How to master organic and paid social media marketing
In 2020, 3.8 billion people use social media, according to the Digital 2020 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social. Opting out of social media is no longer an option for businesses. Your customers are there, whether you are or not.
Social media users have mixed emotions about social media. Research shows that it takes a toll on your mental health, but users aren’t leaving it. They just want a better relationship with it. With that, they are seeking more authentic relationships and confidence in the accuracy of their information.
To point your social media marketing strategy in the right direction, you’ll need to build a reliable brand that customers trust and encourage your employees and company leaders to participate in company conversations on social media.
With every social media platform, the basic marketing strategy is the same:
- Follow your audience.
- Research your buyer personas and audience.
- Determine what content (topics and formats) resonates most with them.
- Build a schedule for your posts.
- Analyze results and recalibrate.
Meet the social media platforms of 2021
While the base strategy for social media growth is universal, each platform has its own features and strategies that are unique for them. Below are the social media platforms that are leading the pack for B2Bs in 2021:
Facebook still reigns as the largest social networking site in the world, with 2.6 billion monthly users. Facebook has strategically aligned itself with other platforms so you can create a single sign-on experience using Facebook. With this alignment, even those #DeleteFacebook users are likely to keep their accounts.
Marketing on Facebook isn’t what it used to be. Organic views of business pages are down to encourage ad spend. Don’t let this discourage you from cultivating your presence on Facebook. Instead, embrace this new era of marketing on Facebook and adapt your strategy.
Largest Demographic Age Range: 25-34
Ideal for B2B or B2C: B2C
Stand Out Features of Facebook: Facebook Groups and Facebook Live.
Facebook groups are an excellent way to engage with your audience. Each month, 1.4 billion people use Facebook groups to connect with like-minded communities and crowdsource information. We can’t overlook the human need to interact with each other. Customers prefer referrals when making purchasing decisions.
B2C companies can use Facebook Groups in two ways:
- Build your own Facebook Group to create a community amongst your followers. Your business can become a go-to source for education, building loyalty, and trust with your audience.
- Become active in relevant Facebook Groups. When someone has a question related to your business, answer it. Use the Facebook Group as a platform to educate users and build an audience.
Businesses can leverage Facebook Live to connect with their customers in real-time. You can go live on your business profiles or in Facebook groups.
Twitter is a streamlined social media platform with 145 million active daily users. With that many people actively tweeting, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. But, with a strategic plan, you have the potential to build a loyal and active following.
Largest Demographic Age Range: 18-29
Ideal for B2B or B2C: B2B – especially technology.
Stand Out Features of Twitter: Twitter ChatsTwitter Chats are a popular and simple way to engage your audience and foster a sense of community within your social network. You can host your own Twitter Chat by selecting a unique hashtag, like #ProductivityChat, and encouraging your audience to join the conversation. Use your hashtag to propose questions, prompt discussion, and invite your followers to share their own stories. Twitter Chats can not only increase your following and drive engagement, but they also serve as a platform to showcase your expertise and build relationships within your audience.
YouTube isn’t just a social media platform, it’s a search engine. In fact, it’s the number two search engine in the world, right behind Google. With over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos watched a day, it’s a platform you don’t want to ignore.
Largest Demographic Age Range:15-25
Ideal for B2B or B2C: Both
Stand Out Features of YouTube: Cards and end screens.
Cards and end screens add a call to action (CTA) to your video content. Cards are transparent CTAs that drive viewers to your desired location. Meanwhile, end screens promote your latest videos, website, or subscriptions as a customizable screen that appears at the end of your video.
LinkedIn is the only social media platform designed specifically for B2Bs, offering a unique opportunity to show off expertise and build a following with potential buyers. Business professionals go to LinkedIn to learn about their industry. Six out of ten users actively look for industry insights on LinkedIn. For companies looking to sell to other businesses, LinkedIn is an ideal platform to leverage.
Largest Demographic Age Range: 30-49
Ideal for B2B or B2C: B2B
Stand Out Features of LinkedIn: Professional platform
The purpose of LinkedIn is to network with business professionals. Don’t miss out on building those relationships! There are two unique marketing tactics on LinkedIn you should use.
- Tag relevant connections in your posts to encourage engagements. You showcase their expertise while you increase your reach.
- Focus on personal profiles over business profiles. Your personal profile will attract people (think top of funnel) while your business profile is a call to action (CTA). A prospect will click on the CTA once they’re convinced of your expertise. So, use your personal profile as a platform to educate and build a following.
Encourage employees and company leaders to amplify their personal profiles as well. Make it easy for them by supplying sample social media posts, tag them in company posts so they can comment and share, and gamify social media engagement. Not only will this strategy result in an increase in traffic to your business profile, but it will also display the expertise of your team.
With 800 million+ downloads, TikTok is the latest social media platform to gain popularity in the U.S and it’s growing fast. Users take short videos, add music, filters, and text to create anything from tutorials to music videos.
Largest Demographic Age Range: 16-24
Ideal for B2B or B2C: B2C
Stand Out Features of TikTok: Challenges
For TikTok marketers, try a hashtag challenge. When you create a hashtag challenge, you ask followers to upload a video, using your challenge hashtag, doing a specific challenge. For example, Colgate created a challenge, #MakeMomSmile for Mother’s Day, where users uploaded videos of themselves, making their mom’s smile.
Snapchat is among the top fifteen social media platforms with 218 million users active each day (January 2020). Snapchat is not for every business, but it is a platform to consider if you are a B2C with a teenage demographic target.
Largest Demographic Age Range: 13-17
Ideal for B2B or B2C: B2C
Stand Out Features of Snapchat: Young demographic
If your brand seeks to target a younger demographic, Snapchat should be part of your social media strategy. Try snapcodes for connecting in-person networking to your Snapchat strategy. Snapcodes work like a QR code that instantly takes users to your Snapchat profile.
Pinterest, like YouTube, is used more as a search engine than a social network. As the third-largest social media platform, Pinterest is an ideal platform for businesses targeting women, especially moms. With 2 billion searches on Pinterest every month, B2C companies need to keep Pinterest on their radar.
Age Range: 30-49
B2B or B2C: B2C
Unique to Pinterest: Search engine functionality
Pinterest is more than a social media platform; it is a search engine. So, treat it like one. Pinterest marketers do well by posting consistently, staying on brand, and joining community boards to get their content in front of more people. A community board is a shared board with multiple content creators.
Want to learn about the more niche social media platforms?
Check out these Niche social media platforms.
How to get noticed organically
Getting noticed organically on social media isn’t impossible. But it does require consistent work if you want to grow your followers, increase engagement, and build a community.
How to grow your social media followers organically
- Follow other relevant accounts: Follow relevant influencers in your industry. If you’re a B2B company, follow businesses that are your target customers. If you’re a B2C company, follow businesses that help deliver your solution.
- Optimize your profile: Make sure your business’ social media profile has a clear and identifiable profile picture and header photo. Complete all fields within your profile such as location, website link, and description
- Promote your social media accounts: Promote your social media presence wherever you can, including your website, business cards, email signature, in-store signage, and anywhere else that comes to mind.
How to increase engagement organically
- Respond to your audience’s comments: One way to increase engagement is to reward it with a response. Regularly reply to customers leaving comments on social media, to convey that you are available and to promote continuous interaction.
- Hold giveaways: Encourage people to enter for a chance to win a free product with the requirement that they follow your company, and like and share your content. Be sure to promote your giveaway winners afterward to drum up anticipation for the next one.
- Encourage Engagement: Create high-caliber content that encourages your audience to regularly participate. If you’re a yoga studio promoting mind-body awareness, you might have a Grateful Monday theme where you ask your followers what they’re most grateful for that week. A hardware store might ask followers to share the DIY project they’re most proud of.
- Share educational, useful content: Share content that solves a persistent problem or answers a frequently asked question. Helpful, positive content is shared more often. When it’s shared, it will help others in your audience’s network, further increasing your brand’s awareness and following.
- Share valuable data and insights: Data that is useful to your audience (e.g., a car insurance company sharing car insurance rates throughout the country or based on car color) is both informative and fun or thought-provoking.
- Post consistently: If your resources are limited, aim for high-quality, consistent content. For instance, your team may post a new tutorial every Thursday. Educating builds trust with your audience, and it’s a more effective strategy than spamming their feed with low-quality material.
Build your reputation and community through social media
- Create dedicated hashtags: Come up with dedicated hashtags that users can add to their posts. This creates a sense of identity among your followers, who then signal to others that they’re part of this community.
- Create groups on social media: Facebook Groups have become incredibly popular, and they’re a great way to create a formal community. You’ll need to engage actively with your audience to keep people engaged with the group. You’ll also need clear community guidelines and moderators to help enforce them.
- Engage in social listening: Pay attention to a) what your followers are talking about and b) what your target audience (not just your followers) discusses. Find where the overlaps are with your brand and align your content to these topics – so long as it’s relevant.
- Schedule live chats: Create one-to-one relationships with your audience at scale. Promote live chats in advance, use them to discuss relevant and educational topics for your audience, and take time throughout the live chat or live stream to interact with viewer comments and questions.
How to get noticed with paid social media
Paid social media marketing is an effective way to generate leads online, especially if you don’t have broad organic reach yet. That said, it is not a lead generation magic wand. Social media advertising, like all paid advertising, must be carefully and strategically executed.
Every business is different, but there are benchmarks you can use to determine how much to spend on paid social media posts.
First, determine how much you want to spend on marketing (this includes everything from traditional marketing to digital marketing to event marketing). Businesses typically spend anywhere from 5% to 15% of their budget on marketing each year.
Second, determine how much of that budget should go towards digital marketing. Businesses spend anywhere from 35% to 45% of their marketing budget on digital marketing. Still, this number could be even higher depending on your business model and where your audience spends most of its time.
Third, determine how much of your digital marketing budget you’re willing to spend on social media marketing and paid advertising. Companies typically spend about 15% to 25% on this.
If you carefully track your social media metrics, particularly the ROI of your social media campaigns, you’ll have the data to win a larger slice of the marketing budget the following year.
Ads are incredibly lucrative for social media companies. As a result, they’ve built incredibly helpful tools for marketers. Make sure you take advantage of all of them.
First, identify where your audience spends the most time. Once you’ve identified where your target audience lives, ensure your target audience sees you. Make sure you target based on all applicable demographics, including age, gender, education, interests, area of work, and especially geography.
You want your paid social ads to be as relevant as possible. This is particularly important for small businesses with a limited budget or companies trying to ramp up brand awareness quickly.
Be clear about your social media advertising goals. The best way to do this to set S.M.A.R.T. goals like: Increase purchases of our women’s apparel line by 30% after six months with a Facebook ad and Instagram ad spend of $3,000.
Once you’ve done this, articulate associated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). What do you need to do to meet this objective? One KPI may be to A/B testing your ads every two weeks to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Paid social media ads have a high chance of getting in front of your audience, but that doesn’t mean your audience will automatically pay attention. It’s essential to involve your creative team in the creation of your ad campaigns.
- High-quality graphic design: Your paid ads should align with your visual identity. Ask your graphic design team to create re-usable icons, graphics, photos, and videos that you can re-purpose for your social media advertisements.
- Clear and concise copy: Don’t assume fewer lines means reduced effort. You only have a couple of lines to convey to your audience why they should learn more. Engage your copywriting team to write compelling copy that converts.
- Create coherent campaigns: Avoid a throw-everything-at-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to your social media advertising. Instead, create coherent campaigns that make your target audience to take notice. For instance, a couponing app might highlight the gifts people can buy for themselves with all the money they saved holiday shopping for others. Each ad would highlight one gift, but there would be a familiar visual style and copy style for every campaign asset.
Social media is no longer a nice-to-have. It allows you to have a one-to-one connection with your key buyer, where they enjoy spending their time online. If you haven’t yet integrated social media into your digital strategy, it’s time to get started.