Social Media Marketing 101

Some people may call this fad the new “marketing”, but you’ll soon come to find out that social media marketing is here to stay. And in our opinion, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

Social media has become a very powerful tool in today’s society. Why? Because people love to talk about themselves and let others know what they are doing or thinking at any given time. Social media gives them an outlet to do just that–socialize.

Have you ever heard of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn…the list goes on and on? Perhaps you’ve had your own account with one of these sites since your early days in middle school or high school. You might even be using one of these sites right now!

But for those of you who are still in the dark about all this, what exactly is social media? Social media is merely a term that describes online sites or platforms that allow people to interact, collaborate, share and build relationships over the Internet. The generation that currently exists in society thrives on it. Why? Because socializing has always been something interesting to do, but now they have the means to do so without even leaving their home.

And when one thinks “socializing” nowadays, they think of Facebook or Twitter because these are the most popularized social media outlets out there–at least for now! While these two sites steal more of an individual’s attention than others (maybe during important class lectures too…), there are still plenty of other social media sites that can be just as helpful in a marketing campaign.

For instance, have you ever heard of YouTube? What about Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest…the list goes on and on. Now think to yourself…what exactly is each site for? And why should I care about it from a marketing perspective? Well here’s your chance to find out! In this article, we will discuss the top five most popular social media sites so you too can become the “social butterfly” in your classroom or company!

1 . Facebook:

The largest social networking website of all time happens to be our first stop on the journey of learning about social media. We are of course talking about–a site that everyone has heard of and has an account with–Facebook.

While there are certainly some differences when comparing Facebook to the other social media sites we will cover, it is an important topic for this article because it is the most well-known and potentially used site by marketers. We’ll start off by talking about what makes Facebook so popular in general and then go on in more detail:

People love visual content: Social media gives people a place to share visuals which can be anything from pictures or videos taken during their day or week to memes that they find interesting. The fact is, people, view Facebook as less of a networking site and more of a visual entertainment hub. Because of this, marketers have learned how to strategically use images, videos, graphics, etc. to grab a consumer’s attention and then get the message across.

We love sharing: Facebook users share content on their newsfeeds all day long. This is why marketers often post updates on their company pages several times a day in hopes that one of these posts goes viral! The truth is, you already see this happening when you check your own feed…so the big question becomes–how do you get people talking about your brand?

2 . Twitter:

Have you ever seen or heard of “Twitter Tuesday” or “Twitter Wednesday”? If not, let us fill you in on what exactly it is so you can fully understand why we included it in our list! These are weekly online events people come together to discuss certain topics via Twitter. It’s a great way for marketers to promote their companies, organizations, or even personal accounts. You can find out more about these weekly events by clicking here.

Now that you have the 411 on Twitter Tuesday/Wednesday, let’s talk more about the site itself:

Everyone is welcome: Nowadays it seems almost everyone has a social media account…and if they don’t then they are probably very interested in getting one! And because of this, social media platforms are starting to become less selective with who can join them. For example, Facebook only accepts people 13 years old and older…but other sites like Pinterest allow anyone 13 years old or older to create an account. The lesson learned here? Just because someone doesn’t have an account on your specific site doesn’t mean they are not interested or unavailable to become a customer. Think about it…even if someone doesn’t have a Twitter account, chances are they can still access the content you post via Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Memes are always great…but it helps to be funny: The truth is–memes work! That being said, marketers must keep in mind that just any meme won’t do. They have to be funny and/or witty …and typically posting more than one meme throughout the week will help ensure success.

3 . LinkedIn:

It’s time to hop over to Europe for this next stop on our social media adventure through different continents (we’ve got Asia coming up next)–we are talking about the business-oriented social media site LinkedIn.

A few things to know:

It’s all business: Unlike Facebook where we can post memes and other nonsense, LinkedIn was specifically created for networking purposes. That’s right–people see you as a professional and expect your posts to match that status. This is why it is always best to ask yourself whether or not what you’re posting could be seen as unprofessional before hitting “post”.

Public vs. private: As far as other sites go, everything shared on LinkedIn is public …therefore marketers should be careful with who they add as a connection because these individuals will also have access to their information (i.e., job history, resume, etc.) unless they choose to make it private.

We’re moving on up: Just like most other social media platforms, LinkedIn is also constantly changing and updating its features. This means marketers must always be aware of these changes so they can incorporate them into their own strategy. For example, LinkedIn introduced a new feature called ” Company Pages ” which allows companies to have an updated profile page full of the most recent press releases, job openings, company branding, etc. While this may not seem important now…it will be in the near future as more businesses start catching on.

4 . Instagram:

I’ve got 99 problems but my filter ain’t one: If you haven’t heard by now–Instagram’s newest feature is GIFs! They have officially become a thing in the past few months, so marketers are being advised to start incorporating them into their content in order to maximize engagement with their audience.

However, just like everything else on this list–it’s not as simple as it seems. Marketers must use these GIFs creatively or they are useless…

Filters, borders, and other effects: All of the popular photo editing apps have recently added new features to help users create the perfect GIF (e.g., Diptic, Cinemagram, etc.)…and while some marketers may be tempted to use these features for every image they post …we advise against that. Sometimes keeping it simple is best! After all, people love filters but what really stands out is seeing something totally unexpected; which is where marketers should focus their time and energy.

Get it while it’s hot: As with anything popular–Instagram users are quick to pick up on trends, so if you want to stand out, you have got to be the first one to use a certain filter or effect, etc. We advise our clients to start incorporating GIFs into their content NOW so they can be ahead of the game when other people start jumping on this trend next week/month/year.

5 . Pinterest:

I wanna pin it! Now that we’ve covered Instagram let’s move over to Pinterest …where there are no pictures or videos allowed…only images (i.e., screenshots). Let that sink in for a second…

As you could probably guess, marketers must be extremely creative with their content on this platform–which means the possibilities are endless!

Screenshot it: There is no other way to put it; marketers must screenshot anything and everything (well maybe not everything) in order to post on Pinterest. This might seem like a huge inconvenience at first, but trust us…it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be. Plus all those screencaps will come in handy when we discuss Snapchat next week 😉

##What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing that focuses on gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. It uses a wide array of platforms and tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., to name a few. In the past few years, it has been growing in popularity at an exponential rate, mainly due to its effectiveness in targeting huge amounts of relevant traffic with little effort. Companies that use only traditional forms of advertising are losing out on valuable resources that help grow their brand recognition and expand their customer base. By using various social media outlets companies can make their product known throughout the world without spending time and money on advertisements that might not be seen by all audiences.

This term covers all forms of internet marketing that use social media outlets to promote or advertise a product. This includes posting services (i.e., paying someone to post on your behalf), viral marketing efforts (i.e, asking users to spread the word about your site/service/product by sharing it with members through social media sites), and even campaigns created solely for the purpose of gaining attention through social media platforms such as advertising on Facebook or YouTube videos posted on Twitter.

In short, social media marketing is a way to initiate conversations with customers in order to establish trust and respect, while also pushing your ideas and products throughout the world using only free methods of advertisement.

What are some examples?

There are many ways that companies have been able to use social media as an advertising platform to reach their target audience. Many companies have been gaining success by sharing their products or services on Facebook and Twitter. Others have taken advantage of YouTube videos which then link back to the company website. In this way, a company can increase traffic to their product/service page without spending money on advertisements that might not be seen or clicked on by customers.

Some other ways in which companies use social media platforms:

-To hold contests and sweepstakes where all users must share information about it in order for them to earn prizes.

-To increase brand awareness through your posts and updates by getting users involved with the process (i.e., asking customers what they think about a new product).

-To conduct market research that can help companies gather important information about their customers.

-To monitor social media sites for discussions about the company or its products/services (i.e., an individual’s opinions, ideas, thoughts, etc.)

How does Social Media Marketing work?

There are many ways to execute a Social Media Marketing campaign; each one will vary depending upon what your goals are and what you’re trying to achieve with your profile. Each social media outlet has different features that sets it apart from the others, however they all have similarities in that they allow users to post content that others can then view and interact with. Some have options for direct messaging between members while others limit interactions to comments on other posts. A few of the most common types of Social Media Marketing campaigns include:

-Posting updates on your personal profile to communicate with users and try to gain their interest in what you’re offering.

-Promoting your product/service through press releases posted on social media outlets (i.e., Facebook, Twitter). These can be as simple as a picture or text based update.

-Using contests and sweepstakes where you require people to share information about it in order for them to earn prizes.

-Conducting market research which will help companies gather important information about their customers’ likes and dislikes, their opinions etc.,

-Monitoring social media sites for discussions about the company or its products/services (i.e., an individual’s opinions, ideas, thoughts etc.)

-Paying for social media advertisement campaigns where you get to decide what type of audience you want your ads to be seen by.

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