Social Media Marketing Tips For Beginners
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the promotion of a brand or business on any social network platform. The most popular of these are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. As a highly interactive, spontaneous and direct form of communication, social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
Your organic social media marketing efforts should be used primarily for brand presence. So, it’s vital to make sure your imagery, content and messaging is accurate, as well as making sure you’re using the platforms to the best of their ability by posting at peak times, using new features, interacting with your audience and community engagement. When social media platforms are used to their largest potential, it can end up with full restaurants or cafes, endless online purchases and everyone wanting to be a part of your story.
But how do you make sure you’re managing your social media so it’s as effective as possible? Read on to find out!
To accurately define who your brand is and how you need to be seen on social media platforms, you need to first define what kind of posts you need to create. We call these broad categories ‘content pillars’ and they can be seen as broad themes that visually represent who you are and what you do as a business. To come up with your content pillars, think about the key elements of your business. Are you a food brand? Then you need to see the food! Your followers will also probably want to see the people and the story behind the brand too. Finally, you need to involve your community by re-posting User Generated Content (UGC). So your content pillars would be:
- Food + Drink
- Venue + Ambience
- UGC + Re-grams
If you’re really struggling with your content pillars, an easy place to start is with the rule of the 3 Ps – Product, Place, People.
Once you have your content pillars, it’s time to think about what and when you should post, and in what order. Here, you’ll need a content calendar!
A content calendar is a calendar that helps you visually plan and execute your marketing strategy on your social media accounts. It should hold the details of how, when and what kind of content your business will publish over a given timeline. Like any calendar, a content calendar gives structure to your social media campaigns by highlighting important dates, holidays, events and deadlines relevant to you, as well as any internal promotions and campaigns that you will need to market for your business. Once these are clear to you, organising your posts to be published at the right time, with the right kind of content to convey your message becomes a much easier task.
A content calendar is also beneficial as it acts as a visual guide. It allows you to see all the content and copy you plan to post, all on one page. This will help you specifically in content creation to help ensure that you’re making content that’s interesting and diverse. This is especially important on platforms like Instagram, where you not only have to consider what kind of content you post, but also the order you post it in. After all, four consecutive images of the same dish all photographed at the same angle may not be the most effective way to promote your cafés delicious fare, nor make for a very engaging profile!
Here are the main steps to creating a content calendar:
- Identify what you want to post. This is where paying attention to key events/ dates/ holidays and referring to the important dates on your marketing calendar is crucial.
- Content creation: What kind of content best helps you convey your message? Photo, GIF or video?
- Copy: Write your captions keeping in mind the tone of your brand.
- Hashtags and geotagging: These are additional things to think about to increase the reach of your posts, especially #hashtags!
Content calendars and social media management can be a very time consuming task, especially if you’re aiming for outstanding results. Luckily, there are a plethora of programs with varying layouts, features and pricing out there to help you stay organised and save time. With so much choice, it’s important to do your research to find the program that fits you and your needs best. Some of the best known programs are:
Community engagement is all about finding the right people to reach out to and doing it in an authentic way, that gives your brand a personality. It is an important part of social media management because it can grow your following and can allow you to connect with more potential customers.
First, you will need to think about who you want to communicate with and why. This should be focused on who could be a potential customer or who would be interested in your content. Secondly, you should create a community engagement template which details:
- Where to find accounts to target. Make a list of accounts that are similar to yours, related to your business or even your competitors’ accounts.
- Suitable comments for all posts. Doing this will provide a guide for the tone of voice and types of interactions you’d like to have when engaging with potential audiences.
- Hashtags to find the posts. Similar to your list of targeted accounts, list hashtags that are related to your products, business, industry and geographical area.
Once you have this template community engagement is a breeze. You can find people that could be interested in your brand or your content by checking competitor’s posts and engaging with the people that have liked their posts. After all, since they have done so, you know that they are already interested in products, businesses or industries similar to yours. To interact with them, you can simply check the likes on a recent photo or scroll through their followers list, select an account and post a genuine comment on one of their recent posts. You can also find appropriate people through looking at the hashtags you put down in your template. By searching through these hashtags, firstly make sure you select the ‘Recent Posts’ column at the top of the hashtags, rather than ‘Top Posts’, as these are more likely to be real people rather than other business accounts.
Go through these images and click on the ones you feel like you could write an authentic and engaging comment for, make sure to steer clear of generic comments like ‘great content’, or ‘love this!’ as they will seem fake and possibly may seem like they were posted by a bot and so won’t receive much engagement. A tip for avoiding this is to read their caption carefully and either respond to it or provide a comment that ties to their caption, it shows that you are genuinely interested in their content and will receive more engagement back.
Most social media platforms have some sort of ‘boost post’ or ‘promoting post’ function, where you can put money behind a particular post to increase its exposure and reach. If you have the budget to do so, we definitely recommend that you do so!
Each platform is slightly different so do a quick google or read the FAQ page to see how it works and what the platform recommends as a good starting point. For Facebook and Instagram propose that you begin with boosting posts with a minimum of $10 per day, for at least 7 days to see results. Divide your budget between:
- Organically well-tracking content
- Promotions and deals
Don’t worry about targeting your boosting too much at this stage, just go to a wide audience and try to get as many people seeing your post as possible. That is, allow boosting to be a part of your “awareness stage” of social media management.
A great type of post to boost is a competition or giveaway. Remember that it’s a crowded market out there, so these small incentives can make a huge difference long-term to your account. Create a piece of content and and make sure the word ‘giveaway’ or ‘competition’ is included, so that it’s really clear to your audience. Your content can be an image of the prize, or simply an eye-catching GIF made of graphics. Then, assign a timeline for the competition. Decide how long you’d like it to run for, and apply an absolute minimum of $10 per day as a boost. Just remember that some platforms have restrictions on how to conduct giveaways, so make sure you read up on these so that you don’t breach any rules!