What You Need to Know About Social Media Marketing

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Promotional ad on user’s social feed.

Digital marketing success requires a mix of strategies spanning various channels, including social platforms. Data from Pew Research Center revealed that nearly 70 percent of American adults use at least one social media site, with Facebook leading as the most widely used of the major platforms. As such, digital marketers can’t deny the importance of social media marketing, because a large portion of their target audiences is already engaged on the platforms.

Here’s an overview of what marketers should know about social media marketing, and a look at how a Master of Business Administration with a Marketing concentration can prepare students to manage effective social media strategies for business.

Employing social media marketing best practices

Social media is a crowded space, which means marketers must optimize their strategies to have any chance of standing out and reaching their audiences. Of course, there are also subtleties that apply when utilizing social media for business purposes rather than personal uses.

There are several ways to approach social strategies. Here are some of the most essential practices for social media marketers:

Choose the right networks

Social media marketing doesn’t require brands to use all available platforms to be successful. Marketers should consider target audience demographics, consumer needs and preferences, competitor analysis research, and campaign goals when deciding which channels are right for a particular brand.

For instance, Pew’s Social Media Facts reported that users aged 50 and above are more likely to use Facebook than they are Instagram or Twitter. Thus, the age bracket of a brand’s target audience can identify the platforms that will yield the most engagement. Other consumer data, such as gender, location, job, and level of education, can also help marketers highlight the most suitable platforms for targeting purposes.

Furthermore, the nature of a given social platform may also lend itself to certain industries or products. For example, LinkedIn is a social media platform designed for business professionals, making it an ideal option for B2B companies.

Diversify the content

Marketers should avoid limiting social posts to promotional pushes. They can keep users more engaged by sharing various types of content, such as videos, custom graphics, links to blogs and news articles, user-generated content, and behind-the-scenes footage.

Plus, not every post has to include a branded call to action. As long as the content is relevant or helpful for the audience, brands can also share jokes, quotes, polls, contests, questions, employee shout-outs, job openings, and other types of posts.

Find a consistent brand voice

Consistency in tone and voice is as important on social media as it is anywhere else in a marketing strategy. While social media allows for more fun, casual copy, the voice should still be in line with the brand’s overall personality. What’s more, a recognizable voice and consistent messaging across posts, comments, messages, captions, ads, and graphics can increase the brand’s trustworthiness from a consumer perspective.

Create a content calendar

Crafting and scheduling social posts ahead of time helps marketers maintain a consistent publishing rhythm, as well as plan ahead for events, holidays, major campaigns, and other important dates. Posting in real-time can be beneficial for live coverage or responses to recent events, but generally, completing a content calendar in advance is the best tactic for efficiency and organization purposes. Content calendars are also flexible, meaning marketers can make adjustments before publishing if need be.

Use a social media management platform

Social management platforms help marketers manage multiple accounts, schedule posts, respond to comments, track analytics, and more. Popular ones include:

  • Hootsuite
  • Sprout Social
  • Buffer
  • Hubspot
  • HeyOrca

Rather than managing each platform individually, these tools automate much of the process and make it possible for marketers to manage all of their social profiles in one place.

Use data to measure and improve

There are several variables involved in social media marketing, such as post time, copy, and visuals. Marketers should experiment with several options and track the posts to determine which ones perform well. From there, they can monitor user feedback and relevant metrics to highlight strengths in the strategy as well as areas that need improvement. Competitor analysis research can also help marketers make informed decisions and changes.

Understanding the benefits of social media marketing

The Pew Research Center data makes it clear that marketers can reach a sizable number of consumers on social media networks. When executed well, social media marketing delivers a wealth of benefits for brands. These include:

  • Added channels for content distribution and promotion
  • Expanded opportunities for user-generated content and outreach
  • Boosted user engagement
  • Increased brand awareness, recognition, and relevance
  • Enhanced relationship building and customer loyalty
  • Accelerated consumer feedback and data results

While it’s easy to view social media as just another channel for promoting products and services, the benefits extend far beyond generating sales and boosting website traffic. Plus, aside from paid promotions to enhance efforts, social media campaigns aren’t heavily demanding on marketing budgets.

Preparing for the future of social media and marketing

As with any digital form of marketing, there are endless sources of potential disruption and opportunities to enhance strategies or shift approaches. Marketers must monitor platform updates, social trends, online consumer behaviors, and technology advancements so they can adapt their strategies accordingly. Doing so makes brands nimble enough to stay relevant and continually reach audiences.

Learning about social media marketing from Northeastern University’s Online MBA

The Online MBA program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University offers a Marketing concentration for professionals who want to enhance their knowledge and expand their skills in topics such as customer relationship management, marketing technology, big data, and social networks.

As part of the Online MBA Marketing concentration, students can take the Digital Marketing course that explores the latest trends in technology and new media. The course covers online social networks and communities, discussing how digital marketers can use the platforms to deliver valuable content to target audiences and enhance customer relationships.

Click here to learn more about the Online MBA program and Marketing concentration at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Recommended Readings:
How you can succeed in digital marketing in 2018
What an MBA can do for your career aspirations

Social Media Fact Sheet by Pew Research Center
Social media best practices by Sprout Social
Social media best practices by Moz
Social media best practices for business by Salesforce
Best practice guide to social media marketing by Digital Marketing Institute
Benefits of social media by CoSchedule
Benefits of social media by Sprout Social
Online MBA by Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business