How To
13 min read

Social Media Marketing for Beginners: How to Get Started

Soniya Khubchandani

June 2, 2022

Social media marketing is not a "set it and forget it" activity. You need to be intentional about what you post, when you post it, and who you're posting to.

Why does this matter? Because people are on social media—all the time! There are now 4.48 billion social media users (almost half of the world's population!) who spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes per day on social media.

That's a lot of time for businesses to connect with new customers, promote their brand, and build relationships with their audience.

With all of those eyeballs, if you're not being strategic about your social media marketing, you're missing out on an incredible opportunity to connect with potential customers and clients worldwide who might be interested in what you have to offer.

This guide will help you create a social media strategy that allows you to reach more people, grow more followers, and increase engagement with your brand—no matter what industry you're in.

blue red and green letters illustration

What exactly is social media marketing?

Social media marketing enables companies to promote their products and services by interacting with current and prospective customers online. It uses channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube as a medium for communicating with your audience. The goal is to create content that people will share with their own networks.

An example of an excellent social media campaign is the #LikeAGirl campaign from Always. By creating a video that started a conversation about young women and confidence, the brand connected with its audience authentically and received over 70 million views on YouTube.

Some brands do excellent on social media because they know how to connect with their audience by providing quality content that is relevant to them.

Another excellent example of social media marketing is when Red Bull set up a live stream on their YouTube channel showing Felix Baumgartner falling from space. They also used the hashtag #livejump so it could be easily found on social media platforms. This campaign generated over 40 million views and got a ton of press coverage.

What social media marketing can do

Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with people, and it allows you to build meaningful relationships with them.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider using social media for your business:

Boost traffic

Social media marketing is not just about getting traffic to your website—it's about attracting visitors who convert into leads and customers. You can connect with people looking for what you offer and let them know where to find you by using social media.

Increase brand awareness

One of the main benefits of social media marketing is that it helps you increase brand awareness. Brand awareness means your customers recognize your company's name and associate it with the products or services you sell. By spending time on social media sites, you can increase the number of familiar people with your brand, which ultimately leads to more sales.

Here's an example:

Nike is a brand that specializes in athletic shoes and apparel. They run contests and promote their products through ads on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social networking sites to attract new customers. The result? Nike has over 200 million followers on Instagram alone!

Bring in new business

You can also use social media channels as a great way to generate leads for your business. Whether you're offering exclusive content or simply reminding followers about the services you provide, you'll be able to gather user information that will help you target more qualified leads.

Build relationships

Social media is an excellent place for businesses to connect with customers and potential customers alike. You can use it as an opportunity to answer questions about your product or service in real-time, provide updates about what's going on at headquarters (like new hires!), or just chime in when someone mentions something related but not necessarily directly connected with your brand. That way, people feel like there's another human behind the scenes making decisions in their best interest!

Make your business more humane

Social media allows you to show that there are real people behind your business. Not only does this make it easier for customers to relate to you and trust you, but it can also help people get excited about what they see as the "fun" side of your company.

So now that you understand what social media marketing is—and some of the incredible benefits that come with it—let's talk about how you can get started.

silver macbook on brown wooden table

How can you get started with social media marketing?

You can use social media marketing to get your brand seen by millions of people, but how can you make sure that you're making the most of this opportunity?

Here are some tips for getting started with social media marketing:

  • Identify your goals: Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Promote an event? Or build a community of followers? Once you've identified your social media strategy plan, you can easily decide what platforms to use and what content will be most effective.

  • Understand your audience: Who is most likely to buy your product? Is it women in their 20s, people with a certain income level, or another group? Use research and data to determine who will be interested in purchasing from you.

  • Identify your buyer's journey: What stages do buyers go through before purchasing? In which stage are they when they see your ad on social media? You should have an answer to each question.

  • Discover your customer's demographics: Do you know what age group buys the most? Or what income level buys the most? Understanding these demographics will help you target them better with ads.

  • Identifying your customer: Who is your customer? What are they interested in? What do they care about? Where do they spend their time? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you figure out where and how often to post.

  • Find out where your customers spend the most time: Do they have specific blogs they rely on for information or do they engage in social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter? The same advice applies to your competitors - find out where they're having conversations with their fans & followers.

  • Define the buyer persona: Once you know the platforms your customers and competitors use, it's time to create a buyer persona document for each type of client you have or plan to have. What is their gender? How old are they? Where do they live? How much money do they make? What are their concerns, and how does that affect how you market to them?

Create relevant content: Now that you know who you're speaking to, it's time to define what content aligns with your business and will resonate with the people who matter most to your bottom line - your customers! Create a content calendar that details what topics, images & video formats you'll use based on when each person in your target audience will be visiting their preferred platform (blog/social network).

Knowing all this information will help you choose how often you post to social media platforms and what kind of content you post there.

Now that we've covered the basics let's talk about each of these steps in detail.

1. Define your goals

Defining your goals can help you create a social media marketing strategy that aligns with what you want to accomplish and enables you to focus on the right channels. Here's how:

Define your business goals: Take the time to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish. Think about revenue growth, employee engagement, customer retention, etc.

Define your social media marketing goals: Now, think about how social media can help advance those goals. Do you want more followers? More engagement? More sales? Getting clear about these goals will help you develop a better strategy.

Define your social media marketing strategy: Do some research and find out how other companies in similar industries use social media. What strategies have they used? How successful have they been? How can you do better? This can include everything from identifying which networks are best for connecting with potential customers to determining the kinds of content that will resonate with them most.

For example, if one of your primary business goals is to increase customer retention rate, one of your goals could be to increase customer engagement on social media platforms. A strategy for accomplishing this goal might be featuring user-generated content in your posts or creating a community-centric hashtag that encourages people to share their own content related to your brand.

2. Know your audience

Understanding your audience will help you serve them better than spending money on ads that target people at the wrong time or in the wrong place. You also don't want to waste time posting content that will not appeal to them.

Imagine a mom in her mid-30s with two kids in high school, living in a small town in the Midwest—she's probably got different interests and priorities than a single, 20-something woman living on her own in New York City.

To plan a successful social media marketing strategy, you must understand your audience. You need to know how old they are, what their gender is, where they live, how much education they have, their income level, their relationship status, their occupation, and what their hobbies are.

Asking these questions will help you customize your campaign to reach the target audience you want to reach most effectively. 

For example: if your goal is to sell business consulting services to companies in the technology industry, you'll want to make sure that you're posting on LinkedIn rather than Facebook. You'll also want to include professional-looking photos and relevant information about yourself or your business in your posts—this will make them stand out from other posts on the site.

3. Document your buyer's journey

Your buyer's journey is the path buyers take when considering a purchase. It involves three main stages:

Awareness stage: This is when your potential customer first becomes aware of a problem they have. In this stage, they ask questions like "What is this?" "Why do I need it?" and "How does it work?". They will be searching for answers to these types of questions.

For example, they just started a business and need to figure out how to do their accounting and bookkeeping.

Consideration stage: This is when your potential customer starts actively researching how to solve that problem—they're thinking about what's available to them and what options are out there. This is when they ask questions like, "Where can I find it?", "Who else has done it?" and "What resources do I have?"

For example, they look up "the best accounting software for small businesses" and compare and contrast different options.

Decision stage: This is when your potential customer decides how (and if) to solve the problem—they've narrowed down their options, so now they're researching things like pricing, quality, and availability to help them make up their mind. They might ask questions like "Which one do I want?"

For example, they decide on Quickbooks because it offers all the features they need at a price that fits their budget.

4. Discover your client's demographics

Your customers are all over the map.

When creating a product, your first step is to know who you're creating it for. The more detail you can get about the demographics of your ideal client, the better product you can make for her.

Take, for example, a new brand of baby diapers. You might have a general sense that your target demographic is parents with young kids—but that doesn't tell you enough to make an effective product.

Instead, try to get a specific picture of who your ideal customer/client is: Are they in their early twenties? Mid-thirties? Do they live in the city or out in the suburbs? How much money do they make? Are they married or divorced? What kind of job do they have? Are they stay-at-home parents, or are they working full time and need daycare assistance? Do they have other children besides this youngest one, and if so, how old are those kids? What kinds of media do they regularly consume (newspapers, magazines, social media sites)?

These factors play into what kind of product they'll be looking for when shopping for baby diapers. So it's worth taking some time to fully flesh out as much detail as possible about WHO you are selling to.

5. Understand your customer's psychographics

Psychographics is the art of understanding why people make the choices they do, and it's a powerful tool for customer engagement.

Understanding your customer's psychographics (lifestyles and values) can help you create a more personalized marketing strategy and communicate with your customers in a way they'll be receptive to.

For example, if you're marketing a luxury product to high-income earners—let's say a high-end watch—you'll want to make sure that the people you're trying to feel a sense of exclusivity around your product. If you're selling a practical or valuable product—like a flashlight—you'll want to make sure that the people you're trying to reach see your product as a necessity rather than an extra luxury or extravagance.

You can learn what motivates your customers and create content that addresses those motivations with psychographics.

6. Find out where your customers are spending time?

Your customers are hanging out online, ready to hear from you.

Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram? Do they use search engines like Google and Bing? Are they reading blogs or listening to podcasts? Do they prefer to communicate via text or email?

Understanding where your customers spend time will help you know where to focus your efforts. You don't have to be everywhere all the time; just be wherever your potential customers are.

Let's say you're looking to start a clothing business. Before you even think about designing your clothing line, take some time to research your potential customers: the social media platforms they use, the keywords they use to search for information, whether they use a mobile device or a desktop computer, and what their preferred method of communication is.

This kind of research will help you understand your customer and how you should reach them. 

For example, if you're looking to connect with older women who are likely to buy quality dresses for special occasions, you may not find them on Instagram. Still, you may find them on Facebook (an average Facebook user is 40 years old).

Once you know where your customers are spending their time, you can create content that will attract them to your business. If they're primarily on Instagram and looking for inspiration from other users when deciding what clothes to buy, then curating an Instagram feed that will appeal to them would be a good bet for you.

7. Create buyer personas for each client type you have 

Creating a buyer persona document is the best way to deeply understand your clients and the value they bring to your business. Think about your target audience—who they are, what they like, and what they dislike. The more you know about them, the better equipped you'll be to create a product or service that they'll love and benefit you.

Here's how to create a buyer persona:

  • Brainstorm the types of clients you currently have or plan to have.
  • Write down their goals.
  • Think about the challenges they face in achieving those goals. You can ask yourself, "What's stopping them from achieving their goals?"
  • Write down the pain points they feel from those challenges. You can ask yourself, "What does this person feel because they haven't solved those challenges?"
  • Next, consider what the client values—what aspects of their life are most important to them? (For example, making their parents proud, spending time with their kids, etc.)
  • Write down what they care about—what other people and things do they care about? (For example, their friends and family, the environment, etc.)
  • Consider their hobbies—what do they like to do for fun? What are their interests? These can help you find ways to get in touch with them through events and activities that matter to them!

For example, let's say you run a business that sells craft supplies online. Before creating buyer personas, your website caters to everyone, but you don't really sell much. 

By creating buyer personas, though, you realize that the people most likely to buy from you are women in their 30s who live in cities and spend a lot of time on Pinterest. With this information, you can change your website's text to cater specifically to these people and add links to popular Pinterest pages that show crafts they can make with your products. As a result, sales skyrocketed!

By taking the time to flesh out these details for each type of client you are trying to target, you can create content that appeals to their interests and values, making them more engaged, interested readers.

8. Choose your social media platforms

Social Media Marketing Platforms
Source: WordStream

There are a lot of social media platforms out there, and it can be tempting to try to jump into as many of them as you possibly can. However, if you use too many platforms, you are less likely to succeed on them. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, focus on the few platforms that will help you reach your target audience. The platforms you choose will depend on the audience you want to reach and your marketing goals.

If you're trying to target young people, start with Instagram and Snapchat. If you don't think your business needs much of a visual component, try Twitter and Facebook.

9. Create a social media content calendar

Using a social media content calendar is a great way to keep your content organized, which will save you time and help you reach more people.

One of the easiest ways to get started is to create content that matches the stage of the buyer's journey.

For example, if your customer is at the "awareness" stage—meaning they're just starting to learn about their problem and are looking for answers—your post could be something like "Are you tired of [problem]? [Your company] has the solution!" This will help them feel like they've found what they're looking for.

Another easy way to organize your content is by using hashtags. People are more likely to find your posts if you use hashtags, which means you'll reach a wider audience. They can also help align your posts with a specific movement or cause, so people will know where you stand on important issues.

Finally, one other way to organize your content is by scheduling posts in advance. This will save you time and make sure you're always putting out fresh material that keeps customers coming back for more!

10. Create content for these three stages 

Any content plan aims to bring potential customers into the sales funnel and ultimately convert them into buying customers. There are three stages in this process:

The first stage, Attract, involves creating helpful and attention-grabbing content. This content should draw in your target audience by giving them something they need or want. 

For example, if you wanted to attract dog owners, you might write an article about how to make your own dog treats.

Engaging with your readers is the next step in the process. While attracting new readers is essential, you also have to keep your current readers coming back for more. This means responding to comments on social media, answering emails from fans that reach out directly to you or your company, and creating a sense of community around your brand by hosting virtual events like Q&A sessions where people can ask questions and get answers in real-time.

For example, if you wanted to engage with dog lovers, you could write an article on the best dog parks in town or invite readers for a meet-up!

To delight your audience, you should consistently monitor their preferences and tailor your content accordingly. Delighting your audience means that they will come back, again and again, to see what you've created next because they know it will be exactly what they want.

For example, if you were trying to delight your audience of dog lovers, you could give away free samples of your homemade dog treats.

Wrapping up

If you're not an expert at social media marketing, that's okay! Social is such a big piece of your marketing strategy. It gets a little bit easier every day. We hope this guide provides you with some insight into how to create a solid social media strategy for your business.

If you'd like some extra help with creating and managing content, try using Copy.ai. It's an AI-powered tool that will help you get started in no time at all!

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