The Ultimate Social Media Marketing Guide
Marketing & Advertising

The Ultimate Social Media Marketing Guide: Tips and Tools for Success

2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 52 votes, average: 4.50 out of 54.50/5(2)

Social media is here to stay. While it is constantly evolving, the fact that every day users spend more than 2 hours and 23 minutes a day consuming content and engaging through these platforms has us thinking about how we can leverage each channel. Through this Social Media Marketing Guide, we will introduce you to some basic concepts and guide you through the process of creating your strategy.

every day users spend more than 2 hours and 23 minutes a day consuming content

A strategy that should focus on more than just sharing content. Its main goal is to carefully build relationships with each of your followers. And, in the long run, turn them into organic ambassadors for your brand, products, and services.

Let’s get started with the social media marketing guide.

Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing

To get off on the right foot, we need to review some basic concepts. While you may think you know what each one refers to, we highly recommend that you take the time to read and understand them. This is the key to successful implementation and great results.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is one of the most powerful ways to reach and engage with your customers and prospects. It harnesses the power of social media networks to achieve your overall marketing and business goals.

Most people think of it as simply creating an account on various social networks and sharing a few posts. But if you really want this to work, you need to create a strategy around it.

Your social media strategy needs to include

  • Setting SMART goals.
  • Ongoing optimization and maintenance of your profiles.
  • Regularing posting of engaging and value-driven content. This can include images, videos, infographics, memes, etc.
  • Engaging with your audience through comments and posts.
  • Monitoring mentions and sentiment.
  • Building a community around your brand.
  • Running social media ads.

Later in this post, we will dive deeper into each element. However, we need to be clear that social media marketing relies on more than just having an Instagram account where you randomly share posts.

Benefits of social media marketing

There are a number of benefits to working with a well-defined social media strategy. While they may vary from company to company and strategy to strategy, here are a few:

  1. Boosts brand awareness by exposing your brand to thousands or even millions of people.
  2. Increases engagement through comments, likes, shares, reposts, and any other form of interaction.
  3. Drives traffic to your website by including links in your profiles, bios, and even posts.
  4. Improves lead generation and increases conversions by sharing relevant content with a targeted audience.
  5. Build lasting relationships with your followers and customers by engaging in open conversations and responding to their questions or concerns.
  6. Helps you understand what your competitors are doing and whether it’s resonating with their audience.

In short, social media networks are powerful channels when used strategically.

Target audience and social media platforms

Two other concepts to master are target audience and social media platforms.

The first refers to a specific group of people who are most likely to be interested in your products and services. You can determine who they are based on their demographics, job title, income level, education, behavior, etc. What’s important is that you learn about their interests, pain points, concerns, and goals so that you can always create content that provides value to them.

As for social media platforms, it refers to the tools and channels where you can create and share information with others. There are many different options out there (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) and the number is growing. But as a business, you should consider using those where your target audience spends the most time.

In other words, in order to understand which social media channels to use, you must first have a clear understanding of who your audience is and how they spend their time online.

Content Strategy and Creation

With these three concepts in mind, let’s take a closer look at how you can create your social media marketing strategy and align it with your business objectives.

How to create a social media marketing strategy

Creating your social media marketing strategy follows a very similar process to creating a marketing strategy. The main difference is that in this case, we will be narrowing it down to one specific channel: social media.

This is an 8-step process that requires attention to detail and research.

Step 1: Determine your social media marketing goals

What are you trying to accomplish with this effort? How will it help you achieve your overall business goals? Your goals may include increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, increasing lead generation, improving customer satisfaction, and so on.

Determine your social media marketing goals

We highly recommend that once you determine what your goal is, you break it down into smaller, actionable steps. For example, if your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, then you may want to host regular social media surveys, answer questions in less than 5 hours, engage with prospects in posts, and create engaging content.

Step 2: Research and Identify Your Target Audience

Now that you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to determine who you want to target to achieve your goals. Try collecting data from each social network’s analytics to get a better understanding of who your followers are, where they are located, and what content they engage with. Insights that will help you have a better idea of what to do and what to avoid.

You also want to get to know your audience a little better, understand their pain points, preferences, and even their level of satisfaction with your brand. You can gather this information through surveys or even conversations with them.

Step 3: Select the social media platforms you want to work with

Based on the insights you’ve gathered about your target audience, you’ll want to choose the social media channels they spend the most time on. For example, if you’re working with millennials, Instagram is probably your best bet. If you are targeting business professionals, then LinkedIn should be your choice.

You should also consider the type of content formats you want to work with, and choose the social platform where it works best. If long-form articles resonate better with your audience then you need to stick with LinkedIn, but if videos work best then you might want to consider a combination of YouTube and Instagram or TikTok.

Remember, you don’t need to be on every social media network, but you don’t want to limit yourself to just one. Be strategic in your choices and work with multiple social media platforms.

Step 4: Decide which metrics and KPIs you want to track

Any social media marketing strategy should be trackable. If not, how will you know if you have achieved your goals? How will you know if you need to make changes to your content or posting schedule?

Decide which metrics and KPIs you want to track

While the KPIs will vary depending on your goals and actions, some of the most common ones to track are

  • Reach: The number of unique social media users who saw your post.
  • Clicks: The number of clicks your post received.
  • Engagement Rate: Number of interactions divided by the number of impressions.
  • Likes: Number of likes you received from both organic and paid content.
  • Sentiment: How users feel about your content.

Step 5: Check out what your competitors are doing

By paying close attention to what your competitors are doing on social media, you can discover new content and engagement opportunities that you may not have thought of. Pay close attention to where they are active, how often they post, the type of content they share, the topics they cover, and the level of engagement.

Step 6: Create unique and valuable content

Now that you know who to target, the channel to use, and the type of content that will resonate with them, it’s time to dedicate your time and effort to creating social media content. You want to create content that’s meaningful, provides value, and gets people engaged.

Step 7: Create a content calendar

Social media management tools (e.g., HubSpot, Sprout Social, Hootsuite) usually come with features to help you organize and schedule your content. They allow you to write the caption, add visuals, and schedule them.

Using these features will make your job easier. In the same dashboard, you can see what is being posted, when, and where. However, it’s important to mention that it’s always better to post great and valuable content 3 or 4 times a week than to post random content every day.

Step 8: Track and adjust your strategy

Once you start posting content, it’s important to devote time and resources to monitoring, tracking, and analyzing the results. These insights will help you understand if your content is resonating with your audience or if you need to make adjustments. You want to ensure that everything you share is providing value to your followers and helping you move closer to achieving your goals.

Social media marketing strategies according to target audience

We have said it before and we will say it again: Your social media marketing strategy must be specific to reach and engage your target audience. There is no one size fits all… What works for someone in the toy industry will not work for a healthcare company.

Take the time to understand your audience and their online behavior. You want to know which social media channels they use most, which ones they engage with brands on, what types of brands they follow, what content those brands post, etc.

Each piece of information helps you define a strategy that is more aligned with your target audience.

Types of content formats

Social media channels allow you to use different types of content formats to attract and engage your audience. Some of the most popular are

  • Short-form videos: Videos under 3 minutes that can be distributed as Instagram reels, TikToks, or even YouTube shorts.
  • Long-form videos: Videos over 10 minutes in length that are ideal for documentaries, branded series, interviews, or more.
  • User-generated content: Content created by your brand’s users and shared on social media. It’s perfect for social proof and can come in many forms: images, videos, etc.
  • Live streams and webinars: Live streaming gives you the opportunity to engage with your users and followers in real time. It helps create a sense of authenticity. You can do this through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more.
  • Polls and questions: Posting questions, asking open-ended questions, or running polls helps you keep your audience engaged and gain useful insights. Instagram Stories and LinkedIn make it easy to share this type of content.
  • Infographics: Perfect for telling a story using only visuals.
  • Memes and GIFs: Leverage the use of memes to add something to a conversation and take advantage of trending moments.
  • Contests and giveaways: Helps you reach a wider audience and keep them excited and engaged with your brand. Offer them a special prize in exchange for doing something specific: sharing a picture, commenting, tagging people, etc.

In short, there are many content format options for you to choose from. Of course, you need to go with the ones that better match the interests of your target audience. You also want to work with a mix and match of options.

Storytelling

We believe the best advice we can give you is to maximize the power of storytelling in every social media post you share. Remember that today, stories can be found outside of books. They appear in every form of communication, including blog posts, social media, websites, and emails.

In social media, you can apply storytelling by simply moving beyond posts that try to sell something and sharing stories that resonate with your followers.

In social media, you can apply storytelling by simply moving beyond posts that try to sell something and sharing stories that resonate with your followers.

To do this, it’s important to get to know your audience, develop the full story of your business, and make sure that every post you share on social media contributes to your brand story. It can be in a variety of formats (infographics, videos, images, clips, etc.), but it must have a beginning, middle, end, and, of course, a climax.

Remember, your story has to be meaningful, otherwise it won’t evoke emotion, response or engagement.

How to Build Audience Engagement and Community

One of the greatest benefits of social media is that it allows for two-way communication. It gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience, listen to their comments and feedback, understand their sentiments, and connect with them in a meaningful way.

There are several ways in which you can encourage their engagement and begin to grow a community of followers that is completely yours.

Tips to create a loyal community on social media

Here are some tips to help you build a loyal community around your brand:

  1. Always share posts that feel personal, and take the time to listen to and engage with your followers.
  2. Share posts regularly and encourage users to engage by posting questions, asking for their thoughts, etc.
  3. Keep your posts as simple and clean as possible. You want to make them easy for your audience to understand and capture their attention.
  4. Use social media analytics to understand what type of content resonates better with your followers and use that information to your advantage.
  5. Be transparent in your communications. Use social media to regularly communicate with your followers about important company updates and share public reports.
  6. Sometimes it’s even smart to offer incentives to your followers. A free sample, discounts, anything related to your product or brand story. For example, if your brand is all about promoting wellness, you could offer a free massage, spa day, or nutritionist appointment.
  7. Make sure your posts help people solve their problems. With this in mind, you want to avoid hard selling your products or services.
  8. Leverage user generated content.
  9. Try tagging relevant members of your community. This can be people, businesses, associations, anyone who adds value to your post.

Finally, we encourage you to work with a social media team that’s passionate and not afraid to show it.

Examples of audience engagement techniques

A great example of social media marketing strategies that drive engagement is Starbucks’ #RedCupContest. The brand offered cash prizes to those who posted pictures of their creatively decorated red holiday cups. On the one hand, people were excited to be part of the trend, and on the other hand, the brand received hundreds of pieces of user-generated content, engagement increased, and their advocacy level rose.

Examples of audience engagement techniques

Wendy’s is another great example of how social media channels can help you increase audience engagement and build a sense of community. They have a team that closely monitors user engagement and interacts with every comment they receive.

how social media channels can help you increase audience engagement and build a sense of community

By leveraging your users’ comments and questions, you can open up a whole discussion about relevant topics and concerns, and even generate new ideas for your brand and products.

Why do you need a community manager?

All of the above means many hours spent strategizing, monitoring, tracking, measuring, researching, and managing your community. Reason enough for you to invest in a specialized team that has the skills, training and knowledge to maximize the power of social media for your benefit.

You can do this by hiring a specialized agency or by hiring an in-house community manager. Each has its own benefits, challenges, and costs, but in the end, you need to choose what works best for your organization.

Keep in mind that working with an agency means you have access to a team of experts with experience working with brands similar to yours, access to tools that help them monitor mentions, comments, and analytics, and the time and dedication to stay on top of the job.

What is Advertising and Paid Social

Social media management goes beyond sharing organic social media posts and getting your audience to engage with you. Social platforms allow you to run advertising campaigns to reach a wider audience and achieve your marketing goals (whatever they may be).

Let’s take a closer look at how social advertising works.

What are social ads?

Social media advertising is an advertising option where you essentially pay social media networks to display your messages and images to a very specific target audience. Today, you can run ads on almost any social media platform, including Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, X (Twitter), LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Of course, for this to work, you need to have a strong social media marketing plan. This will define who you want to target, which social channels you want to invest in, your key messages, images, budget, campaign duration, and goals.

In terms of goals, social media advertising allows you to achieve a variety of objectives. These include lead generation, brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, sales, etc. It’s up to you and your marketing and business goals to tailor your ad campaigns to effectively meet those needs.

Investing in these advertising channels allows you to promote content in a less intrusive way than other forms of marketing, target very specific people who are more likely to engage, create customizable ads that meet your business needs and your audience’s interests, and encourage interaction.

With this in mind, think about your previous campaigns… If not, read on for some best practices to help you create more successful ads.

Tips to amplify your reach and generate leads or sales

Social media advertising is a powerful tool for generating leads and increasing sales. Not only can you target a highly specific audience, but the ad itself is tailored to their needs, pain points and interests.

Here are some actionable tips to help you create high-performing ads:

  • Always work with a clearly defined goal. This will guide the process of creating your ad in the social channel of your choice.
  • Identify and take the time to understand who your audience is. Include demographics and social media behavior.
  • Choose the social platform where your audience spends more time consuming content and engaging with brands.
  • Use high-quality images and videos that resonate with your audience and tell a compelling story.
  • Be creative with your ads. Consider using humor, storytelling, and any other means to make your content more relatable.
  • Include calls to action in your ads. Use clear and concise language that tells the user what to do.
  • Try A/B testing and compare different ad titles, copy, and images.
  • Run ads with lead magnets or special offers.
  • Set up retargeting ads for those who saw and engaged with your ads but did not take action.
  • Always monitor, track, and analyze the behavior of your ads. You want to avoid spending budget on ads that are underperforming.

When you start working on your next social strategy, you want to take a close look at what your competitors are doing in terms of advertising. You may find useful information and ideas.

Analytics and Measurement

Social media marketing is more than just posting content and running ads. Your team needs to spend time tracking, monitoring, and analyzing your performance. Is your content resonating with your audience? What types of posts are performing better? What days and times are more users active and engaged with your brand? How do your followers feel about your brand?

These questions and more should be answered on a regular basis, at least once a month, so you can make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts. At the same time, these insights allow you to understand which actions have a better ROI and which ones are actually costing you money, resources, and time.

5 softwares that will help you track and measure performance

There is a huge amount of social media monitoring tools out there. However, some may be too expensive or difficult for your team to use. Here’s a list of the best ones that will help you gather relevant data to present to the board and make informed decisions.

Hootsuite

One of the best options for small-to-medium sized businesses, or for advanced to mid-level community managers. It’s packed with analytics for X, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

It provides metrics on clicks, comments, reach, engagement, impressions, shares, video views, video reach, and more. This makes it easy to get a complete picture of what’s working and what’s not.

It also comes with great features like

  • Best time to post recommendations based on the engagement, impressions, and link clicks of your previous posts.
  • Competitive analysis where you can track up to 20 competitors per network (Instagram, Facebook, and X).
  • Industry benchmarking to see how others in your industry are performing on social media.

Buffer

Same as before, you’ll want to use this tool if you have an in-house social media team. While it’s primarily a tool for scheduling posts for multiple platforms, it also provides analytics from Instagram, Facebook, X, and LinkedIn all in the same dashboard.

Among the metrics it tracks, it’s worth noting that it offers data on impressions, engagement, follower growth, reach, audience demographics, and hashtag performance.

Buffer has features that help you determine how often you should post, what types of posts you should use, and the best day to post. It also lets you create custom social media reports.

Sprout Social

This tool is recommended for larger marketing teams that need to track and analyze performance patterns. It comes with analytics for every major social platform and for both paid and organic posts. While it’s a bit more expensive than the first two, it’s also an option worth considering.

It presents all of your analytics in a single dashboard, and can quickly generate downloadable reports so you can present them to the rest of your team or upper management.

Some of its best features include the ability to compare paid campaigns across networks and analyze your team’s performance, including insights into how quickly they respond to comments.

Keyhole

Great option, especially if your social media marketing efforts include working with influencers. This tool allows you to report on almost anything, including social media campaigns, brand mentions, engagement, and influencer campaigns. You can also drill down into metrics like impressions, reach, and share of voice, as well as analyze your competitors’ strategies.

Among its best features, you’ll find the ability to predict your campaign’s performance and make the necessary changes to ensure success, as well as the ability to analyze people’s sentiment toward your goals, providing invaluable insights.

Rival IQ

This is definitely the best option if you are or have a social media manager who loves stats. It is designed to provide on-demand analytics, alerts and reports from the major social media platforms.

It’s packed with everything you need to provide comprehensive social media post analytics to help you understand which posts are working and which aren’t. Most importantly, it tells you why this is happening so you can make adjustments to your social media posts.

Another great feature is that it allows you to create customizable charts, graphs and dashboards to make the reporting process much easier.

Social media analytics to track performance

Major social media platforms are packed with their own analytics, making it easy to access key data to understand how well your profile and content are performing. As you begin to implement a social media marketing strategy, make sure that you or your team regularly review the metrics that each platform provides.

Here’s a quick recap of what to look for on each platform.

LinkedIn Analytics

Available to all site administrators. Simply go to your Company Page and click on the Analytics tab on the left side of the screen. There you will find data about your content, visitors, followers, leads, and competitors. And a quick summary of your last 30 days of activity.

We recommend that you use the visitor data to identify patterns of users who are not followers, but are still engaging with your content. You can also use it to understand who they are, where they are located, and additional insights about their education and work experience.

The Competitors tab lets you benchmark your performance against similar businesses to see where they’re outperforming you and make adjustments to your strategy.

Finally, pay special attention to the Content tab. Here you will have enough insight to understand which posts are performing best and which are not, and to identify patterns.

Instagram insights

To access your Instagram analytics, simply go to your profile and click on the Professional Dashboard option. It’s right below your bio.

There, you can set the date range you want to review, the number of accounts reached, the number of accounts engaged, the number of followers, and the content you shared.

But don’t worry. You can dig deeper into any data point. For example, it’s always interesting to review the Reach section. There you can see details about the unique users who saw your content and their demographics (city, gender, age, etc.).

You should also check the Top Content tab. There you will find data points about the users who engaged with your content and the pieces that performed the best. That’s valuable information to help you determine the types of posts and topics you want to cover.

Then you want to go to Content Interactions and get more information about how users are responding to each of your posts. Reach, likes, saves, shares, comments, and profile activity are some of the things you can see there.

All of these insights will help your social media team make better editorial decisions and understand what resonates better with your social media targets (followers and non- followers).

Facebook insights

Facebook Insights is packed with useful information about engagement, demographics, reach, video views, and actions on page.

There’s a lot of information here, so pay close attention to the data points that help you understand what content is performing best and who your audience is.

With that in mind, we recommend spending the most time tracking and analyzing: reach, engagement, 3-second video views, 1-minute video views, page views, and actions on page.

Tiktok insights for business

There are five key metrics that you should be tracking in TikTok. The first of course is video views, you need to understand how many users are watching your content and how many times they have played it. TikTok analytics give you insight into the total number of viewers and the average viewing time for each video.

Then you want to check your engagement rate, or the number of people who liked, shared, commented, saved, or interacted with your content. You’ll also want to pay close attention to your hashtag performance.

Finally, it’s important to spend enough time tracking and analyzing follower growth and conversion metrics. TikTok’s analytics are the perfect place to start to understand if your efforts are on track and helping you reach your goals, or if you need to make adjustments.

YouTube insights

YouTube is one of the social platforms that offers the most in-depth analytics. However, you need to be careful not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you are collecting. Focus only on those that provide the most value.

For example, it’s smart to understand how many video views you’re getting and the average time spent watching each video. These metrics will tell you whether or not your content is resonating with your audience. Along the same lines, you’ll also want to check the average percentage of views to understand where you’re losing their attention.

Spend time tracking KPIs such as re-views, engagement, and click-through rates, as these are all indicators of how your content is resonating with your audience.

Views per unique viewer and demographics are also important insights to track and have a better picture of who you are reaching and engaging. Don’t forget to check your traffic sources and subscriber growth.

Latest articles and updates

Throughout this social media marketing guide, we have explained how to create, implement and track your strategy. But the world of social media is constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends. To do this and improve your social media presence, here is a list of blogs that will help you:

Conclusion

Social media marketing requires a strategy, a goal, KPIs, and a deep understanding of your audience. Otherwise, it will be extremely difficult to understand if you are generating the right content, using the best format, or even posting to the right channels.

Take the time to go through all the steps in this guide. Each one will help you take the necessary actions to achieve great results. While you are at it, consider whether you have the budget, time, and patience to build your own in-house social media team, or whether you would rather delegate this arduous task to a social media agency.

close

Access our exclusive content!

email