Social media is a huge part of our lives, and we all are part of social media. Naturally, even businesses move there, selling goods, offering various services, and, of course, advertising themselves through social profiles.
Social Media Marketing Definition
Social media marketing, or simply SMM, is a marketing method that implies creating, distributing and sharing specific business-related content on social media platforms. It is an effective technique used to attract the attention of potential customers, gain more traffic, and achieve your business goals.
Social media marketing doesn’t only serve to advertise and sell. This method also helps businesses communicate with their clients (both existing and potential), make the public aware of their brand, and establish a certain (positive) reputation.
Being a comprehensive and a rather versatile marketing technique, social media marketing has both drawbacks and benefits. Some of the advantages of social network marketing are:
- It allows companies to build a brand loyalty.
- It helps websites gain more traffic.
- It can help businesses increase the level of their recognition.
- It is a rather cost-effective marketing tool.
- It offers a huge audience and gives a lot of space for creativity.
- It offers better customer engagement and faster communication.
- It allows for an instantaneous feedback.
- It is an easy way to reach a specific targeted audience and distribute the content fast.
- It allows businesses to tell a story, which leads to a more empathic marketing strategy.
- It provides an improved customer service, which leads to the increased customer satisfaction.
However, there also are a few disadvantages of social network marketing:
- It is exceedingly time-consuming.
- It doesn’t allow businesses to fully control the feedback.
- Some potential clients may see SMM as an aggressive or intrusive advertising system.
- It is time and place sensitive (businesses need to choose the right time to post specific content for specific audiences).
- Social media is a highly competitive marketing ground.
Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan
In order to conduct the most effective social media marketing possible, a business ought to have a thoroughly composed SMM plan.
An SMM plan is a concise, comprehensive outline of everything a business wishes to do in terms of online marketing and the goals it aspires to achieve. Such a plan usually contains an evaluation of business’s accounts and their development, the marketing tools needed to carry out the business’s goals, and the list of objectives to achieve. A good SMM plan may help a business establish some significant marketing principles, for instance, how often your content should be posted, who is the main target audience, what kind of content should be posted, what would the means of promotion be, etc.
Developing an SMM plan requires time, thorough evaluation, and a couple of crucial steps:
- Establishing your business objectives. They should be very specific, relevant and realistic, time-bound, and measurable.
- Examining your social media accounts and conducting an audit. This implies studying your target audience and people you are currently connected with through your social accounts, what platforms your desired target market uses the most, and how your social media activities compare to the competitors’.
- Putting down an SMM plan, figuring out the content you wish to post and the ways to promote and spread it.
- Testing. There are countless online tools that help businesses evaluate their marketing and social media performance, check page visits, count the number of clicks, etc.
A good SMM plan is just one of the first steps. It may require regular changes and adjustments since social media is constantly moving forward and developing. That’s why it is crucial to monitor the competitors and look for new, innovative, and inspiring social media marketing ideas.
Social Media Marketing Examples
It takes time to become a professional in the sphere of SMM. However, learning from other companies’ examples is what can inspire any business to come up with a new, potent online marketing strategy. Here are some SMM models to learn from:
- Marc Jacobs and their Tweet Shop (distributed via FB, Twitter, and Instagram), which allowed the customers to pay for the perfume with their social media posts.
- Airbnb and their live streaming via Facebook.
- Tiffany and their “Blue” campaign via Instagram, which encouraged users to post pictures with the signature Tiffany Blue color objects.
- ALS Association and their famous (even viral) Ice Bucket Challenge.
- Victoria’s Secret and their giveaways via Snapchat.
- Oreo and their super active Twitter account that even responds to other users’ comments.
SMM is clearly a complex but effective technique. It requires time, investments, and thorough strategic planning. However, it helps businesses achieve probably the most important and precious goal: connecting with the customer.