Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020

Guide to Social Media

Humans now are extremely impatient and they speed date, eat fast food. They pay extra for overnight shipping, and go along with social media without actually planning a proper strategy

New trends and technology are constantly coming up and older ones are becoming redundant. So it is not really advisable to get into the social media bandwagon without setting a proper roadmap

Please note that social media is an ocean . It has millions of users. So by merely getting into it, will not help your brand .The digitalscool team has curated this comprehensive guide that will teach you everything you need to know about how to build a social media marketing strategy that will delivervalue to your audience and helps your business grow.

Why is social media important for your business?
A few years back, brands never considered social media as a marketing platform . It was just a trend and some also were under the opinion that it was a distraction for kids wasting constructive time to scroll through endless news feeds.

But in recent times, most brands are onboarding and have clearly leveraged the beauty of using social media as a powerful marketing tool.

According to research, there are 3.25 billion global internet users, and over three billion active social media users .It is a known fact now that If social media were a country, it would be the biggest country in the world in terms of population

We are telling you this because due to its gigantic size, social media can provide you with more exposure and brand awareness than any other marketing platform ever seen

The current social media platforms have become such an integral part of our lives that we are not thinking twice before telling the world about our desires, preferences, problems, plans and dreams

Now smart brands know how to benefit from the huge amount of data that potential customers are giving out in real time. Would you believe that recent statistics show five hundred million tweets uploaded , ninety million photos on Instagram, and four billion posts on facebook. Now among this ocean of information so easily available to brands, there are valuable insights about your customers-what do they like, what are they willing to pay for, what are their problems?

Social media has made it possible for brands to listen on the conversations their customers are having and also take part in the discussion. Social platforms can also help brands gather information about their target audience and create better and personalized marketing messages

What is Social Media Marketing?
For an instance consider yourself as the four year child you were when you just started taking swimming lessons. You were extremely scared to jump into the pool. The cool waters that beckon you now were looking threateningly at you that time. This is because it was an unknown territory for you . Plunging into something without knowing what is in there is scary

The same scenario holds true for getting started with social media marketing. If you are unaware of what strategies work there, you might end up burning your fingers

Social media marketing refers to the use of social media platforms to identify and connect with key audiences and build relationships

The goal of any brand is to increase brand awareness, generate leads and convert potential customers. But, you must understand that without building and nurturing relationships , you cannot sell them anything

Unlike traditional marketing, where brands start sending prospects with sales messages, social media platform is a community building process. In social media, brands need to listen, engage with their audience , become involved, and provide value with their prospects that can eventually lead to sales, thus direct selling is not powerful.

This takes time and patience

What are the benefits of Social Media Marketing?
Around ninety eight percent of digital marketers in the world are using social media as it has become an integral part of a brand’s marketing efforts

Surprisingly, not all businesses seem to understand the benefits of social media marketing. Recent studies show that even now around sixty percent of small businesses are not using social media marketing to promote their products/services.

Can you imagine the huge chunk of market opportunities they are missing out!
Even more surprising is that twenty percent of those businesses say that they do not even plan to use social media in the future.

This clearly shows that there is a huge gap between the people who understand the value social media can bring and those who still see it as just a trend among youngsters

Hence we list below a few benefits of social media marketing

Brand Recognition: Research shows that consumers tend to buy from the brands that they recognize and trust. Social media can get your business in front of the right people and influence them to engage with your brand even when they are not ready to make a purchase so that in future when they want to buy the product they go for your brand

Gives the Humanly touch to Your Brand: Social media makes it easier to show your customers that you are not just a faceless company that is only existing to take the money from their pockets. It assists you to build a brand voice and showcase your story , or the mission of your team. Our team does a great job of empowering their employees to be the face of our brand on social media platforms

Helps to Establish brand as an Authority: Social media is an effective platform to share useful content that tells brand solutions. Brands can respond to industry-related queries, participate in discussions, and share valuable resources with their network to become an authority in your industry

Improve Customer Service: Your customers are on social media so you better be there.Sixty five percent of consumersgo to social media for customer service. But that’s not all ,consumers expect brands to respond to their request immediately . So, while you are conveniently ignoring social media, your customers are talking about your business online.

There are many more benefits. Social media can also help drive traffic to your site, it also assists with link building for SEO

How can you build and implement a successful social media marketing plan.

How do you create a Social Media Marketing Plan for your business?
If you do not plan for your social media marketing, you will not be able to achieve the desired results and engagement

We have noticed many business owners and some digital marketers approach social media with no clear direction. They assume that they need to have a social media presence so they set up pages and accounts on every social platform and start publishing irrelevant and inconsistent content.

Hence we would like to stress the importance here that if you want to utilize the most of the social media for your business, first you need to understand your goals,what you are trying to achieve and the return on investment that can be achieved. Then you need to create a structured and laser targeted approach for moving towards that goal.

Here are the key aspects you should consider when you are putting together a social media marketing plan for your business.

Research on Social Media
Now you are aware that understanding your audience’s needs and expectations are vital to social media marketing . So it is important that social media research becomes the most important and key aspect of your social media strategy even before you start creating a page

It is very simple, the more you know about your customers, the easier it becomes to create content that caters to this set of customers’ specific needs.

However is it that straightforward?
The data and conversations on social media is so big that it can feel like a herculean task to look for valuable insights.

But of course it is possible to gain the valuable insights with the right strategies

First of all , you must start by asking the right questions for the specified platform

For instance consider an e commerce website selling eco friendly products. They want to start a new line of bamboo products. So they want to know what people are talking about when it comes to bamboo products. Some of the possible questions they may ask are: How are people responding to exclusive bamboo products? What will they use them for? Are the jugs more popular or the bags?Which are the companies currently into bamboo products?

Now they have questions and topics, they need to create a list of the possible keywords and phrases your audience might be using to discuss this topic on bamboo products. Also the funny part is people are not using the right words on social media so need to plan for those words too

Research on the right social media platform for your target audience. Once you are clear about the demographics of your audience, find out which platform they hang out on . For instance, younger audience hang out more on instagram . Target them with IGTV videos to gain huge engagement.

The same strategy works for twitter, facebook, snapchat and others, you need to customise content based on each

Analyze your results and refine the list. Exclude anything that isn’t relevant to your industry or is not providing any useful information.

With this data in hand, answer some basic questions, such as what is the overall sentiment for eco friendly products in this space, what audience categories are the most engaged about it, which region and which age group

Research should never stop. Consistently tweak as you experiment

Experiment analyse,tweak. Keep doing this consistently.This information can frame your approach to marketing your product or service to this particular group of people.

Paid and Organic Social Media Reach
By now you are sure that social media marketing can help you grow your business while spending within your budget. Like everything else, this too that takes time, patience, hard work and strategies

During recent times, organic reach has reduced tremendously and paid social media advertising is a better option when it comes to brand awareness, traffic generation and customer acquisition and overall reach

Organic social media marketing can help you put your business in front of the right audience for free (apart from your time of course). That is if you learn the rules of the game and play by them.

Here’s the thing: just as with search engine optimization, the algorithm for each social network changes regularly. Facebook, for instance, has significantly reduced the organic reach of businessesin recent years and it plans to lower it even more in the future.

Also this social network has made it clear that it will only show content that is useful, relevant, and valuable.

Most brands find cracking the facebook algorithm and getting your content in front of your audience is becoming increasingly difficult, but there are a few advantages to relying on organic social media instead of paying facebook immediately

Being consistent can benefit your brand longterm by developing authority and trust

If you have a tight marketing budget, it’s much more affordable;

Mostpeople trust organic engagement and messaging, more than they do paid advertisements labelled as sponsored

On the other hand, paid social media advertising can help brands achieve goals faster. One important thing to note here is that a paid campaign will stop driving traffic and leads the moment you stop the ads. But evergreen social media content that is engaging, valuable and insightful can generate ROI forever

In the end, both paid and organic is mandatory. You need to look at your metrics and budget to decide which option fits your business best and experiment with both. You must note that in the end, each of the social networks are businesses themselves, and they need to monetize their audience to sustain . Obviously, as this industry continues to mature, the ease of organic reach will continue to decrease. So if you think that social media is a free way to market your business, you will definetely end up being disappointed.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is that they assume social media platforms as one single entity. True, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all social networks, but they are so different . Everything from the audience to the style to the content is unique.

So, now it is important you ensure that you are focusing on the social platform that benefit your business’ goals?

Below are some factors to help you decide

User Demographics: Size isn’t always important. Instagram may be one of the fastest growing and highly popular platform,but if you are a B2B company then it would make more sense to focus your content and campaign on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Resources: Each platform needs a customised content style. Instagram and Pinterest, for example, require visuals, images, graphics and videos while Twitter emphasizes short crispquotes

Time: Unless you have a dedicated social media marketing team, it is just not possible to post on every social media channel. It is important to post daily on each platform

A brand needs to focus their complete efforton the social network that is relevant to theirtarget audience group.

How Often You Should Post on Social Media
The digital marketing team at digitalscool have studied social media trends of 75 companies across platforms and found the right social media frequency that allows you to engage with your network, drive engagement and traffic, and increase brand awareness, without coming across as too much selling.

Below are our observations

Facebook:
Studies suggest that you should post just once or at most twice a day to Facebook. Anything more than that can result in viewers either ignoring your posts or even worse marking it as spam

Twitter: Usually it is found thatfifteen to sixteen Tweets per day is the best that gets you all the benefits of twitter marketing;

Pinterest: Between fifteen to thirty posts per day will bring you the best results on pinterest

Google+:  Google+ is very much alive and helpful. We have seen that it can benefit your SEO greatly. It is necessary to post relevant content at least twice per day;

LinkedIn: One post everyday for LinkedIn to the relevant audience

Instagram: Brands should post only 1-2 images per day on Instagram. But if you have more content that you want to share with your audience, use the Instagram Stories feature

Does all this seem like a lot of work. Curating and Posting content consistently on social media is made far easier with social media scheduling tools that you can find on another article we have written for you

The Best Time to Post on Social Media
After curating great content, you must be aware that timing is crucial to social media marketing success.

Consider this situation ,you have spent hours working on a blog that is insightful and is well researched and packed with helpful information. You are sure that lots of people would benefit from your hard work. You share it with your network. But, to your disappointment, there is no engagement on the content

That is why timing is important

What is the best time to post on social media?

Facebook: The best time to post on Facebook is Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The best time is 9 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM.

Twitter: The best time to post on Twitter is Wednesday between 5 and 6 PM;

Pinterest: Saturday is best day for connecting with your Pinterest audience. The best hours are 2 PM, 9 PM, and surprisingly late at night

LinkedIn: Midweek posting (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) early in the morning (between 7 and 8 AM) or in the afternoon (5-6PM) is your ideal time;

Instagram: One of the things that make Instagram so great is that users are active throughout the week. But, for maximum engagement,. Also make sure not to skip Mondays and Thursdays

Google+: The best time to post on Google+ is on Wednesdays, between 9 and 11 AM.

It would save a lot of time if you can pre-schedule content to be posted at these times rather than be active all day every day yourself

Social Media helps SEO
Google uses over two hundred and fifty parameters to decide which content to show higher in search engine results. We have noticed that social media signals are the less significant factors. But yet they do impact your rankings.

According to the digitalscool team,the relation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high. Over the years we have seen that sites that have large number of social signals perform better than those with lesser signals.

Social signals play in SEO is becoming more and more clear in recent times. For instance, if you create and share good quality content on social media, people are going to like it, share it and engage with it in different ways That builds traffic, your credibility, and trust. Finally , this leads to a higher ranking.

Another important aspect is that your social media pages will show up on page one of a search result when someone is looking for your brand. This is very important for authority and brand recognition.

Growing and sustaining a Social Media Audience

You now understand that social media is an effective way to promote and grow your business.

But the most difficult step is getting the first likes, comments and engagement

Likes, Followers, and Shares: You can do a lot of different things to increase your visibility. It is important for a brand to add links of their social media profiles to their site. Also engage consistently with people, use well researched hashtags, add links to their social media accounts in their email signature. These are only a few strategies that help build engagement. But it is important to note that all other efforts will fail if the content you share with your community provides no real value. Hence it is imperative to create quality content on a regular basis if you want to keep your audience engaged

Facebook: Both the big social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram is all about videos. Statistics have shown that live videos get fifty percent more views than other types of content. This is definitely a broad audience reach that will help your social media strategy by leaps and bounds. But necessary caution needs to be imposed as you need to keep yourself updated with the latest trends as these trends keep changing , and you will need to adapt with the changing trends

Facebook Messenger: Messenger is highly popular and will continue to be in 2020 and a lot of companies believe this is here to stay. It is a social media channel that could compete with email marketing with personalised niche targeting. With Facebook Messenger brands can use  Chatbots to engage with prospective leads. They can also expand their reach with messenger advertising. In 2020 marketers suggest brand utilize this amazing mode of reaching out to your leads

Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups: Both Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups are very beneficial in building a community . The major difference could be your Facebook Page, is where some of your audience might be there just to benefit from some offers or some new trends or products. In a Facebook Group usually people are interested and engaged in a specific topic. Every brand now has one or more facebook groups as you can take part in the discussion and project yourself as an industry expert. Facebook Groups also get better organic reach, compared to Business Pages. It is free and has huge reach. So use the benefits of both

Twitter: Twitter is a very interactive medium. In twitter you can retweet, Like, and engage with followers and other users as often as possible to grow your audience. If you want to start a quick growth and sustain it over time, you must useonline twitter tools. Refer previously published article on this

LinkedIn: LinkedIn has evolved from an ordinary recruiting tool to a powerful publishing platform. Brands use this platform to connect with B2B market and publish content that will put your business in front of a target audience. Linkedln is extremely powerful as a networking platform

Pinterest: In Pinterest, collaboration is the key to success. You can invite bloggers and influencers in your industry to contribute to your boards. This way, you can increase your community and network.

Snapchat: If you want to build an audience on Snapchat, then you should come up with a storyline. You should just not post random photos or videos. Build a story that will keep users engaged.

Social Listening

There is a highly beneficial aspect of social media that you can utilize. But it is hardly utilized

It is called social listening.

The reason is to be able to deliver good quality content to your audience, you need to learn about their interests and behaviour. The only smart way to reach that level is to become a good listener.

The brand mentions, likes, comments and your competition can reveal something valuable about how you can reach your audience. This information can help brands not only improve their customer engagement but also understand how your target audience perceives you in comparison to your competitors. You could also identify pain points that no one is addressing. You could also set complaints right or identify industry influencers.

Brands must monitor keywords, such as your brand name , related words ,your competitors’ names, your product or service names, your hashtags, and the names people in your company.

Social Media Community Management

No brand can build a successful social media marketing plan if they are ignoring their fans and followers. You must immediately respond to comments and also send thempersonalized welcome/thank you direct messages. You must hare useful content

It is necessary to keep at least one hour per day to to social media community management and listening . Make an effort to respond to those mentioning your brand as this is what matters for fans to build trust with your brand. There are many tools available that makes it easy to schedule posts and to listen to conversations.

Social Media Advertising

While it is very important to put good efforts towards growing a social media presence organically, nowadays, with the limitations of organic reach it is becoming more important to invest in social media advertising

The customer journey is never a straight line. Leads or prospects go through different stages before they decide whether they are interested in your products and services or not.

In order to get consistent outcomes from social media marketing, brands need to create as many touch points as possible, and advertising provides the most controlled and measurable way of doing so.

Here’s a plan to effective social media advertising that makes sense in combination with quality content and an organic growth plan

Create engaging and quality content and publish it on your website;

Promote it organically to ensure it reaches the widest audience possible;

Add a Facebook pixel to your website that captures the information of people who visit and engage with your content;

Remarketing your content to the audience that has shown interest in your brand;

Generate leads that already trust you

Social Media Management Tools

Social media can get overwhelming if you are trying to manage everything on your own. Simultaneously you need to create content, schedule it, engage with your network, promote posts, share other people’s content, manage your community, and lot of related tasks

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools you can use to take some of the pressure off your shoulders. We have another article written on the best tools available for social media management

Social Media Reporting

The final and one of the most important aspect to consider when building your social media marketing strategy, is to analyse and track results.

Research suggests that forty six percent of companies had no idea whether or not their social media efforts were successful.

No company would be ready to invest any amount of money without a proper return on investment.

Following three steps are useful for tracking the ROI of your social media marketing:

Set SMART goals

We know what SMART goals are – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals.

For example set a smart goal such as Increase customer conversions from social media by 12% this month

Learn the metrics that contribute to those goals

What are the metrics that will tell you whether you were able to achieve your goal?

Every brand investing in social media must set up a baseline set of metrics that tell them their current status

The brand could set up a goal in Google Analytics that identifies and alerts when a lead converts into a customer. This is based on an event they trigger or page they visit. In this manner, if they use these URL parameters in their social media sharing of content, they can identify how many people have converted into customers directly from social media.

Track these metrics

Use Google Analytics, or other social media monitoring and reporting tools, to track these metrics and improve your analysis over time.

It is suggested that you analyse data from the social media platforms itself. They have some amazing reporting on your social media activity such as post engagement, follower counts, interactions, impressions and clicks.

Outsource social media marketing or keep it in-house

Sometimes whether to choose to outsource or hire in-house talent, to plan and execute your social media marketing strategy, can be a challenging decision.

There are a number of pros and cons to consider…

The pros of hiring in-house social media talent

They understand your business more accurately

They can take action more quickly when required

They are well connectedto your work culture

You have complete control of your marketing

The cons of hiring in-house social media talent

They may not have the expertise or experience that an outsourced resource has

The cost is more, sometimes a liability and processes need to be in place if you need to replace them

It prevents you from being able to scale quickly

It’s hard to find good in house resources

Wrapping up

We have seen that creating a social media marketing plan is both exciting and challenging at the same time.

You now are aware of the benefits you can leverage but there are so many factors that affect it, you do know where to get started.

We hope that this comprehensive guide will help you plan an effective strategy for 2020

In the end, you must know that your customers are out there on social media platforms, so you cannot and should not ignore them

What questions do you have about social media marketing? Leave them in the comments below and the expert social media team at digitalscool will be happy to help

Gist

Humans now are extremely impatient and they speed date, eat fast food. They pay extra for overnight shipping, and go along with social media without actually planning a proper strategy

New trends and technology are constantly coming up and older ones are becoming redundant. So it is not really advisable to get into the social media bandwagon without setting a proper roadmap

Please note that social media is an ocean . It has millions of users. So by merely getting into it, will not help your brand .The digitalscool team has curated this comprehensive guide that will teach you everything you need to know about how to build a social media marketing strategy that will delivervalue to your audience and helps your business grow.

A few years back, brands never considered social media as a marketing platform . It was just a trend and some also were under the opinion that it was a distraction for kids wasting constructive time to scroll through endless news feeds.

But in recent times,most brands are onboarding and have clearly leveraged the beauty of using social media as a powerful marketing tool.

Snippet:Social media marketing refers to the use of social media platforms to identify and connect with key audiences and build relationships

The goal of any brand is to increase brand awareness, generate leads and convert potential customers. But, you must understand that without building and nurturing relationships , you cannot sell them anything

Unlike traditional marketing, where brands start sending prospects with sales messages, social media platform is a community building process. In social media,brands need to listen, engage with their audience , become involved, and provide value with their prospects that can eventually lead to sales, thus direct selling is not powerful

This takes time and patience

Around ninety eight percent of digital marketers in the world are using social media as it has become an integral part of a brand’s marketing efforts

Surprisingly, not all businesses seem to understand the benefits of social media marketing. Recent studies show that even now around sixty percent of small businesses are not using social media marketing to promote their products/services.

Can you imagine the huge chunk of market opportunities they are missing out!

Even more surprising is that twenty percent of those businesses say that they do not even plan to use social media in the future.

We have seen that creating a social media marketing plan is both exciting and challenging at the same time.

You now are aware of the benefits you can leverage but there are so many factors that affect it, you do know where to get started.

We hope that this comprehensive guide will help you plan an effective strategy for 2020

In the end, you must know that your customers are out there on social media platforms, so you cannot and should not ignore them

We at Digitalscool, strive to bring this guide that shows the best times to post,how often you should post in different social platforms.

Let us discuss how can we add value to you

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