When you ask a person to define marketing, they are quick to give a clear answer. Still, when you ask them to do the same only for social media marketing, you might get a reply somewhere along the lines of “well I’m not sure, but I think it’s…”, which is strange because social media marketing is currently one of marketing’s most prominent branches. For those of you who aren’t exactly sure what social media marketing is, we will do our best to give you a clear explanation in the first half of this article. In the second half, we will talk about tools you can use to automate your social media marketing efforts. So let’s start!
because at the end of the day, every marketing branch has the same aim of raising brand awareness, promoting businesses, and their products, and boosting conversions and sales. What sets social media marketing apart, though, is that your marketing campaigns and content aren’t shared through classic means like TV, radio, print, etc.. Instead, it is shared through various social media platforms, which are nowadays the go-to place for social interaction, entertainment, and getting informed.
Another thing is the fact that each social media platform you use for marketing will require you to tailor your content to fit that specific platform. One piece of marketing content won’t be able to fit the format of every platform equally as good. For instance, those of you who decide to market your brand/products on Instagram or Snapchat will put most of your focus on creating visual content such as images and videos. In contrast, those wanting to market on Twitter and Facebook will split their focus between creating visual and written content.
Now, after reading all of that, the next question that pops up on your mind might be, “how do I know which social media network will be right for me and my business?”. Well, that will vary based on which generations of people make up your audience. For businesses with audiences made up mostly of millennials and generation X Facebook will be the best. At the same time, Twitter and Instagram will both be great if the majority of your audience is millennials. On the other hand, if your target audience is baby boomers, then LinkedIn and Pinterest should be your platforms of choice. It’s important to note that while you are free to invest time and effort into marketing on all social media platforms, you should focus on 2-3 for which you are sure your target audience is using on the regular.
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way let’s talk more in-depth about the benefits social media marketing can bring you.
Increased brand awareness
One characteristic all social media networks have in common is that they all have a very large number of users. That means your advertisements and content will most likely reach a big audience and, in turn, significantly increase the level of knowledge and awareness about your brand and products. Another reason why marketing on social media platforms is great for brand awareness is the possibility of “going viral,” which is something that occurs only on social media.
More leads and conversions
With the help of social media, you can easily boost your leads and conversions in a few ways, such as incorporating links in posts/stories/profile descriptions, posting on the marketplace of whichever social media platform you are using, hosting content and giveaways and so on.
Insight into the marketing strategy of your competitors
When you are actively present on a certain social media platform, you not only have the opportunity to promote yourself/your business, you also get the chance to keep tabs on your competitors and learn from both their marketing successes and failures. It can also be an easy way of making sure that the marketing strategy you are planning hasn’t been done already.
Besides the benefits we just mentioned, the best thing about social media marketing might be its cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. Since the only things you need for creating a social media marketing strategy are creativity and uniqueness, it easily knocks all other marketing techniques out of the park.
Some research also indicates that most audiences, regardless of age group, prefer social media marketing to traditional marketing. It isn’t so one-sided and gives them a chance not only to get informed about a brand/product but to give instant feedback and to interact with the business as well, which can humanize a business and bring it closer to its audience.
Okay, this all sounds great, but how exactly does one do social media marketing? The answer is, pretty easily, in a few simple steps.
The first step is to identify your target audience (if you haven’t already). Getting to know your audience, their preferences, and interests are the only way to make sure your marketing strategy will be effective, otherwise by posting random content, you are taking a shot in the dark.
The second step is to decide the platforms on which you will be doing the marketing. We’ve talked about this a bit earlier and said that it’s important for structuring your content in the right way, so there is no need to go over it again.
The third step is creating the content. Since everyone has their unique creative process, we can’t give many pointers on this step.
The only advice we can give you is to make your content one-of-a-kind, engaging, and of course, eye-catching.
The fourth and final step you will need to do is to create a schedule for the publishing of your marketing content. This not only makes things easier and more organized, but it also gives off a sense of consistency, which is something audiences love. While you can, of course, try and memorize a posting schedule, doing that just doesn’t make sense in the year 2020. Instead, you should resort to using tools that will automate the posting process for you, and not only that, and they can also help with editing pictures, creating captions, giving insight on user interactions and engagement, and so much more.
Best social media marketing automation tools
The collection of tools you can choose from is extremely vast. Still, since we know you most likely don’t have the time to try each one of them out, we will dedicate the rest of this article to presenting you with some of the most popular tools for automating your social media marketing. Without further ado, let’s see which ones we picked.
Buffer is a tool you can use to easily schedule your posts for publishing. It works by placing posts in a queue and then publishing them according to a preconfigured time slot or at the most optimal time. Buffer is compatible with most major social media networks, a.k.a. the ones you will be using. Besides a friendly interface Buffer also comes with an analytics feature that will allow you to see how your posts are doing with your audience. A great feature of Buffer’s, which is not provided by many other tools, is the option to compare your social media strategy to the strategies of your competitors. Buffer is available as a mobile app, desktop app, and a browser extension and comes in many packages which are all updated regularly.
Like Buffer, Agorapulse is a tool that can be used to schedule your posts but also to customize the posts, manage social media messages, track KPIs and important topics, and do so much more. It will enable you to manage all your social media accounts through one tool since everything is placed on one organized color-coded dashboard. It even has a preview feature that will ensure your posts look good once they are published. For those of you who need to post a lot of content at once, we have good news, Agorapulse comes with the option to schedule posts in bulk.
Agorapulse also has a unique feature that does an analysis of your audience and identifies influencers and potential brand ambassadors in it. If you are looking to find better ways to engage with your audience, this tool has you covered on that front as well by allowing you to easily do promotions, quizzes, and competitions.
SocialPilot is a tool especially geared towards people who manage multiple accounts at once since it allows you to connect up to 200 of them and to do bulk scheduling as well. SocialPilot comes with a content suggestion feature and a content calendar that will allow you to easily keep an eye on everything. If you need help managing all your accounts, don’t worry, there is also a feature that will enable you to collaborate and work in teams with other people. SocialPilot works with a large number of social media platforms and comes in the form of a mobile app, desktop app, and a browser extension.
4. IFTTT (if this, then that)
IFTTT is a bit of a different automation tool. It works by waiting for a trigger to go off to perform a certain automated task. For instance, posting a tweet after a blog post has been published, emailing a user after he/she left a comment, and so on. You have over 4000 of these automated tasks to choose from, and you can even create your combination of a source event and resulting action if you need to. IFTTT will connect your different social media accounts and make them rely on each other for making the next move. If you are skeptical about this very fun app, don’t worry; it’s free, so trying it out won’t cost you anything.
5. Post Planner
If you’re doing social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest and need an automation tool, then Post Planner is your guy. Besides automating the process of content publishing, it can also help you discover popular content types within your industry. It comes with an algorithm that can be used to find the best posting time for your accounts and to republish only your most popular content. To help you track not only content performance but also audience engagement, it will come with an analytics feature too. The best thing about this tool might be its crazy low price of $3/month and the free 30-day trial it comes with.
Hopefully, with this article, we managed to bring the world of social media marketing a bit closer to you. Although at times it might seem complicated, it isn’t; especially with the help of these amazing tools, we presented you with. The last piece of advice we want to give you is to always be consistent, creative, and unique when doing marketing, and in no time, your strategies should start bringing in even better results than you anticipated. Good luck!