If you have a brand, then chances are you’re on social media. In this day and age, not taking advantage of the power of social media means wasting an incredible opportunity to increase your brand’s online presence.

When used right, social media platforms:

  • can help you reach wider audiences,
  • allow your brand to gain a following,
  • even help with customer retention.

And the great thing about this is that there isn’t any super-secret formula to leveraging their potential. With just a few pointers in the right direction, you can start to get your social media presence off the ground.

This article will give you a social media marketing 101 and get you acquainted with the basics of what you need to know about the topic.

So let’s get started!

1. Establish Your Goals

Start by asking yourself this: why am I on social media in the first place?

Creating goals is an essential part of your social media strategy. By having a goal, you get a better picture of the steps that you have to go through to reach it.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that the goal must be something quantifiable and attainable – something that you can reach within a reasonable time frame.

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Do not make the mistake of setting ambiguous or unreasonable goals, as they will most likely end up in failure. Also, avoid overcomplicating yourself with too many targets, and try to focus on a specific objective at a time.

For example, you can set yourself to reach 100 new followers within the next month or plan to increase your Twitter response rate by 20% by the end of the first quarter.

2. Know Your Audience

Once you’ve carefully outlined your goals, it’s time to define your target audience.

Defining your audience as “everyone” is not an effective way to do social media marketing, because you’re likely to end up targeting people who will never be interested in your products or content.

Knowing your audience helps you establish who is interested in your content and who isn’t. It also gives you valuable information about what age group and what gender is most likely to interact with your content.

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Also, research the demographics of various social channels where you would want to share your posts.

Even in the case of your own social media page, it’s important that you get to know who exactly liked or followed it.

To shape a better understanding of this, check out this very useful chart that gives you valuable data about the type of people who hang out on different social media platforms.

Here’s the kind of insight that you should keep an eye out for:

  • Facebook: In the United States, 25% of the user base is in the age range of 25 to 34 years old. Users are predominantly male, accounting for 52% of the entire user base.
  • Instagram: The majority of users are between the age range of 18 – 29 years old, making up for 59% of the platform’s entire audience. The user base is predominantly female.
  • Twitter: Throughout the years, Twitter’s global user base has been predominantly male, being somewhere in the ballpark of 51% to 66%. Most of the users are between 18 to 29 years old.

3. Research the Social Media Platforms

Now, having information about the audience is definitely important, but you should also take some time to research the different platforms out there.

You wouldn’t want to promote your content or product on a platform that is just not right.

Or, you wouldn’t want to make the mistake of advertising on platforms that are staunchly against self-promotion. For example, the Reddit community doesn’t tend to respond well to this type of endeavor.

So, you would want to shift your attention towards platforms that are a bit more lenient when it comes to products and brand promotion, such as Instagram and Facebook.

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However, keep in mind that a lot of people skip ads, even in more receptive communities. So, the only way to survive and thrive is to make your product a part of the content in a way that doesn’t seem forced.

And the best opportunity for this could be Instagram.

A 2015 study has concluded that Instagrammers are most prone to buy a product after having seen it online. In this study, it is revealed that 70% of the users look up a brand after coming in contact with it.

The key to promoting on Instagram is trying not to be too salesy. Instead, you would want your content to interact with the Instagram community and to make people be invested in it.

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On Facebook, things are a bit different. The community is somewhat tolerant of self-promotion, in the sense that they reject blatant self-promotion, but absolutely love interactive content, even if it might contain product placement.

For some time now, there has been a video craze on Facebook, where people would share interesting videos like wildfire. Some big names have caught on and made content that would capitalize on this trend.

Here’s one video that stood out to me:

Even though it may be an ad for Jordans, it’s still cool. Back in 2016, Jordans were really hot and 360° videos were a new thing, so this video dropped at the right time – and Nike knew it would have an impact.

You start to get the idea now.

If you want to promote on social media, research the platforms that are the most receptive to your content and make sure you don’t drop any hard sales pitches on the community.

Instead, focus on creating fun, interesting and interactive content.

4. Keep Track of Metrics

Metrics are without a doubt very important in the realm of social media marketing. They’re basically the indicator of the progress that you’ve made with the entire strategy.

Good social media marketers always keep track of their metrics in order to get an idea of where they’re headed next, and what kind of tweaks they need to make to maximize their results.

For starters, the first metrics that you have at your disposal are the ones publicly displayed on the social media page, such as:

  • follower count,
  • the number of likes,
  • or the total subscribers.

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These are known as vanity metrics and while they do play their part in your overall social media strategy, they’re not the best indicator of how your brand is actually doing.

It’s easy to get caught up in the large upfront numbers that your page displays. To get a real picture of how your social media marketing is doing, though, you need to see other metrics as well. 

The metrics that give a more detailed understanding of how your strategy is actually doing are called engagement metrics. These can vary greatly, depending on the social media platform that you’re using.

To be able to view them, go to the analytics section of your social media account. And here are some of them that you should look out for:

  • Clicks: Sometimes referred to as views, these are a direct indicator of how many times your content has been clicked on by visitors.
  • Reach: On Facebook, for instance, this shows how many people saw your content (be it in their News Feed, as paid ads, or mentioned in a story published by a friend).
  • Impressions: On Facebook, this represents the total number of times your content has been displayed.

Ready to Put These Social Media Marketing Tips into Practice?

It’s quite some information to digest, but I can only imagine that getting exposed to so many new ideas made you eager to try them out.

That said, I know that many of you may need help managing your social media accounts to maintain an active presence, which is why I recommend checking out Squirrly Social.

It’s a neat social media automation tool that lets you find and publish awesome social media content for a whole year – in a flash.

And be sure to tell us about your adventure into social media territory in the comment section below!