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Social Media Marketing: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Everything you need to know about social media marketing is revealed right here, including how it works, the top platforms for it, the best strategies, and how to build a winning campaign!
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Social Media Marketing Explained!
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With the number of users of social media ticking up year by year (and the social media ecommerce market increasing by billions of US dollars annually, as well), there’s never a bad time to begin promoting your brand on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

If you don’t, you’ll miss out on a powerful strategy that’s utilized for profit and fame by the most successful businesses and influencers – from Apple and Google to Cristiano Ronaldo and MrBeast.

Curious? Let’s dig into social media marketing and give you the basic knowledge you need to prepare your next campaign.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing. It involves promoting yourself, your business, your brand sponsors, and/or any goods or services you may be selling on social media platforms on the internet.

What Are the Top Social Media Marketing Platforms?

While there are many platforms out there, marketers only prefer a handful of them. Here are the top six social media websites and apps (from a recent Statista report).

Top 6 Social Media Platforms Percentage of Marketers Who Use It
 1. Facebook  89%
 2. Instagram  80%
 3. LinkedIn  64%
 4. YouTube  54%
 5. Twitter  44%
 6. TikTok  26%

What Are Examples of Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing campaigns are like chess games. There are several different pieces, AKA strategies, that you can use to promote your brand; but they must be deployed at just the right time and in the right way to be effective. 

Check👇out these examples of common social media marketing strategies. 

  • Advertisements: Videos and images that brands and marketing teams create specifically to advertise something on social media, like a product or a service. In-video ads and in-feed ads are included under this umbrella.
  • Boosted Posts: Regular posts on social media that the original creator pays to “boost,” so that it reaches more people on the platform.
  • Sponsored Posts: Posts by other creators, such as influencers, that brands pay for in order to have their product or service promoted by a popular and influential internet personality.
  • Collaborations: A project in which a brand collaborates with an influencer or digital creator to craft one or more social media posts or content in promotion of the brand.
  • Giveaways: Contests in which users have a chance to win something from a brand or an influencer. The entry “fee” is usually a like, follow, comment, or all three.
  • User-Generated Content (UGC): Content about a brand that is generated by users, not by the brand itself. This strategy can include reviews, testimonials, and word-of-mouth.

How Much Does It Cost To Do Social Media Marketing?💸 

According to SociallyBuzz, small businesses in the US typically pay anywhere from $500-$10,000 per month for social media marketing. 

The cost of a social media marketing campaign will vary from brand to brand. It’s dependent primarily on factors such as: 

  • Your Budget. If you don’t have much money to work with initially, that will obviously lower your total social media marketing spend. It’s important to note, however, that having a low budget doesn’t necessarily mean that the impact of your campaign will also be low. It’s all about knowing which strategies to invest in that will help you grow the most.
  • How Much Legwork You’re Willing to Do. Some brands try to save money by managing all their marketing on social media on their own. This can be a good strategy – if you know what you’re doing. But if you don’t, you could easily end up wasting money on strategies that don’t work on your target audience.
  • Influencer Marketing. Another factor that can significantly increase the cost of social media marketing is paying influencers for promotional posts. Some influencers charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars per post. The more famous and the more engagement they generate for their profile or channel, the more they will charge.

How Do I Build a Social Media Marketing Campaign?

The best way to approach building a social media marketing campaign is not by rushing, but progressing methodically, step-by-step. 

Here are six basic steps👇that will see you through from the ideation phase of the campaign all the way to the end, at which point you’ll see how your efforts have paid off.

Step #1: Define Your Campaign Goals.🎯

Starting a social media campaign with a general objective to promote your brand is not a recipe for success. You should dig down deep and define your campaign goals more specifically. 

Below are examples of goals that brands commonly use for their marketing campaigns on social media. 

  • To reach more of their target audience
  • To convert followers
  • To generate more engagement
  • To convert users into buyers

Step #2: Create Buyer Personas from Your Target Audience. 

Next, establish buyer personas that will define your target audience, so that you can gain a sense of how to design your marketing materials to appeal to them. 

For those who don’t know, buyer personas are fictional people that represent the majority of members in your target audience. They reflect the qualities and characteristics that are the most common among consumers of your brand, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Occupation
  • Income
  • Education
  • Geographic location
  • Political affiliation
  • Family role (i.e., mother, father, sibling, etc.)
  • Religious beliefs

For example, if most of your audience is single, in their mid-twenties, middle class, college-educated, and female, you can compile that information into a buyer persona. Now you have a “person” that you can market to. 

Step #3: Choose the Best Platforms to Meet Your Goals. 

Experts agree that it’s more efficient to focus your marketing efforts on just one or two social media platforms, rather than all of them at once. 

Just because Facebook is the top choice for most marketers, for example, doesn’t mean that it’s the right channel for you to reach your unique target audience. 

Instead, choose the best ones (or one) that you can use to meet your goals, taking into consideration your buyer personas’ digital content preferences. 

Step #4: Use the 5:3:2 Rule While Creating and Scheduling Content.

After you’ve established your buyer personas and social media platforms of choice, it’s time to create and schedule content for your marketing campaign. For this, use the 5:3:2 rule as your guide. 

Marketers developed the 5:3:2 to help strike a healthy balance between promotion and providing valuable content for your followers. Here’s how that breaks down. 

For every 10 posts, you should publish: 

  • 5 posts that present valuable content from other sources, such as news media outlets, that you believe your audience will find relevant.
  • 3 posts featuring content that you’ve created (this can include advertisements), presented in a way that addresses your buyer personas’ wants and needs.
  • 2 posts that are more personal and entertaining. This is how you create a rapport and a community among your followers.

If you’re thinking that sounds like a lot of posts, then you’ve just stumbled upon another important aspect of social media marketing: publishing frequently. Ideally, you should be posting new content to your chosen social media platform(s) multiple times a week, if not once or twice a day. 

Use a social media management platform like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Agorapulse to keep track of all your posts.

Step #5: Track Your Performance and Analyze the Results.📈 

As your campaign gets going, continuously track your performance (many social media management platforms provide you with engagement and audience analytics, so that you can see how your posts are doing). 

Then, when the campaign ends, analyze the results. Was it successful? Did you meet your goals? If not, where were your weak points, and how can you do better?

Step #6: Repeat What’s Working.

Lastly, when you find what works for your brand and your followers, repeat it for all your future social media campaigns. As the old saying goes, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!”

Level Up Your Social Media Marketing Campaign With Real Engagement From Viralyft

We didn’t go into detail about it before, but something else that will help usher in big wins for your social media marketing campaign is high rates of quality engagement. 

The more engagement (i.e., likes, shares, comments, follows) you receive, the better chance you have of ranking higher in search results and getting even more eyeballs on your content. 

Viralyft offers plans for real engagement from real, high-quality social media accounts on most of the popular social media platforms. Contact our team to learn more about what we can do for your brand to help you grow!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Social Media Marketing Worth It?

Yes, social media marketing is absolutely worth it. A little over 60% of the global population is on social media, so there’s a great chance that no matter who your target audience is, you’ll be able to reach them if you build a presence on their favorite platform.

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