What is Social Media Marketing?
How can you use Social Media Marketing to your advantage?
Nowadays, everyone is on their phone constantly. According to the Hootsuite’s 2019 Global Report, 25 millions of Malaysian spend around 2 hours 58 minutes on their phone playing social media every day. If you don’t tap on this potential audience, you will be missing out big time!
Before we start, let’s define what is Social Media Marketing. According to Neil Patel, Social media marketing is the process of creating content that you have tailored to the context of each individual social media platform in order to drive user engagement and sharing.
You might ask, why is it so important though? Why do some businesses take their social media marketing to the next level? Aren’t all these just platforms to create and post updates? Will people actually buy my products? Here are some benefits in doing social media marketing for your business:
What is better than being where most of your audiences are? The key to making sure that you are always in your audience’s mind is to constantly be around them. According to Hootsuite, around 78% of Malaysia’s total population is on social media, and 35% of them are from age 25 to 34.
There is a saying that marketing is not really about how good your product is, but more towards how good are you building a relationship with your customers.
One of the main benefits of doing social media marketing is that their reach is massive. I am talking about over 3 billion massive in the entire world. Every month, Facebook has over 24 millions monthly active users, while Instagram has 12 millions monthly active users in Malaysia alone. And the best of them all, they are still free to use! With their massive reach, you can leverage on that to help you drive more traffic to your website, or even convert your potential customers.
Imagine this scenario. You discover a new shop selling coffee beans online. You never heard of the shop name before, but it sounds interesting. What are you gonna do next? Most probably you will check whether they have an online presence or not. Is their social media updated regularly? How are the reviews from other people? Do they care about their customers? Are they giving value to them? After you see how credible they are, most likely you will consider trying and buy their products even though you never heard of them before.
So, after you know the benefits of having social media marketing, maybe you are wondering what is the next step. How do you start social media marketing for your business? Here are a few pieces of advice from us!
First and foremost, you need to define your objective. When planning social media or anywhere else, the first thing you need to do is to understand your objectives. Is it to bring more engagement? Is it to bring more leads? Or to convert potential customers to customers? Choosing the right objective is crucial to set the foundation of your social media marketing plan.
After you know your objective, the next step is to know who your audience is. It is very rare that everyone in this world would require your business. Most businesses have their own niche audiences and instead of focusing on how to reach everyone, you should focus on how to reach those groups of audiences. Some questions that you can ask are what do they value the most? What are their problems and how can your business solve their problems? Which social media platform do they hang out the most? And how do they get influenced? Is it by the newspaper? Or social media? Or influencers? When you know your audience well, it becomes easier to really pinpoint what they need and convert them.
The next step is content creation. The key to producing good and engaging content, or social media posts to be exact, is to always deliver value to your audience. The more valuable your content is, the higher the chance that your audience will share or interact with your post. Make sure all your content across all platforms has the same theme/tone. It will help in distinguishing your brand among competitors.
There are a lot of social media platforms out there. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, just to name a few. It will be ideal if your brand has a presence on every platform. You can potentially reach more people. But, the reality is, it is hard work to maintain every single platform, especially when every platform has different best practices and audience behavior. So, which one should you choose? To start, you can choose 2-3 platforms to focus on. Choose platforms where your potential customers/customers hang out the most (hence why you really need to understand your audience beforehand).
After you created and published your content, you still need to know how your content is performing. Some of you might think that isn’t it obvious what metrics to measure? How many followers or how many likes and comments or how many shares, etc? Yes, those metrics are important and that can be a start, but there are even more important metrics to track. The metrics that you will need to track would vary as you might have different objectives on different campaigns. Here are some of the metrics you need to track according to Hootsuite:
The goal of your social media is to educate, build credibility, build following and assist people to find information and know more about you.
Here are some quick tips:
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Every moment you can get from your audience is valuable, especially during this era which is filled with plenty of digital clutter. You can choose to bombard them with hard sell posts and meaningless content, or you can choose this time to provide the best contents to build your brand, resonate with your audience and establish credibility.
Gary Vaynerchuck is all about giving. Giving things that people truly need. Win their hearts and you will win their votes.
Don't just be a one-way street communicator. Engage with your audiences and turn them into your fans! Reply their comments, thank them, love them and they will love you back!
Spend some time checking out other people's profiles. Be interested in them and they will be interested in you.
These may sound like simple strategies, but it will take time and effort to make this work!
If you just started a business, most likely you will have a very small team or maybe even a one-man team. You will need to double or triple hats and obviously you don’t have that much time to take care of your business’ social media. Here are some tips (and tricks) to get you started!
Instead of wanting to be at every platform at once, you can focus on 1-2 platforms that your audience generally hang out at. Lesser platforms to manage means you can be more focused and maximize the potential of those platforms.
Hard sell is a no-no. If you are a new business, most likely your potential audience doesn't know about you yet. Instead of telling them how good your product is, try to educate and bring value to them before offering them your product.
Making valuable content every day is hard. I have been there and I know the struggles too well. One hack that you can do is to use your customer posts as your own content. For example, if a customer gives a review/testimonial about your product, you can screenshot and make it as a post. Don’t forget to also ask for their permission beforehand and tag them. UGC requires only a little bit of time and the most important part, not only will it help in your customers’ buying decision, it will also boost your brand awareness too!
According to ahref, evergreen content is content that doesn’t go out of date. It’s constantly giving value whether it’s today or 10 years from now. For example, you create a blog about ‘How to wash your hands properly’. Today or 10 years from now, the method of washing hands is still the same. With evergreen contents, you do less work and you can also reupload them after a few months or even a few years.
This is a hack that I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. If any of you are familiar with him, he is the king of content. An example of repurposing content is I created a long-form content (webinar) and repurpose them as short-contents (videos, quotes, podcast, etc). This will save a lot of your time, and you get a lot of contents out of 1 long-form content.
There are a few career path options that you can take if you love social media marketing. Here are some of them and what kind of skills you should possess to nail the job:
Fancy playing social media at work? Then you are in for a treat. Social media manager job consists of playing social media all day long. Jokes aside, as manager, besides creating engaging content and building brand awareness, you will also need to do some content management, such as scheduling posts. You will also need to have the skill of building a community, which means engaging customers and potential customers. In a nutshell, your job is to turn potential customers to customers and retain them with social media. Another tip for you to excel in this job is to have an ‘always be learning’ attitude. As the digital marketing and social media landscape are always changing, it is crucial for you to be aware of what's happening and how to leverage on those platforms to help in your overall marketing strategy. No more scrolling aimlessly, your social media team is where you research.
You love data and also love to see how social medias are impacting businesses around the world. If you are that person, this job is for you. As an analyst, you will be focusing on tracking all social media campaigns and also analyze their performances. You will need to develop strategies that will improve the business, either by increasing the quality of the leads or converting more customers through social media. To be excellent at this job, you will need a strong analytical skill. Really good with numbers is not a must have skill, but it will help you along the way.
Words are your forte. You get excited over beautiful poems or articles. And also, of course, you love social media. As a copywriter, your job is to develop engaging copies for social media posts, paid advertising or even websites. Usually, English proficiency is a must and maybe some additional language proficiency will be good, such as Mandarin or Bahasa Malaysia. Having a skill in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a must, but nowadays it is highly recommended (trust me in this one). As SEO and copywriting goes hand in hand, it will be good if you know how to optimize every word to be search engine-friendly.
Building a strong social presence takes a lot of time and effort, which is why outsourcing is common as it involves a lot of grunt work on top of creative work.
Here is a list of what to expect from social media marketing companies:
Some social media marketing companies do a standalone service (they focused on one aspect of social media marketing, such as social media content creation or social media advertising) and some are offering full services from customer support to social media management and even advertising. Before you engage any of them, make sure that you have a clear understanding of what they offer (also make sure you check their portfolios or other clients) and what you actually need the most, so you can make sure that every penny that you spend is worthed.
As a marketer, you need to have a mindset of lifetime learning. We used to talk about TVs or newspapers as the platforms to create brand awareness for our business. Today, there are a lot more additional platforms that we can advertise our business on, and one of them is social media platforms. But, the platforms that we advertise on might change a few years down the road. And what is considered in today, might be outdated in the future. But, essentially human behaviour doesn’t change that much (Of course, there will still be some changes in terms of their behaviour while consuming contents). In the very end, they still want something that can give solutions to their problems with a very minimum effort from them. To upskill yourself and make sure that you are constantly up to date, you can check out these few social media marketing courses:
This course is developed by Hubspot, a CRM company. Inside the course, you will learn from creating social media content, how to build social media marketing strategy, and even how to track and measure your campaigns.
This course is perfect for you if you want to know more generally about how social media works, and how to do basic marketing strategy.
Facebook Blueprint is a one-stop how-tos for everything related to both Facebook and Instagram for business. They offer a lot of courses, from how to manage your Facebook and Instagram page to how to advertise on Facebook and Instagram and it’s all free for you to learn.
This course is perfect if you are planning to do Facebook Advertising or to understand more about Facebook/Instagram Business in general.
Skillshare is an online platform where industry experts share their skills/knowledge on certain topics. The social media marketing section on Skillshare offers a broad range of topics, from introduction to social media strategy to more specific topics, such as advertising strategy in certain platforms or even about personal branding on social media.
Skillshare offers beginners to advanced level course. And what makes Skillshare good is you can choose the specific topic that you want to learn.
Digital Marketing Product Launch Bootcamp is a 5 weeks on-site bootcamp by NEXT Academy. If you are looking for a hands-on, experts-guided course, then this will be the perfect course for you. It covers topics such as Marketing Fundamentals, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Paid Advertising and many more. You will run real marketing campaigns to launch and promote products from Malaysian companies.
There might be a lot of courses out there, and you are not sure where to start. If you are new to social media marketing, it will be good to start with a course that offers some basic, general know how-tos for each social media platform. If you are looking for a more advanced course or want to learn how every digital marketing aspect is connected to each other, you can consider joining our Digital Marketing courses.
Last but not least, here are some additional articles and resources that are personally my favourites in terms of social media marketing:
If you want to know the know-how or any updates to algorithm changes in social media platforms or anything about social media marketing, you can check out Hootsuite’s blog. Also, the one thing that I always look forward to is their reports on social media consumption around the world every quarter of the year.
If you follow Gary, you will know how he always creates a lot of content. Like, A LOT. Every few days, it seems like there are new contents from him. Wonder how he does it? On this blog, he shared some hacks regarding content creation that you should probably know. It’s a pretty useful hack, especially if you don’t have that much time!
You probably wonder why Reddit is my favourite. But, trust me, Reddit has a lot of interesting insights regarding social media (or digital marketing in general), especially if there is a new platform and no one else is really sure about how those algorithms work. All of the users are digital marketing practitioners, so it’s always nice to exchange some insights :)
All in all, social media is always changing. What are the popular platforms today, might be outdated in just a few years. How audiences consume certain contents also might change and that will change how we, as marketers, market our products. My last advice is to always experiment, open your eyes to what is happening around you (and also your competitors) and no more mindless scrolling through those social media platforms. Everything that you do now is research to help you in this social media marketing journey.