out your strategy, come up with some content, and start posting and engaging. Your follower counts ‒ and your marketing ROI ‒ will start to grow before your very eyes.

Shawn Manaher - Owner of Ignite Marketing
Shawn Manaher
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of Ignite Marketing. He's one part local business growth specialist, one part campaign strategizing ninja, and two parts leader of an awesome nerd pack. He won't eat pancakes unless you call them flat waffles.

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