Lesson 5: Social Media Marketing

Social media has become a big part of our lives and the professional world as well. However, it is necessary to start from a definition of Social Media Marketing.

Social Media Marketing 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. SMM aims at creating interactions with consumers and prospects by working on the commonality of values and interests, to create affinity with the recipient of the message and endear him to the brand. Communications and marketing actions have the characteristic of being bidirectional and 1:1, therefore very engaging and engaging. Through social networks it is possible to establish direct conversations with customers and prospects and to have real-time feedback on products or Digital Advertising campaigns.

But which are the advantages of including social media in your communication strategy?

by July 2022 users on social media networks reached 4.70 billions which means that almost everybody on earth is on social media! Having a social media account allows you to get in touch with a gigantic amount of potential customers, to tell them your story and to engage them in your business;

if your brand is visible and clearly recognisable, social media can help you engage with your audience thus increasing your retainment rates;

nowadays, influencer marketing is a global phenomenon. By working with social media you can use this tool to further create connection with potential customers and implement your business;

if your audience is clear, social media can help you focus on it without losing resources with others. Targeted advertising will help you develop a more cost effective campaign and to grow your business without losing usefull resources;

thanks to insights you will be able to analyze the effectiveness of your communication strategy and its ability to implement your business!

Nonetheless, social media marketing has its disadvantages.

For example you’ll need to improve your skills:

  • You will need to study how the social media platform you intend to use works;
  • You will need to improve your copywriting and graphic design skills;
  • You will need to understand how to analyse results and insights in order to improve your strategy.

Also, you will need time, budget and resource to create an effective social media strategy which will need consistency and coherence in order to be correctly deployed.

In order to develop an efficient Social Media Marketing Strategy, you need to know the SM platforms at your disposal. When starting your online promotion you should consider which platforms make the most sense based on your industry and target audience.

Here is an overview of the main Social Media Platforms and their specific characteristics:

Now that you have discovered the diverse universe of Social Media, here are the steps you need to take in order to develop an effective Social Media Strategy:

Before setting goals and creating a social marketing plan, it’s 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 which type of content performed well. Analysis of referral traffic (coming from links included in other websites pointing to the company’s website) can also be useful for understanding which social networks channel the most traffic. Assessing the activity of competitors is an absolute must-do;

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, job, interest;

Whether it’s about improving brand awareness, engaging, generating leads or improving reach (therefore increasing interest in posts and tweets), you need to start with a clear understanding of the objectives of a Social Media Marketing campaign. 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 have not. If the goal is to improve brand visibility on social media, then the metrics to focus on will be 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 traffic from social networks, the KPI to be favored will be the Click Through Rate (CTR), which gives an idea of how many readers, intrigued by a post, have clicked on the link it contains and visited the corporate website. Finally, if the goal is to convert, and therefore push the post target to perform an action such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading an App or buying, then the metric to take into consideration is the Bounce Rate. , which indicates how quickly a user who visited the website left it;

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;

Paid ads on social media allow you to increase traffic on the institutional website, improve brand awareness and engagement, increase leads and sales. In general, they make the investment in social networks themselves more sensible, understood as the creation of valuable content and moderation of the community: without a minimum of sponsored posts, the organic coverage of the channels risks being very minimal for the company pages;

Social Media Marketing is an activity that has a strong experimental component and never stops: we talk about Social Media Management, and there are numerous tools that help management. Therefore, we must not be overwhelmed by any negative results or results 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 be good today. New social platforms gain the trust of users and it could be convenient to include them in the campaign. Followers, then, are often fascinated by new trends so you must always be informed about fashion trends and, if necessary, make them your own.

When developing your Social Media Marketing Strategy remember “The rule of the  Thirds”

  • 1/3 of the contents disseminated on social networks must promote the company’s activity, its culture and its values, to convert surfers into prospects, to make itself known and to accompany the user in the corporate universe;
  • 1/3 of the contents disseminated on social networks must promote ideas and stories concerning the sector to which they belong, to spread information and provide interesting insights;
  • 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, possibly not in an overtly commercial way, however, on the contrary, better if using the services of influencers and creators who can convey messages in a spontaneous, creative and suitable way for the reference community.

Here are some tips for using social media effectively:

  • Build your online presence: Create profiles on top social media, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, and make sure they are professional and consistent with your personal brand. This will help establish your online presence and let people know who you are and what you do;
  • Join the Conversation: Join conversations related to your industry and professional interests. This will allow you to gain visibility and create professional relationships with other industry professionals;
  • Share your work: Use social media to share your work and successes. It will showcase your skills and let people know what you’re good at;
  • Networking: Use social media to build and maintain professional relationships. Connecting with other industry professionals can open up career opportunities and help get your business out there;
  • Continuous update: Always stay informed on the latest trends and news in your sector. Following reputable influencers and news sources will help you stay on top of the latest news;
  • Privacy: Pay attention to the privacy and security of your personal data on social media. Make sure you set the appropriate privacy settings and do not share sensitive information.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the National Agency and Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.