Today is a special day. We will finally talk about something other than Search Engine Optimization and other ways to boost your traffic, leads and profits via Google, Bing, Yandex or whatever they use in China (it's Baidu, by the way, just so you wouldn't think I don't know).
Yes, today we are talking about a whole different stream of visits to your website, a new channel of communication and a new way to exploit your resources in the hope that people will notice you. And they surely will, if you know how to interact with them in the specific channel.
Today we are talking about Social Media Marketing, its benefits, downsides, and is it better than SEO and sliced bread combined. I won't spoil the conclusion, but I'll give you a hint. It's not... Sliced bread is awesome, and not many things are better than it.
What Is Social Media Marketing
Naturally, we will start with the boring word-splodge that is the textbook definition, and then I'll elaborate in a less soul-crushingly unremarkable tone. So Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a marketing strategy which uses social media platforms to communicate messages to their targeted audiences. The main goal is to build a brand following, which can then be redirected to a landing page (a process also known as lead generation), from which they could buy products and services or at least subscribe, which then puts them in a different marketing funnel segment.
The leading social media platforms you need to consider are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. Each of them has a specific demographic, audience and prefered ways of communication. Therefore, they should be treated much like ice cream - you definitely should have one, but what mix of flavors you will have, depends on your taste and preferences.
Social Media Marketing is built on top of 5 pillars, without which your efforts will be just as productive as arguing over global politics with the radio.
Before we dive right into throwing money at Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, first, you need to know what you expect in return. Much like when you give money to watch a Michael Bay movie, you expect to witness earth-crust-shattering explosions (and basically nothing else), the same way when you invest in an SMM campaign, you need to know what will come of it. You need to figure out whether you want more traffic, brand awareness, leads or something else. After that, you need to pick up the most appropriate social media for your goals. Finally, you have to decide what type of content you will share.
Just as a hint, about 80% of all marketers use SMM to raise the company's brand awareness, so you might not want to stray too much from the best practices.
Planning And Publishing
Planning your content and deciding when to publish it is closely related to what are your goals... in a sense that if you don't do it, your targets won't be reached. For example, you can't publish company messaging spontaneously. You need to plan ahead and post your blog posts, image and video on social media at the right moment.
Listening And Engagement
The next step is to monitor your brand's social media conversations and engage those willing to communicate with you. Unfortunately, people won't always notify you that they will post about your brand, so you need to watch how your brand is represented across social media constantly.
Analytics And Reporting
After a while, you'd want to see if your investment is worth it. If your audience numbers are dropping, you shouldn't try to read the clouds in the sky to find why. Instead, you will have to get into the Social Media reports and analyze the data.
What would be marketing without advertising? So naturally, one of the key pillars of SMM is advertising. Depending on the social media, ads may need more resources, and the cost may differ, but each Social Media strategy needs to include an advertising budget.
Why Is SMM important?
There are many reasons why social media marketing is essential in your overall digital marketing mix. Wanting to help Mark Zuckerberg buy himself a new private space shuttle will probably not be among the top 10 reasons. However, you will have to throw some money at the billionaires who hold these platforms, so being charitable towards Mark or Elon is as good a reason as any. Still, let's list some reasons that might interest you and not the poor old fellows with 10-figure sums in their bank accounts.
Although the cost of a social media campaign depends highly on the platform you use, in general, SMM campaigns can save you some coins in the long run (which you can toss to your witcher, if you so wish).
Being so close to your customers, Social Media allows you also to address their concerns, questions and inquiries faster and much easier. It's like a life FAQ section, which will attract much more people than the one on your page.
In the process of communicating with your customers and fans, you will establish your brand voice. The brand voice is a cornerstone of your overall brand personality. If people see you only as a brand and all you do is try to sell them your stuff, you will be just as popular as a door-to-door bible salesman. Humanizing your brand on social media will make engaging your customers effortless, and it'll be much easier to receive a cult following. Just be sure not to be one of those Cathulhu praying cults.
Keeping in mind that there are over 4.6 billion people with social media accounts, investing in SMM will undoubtedly raise your visibility. You don't need to post some incredibly powerful imagery with top-notch content constantly. Sometimes a simple "Good Morning" is enough to get the attention, especially if you post it during the evening.
But probably the biggest plus of SMM is how easy you can build loyalty and trust. People love sharing their lives on social media so they can have several likes, and their brains to release the sweet, sweet dopamine they so desperately crave. So they share every excellent experience (or bad, but let's not focus on that)they have. Needless to say, you need to create one outstanding customer journey so that they can share it with the world via the word-to mouth equivalent of the 21st century.
What Is The Difference Between SEO And SMM Marketing?
If you follow my blog posts closely (and I hope you do, otherwise, why am I writing them), you might remember that I mentioned all of these benefits when I was talking about SEO and PPC. So what's the difference with Social Media?
There are obviously many differences between SMM and SEO, but we will look at three in particular where the difference is highly important.
While SEO content is mainly educational and aims to answer a question, so it can rank higher on all search engines' first pages, social media content is much more entertaining and looks for engagement. It relays emotions and not plain old facts. In general, with SEO, you are showing off your brand's brains, while with social media posts, you are presenting your brand's personality.
The SEO audience is known for its intent. Usually, if someone finds you thanks to your SEO optimization, they are highly interested in what you are offering.
The social media audience is a bit different. The main rationale behind their behavior is not curiosity, as it is with SEO, but boredom and a desire to find something exciting and entertaining. In this sense, SEO content is much more factual, while SMM content is for entertainment. While the SEO audience is considered warm or even hot, social media readers are as cold as my ex's heart. So a good strategy may include both SMM and SEO, where social media helps you determine the ideal audience to target with your SEO efforts.
If you haven't slept through all my blog posts so far, you will already know that SEO results come as fast as a three-legged tortoise that forgot where it's going. Nonetheless, the reward is more than great when it shows. For a successful SEO campaign, you need to have the right tools, knowledge and the blessing of the Gods (or, more accurately, Google).
Social Media, on the other hand, gives you speedy results. However, you need to continuously invest time and resources to engage your audience there to succeed. Otherwise, you will fall into oblivion faster than a politician forgetting his promises after the election.
So if you had to sum it all up, SEO and SMM complement each other, and it's not a matter of which but rather a matter of how much of each.
Benefits Of SEO
By now, we have listed SEO benefits about two gazillion times in our blog posts, but, hey, let's do it again.
The biggest SEO benefits come only if you become Google's boo, and it places you on top of the search results. Then, you get significantly higher CTR, much more leads, lower CPC, better CPA and considerably more sales. Furthermore, you get a ton of free traffic, saving you the money you will otherwise pay for advertising. So, naturally, you can afford to fix your roof since your ROI will go through it.
Organic content also attracts much more audience since there is such a thing as ad blindness. Only around 6% of all clicks go to ads, while the rest go to organic search. At this point, you might be wondering why would I ever want to pay for an ad on Google? Well, you can find the answer here.
SEO, just like any other marketing channel, is constantly evolving, so you need to always be on top of it. I've made one extensive overview of the SEO trends in 2022, which I urge you to read. However, let me point out that quality content has always been king when it comes to SEO. Quality content can't be compensated for with any amount of money since Google's primary objective, shockingly, is not to make you famous but to give its users the best experience. So quality will always be one of its most significant priorities when determining where to rank your website.
Shareability is also going to play an ever-increasing role in your SEO efforts. Since being shared means you are most probably trustworthy, is a good enough reason for Google to push you up their list. Moreover, being linked helps you reach a fresh and engaged audience from other websites. You can learn how to build one stellar link portfolio here.
Finally, we can talk about something different than SEO. Not that I don't like SEO, but, man, oh man, have I got tired of repeating how important it is. So let's chit-chat more about how great SMM can be.
The best part of social media interactions is that they are more informal, natural and friendly. People don't go to their social media of choice to research and get covered by ads. Instead, they go there to chill and spy on their exes. If you blend in, you can reap all the juicy benefits that SMM tries to keep for itself.
Billions use social media, which means that your audience is suddenly larger than the Chinese state media, although you wouldn't want to have the Chinese state media as a comparison to any part of your business. With Social Media, your audience will explode, and you will have much better visibility. This can help you pinpoint your exact target persona much faster and easier. Even better, social media advertising costs are a lot cheaper than any traditional outlet, and it also has a much larger audience.
What's best about your SMM efforts is the astounding number of options. There are a ton of social media for each preference, and a good mix will help you reach the right people with the proper messaging.
To get all the benefits SMM can provide, you need to follow the trends carefully. One of the most important things you need to remember is that you are no longer a corporate entity, a brand, or a company inside social media. Instead, you are a person, and you should treat your social media persona as such. Showing the brand's empathy is not a sign of weakness, and you should showcase all human traits in your profile. Share stories from the office, and make sure you treat your audience as friends and not as customers. The chances are that they will return the favor.
Furthermore, this allows you to treat your social media account as a better customer service point. You can solve problems that haven't even appeared yet if you listen closely to what your customers are saying, what they are looking for, and how they want to see your brand.
More often than not, people visit their social media for one thing only- entertainment. So you need to deliver. That's why more and more brand social media profiles are getting increasingly interactive. Augmented reality, VR, and other formats that cut the content short but offer experiences instead. That's why Social Commerce is so big this year. Almost all social media platforms provide shoppable functionality, so you need to get ahead of the competition and start using this type of sales as soon as possible.
Following these trends will lead you to the promised land of milk and honey.
So, SEO Vs SMM, Which One Is Better For You?
As always, both SEO and SMM have significant roles in your digital marketing mix. You can't simply say that one is better than the other. On the one hand, SEO is cheaper, but on the other, SMM offers you quick results. SEO gets you fewer leads, but they are all highly engaged, while SMM brings in more information, which you can convert into marketing strategies. Both elements complement each other, so you should not ignore either.
While creating a social media profile is an easy task, making one that will best serve your business goals is a bit more tricky. You need to find the best social media platform, create a convincing brand voice, and more.
If you want your SMM investment to be in safe hands, which will deliver results, you need to contact Locus Digital. As one of the most prominent marketing agencies in Dallas, we have the tools, know-how, and experience to help your business grow without you having to sacrifice your time. So book a free call, and let's discuss your inevitable success.