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What is Social Media Marketing and why you should use it for business?

30th Apr, 2020

What is Social Media Marketing and why you should use it for business?

Over the past decade, social media has changed the way in which we relate and communicate with one another and with brands that we choose to engage with. This is particularly true for social media marketing. This form of digital communication has become an extremely effective way of advertising businesses to millions of potential customers. 

This form of marketing works by making use of various social sites and platforms to promote a brand, product or service through an effective social media marketing plan. By effectively using these platforms, companies are able to build brand awareness, engage with potential customers and build credibility for their brands or businesses. 

The key benefits to an effective social strategy are to build an affinity with an audience that has opted in to follow or engage with your business. 

With a solid social media strategy, small businesses who produce and distribute the types of content that are interesting and relevant will drive audience growth and customer engagement. Social is a great tool to turn your audience into brand advocates.  It is a key driver in getting an audience to visit a website to browse a companies products or service offerings. 

So how do you implement a social strategy? 

Depending on the size and nature of your business there are many ways to implement a social strategy, but the process should start by establishing the following so that an effective plan can be implemented. 

What social platforms are relevant to my business?
What social platforms is my audience using?
What are my competitors doing?
What are my business/brand objectives and marketing goals? 
What type of content and messaging will resonate with my audience?
Do I want to manage this role internally or outsource it to a digital marketing agency or a dedicated social media agency?
Do I want to invest in social media management tools so you can schedule posts?
Who is going to become our community manager?

Community management is a vital cog in the Social media process. Think about it, you are distributing content and marketing communication messages to an audience to create interest or engagement. Once that community starts to engage with you on your platforms you need to ensure that you have a savvy human who can respond and manage all the conversations and questions posted by your audience. No point in doing social if you are not going to respond and drive conversations. 

Once you are up and running a good social media manager will then also analyse the results of your social media efforts. This is not a quick win strategy and requites time to develop. 

Analysing and improve where necessary is all part of the process of building an effective social presence. 

Your social media marketing strategy should also include trying to understand exactly how well each post performs on the various social media platforms with the use of advanced analytical tools. These tools provide insight and learning about your performance and will allow you to make informed business decisions based on the outcomes.

The social media landscape in SA includes Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and the newest in the fold Tik-Tok. 

Social media marketing specialists know that it is very important to connect with your intended audience and to be able to interact with them in a meaningful way. Of course, this type of digital marketing will differ from brand to brand, depending on how your target audience spends its time on social media and what they place their value on. 

So, what social media platform is the most popular in South Africa and which one, as a South African brand, should you focus on? 

Well, firstly, around 15 million South Africans use social media on a regular basis and recent research has indicated that Facebook claims a whopping 86% of the market share in South Africa! 

The majority of South African businesses use Facebook in some form to advertise as they know that this is the outlet whereby they can reach the most potential customers on social. 

Twitter follows in a close second, while 35% of businesses use LinkedIn as one of their main social media marketing strategies. 

Instagram is also highly popular among the South African market and they enjoy around 45% of all South African advertising, followed by Snapchat and YouTube. And make sure you keep an eye on the newest platform Tik-Tok. (Watch this space) 

An effective social campaign will also assist with your ranking factors with the main search engines.

Social media is a beneficial and effective form of digital marketing and when you manage your social media properly it will have a long term positive benefit for your business. 

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