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SMM meaning: how businesses can leverage social media marketing

What is SMM and why should you use it in your business? Read more to find out!
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Megan Pierce

Content Marketer

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14 min read

We’re sure all marketers understand the role social media plays in marketing, sales, PR, brand positioning and more. After all, that’s why 74% of marketers continue to invest in social media marketing. 

With such a high number of brands that continually work on their social media presence, it’s essential for marketers to realize the power of social media and how to use it properly. In this article, we’ll cover the importance of social media, the process of choosing the right platforms, working out a budget and more. 

Our actionable guide will help you no matter if you’re just starting out or want to rebuild your social media strategy. 

What does SMM mean? 

SMM stands for social media marketing. It is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve branding and marketing objectives. SMM can include the creation of blogs, vlogs, photos, infographics, and other types of digital content.

The importance of social media for businesses

Social media can help businesses grow and attract new customers, as well as build relationships with existing ones. 

Let’s start with a little history lesson.

With the start of social media platforms, regular people had, for the first time ever, a direct line of communication with brands and companies. This unique opportunity for the audience to have their voices heard quickly caught fire. Nowadays, the first place people go to once they have a positive or negative experience with a brand is their social media. 

Furthermore, social platforms help brands build relationships with their customers. It’s easier than ever to create a loyal customer with well-crafted content and marketing campaigns. You can use social media to give a look behind the curtain, launch new products and services and provide customers with discount codes. Engage your customers with helpful videos, tutorials and other content that helps them better understand your products and services. 

Social media is also a great sales tool. If you operate on a B2C level, you could employ social selling and sell your products directly to the customers. If you sell high-end products or services that have a longer purchase decision process, social media is an amazing place to generate new leads. 

Let’s look over a few different ways you can utilize social media for your business. 

Better understand your audience

Every social media platform comes with analytics. These analytics help you better understand your target audience. Before social media and Google Analytics, this could only be done through focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Now you have so much data at your disposal to create multiple accurate buyer personas and customize your content to them. Personalized content helps customers bond with the brand and in turn, makes them more likely to buy from you on multiple occasions. 

Your social media analytics will show: 

  • The age of your audience
  • The location of your audience
  • Their gender
  • Their education level
  • Whether they are married or not
  • Their interests
  • As well as their lifestyle and behaviour

Learning more about your audience doesn’t just help you out on social media but in all other aspects of your business, including the sales process. If your sales and marketing teams are aligned, share the new data with your sales representatives in order to help them out. 

The more you know about their needs and goals, the easier it will be for you to personalize your approach. If you’re looking for a tool that will help you track all analytics in a single dashboard, you’ll love FeedHive. 

It can help you find the best time to post, track your growth and engagement and so much more. FeedHive is a single tool that will transform your social media strategy with inspiration templates, post conditions and such. 

Making customer support more accessible

No one likes to talk to customer support, especially if in order to do so, they have to call them and wait for the automated voice to say Press one if you want to talk to a real agent. With social media, you can make this process easier than ever. 

Clients can reach out to you on their favourite platform and receive an almost instant response. The easier and more convenient it is for your audience to reach out, the more successful your customer support team will be. 

With most social media platforms, you can create automated responses that speed up the process. Even if you use the mentioned option just to say that you’ll get back to them, make sure that your clients receive an instant response. 

After that, you can take your time to focus on providing a high-quality answer that is relevant and provides a true value to the person asking. 

A lot of the time inquiries will come in a public way and you’ll have to be professional no matter what. If it’s your fault, make sure to apologize and offer a refund or something else. In the case of a customer being rude for something that is out of your control, you’ll quickly see your loyal customers coming to your defence. 

That’s one of the benefits of nurturing a relationship with loyal customers that is not talked about often enough. 

Lead generating and qualifying

Are you looking for a new way to generate and nurture leads? Social media is an amazing platform for this. It gives your audience an insight into your brand, products and services and expands your reach and brand awareness. 

However, in order to generate qualified leads, you need to create enticing lead magnets. You can do this by creating a post with a discount, free trial, webinars, case studies or something else. 

It should be an offer that provides real value to your audience. They won’t give you their email and other information if they’re not getting something great in return. Think about utilizing social proof as well. Testimonials hold a lot of power because they are from a third party and are not created by brand representatives. 

People like to hear other customers’ experiences and rely on them before they commit to buying. 

If you’re looking to attract a specific group of people, you can do that with targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or whichever platform you choose. Create a well crafted and engaging ad and target the audience based on their interests, location, previous purchase behaviour and more. 

Once you attract them and include them in your sales pipeline, create different content for customers who are at various levels of the buyer journey. 

If you’re interested in sales prospecting, you should utilize social listening tools. They can help you conduct media monitoring and find any indirect mentions of your brand. All you need to do is select the relevant keywords and phrases. 

This process will help you better understand how your audience reacts to your company.

How to choose the right platforms for your business

Here’s a little tip for you. When choosing the right social platforms for your business, you need to find out where your audience is and go to them. 

Engage in social listening and find out:

  • where is your brand is getting mentions 
  • where are people looking for product recommendations 
  • which social media platforms are your competitors using
  • how engaged is the audience on different platforms

Once you research the benefits of every platform, you’ll know which ones to choose for your company. Remember, the average 18 to 34-year-old uses 8.4 profiles on different social media, so make sure to present on business on multiple platforms. 

Our tip is to start with 2 platforms and build from there. When you get the hang of your most popular platforms, you’ll quickly learn how to customize content for other ones. 

How to set a social media budget 

There is no universal number that we can say everyone should invest in their social media ads. However, if you follow our guidelines, you’ll quickly come to the right amount for you. 

Firstly think about these factors:

  • Is your business focused on B2B, B2C or a combination of both?

B2C businesses can invest far less than B2B ones and experience a quick ROI as well as an increase in sales. Companies that sell their products and services to other businesses, need to have bigger budgets. 

However, there is also the question of how much your products cost? Are they cheap and fall in line with impulsive purchases, or are they high-end? Also, are your products seasonal, or should they be purchased once every 10 years, like home appliances? 

The more expensive your products and services are, the more you’ll have to invest in social media ads. 

Another big factor is your goals. What do you want to achieve through your social media strategy? Do you want to increase brand awareness, reach, the number of sales, steal over your competitors' customers or something else?

Whatever your goals may be, make sure they are measurable. You need to have an exact way to measure the success of your marketing strategies. Also, make sure you put the amount of time in which you’re planning on reaching your goals. 

On average, the cheapest ads will be the ones targeting brand awareness, while the ones focusing on clicks and sales will be pricey. However, a huge factor will also be the choice of social media platforms. 

While Facebook and Instagram offer cheap opportunities for ads, going as low as a dollar a day, LinkedIn ads will cost you far more. The better you can zero in on your target audience, and the better chances you have of winning a huge deal, the more you’ll have to invest. 

LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to present your products and services directly to the movers and shakers in the industry. The ads will be delivered to their inboxes, meaning your content will grab their attention and provide an unobstructed way of consuming your offer. 

Since LinkedIn has such a big group of professionals who work in the best companies around the world, the price of their ads is justified. 

Lastly, take a look at your spending. How much does it cost you on average to close a deal? It doesn’t make sense to invest more than you could bring in. What is your monthly recurring revenue? Should you look for new customers or invest in building relationships with the existing ones, in order to upsell them successfully?

If you’re selling a service that takes a lot of explanation and your sales cycles are long, investing in lead generation campaigns might be a better pick for you than focusing on conversion ads. 

Once you put all these questions on paper and answer them, you’ll easily come to a rough monthly or annual budget. 

Creating a social media strategy   

We already mentioned how important goals are for your social media campaigns. Without them, you can’t create a post, let alone a strategy. If you have your goals and have done the needed research into your target audience, your next step should be to play around with different types of content. 

You won’t know what works best until you test it out. Create a few different post versions and publish them to the same audience in order to see what works best. 

You should test: 

  • Creative type (video, visual, infographic etc.)
  • Copy
  • The tone of voice
  • Use of emojis
  • Use of links

Once you find out what type of post your audience responds best to, start publishing your strategy. 

If you’re just starting to increase your brand presence on social media or are launching a product or service, make sure to reintroduce your brand to the audience. 

Secondly, create a few posts explaining your products and services. Split the features into 3-4 different posts in order to have the opportunity to go into more detail. Make sure to also talk about the benefits of your solution, which can best be showcased through a case study or user-generated content. 

While mapping out your social media strategy, make sure to follow the 80-20 rule. It means that 80% of your content should be educational and fun, while 20% can be outwardly promotional.

That way, people will be inclined to follow your profile and will be getting more than eds in return. 

The more you inform people about your industry and the benefits of your products, the more they will be inclined to buy from you. A consistent social media presence builds your authority and helps you form loyal connections with individual followers. 

Lastly, think about asking your followers what they want you to make content about. By asking them for input, you’ll increase engagement but also get great ideas for future posts. Make sure your strategy is flexible because you’ll need to tweak a few things depending on the audience's response. 

Should you invest in influencer marketing 

This is a question you’ll hear a lot once you start working on your marketing strategy. A lot of different companies invest most of their marketing budgets in influencer marketing. The reason behind it is simple - it works. 

B2C companies that sell clothes, makeup, skincare and other products know the power of influencers representing their brands. B2B companies on the other hand are looking for industry opinion-makers to share a positive reviews of their products and services. 

If you’re interested in picking the right influencers to start a partnership with, you need to look for these factors: 

  • What type of content are they creating?
  • Do they have a significant audience?
  • Will they help you reach a different audience?
  • What is their engagement rate?
  • Will they fit in with your marketing strategy?

With research showing that every dollar spent on influencers has a return of investment of $5.78, it makes sense to try out a few different influencer strategies. Look for someone who is trusted by their audience and whose feed isn’t overcrowded with paid posts. 

It makes sense to partner up with a smaller influencer because they don’t do too many sponsored posts, so your partnership won’t get drowned in the pile of other ads. They will probably also ask for a smaller fee. 

If you have great results from one partnership, you can build on that relationship and turn that influencer into a brand ambassador. It will be a mutually beneficial relationship, but it will take time to get to that place. 

Key takeaways

The importance of social media for brands can not be overstated. It helps them sell more, build relationships with customers, generate new leads, position themselves in the market, speed up the customer service process and more. 

As long as you start the first stages of the creation of your social strategy right, you’ll quickly see the results. By understanding your audience and having firm goals, you’ll be able to come up with the best approach. Make sure to constantly analyze your process and tweak things as you go along. 

By listening to your customers, you’ll be able to create campaigns they will engage with. FeedHive can help you out with this process. Sign up for a free trial and automate your social media strategy. The tool will allow you to create posts, schedule them, monitor user engagement and more. It is easy to use, so you’ll be able to quickly set everything up and if you have any questions, their customer support team can help.

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Megan Pierce

Content Marketer