Everything you ever needed to know about social media marketing
Companies make a lot of money with social media.
And you can do that too.
The trick for social media marketing is knowing the basics of why it works so well. Making money for your business is a huge asset (and what might be your goal on paper), but social media is an opportunity for businesses that was harder to come by before smartphones became our best friends.
Social media allows you to build a relationship with your audience in ways that weren't possible before Facebook viralized. We can use social media to talk to our viewers and show them that we really know our stuff. The right social media marketing strategy will target your cold, warm, and hot leads on one platform.
And that leads to revenue.
When people see you as more than one company with a fancy logo and more than one assignable expert in your field (B2B or B2C!), Companies thrive. We have seen established companies use social media to increase the reach of their target audience, and we have also seen companies use social media (e.g. influencers opening merch shops).
Let's go through the basics of social media marketing to build on a solid foundation.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is a strategy that uses social media platforms to connect with your customer avatar and guide them through the customer value journey. The Customer Value Journey is the 8-step process a customer goes through, from determining that your brand exists to becoming an enthusiastic fan of your product or service.
Here's what Customer Value Journey looks like:
With social marketing, you will target customers in the first two phases of CVJ, Aware and Engage. Generate awareness of your brand and marketing campaigns and get your customer avatar to engage with your content (blog posts, podcast episodes, etc.) by directing them to your website.
These are the basics of social media marketing that you will keep in mind when you decide to start your strategy. But there are other benefits of having a social audience as well. You can use your audience to find out what your customer avatar wants to learn and what topics interest them. With this knowledge, you can create content, lead magnets, or paid products.
You can also use your social audience as a testing ground for paid campaigns. Test out copy and ad themes on your social feed to see how your audience is reacting. The content with the most engagements, views, or conversions is exactly the content that you want to put advertising dollars behind.
Social media marketing is a great opportunity for most companies. Even most niche industries can find their customer avatars online. But that doesn't mean they have to.
Do you need to use social media marketing?
It's easy to say yes to this question and pretend everyone should be using social media. We'll confidently say that 90% of businesses should use social media, but there is a small percentage that shouldn't.
If these are your goals for your company (or the company you work for), implement a social media marketing strategy:
- You want more leads and customers
- You need more sales
- You're looking for more social evidence
Because of this, 90% of companies have the green light to start a social media strategy. Which company doesn't want more leads and customers?
That brings us to who shouldn't be starting a social media marketing strategy. If your business feels like this, your social strategy should wait while you fix the leaking holes:
- You cannot keep up with the demand for your product or service
- You are unable to deliver a 5-star experience to your customers
- They are a solo show and have no extra time
If so, spending your time plugging those leaky holes is far more important for you (by creating, delegating, and hiring systems, simplifying your packages, etc.). Once you can keep up with demand, continue to provide your customers with a 5-star experience, and have the time to create high-quality, useful content, you can start implementing your social media marketing strategy.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy
Most companies make 4 critical mistakes when starting their social strategy:
- You treat social media marketing as a single discipline (there are 4 equally important parts)
- They use social media as a one-way street and are essentially just yelling at their audience
- They try to make a sale right away (it's about creating value first and often creating multiple touchpoints).
- They cannot tie social media marketing to general marketing goals and do not align with content marketing and promotions
We call these 4 important parts of social media marketing the Social Success Cycle. This is the cycle that will help you avoid screaming into the void or seeing a 0% CTR. Everything starts with social monitoring & listening.
The social cycle of success: Social Monitoring & Listening
Social monitoring and listening monitor and answer customer inquiries and listen to important trends and topics. Here's what you'll do in this part of your social strategy:
- Monitor and respond to brand names (positive and negative!)
- Listen to conversations on relevant industry topics and get involved if you can add something to the conversation
- Find content inspiration based on what your audience is talking about or wants to know more about
- Be mindful of feedback and look out for key trends to improve your product or service
The Social Success Cycle: Social Influence
Social influencing creates authority in your industry by posting and sharing relevant and valuable content. You want to use your content to provide * BIG * value to your audience. This value is important as it is the authority in your industry. When your audience reads your content and thinks, "Wow, they really know their stuff!" or "This company only GETS what my problem is with (insert pain point here)!" Then you did it.
You want your audience to see you as a valuable resource and keep engaging with your content. They share your content and brand with their audience and expand your reach (by creating more customer avatars that can be included in the customer value journey during the awareness phase).
The cycle of social success: social networking
Social networking establishes and builds relationships with valuable brands and influencers in your industry. This may sound like an uphill battle now that you may not have a large audience, but we have a strategy to help you get the ball rolling.
- First, share valuable content from other industry influencers and brands
- Make a list of brands and experts in your industry with whom you want to develop relationships
- Create communication templates and reach out to the places where they are most active
- Create mutually beneficial relationships
- Focus on WHAT and WHERE your audience finds most valuable (e.g., share tips about an Instagram takeover, go live on stories, Facebook, etc.)
The cycle of social success: social selling
Social selling generates leads and sales by connecting a searching audience to your products and services. This is the part of your social media strategy where you run ads for content pieces, lead magnets, and your products. This is the part that gets you into the deep end of social media … the same day you start your strategy. But now you know there are three other very important parts of the social success cycle. Sales is definitely one of them, but not the only one.
Here are some tips for social selling:
- Focus on reaching your audience and talking about the benefits of your product or service
- Eye-catching graphics and videos
- Keep your consistent brand voice and show off your personality
- Break relevant content into engaging pieces and use call-to-action to force your audience to learn more
- Offer added value with your sales items too
This is the foundation for developing your social media strategy. Now let's examine what your social profiles look like and what you will actually post.
The 4 types of social content
It's time to run the customer value journey again. Our social content revolves around 5 phases of the YMCA:
At each stage, you create a specific type of content that will be appropriate for your customer avatars at this stage of their journey with you.
Type 1 for social content: awareness
Someone can only buy from your brand if they know you exist. This is what the content of consciousness focuses on – telling people what you are doing and for whom you are doing it. Create full profiles and be active in the channels your prospects are on. You can also run branding ads with this type of content.
Your homework for this type of content creation is:
- Create and optimize your social profiles for your customer avatar
- Create relevant content that explains what you're doing, who you're doing it for, and shows your expertise
Type 2 for social content: engagement
We don't stand behind vanity metrics. Having a million followers is great, but if only 1% of those followers are engaging with your brand, what was the reason for bringing all this awareness content in front of these people? Instead, focus on building an engaged audience. Having 1,000 followers with an engagement rate of 80% doesn't look particularly fancy on paper, but it definitely looks great on your bank account.
Here is your engagement content homework:
- Create relevant and valuable content
- Optimize each post to drive engagement (comments, shares, clicks, saves, etc.).
- Combine a compelling picture or video with an engaging copy and strong calls to action
Social Content Type # 3: Subscription
Ryan Deiss, CEO of DigitalMarketer, always reminds us that you own your audience. Algorithm changes can destroy your ability to reach your social media audience. You can't have all your eggs in one basket if you are planning a stable, long-term business. You need to remove your engaged audience from the social realm and add them to your email list.
After you've created value and got your audience to engage, you can strategically access their contact information. You can do this through social media contests (just be sure to make sure you are bringing in quality leads) and by running ads.
Here is your homework for subscription content:
- Split your subscription content into one valuable post
- Use your copy to generate interest in opting in
Social Content Type # 4: Advocate and Promote
Fast forward to the last two phases of the customer value journey. With the help of our brand attorneys and promoters, we create content. These customers are so happy with our 5-star experience that they want to tell the world about it (we LOVE these customers). This type of content reuses positive reviews and customer stories, and even uses customer testimonials as ads.
Here is your homework:
- Engage with happy customers and encourage positive reviews
- Turn your positive reviews into social media posts, share customer success stories, and even post testimonials
- Get permission to use reviews on your social channels
- Use email marketing to encourage reviews
We know how tempting it is to make social media marketing more complex. We see the gears spinning in your head, but we want to slow them down. These are the basics of social media marketing and exactly where you should start as a brand new social media company. Don't worry about your content just yet, or worse, you get Shiny Object Syndrome which turns into analytical paralysis.
These are the 4 types of content you need to create. So just focus on getting them published. You can add more content later as your brand evolves and you see how certain content affects your success metrics.
What are the social media success metrics to track?
We've talked a bit about vanity metrics, but now it's time for a deep dive. Vanity metrics are all metrics that look good on paper but won't help you achieve your goals. We see companies seek vanity metrics when they haven't * really * figured out their social media marketing goals.
Let's review your current social media marketing efforts against the following questions:
- Which social media channels are you currently posting on?
- Why did you choose these channels? Are your audiences even on these channels?
- Do you have a complete company profile with BIOS, relevant links, searchable name, brand profile, and covers?
- How often do you post per week?
- What kind of content do you publish? How is the content mix (how many videos, photos, link shares, stories)?
- Are you getting engagement for your posts?
- What types of engagements do you get? Comments, shares, save, click etc.?
Once you have a clear understanding of what you did (and why it didn't work), it's time to set trackable, relevant goals based on the needs of your social media marketing strategy. Not what your competitors need, not what that casual marketing stranger told you, or what the tweet from this person you know on the internet told you.
Align your social media goals with your business and marketing goals. Your goals can be one, some, or all of:
- Boosting Brand Awareness and Authority: This is the main reason marketers use social media
- Drive traffic to relevant content: If you post a lot of valuable content, you can use social media to increase traffic
- Generate New Leads: Best for companies with a long sales cycle to create a warm audience
- Social Selling: Valuable destination for short sales cycles and e-commerce brands alongside paid advertising
- Build a community of advocates: Useful for brands that already have a lot of brand awareness
Based on your goals, you'll narrow down which metrics reflect those goals. For example:
- If you are trying to increase your brand awareness and authority, pendant and impressions are the metrics you will focus on
- If you want to direct traffic to relevant content, Click rate will be your favorite metric to look out for
- If you want to generate leads, focus on yours Subscriber Conversion Rate
- If you want to sell products or services you will be looking around Sales conversions
- If building a community of lawyers is your goal, engagement is your metric of choice
Don't get caught up in vanity data, social media marketing, or digital marketing. They are tempting so be careful. Keep in mind what really matters and focus on improving those metrics with the four types of content we talked about above.
It will be tempting to pile more social media platforms on top of your content strategy than if you were playing a game of jenga. Unfortunately, if you accept more than you or your team can handle, this pile of jenga will fall on you. Make sure you're not trying to be on * every * social platform that exists and comes out. Instead, focus on where your audience is. Here are our tips on how to do well on major social platforms.
Tips for major social platforms
Use Facebook for the reach of paid ads and familiarize yourself with their ad platform. Facebook is great for reaching a specific audience based on buying behavior and interest. You get extra points for owning Instagram, which makes your advertising a little easier as you can advertise on either platform.
Create instructions, mark more than one testimonial at the same time or cover a lot of content in a small space with Instagram's multiple photo publisher. End each of these posts with a call to action, subscribe to a newsletter to learn more about this topic, or opt for a lead magnet.
Use Twitter as your primary social auditory channel. Chris gave us the brilliant idea of taking clips from our podcast episodes to share with our audience. Social listening allows us to access what our audience wants to see from us and what we should talk about.
Make sure you add a call to action on your YouTube videos. As the second largest search platform (after Google), users generally look for an answer to their question on YouTube. Your videos answer their questions and show them where to really solve their problem. You can apply this to Pinterest too. The people on YouTube and Pinterest are “seekers” in the mindset, looking for something in particular.
Don't fall into the trap if you think your social audience is not on TikTok. There are channels dedicated to installing and mixing paint. Make sure to let your TikTok audience know where to find out more about your products in your videos as you won't be able to add a link to your profile until you have 10,000 followers.
General social media terms (and what they mean)
Average customer benefit: The average order size multiplied by the average order frequency is how much you can expect from an average customer (this will help you figure out how much budget you have for an organic and paid social strategy).
Call to Action: The action you want someone to take after reading, viewing, or listening to your content (this can range from favoring a post to subscribing to an email list to purchasing a product).
Click rate: The number of clicks on organic or paid content divided by the number of impressions and multiplied by 100 to get the percentage (this is what percentage of viewers click on your content).
Cold traffic: People in your target group who know little or nothing about your company (they are moving towards or in the conscious phase of the customer value journey).
Remarks: People who commented on your social post.
Core offer: The main product or service that you sell in a sales funnel.
Cost per click: How much you pay a publisher (like a website, social media platform, etc.) for each click of one of your ads (also known as Pay-Per-Click, PPC).
Cost per lead: How much you pay for each lead you get from a social media platform (or other advertising platform, e.g. Google).
Engagement: The number of times a post was "busy", usually defined as "commenting", "sharing", and "saving" (but depends on the platform).
Pendant: The number of people who follow your branded account (as indicated in your profile under "Followers" on most social platforms).
Hot traffic: Audience members who match your customer avatar description and are in the subscription phase of the customer value journey can be converted.
Impressions: The total number of people who saw a post.
KPI: The abbreviation for Key Performance Indicators used to track the success of a business or marketing initiative (such as a social media marketing strategy).
To lead: Someone who knows and engages with your brand, who has qualified as your customer avatar (they qualify by showing interest in certain types of content).
Lead magnet: Value-oriented content that is worth the subscriber to provide their email address in return. The goal of the lead magnet is to maximize the number of targeted leads you get for a quote.
Delivery boy: Facebook's messaging app that can be used alongside bots and other marketing strategies.
Organic content: Content posted to an account with no advertising dollars behind it (to increase impressions).
Organic Social Media Marketing: Posting to a social account without using paid ads, with the content only seen by people who follow the account (and by other users whom the social platform decides to display the content on recognition pages).
Paid content: Content that was paid advertising dollars to increase the impressions seen by a given audience, etc.
Paid social media marketing: Use paid ad platforms to improve impressions of content and target specific audiences based on interests, locations, demographics, buying behavior, and more.
ROI: The abbreviation for return on investment is used to find out how much money has been made from a marketing strategy (e.g. paid ads).
Shares: The number of people who shared your content with their social network.
Warm traffic: Audience members who have recently started engaging with your content by reading, viewing, liking, commenting, etc., and are in the engagement stage of the customer value journey.
When you scroll down and see other companies making * big * money on social media, it's time to realize this opportunity is there for you, too. With your new knowledge, you can start creating the 4 types of social posts that will build your audience and get conversions.
Remember, everyone was new to social marketing at some point. Even the largest companies in the world have had to figure out how to start posting relatable and valuable content.
In the future, all you will learn is more about your target audience, what social content they would like to see from you and how you can use it to get a 5-star customer experience (that generates more sales!).