How to Start Social Media Marketing for Beginners

Do you know the marketing potential of social media? Do you want to learn about social media marketing? With over 200 social media platforms, you cannot avoid using social media. You might as well learn to market on it.

The total user base of the four most prominent social media platforms is more than 5 billion users. That’s like 2 billion short of the current world population. And according to Statista, Facebook is topping the list with 2.196 billion active users as of July 2018.

As an investor, you don’t need convincing before you consider social media marketing as an integral plan of your online marketing strategy.

What is Social Media?

According to Investopedia, Social media is a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas and information and the building of virtual networks and communities.

By design, social media is internet based and offers users secure electronic communication of personal information and other content, such as videos and photos. Users engage with social media via computer, tablet or smartphone via web-based software or web application, often utilising it for messaging.

In Nigeria, the most widely used social media platform is neither Facebook nor Instagram, but WhatsApp. Many Nigerians don’t even know that WhatsApp is a social media platform. The second in the list for Nigeria is Facebook, which is also dominant in social media marketing.

Top 20 Social Media Platforms

Here are the top 20 social media platforms and number of active users as of January 2018. The top four are all in the billions. It’s not surprising that Facebook Messenger is fourth on the list. What is surprising is QQ in the sixth position with 843 million active users.

1. Facebook (2.167 billion)
2. YouTube (1.5B)
3. WhatsApp (1.3B)
4. Facebook Messenger (1.3B)
5. WeChat (980M)
6. QQ (843M)
7. Instagram (800M)
8. Tumblr (794M)
9. QZone (568M)
10. Sina Weibo (376M)
11. Twitter (330M)
12. Baidu Tieba (300M)
13. Skype (300M)
14. LinkedIn (260M)
15. Viber (260M)
16. Snapchat (255M)
17. Reddit (250M)
18. LINE (203M)
19. Pinterest (200M)
20. YY (117M)

How it Works

Social media marketing allows businesses to reach a broader audience online. It’s the same tactic used in digital marketing to increase brand awareness, improve customer engagement and generates more leads.

Social media marketing involves the promotion of brand content to engage with the target audience on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etcetera.

But the biggest appeal of social media marketing is the engagement it creates between marketers and consumer under the guise of a social environment.

Understanding Digital Marketing

You need to understand digital marketing. You can read about it in another article here. But you need to know how it will help you choose the right online marketing channel to get your products across to the target customers.

There are different channels of digital marketing. And social media marketing is just one of the branches of digital marketing. There is also search engine marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, etcetera.

Digital market ping involves all digital channels that can be deployed for marketing purposes.

What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

Wikipedia defines Social media marketing as the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools. It enables you to analyse and track the progress, success, and engagement of your ad campaigns.

Social media became a replacement for personal blog sites which were popular 15 years ago. People use to post about their own lives using blogs. Since the advent of social media, it’s much easier and faster to reach the same audience your personal blog is targeting on social networking sites.

However, social media marketing does not suggest that it’s about advertising. It was the same activities of social networking but focused on marketing a product or service.

Who is a Social Media Manager?

Whatis.com gave a perfect definition of A social media manager as the individual in an organisation trusted with monitoring, contributing to, filtering, measuring and otherwise guiding the social media presence of a brand, product, individual or corporation.

It’s the same role as a community manager on a web forum. In large organisations, they are in the marketing and public relations department. So, a social media manager handles the companies social marketing efforts on social networking sites.

The role is similar to that of a community manager on a website forum or public relations representative. Social media managers are often found in the marketing and public relations departments of large organisations.

Action Points for Social Media Marketing

The next step is for you to apply social media marketing yourself. If you are looking to get a job as a social media manager or just marketing your business online, here is the process to follow.

Step One: Pick the Right Social Network

Don’t just use any of the social media platforms. Take the right one for your business. And how do you know the right social media for your business? It’s not about what’s working for others. Think about what you want to achieve.

For example, Facebook and Snapchat are good for demography. Although, Facebook targets the older, while Snapchat is of the younger demography. Also, YouTube is good with search, especially if you don’t have fans. But it’s purely a video networking site.

So, understand each of the social media sites and how you can leverage it for your marketing success. You can build users on YouTube even if you don’t have any fan now. But if you are looking for the demography, Facebook is fantastic.

Step Two: What Content Do You Want to Create?

Content is king. And it’s for all times. What kind of content do you want to create? Each of the social media sites is designed for specific use. Your content type will influence your platform of choice.

For example, Instagram is for shot videos and images. It doesn’t offer you much space to write articles. But YouTube is just video. And can accommodate audio as well.

And content includes what you have in your profile. The username, email, phone numbers, profile images, and description are all important part of your content.

Step Three: Build The Connection

Connecting with your audience is equally important. You have to talk about the benefits people are going to get by following your business on social media. The principle of marketing applies to social media marketing as well.

Create a value proposition that will be appealing to your target audience. And always respond to comments.

Step Four: Don’t Go for Followers Count

It’s essential you follow what’s more beneficial for social media marketing. Build die-hard fans, instead of going after followers count.

Conclusion

The best part of social media marketing is engagement. The more fans you can engage the better the effect of your marketing. But that engagement can only work if you apply it on the right platform.

Even if you don’t know what content to share, you can find out what your competitors are doing on the social network. It could also be as simple as a status update.

Moreover, you should have consideration for your traffic sources, whether for SEO or viral traffic.

Recommendations

You may need to also read digital marketing for Beginners to understand the several media channels available for your online marketing.

About Chinedu David

Chinedu David is a business consultant, marketer and strategist. My services include: conducting business feasibility study, packaging business plan, new and existing product market insertion, design, build and managing hotels and cooking Gas plants anywhere in Nigeria. You can reach me through any of these contacts: Call/Text/WhatsApp: 08139006120, 07087770518 or email: nedu@myblog.com.ng

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