Social Media Marketing (or SMM) means using social networks as a marketing tool. Most people who use social networks follow some companies for one reason or another, and it has become completely normal to do so.
At this point, every company or website should have a social media presence. It’s a great way to build a loyal customer base, and communicate with them directly. It’s also useful for SEO, and inbound links.
There is also a paid version of Social Media Marketing (called Social Media Advertising or SMA), which we talk about elsewhere.
Note: This is just a top-level guide. If you have anything to add, please get in touch at email@example.com
Top Tips For Social Media Marketing
Here are the most important tips for using social media to advertise your website or small business.
- Choose the social network that is right for you. You don’t have to be everywhere all at once, at least not to start with. The easiest way to decide which social networks are best for you is to check to see where the majority of your competitors hang out.
- Decide on how to communicate to your followers and stick to it. If your site is a passion project, that makes it easy – just be yourself! The best people to talk to your audience are participants/experts in your field, so if you are a fan of what your site is about then all the better.
- Talk to people who talk to you. Don’t leave comments or messages hanging (unless they are auto DMs on Twitter, you can ignore those if you want).
- Be consistent – come up with a publishing schedule and stick to it. Don’t over tax yourself for no reason – make a schedule you can stick to (and do it!).
- Use images. People like images, even simple ones.
- Use videos. People love videos – they get so much more engagement than any other format.
- Fill out every section of your profile page. You want the social network to like you, and this is how to do that!
- Promote your social media profiles on your site – even if this only means adding them to the footer.
- Never be negative. Never be political. When you write on your personal pages do what you want, but on your company profiles you should stick to talking about what your company is about.
The very toppest top tip is that you should use tools to save time.
It can take a while to gain traction on social media (a whole year isn’t an unlikely time frame), and it can be quite disheartening until you start seeing results. Therefore, use that first year to hone your skills and use scheduling tools to speed up your processes.
If you want to make images, we recommend using Canva, as it’s free and easy to use.
Top Social Networks
There are too many social media networks to list here. If you are getting started in social media, it’s best to choose one where your target audience is. That is to say – where do people who will like your site hang out?
As stated above, a quick way to work that out is to see where the sites like yours promote themselves. Otherwise you can choose based on what sort of content you have available to you. If you have a lot of videos – YouTube is the way. If you make lots of beautiful pictures, then Instagram might be a good fit.
Basically just try to work out what is best for you.
These are some good places to start looking:
What You Should Post
You should post things which “give” at least 80% of the time, and “ask” no more than 20% of the time. This means that if you are selling something, or want your users to do something, then only one in five posts (maximum) can be about this.
So what do you post the rest of the time?
If you’re a website which sells tractors (for example), then you could post about farming. Or facts about tractors. Or information about farming. Or jokes about tractors. Or jokes about farming. Or ANYTHING that your audience would find interesting.
Then every fifth post, you can tell people about those sweet sweet tractors you’ve got on offer.
Social networking is about being social, so the question is – what would you say to people you know are interested in what your site is about if you met them at a party? If you have pictures you think are interesting (about your subject matter) – great! If you have a video demonstrating your product, even better!
If someone has liked or followed your page, then they know what they are getting into. They have expressed an interest in your subject matter, so talk about it!
If you can make infographics or videos then all the better! People love things which explain stuff to them in an easy and attractive manner.
If your site is informative, you can post links to your pages. This counts as giving not taking, and will give you a ton of source material.
Contrary to what it sounds like, reposting does not mean saying the same thing over and over. It actually means sharing something someone else has posted.
Why would you do this you may ask? You’re trying to advertise your site, not someone elses after all. Well for two reasons really:
- To make friends – if you repost someone else’s stuff, they might repost yours!
- To demonstrate your authority on your subject. Posting original interesting stuff is great, but finding great stuff from other people and sharing it is nice too.
And to address the original point – you can post the same thing repeatedly if you like. People forget about posts pretty quickly (on Twitter a post lasts two hours before it’s forgotten forever). Therefore you can post things again and again – just not back to back.
Make a spreadsheet and post your best content again and again periodically. Also – make sure it is your best stuff! If no one engages with a post, try something different next time.
When To Post (And How Often)
This is the question that everyone wants to know – when should I post on each network and how often.
The conventional wisdom is 3-5 times per day for Twitter, but no more than once a day for everything else.
However it ENTIRELY depends on your company and your business. I know this isn’t helpful, but it’s the truth.
A famous marketer posts on twitter once every minute, 24 hours a day, and it works great for him. For almost anyone else, this would be a terrible idea.
Many sites publish on Facebook hourly or more, but if you don’t have much to say, then this can get jarring really quickly.
So basically, you have to test scheduling for yourself. To start with, this should be based on your capacity – post regularly and as often as you can without it becoming an awful and useless chore. Post at different times to test your audience, and keep track of results.
A general rule of thumb for posting times is simply find out when your audience is online and post then. You can do this by looking at your Google Analytics, or even the analytics programs within each social network.
How To Tell If You’re Succeeding
Most social networks have their own stats platform built-in, and most of the time it’s free. They want you to post the best things for their users, so it’s in their interests to help you. It’s also in their interests to keep everyone thinking that they are succeeding however, so they may not give you the whole story.
For example Twitter analytics seems geared towards encouraging you to buy Twitter ads.
Quora Stats are all about encouraging you to answer more questions.
Facebook Insights main purpose seems to be about competing with Google in advertising. They therefore use their own jargon for everything and provide tons of details you can’t get on AdWords etc to show their worth.
These are all useful, but at the same time can be distracting.
It’s always important to keep your eyes on the prize with marketing. If you want sales, or visits to your site, then monitor how many your social media marketing is driving.
However, there are other ways that Social Media Marketing is helpful. If you are engaging people with your posts, then you are likely improving how your brand is viewed. This will bring more traffic to your site in the long run, but isn’t really measurable directly.
This is why social networks are all obsessed with engagement rate, as it’s a great proxy to seeing how much people actually care about what you’re posting.
Of course, the most direct metric a social network has is how many followers/likes your page has.
How To Get More Followers/Likes
Before we get started, there is something you need to know and take to heart – do not buy followers. You can advertise to gain followers, but buying followers from some weird service or another is a waste of money.
All social networks know about the fake followers you can buy. They have all invested lots of money into hunting down and shutting these accounts. Rumour has it that Facebook closes 1 million fake follower accounts every day.
This means that if you buy followers, it’s very likely that you won’t get to keep them for long. On top of this, they have no value outside of making you look more popular than you are for a short period. The whole point of social media marketing is to connect with your users – fake followers fail this test. They also won’t engage with your content, so seriously, what’s the point. Don’t do it.
Now that we’ve got that straight, the most general answer is simple: post good things. It may be an annoying and unhelpful thing to hear, but it’s the truth – posting good stuff is the most likely way to get you more followers/likes.
For each social network there are tips and tricks you can follow too of course. For Twitter for example, 20% of people follow back, so following a ton of people in your field every day can yield results.
Using Hashtags and tagging people when you write about them is also generally a good idea.
Like everything to do with social media marketing (and marketing in general), you’ll have to work out what’s best for you though.
Also like everything to do with marketing, the advice changes over time. We’ll add more here soon, but if you want the latest advice Google it and you’ll get a million different blog posts.
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Social Media Marketing Glossary
Please note: The below contains terms, acronyms, abbreviations and synonyms related to social media.
If you’re looking for something specific, we recommend you use the search box.
- BlogosphereThe informal collective name for all blogs. - Learn More >
- BufferBuffer is a social media scheduling tool. - Learn More >
- Direct MessageAn internal message on a social network (such as Twitter). Often abbreviated to DM, it is now... - Learn More >
- DMAn internal message on a social network (such as Twitter). Often abbreviated to DM, it is now... - Learn More >
- FacebookA social networking site, where users can post updates in their timeline which include text,... - Learn More >
- FBA social networking site, where users can post updates in their timeline which include text,... - Learn More >
- FeedA social media term meaning either the list of updates you have posted, or the list of updates... - Learn More >
- First Time Impression Ratio
- FollowThe act of choosing to add someones updates to your social media feed (and becoming their... - Learn More >
- FollowerA follower is a social media term which means someone who has chosen to see your updates on that... - Learn More >
- HashtagA hashtag is this symbol #. It is used on social media to categorize posts, so that other users... - Learn More >
- HootsuiteHootsuite is a (great!) social media scheduling tool. - Learn More >
- IGInstagram is a social network based around sharing photos which is owned by Facebook. - Learn More >
- InstagramInstagram is a social network based around sharing photos which is owned by Facebook. - Learn More >
- Modified Tweet
- PostA post is generic term for anything you put on social media or a blog. It can also be used a... - Learn More >
- Quote TweetA quote tweet is term on Twitter for when you retweet the URL to a tweet and add a comment.... - Learn More >
- RetweetRT stands for retweet in social media. A retweet on Twitter is when a user posts something... - Learn More >
- RTRT stands for retweet in social media. A retweet on Twitter is when a user posts something... - Learn More >
- Social Media
- Social Network
- Sponsored PostSP stands for Sponsored Post and means a social media post has been paid for by an advertiser.... - Learn More >
- TimelineA timeline in social media refers to the list of all the posts that either a user posted... - Learn More >
- TweetA tweet is a post on Twitter. They are limited to 140 characters, with the intention being that... - Learn More >
- TweetDeckA social media scheduling tool. - Learn More >
- TwitterA social media platform on which users can tweet (post) as often as they like, but only 140... - Learn More >
- Verified Badge
- Viral Marketing
- YTYouTube is a video network owned by Google. It runs the most VOD ads of any video network, and... - Learn More >