What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is one the best ways to market your business online. But interestingly enough, most people don’t know what this actually means. In order to keep up with consumers, it’s important to know what social media marketing is, why it’s important for your small business, and how you can carry out a successful campaign.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of promoting your business to potential customers through social media platforms. There are two main forms of social media marketing: social media management and social media advertising. There is some overlap between these methods, but each focuses on different objectives. As a business owner, it is important that you understand the difference between each of them. So let’s take a closer look at each:

1. Social Media Management

Social media management is the process of creating, publishing, promoting, and managing content across social media channels. This is a foundational component of social media marketing, and the process involves setting up social media accounts and posting relevant content to your pages. The goal of this function is to reach your target audience and build trust through posting engaging content.

When you think of social media platforms and the look or feel each individual account has, this reflects how the page was managed. This strategy is what helps users personalize their online experience, as well as stand out from others. And when you’re running a small business, it’s even more important to make sure that your Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other digital channels are all helping you generate more business.

The idea is that, over time, the people who frequently engage with your content are more likely to do business with you. Engagement represents positive reactions that people have when they see your brand, and at high frequencies, it builds undeniable trust in your business.

2. Social Media Advertising

The other major component of social media marketing is social media advertising.

Social media advertising is the process of advertising on social media platforms to direct traffic to an external destination, like your website. These ads often appear as promoted posts on whatever platform feed you’re looking through.
For example, Twitter ads appear as Promoted Tweets and on Facebook or Instagram they appear as Sponsored Posts.

But regardless of the platform you’re using, social media advertising allows you to reach virtually anyone and gain immediate exposure.

Why Is Social Media Marketing Important For Your Business?

what is social media marketing

So now that we’ve defined social media advertising, you may be wondering – What’s the point of this? Why is this important for me?

The simple truth is that your customers are on social media every single day, and these platforms are not going away anytime soon. Consumer behavior has been greatly impacted by the internet, especially through social media’s ease of accessibility. It’s important that you adapt to this new normal of marketing, because you may find your business on the decline, or even worse, out of business.

But the good news is you can leverage social media marketing to prevent this, as well as spark new growth in your business. Every business needs to use social media marketing if they want to stay in business, and yours is no different.

What Are The Benefits Of Social Media Marketing?

We’ve gone over why social media marketing is important, but let’s discuss why this is worth the investment.

The reality is that social media is now too big to ignore. These sites have a huge influence on both consumers and their everyday lives. It’s not going anywhere any time soon, and if you don’t spend some time on it, your business can fall behind. The good news is that investing in social media marketing can reward you with a stronger business and more customers.

Still unsure if this is the right move for you? Let’s discuss four major benefits of social media marketing:

1. Your Customers Are On Social Media

While this one might seem obvious, we shouldn’t underestimate the impact of this! Social media has been adopted so widely that over 2 billion people are regularly active on it. And most of these people are spending 3-4 hours per day on it, meaning they are spending a large portion of their day scrolling through posts and ads that interest them.

Let’s do some quick math.

If we assume most people sleep 8 hours per day, leaving us with 16 hours of awake time, that means that people spend 25% of their awakened day on social media! And by the time their life is over, that could equate to over a quarter of their life spent on social media.

If your customers are spending that much of their time doing anything, you probably want to be around that thing, regardless of what it is.

Right now, that’s social media. And the sooner you focus on your social media efforts, the better your business will do.

2. It’s Inexpensive

Compared to traditional marketing methods, social media marketing has both a greater reach and a lower cost.

For example, you can spend 10 bucks on an Instagram Ad and reach over 1,000 people. Meanwhile 10 bucks in the traditional world won’t really get you anything.

The reason why social media is so inexpensive is because of the sheer volume of people using it and the lack of advertisers taking advantage of it. But this is changing everyday. More and more advertisers are using social media to grow their business, and as a result, advertising costs have been rising slightly over the last few years.

The sooner you start building your social media presence, the better. You can easily take advantage of the low costs and build up your brand now, instead of playing catch-up and paying too much later.

what is social media marketing

3. It’s Highly Targeted

Social media marketing isn’t just a new way of advertising, it’s an extremely useful strategy that can help you reach more qualified leads. Each major platform records a lot of data from their users, and this information makes their advertising better than most alternatives.

They know information such as what you like and dislike, if you’re married or single, where you work, what businesses you visited, what food you like, and so much more.

This data can help you target ads at those who are most likely to be interested in what you offer.

For example, let’s say you sell dog accessories. You can run an advertising campaign that targets adults over 25 years of age, that are women who are interested in dogs.

This level of precision is what makes social media marketing so unique. It allows brands to connect with people who are interested in things related to their products, and make their buying process a lot simpler.

4. Builds Trust

Consumers are more likely to engage with the accounts they trust, and that trust ultimately influences their purchasing process.

When done right, everything you do on social media has the power to build trust with your audience. Great content shows that your business is legitimate and that you understand your audience. Each platform acts as a space for you and your followers to engage with each other more directly, and this helps deepen their relationship with your brand.

So not only are you reaching a lot more people, you’re also creating an environment that nurtures leads into conversions.

How To Get Started With Social Media Marketing

what is social media marketing

Now that you see how beneficial social media marketing can be for your business, you may be ready to jump right in. But before you get into the nitty-gritty, you have to determine your overall goals and choose an overarching strategy to guide you in that direction.

Essentially, the first and biggest thing you need to think about when it comes to your business is what you want to get out of your social media marketing efforts.
To figure out which path is best for your business, think about the following questions:

  • Do you want to build a brand on social media, or run an advertising campaign?
  • Do you want something that you can invest in for maximal returns in the future, or are you itching for leads and sales right now?
  • Do you value relationships and reputation, or do you want to bypass that and get straight to conversions?

Whatever you answer to these questions will ultimately determine your social media marketing strategy and influence your results. If you answered in favor of the first choices in each question, social media management is the best direction to go in. If you answered in favor of the second choices, then social media advertising will better fit your goals.

So how do these two paths actually differ? And how do you proceed in carrying out your marketing strategy? Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from these two strategies.

1. Running An Advertising Campaign

When it comes to advertising, most people want the quickest route to success. If you want quick gratification, then a social media advertising strategy is likely best for you.

Short-term advertising provides immediate traffic to your website. It skips the process of obtaining new likes and followers, and thus saves you a lot of time.

The premise is simple. You want to drive a lot of traffic to your website. And if your advertising efforts are effective, then a portion of that traffic will convert from leads into sales.

There are several ways you can achieve this, including:

  • Appealing visual content (such as product photos and videos)
  • Remarketing techniques (like retargeted ads and follow-up emails)
  • Performance optimization (through metrics management)

what is social media marketing

Many businesses run their advertising this way, but it’s important that you know that there is underlying risk of this approach. Just like any marketing endeavor, your success is dependent on external factors, like advertising costs and competition that will impact your overall profitability.

It’s not a matter of “can this work”, it’s more so a matter of “will I be profitable when this works.” To be successful at advertising, you have to spend less to acquire a customer than the price of your products.

For example, if you spend $500 to acquire a customer that only pays you $100, you’re likely going to spend your way out of business.

And even if you are successful, with rising competition and ad costs, it may not be scalable for long. When that stops happening, your strategy is doomed.

To put it plainly, social media advertising is a great way to grow your business, but you should not rely on it long-term. It’s not scalable for anyone but the advertising giants, like Facebook or Google, themselves.

2. Building A Brand

Now, let’s discuss the alternative – building a brand.

Building a brand is invaluable. When your company is popular and trusted, you can eventually sell products and services without having to rely so much on advertising.

The downside to this, though, is that it takes a lot of time and work to build a brand on social media. You have to give enormous amounts of value to your audience so that they recognize you as a thought-leader and someone that they trust in your area of expertise.

But once that happens, they’ll listen to what you’re trying to sell them. When done correctly, your brand reputation will be an asset that you can leverage for the life of your business, not just for a single ad promotion.

In order to achieve this you need to set up well-designed social media profiles, post helpful content, and make sure that the people who are looking for related services can find your page.

Now it’s up to you to decide which strategy is the best fit for your needs. While you can choose just one or the other, you can see even better results when you implement both. Building your brand on social media while also running campaigns can help you see quick results while you’re investing in long-term methods. You don’t have to limit yourself – you can truly see the best of both worlds.

Conclusion

To put it simply, social media marketing can benefit your business greatly. Whether you want to focus on building your brand over time, or simply on generating quick conversions, you’ll be able to see real, measurable results.

Your customers are on social media right now, and it’s more important than ever to establish your brand on the platforms they use. As long as you determine which path is best for your goals and carry out high-quality marketing strategies, you’ll be able to strengthen your brand and increase sales.

And whether that’s through social media management, social media advertising, or even both, LYFE Marketing can help. Our marketing team can help you create effective content and ads that will bring in more customers to your business.

If you’re ready to get your social media marketing efforts started, then contact us today!

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