Social media marketing for business 2021
Looking to fine-tune your social media marketing strategy for 2021 and social media marketing for business ?
Good! Now’s the perfect time to make it happen and leave the worst of 2020 behind for good.
Doing so might seem daunting given how social media is so much more competitive with similar businesses.
The reality of it all ? A thorough strategy will help your brand tackle its goals with a sense of purpose.
That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide to creating a social media marketing plan from absolute scratch…
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM) in 2021 and what is it for
We must start from a definition of Social Media Marketing: SMM is a form of digital marketing that uses social networks and networking platforms to promote a company’s products and services. The idea is to be found right where the customer is most accustomed to spending his time, generating visibility on online communities and social networks through integrated and organic communication and marketing management, on all platforms. The goal of Social Network Marketing is to create interactionswith consumers and prospects by working on the commonality of values and interests, to create affinity with the recipient of the message and make him attached to the brand.
Communications and marketing actions – it is also possible to sell through social platforms – have the characteristic of being bidirectional and 1: 1, therefore very engaging and engaging. Through social media it is possible to establish direct conversations with customers and prospects and have real-time feedback on products or digital advertising campaigns . Investing in Social Media Marketing allows the company to improve the visibility of the brand, respond to requests regarding the offer, promotenew products and services quickly, direct purchasing decisions with a limited budget .
What to think before choosing social media for your business
To choose the perfect social media for your business, you need to consider several factors. First, you need to think about what your real audience is . Who is your brand aimed at? Are you talking about beefy woodcutters who live in small villages scattered in the mountains, or are you talking instead to university students who live in central Milan? Are you targeting retirees or teenagers? To an international or local audience?
Here, once you understand what your audience is, you have to look at what is the real user of the various social networks (who populates the platforms?). Then you have to think about how much time you can devote daily to managing your profiles, what budget you can assign to social media marketing , what type of content you want to publish and share and, finally, what your goals are. Here, taking into account all these factors, you can find out what are the peculiar characteristics of each platform, so as to choose the perfect social media for you!
CHOICE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLATFORM
The social media par excellence, as well as the most used worldwide . In fact, any company can profit from this platform, which in Italy has 31 million active users. It is therefore difficult to find a brand that does not have a large part of its audience on this platform! However, it follows that competition is particularly fierce.
To achieve satisfactory results, in fact, it is practically mandatory to rely – at least from time to time – on Facebook Ads . So you just have to create interesting content and target the audience by age, gender, interests, purchasing attitude and so on!
To choose the right social media, it is also necessary to look at their destiny. Anyone who has staked everything on Google +, for example, has made a big mistake. You might therefore be interested to know that Twitter is in slight decline, and that in Italy it is used ‘only’ by 23% of the population. However, it remains a wise choice for professionals who want to attract other professionals , for those who need to communicate in real time and for those with an international clientele.
Unthinkable not to actively manage a LinkedIn profile if you manage a B2B company . In fact, we are talking about mostly professional users, who use this platform for their work. If through social media marketing you want to show your audience your skills, LinkedIn is certainly the right platform for you.
The deputy realm of visual content. Do you want to post lots of photos? Do you work in the B2C market? Do you sell physical products, and therefore easily representable with photos and videos? If you want to choose the perfect social media for your business, you absolutely must include Instagram , also perfect to highlight your brand philosophy, especially towards a young or youthful audience.
Even if it is often forgotten, YouTube is also rightfully among the options for those who have to choose corporate social media. It would obviously be pointless to include this platform in your social media marketing strategy if you have no intention of creating original videos to promote your business. Having the ability to shoot videos – preferably with professional operators – you have access to a potentially endless audience, with the ability to also access the Google advertising platform (which purchased it in 2006).
6.Pinterest: is a social network based on the sharing of photos, videos and images. The name derives from the union of the English words pin (pin, pin) and interest (interest). Pinterest allows users to share photos and create collections in which to catalog the images on the web pages based on predefined themes or chosen by them. Marketing activities are possible thanks to Pinterest gives the possibility to create marketing activities thanks to Pinterest ads and buyable pins. There is an increase in subscriptions to its advertising program which reaches + 50%. The curiosity of Pinterest is that around 81% of monthly users are women.
7. TIK TOK : is a new Chinese social network launched in September 2016, which allows its users to share mini videos on their wall. Through these short clips, ranging from 15 to 60 seconds, various editing features can be applied.
8.SNAPCHAT : This is the most popular mobile app among American teenagers. The main feature is that it allows users on your network to send text messages, photos and videos which are shared for up to 24 hours and then deleted. Snapchat is considering new in-app ecommerce options, and the promising idea would be to bring partnerships with companies of all kinds.
9. TELEGRAM : is a messaging application similar to Whatsapp but with many more features. The presence of the cloud will allow your device not to be affected in terms of memory, since everything will be saved on it. It allows you to chat with your contacts, organizing public and private groups. In addition to being able to send images, videos, audio and GIFs, you will also have the ability to send files the size of a movie.
10. TUMBLR : is a microblogging and social network platform that offers users the possibility to create a blog with multimedia contents.
11 . TWITTER : Twitter is a free microblogging platform that allows you to share messages with a maximum length of 280 characters. Users interact with messages called tweets. Tweets are characterized by the presence of the hashtag (the keyword) and can be shared by your followers. Companies can use Tweet Marketing to maintain contact with customers, to promote products and services and to obtain information from customers.
12 . WHATSAPP : is an instant messaging application purchased by the Facebook Inc. group in 2014. It allows all users who use the service to send and receive text messages, voice messages, photos and videos, post stories, share location and contacts quickly and easily. The brand accesses one to one marketing thanks to WhatsApp Business which gives the possibility to make payments.
13 . DISQUS : Disqus is a comment hosting service for websites and virtual communities that works through an online platform. The platform has several features, including a social networking service, user profiles, moderation and antispam systems, email notifications and mobile comments. Users can start discussions or participate in existing ones. Through the ” share ” button, users can take the discussion to another social network.
14. REDDIT : is a social network dedicated to social news in which the community decides what is most relevant. Users can also rate posted content. Reddit is divided into categories that allow you to move between the various topics. Reddit ads allows for marketing activities, however it requires constant monitoring due to the large number of comments received.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT INFLUENCER?
Thanks to the advent of social media, a new need has been created, Influencer Marketing and consequently new job figures have been created: influencers . They are digitally famous people who advertise products or brands through social media. Almost 50% of twitter users, for example, only buy if the brand or product is “recommended” by an influencer. To advertise through influencers, a rule has been drawn up known as the “4-1-1 social media system” in which 4 posts are presented by influencers, one must be originated by us and the last must relate to the sale of a product / service.
MEASUREMENT AND TESTING
One tip is to constantly analyze social media marketing strategies. Below we will list the parameters to consider to measure the success of a social media marketing strategy
- Cost per click (CPC);
- Conversion rate;
- Number of followers;
- Brand mention;
- Total shares;
- Comments and engagement.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGIES (TRENDS 2021)
You know, social media are constantly evolving and changing continuously. Precisely for this reason we must always keep up to date on the strategies to be developed.
Below we will make a brief description of the social media marketing strategies that will most characterize this 2019.
1. Organic reach decline:
Facebook’s new intent is to prioritize user interaction. Promotional content will have less and less visibility on fan pages and therefore companies will have to pay to reach consumers. From several analyzes it appeared that Facebook had a reduction in its traffic strength due to changes in the algorithm and fake news.
2. Live video streaming:
It is estimated that in 2020, videos and content shared by users on social media will make up 80% of the content of all online traffic. Facebook Live and Instagram Live are valid tools for creating unique and compelling content with which to generate engagement and increase followers.
3. Influencer Marketing:
Influencer marketing or influence marketing is a type of marketing in which the focus is on influencers rather than on the target market as a whole.
The influence marketing industry has grown very fast in recent years and in 2017 its value was estimated globally at $ 1.07 billion. Thanks to the collaboration of Influencers, companies have declared that they have achieved enormous results and consider them an integral part of their social media marketing strategy.
4. Augmented reality (AR):
Augmented reality is one of the most innovative and interactive ways to reach and create engagement with your customers. In practice, it is the superimposition of one or more information levels (virtual and multimedia elements, geo-localized data, etc.) to the real everyday experience. Many social networks are planning to introduce this technology to their platforms.
5 . Enhanced Security (tightened security):
Another factor related to social media marketing is the safety of users. Privacy protection measures in social networks will always have to be improved precisely to combat hacking, identity theft and other security threats.
6 . Virtual Assistants (Bot or Chatbot):
The chatbotthey are pieces of software that are part of that Artificial Intelligence that is slowly invading the digital world and are part of what is called “messaging marketing”. It is a software that, using well-known and tested digital tools (websites, social channels, etc …) tries to simulate a conversation, where one of the conversants is the visitor of a web page or a company page on a social network media, while the other is an automatic system which, using Artificial Intelligence, interacts with the user himself. More and more companies are evaluating their use because it will allow them to interact with consumers in real time. Facebook has also prepared for its use to offer greater and better assistance to users.
What are the disadvantages of Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is a double-edged sword as it requires a high expenditure of human resources, great content creation and having to constantly check their success. Furthermore, due to the virality that the network creates, for a company that by mistake shares an inconsistent content, the risk is to make it irreversibly bad advertising.
Is it useful to invest in Social Media? After 15 years from the creation of Facebook, Social Media have become essential for advertising campaigns and sponsorships. A user who visits a page or a brand is pushed to buy, why? Social media are showcases through which a company tries to get noticed. In fact, through these platforms it is possible to represent a “typical” customer: thus managing to become loyal as much as possible with people. It also makes it easier to read the data on how users react to the page in order to behave accordingly. Finally, creating a social profile is completely free, thus giving anyone the opportunity to work on it.
So how important is Social Media Marketing?
The advent of social media has drastically changed communication, which has become instantaneous. If I need information, a discussion, a review, to find a job, etc. I have everything at hand via pc or directly from mobile. The more proficient you become with these systems, the easier it is to find what you are looking for or required, managing to optimize times and accurately achieve objectives.
A good way to do Social Media Marketing?
To do marketing through Social Media you need to implement a specific and effective social media marketing strategy. It is implemented through the drafting of a social media plan which is to be divided into various points.
- Should they increase sales?
- Do I need to create more contacts?
- Should I build more customer loyalty?
These are some of the objectives that can be outlined. An important aspect is that the objectives must have a correlation with the social plan of the strategy to be followed. They must be SMART that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and as a function of time .
The advantages of Social Media Marketing for companies
The personalization of communication strategies and the specific knowledge of one’s target represent the main advantages of Social Media Marketing. The ability to “feel the pulse” in real time of those who interact with the brand by monitoring shares, likes, posts and repost, tweets and retweets, enables marketers to maximize the effectiveness of campaigns. The work of the social team is not an exercise in style but turns into a chain of data driven actions, guided by the results obtained for each campaign or even each single message or post.
Social Media Marketing ensures potentially enormous benefits to the brand, compared to rather limited investments compared to those envisaged for traditional promotion and advertising channels. But what are the main advantages of the SMM? Here are the five most obvious:
Fixing itself in the consumer’s hidden memory
Online communities are literally drowning in a sea of information. Psychologists speak, in this regard, of FOMO (fear of missing out) , or the fear of individuals of being virtually excluded from potentially important social events and contexts. In all of this, brands are continually looking for new ways to get noticed and the adage “out of sight, out of mind” fits perfectly into the situation of the modern consumer, solicited by a thousand stimuli and flattery. Social media offers companies the opportunity to post content regularly, so as to always stay ahead of the consumer. If even that doesn’t immediately translate into an action, such as a purchase or download, the memory will resurface at the right time.
Make the offer more in line with the needs of the consumer
The analysis of the interactions and conversations that take place on social networks allows the company to better understand the needs of each individual consumer, understand what are the strengths or, on the contrary, the gaps in the offer. This will make it possible to design product, service and communications improvements in line with the needs of the demand.
Retrieve new ideas and content
The abundance of information can work in marketers’ favor. With the help of social networks, in fact, the company has access to a myriad of ideas and innovations, which materialize in the form of news, updates, content posted by competitors, suggestions and criticisms published by customers … Today brands are based on newsjacking strategies (the art of knowing how to exploit the clamor of the news of the day to attract interest in one’s offer, brand or company activities) and popular reviews editorial content used to enhance the effectiveness of Social Media strategies Marketing. Another way to create an editorial offer in line with the needs of the social audience is crowdsourcing , represented by the so-calleduser-generated contents, which involve the direct involvement of customers and followers in the drafting (and sharing) of reviews, product tests and suggestions for use.
Manage reputation and crises
Customers talk about the company and its products regardless of whether the brand has a presence on social media or not. This means that they will still post suggestions, requests and complaints. The ability for the brand to proactively use social media can prove to be an effective strategy both in terms of engagement and to improve customer service. Social media, then, prove to be indispensable for managing the most critical situations for the business in real time (crisis management).
Amplify the effectiveness of advertising
Social media advertising , unlike traditional ADV campaigns, is still quite effective. Social networking platforms allow the company to work in an extremely targeted way. The in-depth knowledge of consumer tastes, habits and experiences that can be obtained through the analysis of their social profiles allows us to deliver “surgical” and personalized advertising. The remarketing functions conducted on social networks allow you to awaken the interest of customers who have been inactive for some time. The transposition of similar audiences (lookalike), on the other hand, enables the company to find new segments of prospects on social networks who share characteristics and tastes similar to those of customers already at home.
Social media is today a fundamental touchpoint to guide leads along the funnel. Social commerce, or the direct sale of goods and services through social networks, is a marketing method that is beginning to be understood in our country as well. Consumers can browse and compare the offers of a product on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest (which have already activated this service) and then also finalize the purchase within the same network.
How to set up a Social Media Marketing campaign
The platforms that can be used for a Social Media Marketing campaign are different in terms of target audience and purpose. This is why it is essential to carefully plan the activities to be carried out to make the most of the potential of each media and to achieve the marketing and sales objectives by allocating the budget in the most correct way. Let’s try to summarize the things to do in a few points.
Conduct an Audit
Before setting goals and creating a social marketing plan, it is good to understand what has worked in the past. A good start can be to visit the analytics and insights section of the different accounts and write down all the demographic characteristics of the audience and what type of content has performed well. Even the analysis of traffic from referrals , (coming from links embedded in other web sites that link on the company website) can be useful to understand what social networks channel the most traffic. Evaluating competitors’ activity is absolutely a thing to do.
Define objectives and metrics
Whether it is to improve brand awareness , engage, generate leads or improve reach (thus increasing interest in posts and tweets), you need to start with the objectives of a Social Media Marketing campaign clearly understood. These must also be combined with metrics and KPIs that allow you to understand at a glance the progress of the campaign, which goals have been achieved and which not. If the goal is to improve the visibility of the brand on social networks, then the metrics to be privileged will be the reach or coverage (how many people have seen the post) and the number of impressions. If, on the other hand, the company aims to improve trafficfrom social networks, the KPIs to be privileged will be the Click Through Rate (CTR), which gives an idea of how many readers intrigued by a post have clicked on the link contained therein and visited the company website. Finally, if the goal is to convert , then push the target of the post to take an action such as subscribe to a newsletter, download an App or buy, then the metric to consider is the Bounce Rate (bounce rate) , which indicates how quickly a user who visited the website left it.
Searching for the target audience
The audit of the previous point already provides some indications on the company’s social audience. The next step is to define the audience personas, which represent the typical traits of the target audience – demographics, content preferences, jobs, interests …
Define a content strategy
The social content management strategy must be shaped on the defined objectives and on the audience personas identified as relevant. The contents must intrigue, inform, engage and persuade the audience. The definition of an editorial calendar will allow you to automate the activity of publishing posts through one of the many platforms available.
Define a paid strategy (if any) Paid
ads on social media allow you to increase traffic on the institutional website, improve brand awareness and engagement, increase leads and sales.
Monitor, measure and optimize
Social Media Marketing is an activity that has a strong experimental component and never stops: we are talking about Social Media Management, and there are numerous tools that help management. Therefore, we must not be overwhelmed by any negative results or not in line with expectations, but understand that the SMM is a matter of continuous tweaks and adjustments. What was good last month may not like it anymore today. New social platforms gain the trust of users and it could be convenient to include them in the campaign. The followers, then, are often fascinated by new trends so you must always be informed about fashion trends and, if necessary, make them your own.
Define your goals
Setting clear goals is the first step in a well thought out SMM strategy. You can start with simple goals related to increasing the visibility of content – number of likes or shares – or start with more complex objectives such as increasing website traffic, improving opinions expressed (comments), generating new leads / customers. The comparison with the competitors’ activities will allow us to understand where to find the potential audience and understand which networks are preferred by our targets.
It is highly likely that a company today has already activated one (or in many different cases) social accounts so we must first start with those to understand which makes sense to keep active and which are better to close. The profiles that remain active will be optimized, so as to bring more organic traffic (coming from searches) to the company website. But they will also be promoted on other social networks, to increase the reach of posted content.
Prepare the editorial plan
Quality . This is the key word for success on social media. Marketers should therefore have a real Social Media Marketing plan. The document must indicate all the objectives of the SMM strategies, the actions to be taken, the target personas, the accounts to be used to achieve the purpose, the various types of content provided and the calendar of the related releases. The plan must specify who will create the content, the dates and times of publication of the messages (posts and tweets), the tone of voiceto use – considering, for example, that an easy and spontaneous language is to be reserved above all for customer engagement, while a less informal language is preferable when promoting the image and values of the brand or if managing customer assistance .
If you do not have clear ideas, a good starting point to understand how to structure the editorial plan in Social Media Marketing strategies is to use the so-called ” Rule of Thirds ” which provides that:
- 1/3 of the contents disseminated on social networks must promote the company’s business, its culture and its values, to convert surfers into prospects.
- 1/3 of the contents disseminated on social networks must promote ideas and stories concerning the sector to which they belong.
- 1/3 of the content disseminated on social networks must promote the brand or products by leveraging 1: 1 interactions to convert and generate profits.
Select the management platforms
The management of social accounts is often entrusted to a Social Media Manager even if in some companies this activity belongs to the marketing department. This can also be a very time-consuming task. This is particularly true with the progressive intensification of the publication of content that the Social Media Marketing strategies impose. Companies receive several thousand mentions and questions every day and it is impossible for even the largest social team to give an immediate response to these requests. However, there are numerous software that allow you to publish, monitor and manage the various company social accounts from a single interface, automating most of the activities. Here is a (non-exhaustive) overview of the main tools of Social Media Management.
Buffer : Buffer is the most popular dashboard for centrally creating and managing social campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, measuring the performance of posted content in real time.
Hootsuite : this is a tool that allows you to schedule posts on about twenty Social Media Marketing platforms. It offers features to schedule, curate and increase the effectiveness of posted content by working on the best time of publication. Plus, it tracks all mentions and other audience engagement activities. It supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.
Sprout Social: this platform offers all the most useful tools to schedule posts, monitor competitors’ activity, track all keywords. The Smart Inbox function allows Social Media Managers and specialists to respond from a single interface to all messages received from the various social networks.
Social Mention: it is a tool to monitor and track all activity on social media. It lets you know who mentions the brand, company or topics defined as relevant for a specific SMM campaign. It aggregates all user-generated content on different social networks, which will then be easily analyzed, and offers a very useful influencer ranking tool.
SEMrush: this suite monitors all company social profiles and compares their performance with those of the competition, identifying the best performing content and tracing all the interactions of the social audience.
Revive Old Post: is a tool that allows you to re-share content already posted in the past. Its plugin allows you to set a time interval between the two posts (the original one and the resumption) and the number of posts that you want to reshare. The free version only supports Facebook and Twitter, while if you want to re-share posts from other platforms such as Pinterest or LinkedIn you have to buy the premium version.
Snaplytics: this is a tool designed specifically for managing activities on Snapchat, the App that allows users to create and manage very short stories (on average 20 snaps, about 2 minutes). Snaplytics allows you to organize stories through the use of tags. It offers insights and analysis on the progress of the stories and also includes a database of all the content created in the past, to understand how they worked and, if necessary, to be able to republish them. It also supports deferred publishing functionality.
Brandwatch: it is a social listening tool that scours forums, news sites, blogs and social networks in search of useful data to support the social sentiment analysis functions. It therefore allows us to understand if the brand and the company enjoy the esteem and trust of web users.
Hubspot Social Media : This Social Media Management software is included in the Hubspot marketing automation platform. Its main advantages consist in the ability to simplify the management of social networks, prioritizing the connections between the different platforms; monitor engagement and mentions on the main networks.
Zoho Social : offers a simple but effective user interface to manage the brand’s activities on social media and allows you to monitor in real time the progress of conversations and brand citations on target keywords.
Tweetdeck : It has become the indispensable management tool for corporate Twitter accounts. It allows you to filter follower messages and monitor all activity on ashtags, tweets, messages, notifications and trend topics from a single console.
StatusBrew : is a Social Media Management platform designed for transversal use between the sales, marketing and customer care departments. It allows you to automatically manage Social Media Marketing campaigns and keep track of all engagement activities, also integrating with marketing platforms and social collaboration tools such as Mailchimp and Slack.
Facebook Page Manager : is an App that allows you to manage Facebook and Instagram accounts on the go, from your smartphone.
Ideas, tips and best practices for 2021
The starting point of any Social Media Marketing strategy is to establish a digital presence on the networking platforms most in line with the image of the company and its offer. The next step is to work on brand awareness, therefore on increasing the awareness of the brand. At a further level of sophistication, then, the company’s goal will be to be able to better engage prospects and customers through a targeted content management strategy, and then divert traffic to the website. Marketers use social media to showcase the most popular networking platforms, find and reach customers and prospects, promote products and services, and engage audiences to improve conversion andROI of marketing campaigns .
Each platform has its own precise guidelines that summarize the precautions to be put in place to maximize the effectiveness of communication. The resolution and image of the photos, for example, the use of ashtags or shortened links, the time of publication …
Viralize and pay attention to the customer
Social media ensure a significantly higher conversion rate than traditional marketing campaigns. Each interaction with the customer allows to increase his trust and that of the communities in which he is active by activating those “word of mouth” mechanisms that help to achieve conversion goals. If a company succeeds in publishing interesting content, followers will be available to introduce them to relatives and friends, sharing them and thus multiplying the pool of potential prospects. The password is VIRALIZE: something not easy to achieve, of course, but a goal that all Social Media Marketing campaigns must aim for.
Brands that are successful on social media are the ones who share customer posts – unboxing, in-store purchase, advice – and ask for their opinion. In this way the company shows attention and interest towards its followers, showing gratitude for the choice made in publicly supporting the brand.
Social networks are an important source of truthful consumer data but also a reservoir of knowledge freely accessible at any time. Users go to social networks to find out, have fun, share ideas and get advice. And that is why it is very important for the company to communicate continuously with its audience. Otherwise, the risk is that he will end up appreciating and sharing the competitor’s contents and no longer ours. The most effective SMM strategies are those that see the company ready to give advice on how to choose the product, also providing advice on how to best use it. Sharing the posts of bloggers that deal with topics dear to the company allows you to attract the attention of the public and offers interesting ideas for updating. But it is also necessary to give space to entertainment by postingmemes, quizzes and funny videos.
Social media marketing includes the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build up your brand, increase sales, and drive more website traffic. This involves publishing interesting content on your social media profiles, engaging with your followers, listening to your customers about your business, and running social media advertisements.