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7 Reasons Social Media Marketing is Essential (and Awesome)

reasons why social media marketing is essential

What’s Social Media Marketing?

In the simplest of terms, social media marketing is the process of using social media platforms to market your products or services. But it’s not as simple as posting a few tweets and calling it a day – social media marketing requires a lot of planning, strategy, and effort.


Why Social Media Marketing?

As of January 2021, there were 4.15 billion active social media users worldwide. That’s about 60% of the world’s population.

Statistic: Global digital population as of January 2021 (in billions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

The percentage is even higher in Singapore.

To be precise, there are over 5.2 million social media users in Singapore, with the number projected to hit 5.6 million by 2025.

Statistic: Number of social network users in Singapore from 2017 to 2020 and a forecast up to 2025 (in millions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

That’s over 90% of Singapore’s population.

Many businesses are using social media marketing to reach out to these potential customers, which is why we suggest you learn the ropes.


7 Reasons Social Media Marketing is Essential (and Awesome)

#1: It’s free.

Surprise, surprise – marketing doesn’t usually come cheap, same as social media marketing. However, you can easily create a Facebook or Instagram page without paying a single cent! And if you want to advertise on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram (which you definitely should), it’s also possible to get help from influencers at a minimal cost.

#2: It’s versatile.

Not only are social media platforms accessible on mobile, but you can even create pages or accounts on multiple platforms simultaneously. This way, your followers are never far off, regardless of which platform they’re using.

Furthermore, social media can be used for various marketing activities such as branding, lead generation, customer service, and more. So no matter what your business goals are, social media can help you achieve them.

#3: It’s interactive.

One of the best things about social media is that it allows a two-way conversation. You can talk to your followers or customers, and they can talk to you too.

Whether it’s raising awareness for your brand, getting customer feedback, engaging with users, or building a reputation for being responsive and helpful – social media marketing lets you do all of that and more.

#4: It’s a great way to get real-time feedback and ideas

Social media is a great way to get feedback on your products or services, not just from customers but also from employees, stakeholders, and other people in your industry.

This way, you can get a better idea of what people want and even test out new ideas before rolling them out to the public. Talk about getting a head start.

#5: It helps build a good reputation.

Creating a social media page for your business and actively engaging with users on the platform is a great way to improve your brand’s image and build positivity around it.

Furthermore, social media can also be used to build relationships with customers. By responding to their queries and comments in a timely and helpful manner, you’ll create a positive experience for them, ultimately leading to customer loyalty.

#6. You can Grow an Audience with a Small Budget

You don’t need a huge budget or thousands of followers to succeed at social media marketing.

Using the right strategies, you can grow your following regardless of your budget size. A few dollars can go a long way in growing your audience on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

#7: You’ll have access to huge amounts of data

Social media is more than just a platform for posting photos or sharing updates.

By analyzing social media data, you can gain valuable insights about your audience and how they interact with your brand.

This information can help you market better by knowing your audience, what drives their behaviour online, where they are located, which platforms are most effective for getting the desired reach, etc.


A General Overview of Social Media Marketing

According to Statista, 91.9% of companies use social media for marketing purposes. This figure will only grow in the coming years, and if you’re not using social media for your business, you’re going to be left behind.

Consumer Social Media Usage is on the Rise

Consumer social media usage is on an upward trajectory,  with more and more people using social media to connect with friends and family, stay up-to-date on current events, get product recommendations, and more.

number of social media users worldwide projected from 2017 to 2025

In fact, a study by Statista shows that the number of social media users is projected to reach 3.96 billion by 2022.

Generation Z, in particular, increased their social media usage by 78% in 2021, while millennials increased their usage by 77%.

percentage of consumers on social media stats

What’s more?

Social media users are also spending more time on social media. In 2021, the average social media user spent 2 hours and 25 minutes per day on social media, up from 2 hours and 22 minutes in 2020.

The Average Time Users Spent Online in 2021 (By Platform)

average time spent on social media

Also, according to Sprout Social, 57% of social media users use the platform to learn more about a brand’s products or services. In comparison, 47% use it to stay updated about brands and the latest development in the industry.

Brands that meet the needs and wants of their customers stand and exceed their expectations get to enjoy massive spikes in engagement.

In which case:

  • 91% will visit the brand’s website or download their app
  • 89% will purchase the brand’s product or services
  • 85% will recommend the brand to their family and friends

You want to note that customer expectation is always in flux – and different from one customer to the other.


Other Social Media Statistics To Note

Before we go any further, let’s explore ten social media statistics to consider before hiring a social media marketing agency.

Before we go any further, let’s explore ten social media statistics to consider before hiring a social media marketing agency:

  1. There are over 4.48 billion social media users at the time of writing this. That’s a 5% increase from last year’s count.
  2. The number has also doubled from 2.07 billion in 2015 (source: backlinko).

An average social media user engages with about 6.6 social media platforms, spending an average of 145 minutes (2 hours 24 minutes) per day on these platforms (source: Statista).

  1. The social media growth rate from 2015 was 12.5%. However, it would decline in 2019 to 9.2%. That’s because a majority of internet users are already on social media.
  2. By region, Asia has the highest social media growth rate (at 16.98%). It’s closely followed by Africa (at 13.92%) and South America (8%). Coming up next is North America (at 6.96%), then Australia (4.9%) and lastly Europe (4.32%).

Social Media Growth Rate by Region

 Continent Annual Social Media Growth in % (2021
Asia 16.98%
Africa 13.92%
South America 8%
North America 6.96%
Australia 4.90%
Europe 4.32%
  1. 4 93.33% of internet users are now on social media. In a similar token, 85% of mobile internet users are active on social media. Meaning, your business can still thrive with social media alone.
  2. Facebook is the leading social media network (with 2.9 billion monthly active users. YouTube comes next (with 2.3 billion monthly active users) and then WhatsApp (2 billion active monthly users).
  3. Of the total social media users, 54.4% are female, while 46.6% are men. While most adults say they use Facebook and YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are especially common among young adults (30 years and below).
  4. Social media has now overtaken TV as an advertising vehicle. With this, 80% of businesses now have a presence on social media. The only problem is, they’re not sure what to do with it.

7 Not New But Evolving Social Media Trends to Watch Out for in 2022

Apart from Facebook rebranding to Metaverse, we don’t expect to see anything new in the social media world. However, these platforms will continue to evolve and get better.

  1. Social Selling and Social Commerce Will Become Mainstream

Social selling isn’t a new trend. It was rolled out a few years ago.

It essentially allows a business to use a social platform as a sales tool. Users can use it to engage their potential customers and sell to them directly.

Social selling is becoming more popular with social media marketers, but it hasn’t reached its peak yet.

That said:

Social selling is set to grow in 2022, with more companies using it to elevate their brand presence.

According to a recent eMarketer report, the total social e-commerce sales will increase by 34.8% in 2021, rising to over $36 billion by the end of the year.

The number of social commerce users will increase by 12.9%, with the social commerce industry seeing an overall growth of 37.9%.

The two leading networks for social commerce are Facebook and Instagram.

The Number of Adults Who’ve Made a Purchase on Social Media
users on social media for social commerce

The two most common features on these two social media platforms are shoppable ads and in-app purchases.

Also, according to a Facebook report, the next thing in social commerce is live video selling.

In which case, 47% of consumers say they don’t mind purchasing on social media after watching live media — the number switches to 62% for Gen Z and 57% for millennials.

It’s, therefore, safe to say that social selling is about to become mainstream.

So, as you continue to create content for your social media platforms, be sure to include some social selling tips to gain an edge.

Here are a few of the social selling tips to observe:

    • Make your prospective customers or clients feel comfortable: Make a good first impression and build trust with them before attempting to sell to them.
    • Build your personal brand: When customers know and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you.
    • Educate your audience about your product or service: Your audience will not buy from you if they don’t understand what it is that you’re selling.
    • Use social media platforms to drive traffic to your website: This will allow them to learn more about your product or service and make a purchase if they wish to.
    • Only pitch when the time is right: Don’t push your customers or clients to buy from you. Let them make that decision when they’re ready.
    • Keep one eye on what your competitors are doing: Monitor every one of their moves and find ways to one-up them.
  1. Paid and Organic Battlegrounds Go Local

Organic reach is on the decline.

That is especially true for Facebook, where businesses see a 2% organic reach.

In such a situation, it’s no wonder businesses are turning to paid advertising.

That’s been the norm for a while now. What’s changing is how businesses are allocating their ad dollars.

Instead of going for a global reach, businesses are now targetting their ads to specific locations.

Why?

Because they’ve realized that’s where their customers are.

But as things are, it won’t be easy to use Google Ads to engage Lookalike audiences and first-time customers. Add that to the decline in organic reach, and it’s clear marketers have a tough road ahead.

It’s not all bad news, though.

There are still plenty of opportunities to reach new customers on social media.

You just have to be more creative in how you go about it.

Social media marketing has always been about finding the perfect balance between paid and organic tactics.

However, one of the biggest trends we’re now seeing is businesses focusing on their local markets.

That means more businesses are using location-based targeting for their social media ads.

They’re also using geo-targeting to ensure people only see their ads in the right areas.

And, it’s paying off big time.

With paid ads, brands will be promoting tailored ads to specific geographic regions.

A few examples:

    • Ads featuring weather-specific or seasonal products or services
    • Location-specific branded filters
    • Ad promoting live events to followers in specific areas
    • Ads for regional products, like local specialties
    • Ads for local services like plumbers and electricians

You must always analyze your content before posting it on social media. That way, you’ll know how people are engaging with similar content and whether or not they’re showing an interest in your products or services.

You don’t just have to target people nearby, either. You can also focus on your competitors’ customers based on their location.

Using geo-targeting can help you build an audience that is more likely to buy from you.

  1. Personalization or Creating Personable Experiences to Drive Engagement

Personalization isn’t a new trend.

In fact, it’s been a fundamental part of content creation for some time now.

However, as the competition heats up and people become more selective in what they choose to engage with, personalization is becoming even more important than ever before.

Back in 2019, 72% of consumers said they’d be more likely to engage with a brand that offers a personalized experience or a marketing message that’s tailored to their specific preferences and needs.

And yes, consumers get what consumers want. In fact, 9 out of 10 marketers are already investing in personalization, with 51% of marketers making it their top priority.

Even so, marketers still don’t really understand how personalization works.

That’s because 57% of marketers aren’t using tools to personalize their content. As a result, many are wasting time and money creating one-size-fits-all campaigns that end up falling flat.

But it’s not all bad news.

There are plenty of ways to personalize your content without relying on tools.

Some of the most popular methods include using first names, addressing people by their interests, and segmenting your audience into different groups.

You can also create custom content for each social media platform.

Personalization is all about using the consumer data you’ve collected to enhance their overall experience.

This could be anything from using their purchase history to create tailored ads to sending them a birthday message on social media.

One of the most critical personalization aspects is keeping track of your customer interactions.

That way, you can identify any patterns and use that data to improve your marketing strategies.

Brands are also personalizing (humanizing) their social media interactions with customers via live chat and DM or using chatbots.

As social media trends continue to change and evolve, it’s up to marketers and business owners to keep up with what their consumers want:

    • 69% of online shoppers love to interact with brands through messaging apps. The 69% also add that it makes them feel more comfortable and at ease with the brand.
    • 71% of shoppers expect brands to offer customer support through social media platforms. They expect to find the assistance they need whenever they reach out to brands via social media.
    • 94% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand again, provided it delivers a satisfying customer experience via social media or messaging platforms.

The key point of social media personalization is paying attention to customer engagement history and context.

Here are some quick tips to make social media personalization work for you:

    • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Figure out what they want and how they search for information on social media.
    • Map the customer journey from start to finish. Identify the key touchpoints where you have the opportunity to engage with your customers.
    • Experiment with different personalization techniques and see which ones work best for your brand.
    • Use customer data to create targeted content and experiences that resonate with your customers.
    • Keep track of customer interactions and use that data to improve your marketing strategies.

The bottom line is that social media personalization is no longer an option. Consumers are demanding it. So brands either adapt or risk being left behind.

Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Evolve

In the early days of social media marketing, brands often partnered with celebrities and other high-profile influencers to promote their products.

But as social media has matured, so too has influencer marketing.

Nowadays, brands prefer partnering with micro-influencers — those with a smaller but more engaged following.

Here’s what consumers nowadays expect from influencers:

    • Showcase a brand’s value
    • Showcase a brand’s products or services
    • Explain how to get the most out of a brand’s product or service
    • Entertain and educate

In other words, influencers are no longer just promoters – they’re educators and trusted advisors.

As Expert Voice Consumer Trust Panel Report shows, only 4% of consumers take celebrity endorsements seriously. Only 4% of consumers will buy a product simply because it was endorsed by a celebrity they know.

Quite frankly, influencer marketing is no longer about celebrity endorsements. It’s about partnering with people who can authentically deliver your brand message.

And as social media continues to evolve, the role of the influencer will continue to evolve along with it.

Here are some best practices for working with influencers:

    • Look beyond the biggest names in the industry and find micro-influencers who have a high engagement rate on social media.
    • Collaborate with an influencer based on their expertise, not their follower count.
    • Make influencers feel like they’re part of your team by involving them in the creative development process.
    • Showcases the brand’s value
    • Shows the brand’s products or services in action
    • Explains how to get the most use out of the brand’s product or service

Another report released by Later shows that micro-influencers with 25,000 followers or fewer get the most engagement.

what are the instagram engagement rates

We’re also more likely to see brands and micro-influencers form long-lasting relationships with one another.

  1. Influencer Houses and Collaboration will become More Prevalent

Influencer houses and collaboration will become more prevalent with a growing need for more content.

For the uninitiated, what is an influencer house?

For the uninitiated, an influencer house is a company that represents a group of social media stars or celebrities.

Brands are starting to see the value in working with these companies, as it allows them to reach a large and engaged audience quickly and easily.

It also builds the idea of authentic influencer marketing, where you have multiple influencers working together to promote a brand.

User-generated Content and Social Proof to Build Trust

Building trust in your brand is critical for successful social media marketing.

Currently, 93% of marketers agree that users trust user-generated content than brand-generated content.

That applies to all types of user-generated content, including reviews, comments, ratings, and social media posts.

So how do you build up your user-generated content?

The most cost-effective way is to encourage your existing customers to leave feedback on your online presence.

But there are other ways too:

    • Offer special discounts for referrals
    • Run contests that require user-generated content submissions
    • Monitor, reply, and engage with your audience on social media to encourage feedback

In addition, you can incorporate social proof into your user-generated content by showcasing high ratings and positive reviews.

To sum it up, social media marketing in 2022 will be all about authenticity, engagement, and trust.

It turns out, 40% of consumers lost trust in online reviews, especially since companies started cooking them up.

That’s where user-generated content comes in handy.

With user-generated content, authenticity is immediately recognizable.

Since it’s coming from an actual person, it tends to carry more weight with consumers.

Online reviews, on the other hand, are easy to fake.

Simply put, user-generated remove any doubt a customer might have about your brand, making it more enticing for potential consumers to want to hop on the bandwagon.

So, make sure your social media marketing team has a solid plan for:

    • Finding user-generated content as it’s created
    • Soliciting user-generated content in a way that encourages engagement and creates a sense of community or a valuable experience for the customer
    • Creating a system that allows for quick and easy responses to user-generated content
    • Showcasing user-generated content on social media and your website

Social media marketing isn’t an exact science. It’s about experimentation, creativity, and responding to the needs of your audience.

The trick to succeed with user-generated content is to ensure it meets a certain high-quality standard while encouraging the user to be authentic in how they present the content.

In essence, social media marketing in 2022 is all about giving people a voice and then amplifying it.

As we move into the future, it’s important to remember that social media isn’t just a one-way street. It’s a two-way conversation where brands and customers can connect and share.

crafting a post on fb to connect with customers

Like in the real world, social media has its own rules of engagement.

You can’t force-feed people with your message and expect to win over fans.

The best way to do it is to let your audience lead the conversation while you’re there to amplify and prod it up.

  1. An Avalanche of Video Content

Video content is taking over social media, and there’s no turning back.

In 2021, Cisco predicted that video will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022.

That means if your brand isn’t incorporating video into your social media marketing plan, you’re already behind the curve.

Here’s more (from Biteable):

    • 60% of marketers use videos, with 94% planning to continue using them in 2022 and beyond
    • 61% of marketers rate videos as ‘extremely” important in their overall content strategy
    • 30% say videos produce higher ROI than their brand website

Adding video content to your social media marketing mix is a no-brainer.

But what kind of videos should you create?

Here are some ideas:

    • Product Videos – Showcase your products or services in action
    • Brand Videos – Introduce your company and explain what you do
    • How-To Videos – Teach people how to do something by getting them involved
    • Quizzes & Inspiration – Give users a challenge and get their feedback

The main thing about videos is that you want to focus on what your company is all about.

With the right balance of authenticity, engagement, and creativity, you can get creative with video content.

The trick with posting video content is versatility and adaptability.

Make sure your video can be repurposed for different social media platforms.

In terms of length, use both long and short videos to engage with your target audience and deliver value to them.

The biggest shortcoming of social media marketing in the past is that it was primarily focused on quantity over quality.

Posting content for the sake of posting content won’t help you connect with your audience.

Instead, focus on creating engaging videos that incorporate techniques like storytelling, along with some education and inspiration mixed together.

videos on fb can capture attention more than simple posts

Source

In some cases, you might also want to post static videos or brief videos to keep users intrigued or to facilitate short-term engagements.

It’s all about keeping them hooked and coming back for more.

You have the option to post pre-recorded videos or broadcast live videos.

Make sure you know your target audience and what content works best for them.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different content types and see what works best for your brand.

  1. Augmented Reality Becoming More Practical

2022 will be the year of AI and augmented reality.

You’ve probably already seen examples of how brands can use augmented reality to bring their products and services to life.

It’s a great way to stand out and give customers a unique experience, but it also takes time and effort to create AR content that resonates with the people.

The key is knowing your audience and what types of experiences they find most valuable.

If you can deliver on that expectation, people will keep coming back for more.

One of the best uses of augmented reality is giving customers an interactive shopping experience or letting them try out your product before buying it.

Think Mobiles did a study on Augmented Reality, and here’s part of the data they collected:

    • 63% of online shoppers agree AR enhances their online experience
    • 40% of consumers will pay more for a product provided they can preview it via AR
    • 35% of shoppers say they’ll increase their online shopping activities provided they’re served with more AR experiences

Here are the recent developments in Social media AR:

and the list goes on

While lenses, stickers, filters, and other AR features aren’t anything new, brands are finding more ways to incorporate them into their overall social media strategy and create unique experiences for their customers.

As you plan your social media content in 2022, look closely at augmented reality and see how it can help you stand out from the competition.

Brands are also using augmented reality to let their customers preview their products.

It works in various ways, but it all comes down to giving consumers an immersive experience that they’re unlikely to get just by seeing something on the screen.

augmented reality on social media

Augmented reality will break into the mainstream in 2022 as more people become familiar with the technology and its potential uses.

Be prepared to experiment and see how you can use it to connect with your target audience.

  1. Responsible and Ethical Operations take Centre Stage

With the rise of fake news and data breaches, people are becoming more aware of how their personal information is being used.

In response, users have been more concerned about privacy policies and what kind of data is collected.

This shift in the mindset will continue to grow as people become savvier with a broader variety of apps and platforms.

So, what are the characteristics of Gen N?

First, they’re hyper-connected and hyper-aware of what’s happening in the e-commerce space.

They avoid traditional media and get their news primarily from social media.

“As users become savvier, they’re going to want brands to be more honest and upfront about how their data is being used. It’s not just the privacy of information that people are worried about — they also want to know that brands aren’t using manipulative tactics to get them to follow, sign up, or buy something.

This generation is more informed than we give them credit for, and they’re becoming harder to sell to.

If you cannot provide value, they won’t have a reason to follow your brand.

They’re also curious and experimental. On top of that, they have the means to find the information they want, just when they need it.

This is an opportunity for brands to tap into the Gen N market by being transparent and honest about their operations, values, and goals.

In a world where social media plays a significant role in how people get their information, it’s more important than ever for brands to be responsible and ethical in their operations.

Here’re a few statistical findings that back up this claim:

So, other than just being responsible and ethical, customers are also well aware of your impact on their community.

Social media is the perfect place to make this happen, as it gives you a platform to share your stories and connect with customers on a deeper level.


Social Commerce: What’s It About

Social commerce is exactly what it sounds like: shopping via social media. Consumers don’t just want to see ads and promotional messages; they want genuine engagement and real-time interactions with their favourite brands and influencers.

This concept isn’t new, but it’s picking up speed fast, and it could be where the industry is headed.


How Social Commerce Works

Online shopping is already a huge trend.

Online retailers are generating more revenue than ever before, thanks to increased consumer demand. However, a new trend could change the way brands engage with their audiences on social media forever: social commerce.

Social commerce refers to the ability of social platforms and shopping sites to function seamlessly together so that consumers can buy products directly through their favourite social media platforms.


Why Social Commerce?

While social media is usually a platform for engagement and customer service, it’s become much more than that. Customers want to do everything on the same page, including buying products directly through their favourite digital networks.

Social commerce allows customers to share product recommendations with friends and family, plus they can use social media to earn loyalty points and discounts.

The main goal of social commerce is to allow customers to shop seamlessly on one platform, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.

Understanding Social Commerce

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to social commerce.

First, social media platforms apply a lot of restrictions on what you can and cannot do. For example, while Twitter allows the use of hashtags, Instagram does not.

Second, each platform has its own set of rules and regulations that could get you into trouble if you don’t pay attention. Third, many social media sites have their own internal ad services.

You will not be able to use your regular ads on these platforms unless the site explicitly allows you to do so. You may want to check with the social media sites themselves to find out what you can and cannot do on each platform.

How Social Commerce Affects the Industry

Naturally, this is a game-changer for online retailers. With so much demand for social commerce, it’s now more important than ever to integrate your e-commerce site with key social platforms.

As customers become increasingly familiar with shopping via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other platforms, they’ll expect retailers to follow suit. Retailers who don’t figure out how to sell products directly on social networks will miss a huge opportunity.

As more customers turn to social media as a source for inspiration and product recommendations, brands that don’t offer the ability to shop directly on social platforms will lose out.

There are many different ways to go about it, but the best solution is usually a combination of social media posts and paid ads (or free posts).

The Future of Social Commerce

It’s hard to say exactly where this trend will go in the future.

Many experts believe that giant companies like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay will step in with their own solutions, while smaller retailers will lack the resources to keep up.

That means customers will gravitate toward larger brands rather than smaller businesses with direct access to their audiences.

On the other hand, major online retailers currently have a leg up on social commerce. If smaller companies adapt fast enough and offer a simple, compelling product that consumers want, they could have a fighting chance.

In the end, social commerce is still a new industry. It’s definitely not going away anytime soon, but it could be radically different in just a few years from now.


The Future of Social Media Marketing: 7 Trends to Expect in 2022

Social commerce isn’t the only social media marketing trend shaping up or more likely to take root in the coming months or years. Here are seven trends to expect as social media becomes more entrenched as a marketing platform and a means of engagement:

Social media users are becoming savvier about what they share—and how they share it

It’s no longer enough to slap up a blog post or upload a photo of your latest whirlwind vacation. Consumers expect brands to offer insightful content that demonstrates an understanding of the issues important to them: fashion, food, family, friends, or fun.

Social media users are sharing more than ever, but they’re also expecting more from the brands they follow

That’s not to say that it’s time to blow up your social presence and start over. Instead, you should look at your interactions with followers through a new lens: Is it possible that I’m simply posting too much? If so, you might be better served by a more strategic approach to your posts, rather than simply trying to post as often as possible.

Social media users are looking for brands to get involved in real-time conversations

Brands that were once hesitant about responding too quickly or engaging with customers via social media are now responding more frequently—and they’re learning fast.

Last year, Burger King was criticized after it tried to hijack a Twitter conversation with its own brand message under the guise of being an ordinary customer. This year, the fast-food giant is at it again—and this time around, it’s getting results for its efforts. Brands are now expected to be part of online conversations, and that means they need to up their social-listening game—and learn how to respond fast and effectively.

Social media marketing must be measurable, not just brand-building

It’s no longer enough for brands to simply create content and push it out via social networks without truly understanding what the content is achieving or which platforms are driving the most traffic or leads.

Today, social media marketers are expected to be able to demonstrate what they’ve done for their brands—and prove that it’s working. Thanks, in part, to new social networks like Outbrain and content discovery sites like Poptent; there are more ways than ever to measure the success of your social media campaigns.

Social media marketing is now social customer service

Brands that meet customers online need to understand that those users can and will complain if they’re unhappy about something—and they’ll blame the brand. That means brands must have a plan in place for dealing with social media complaints.

Social media users are becoming increasingly hard to reach

Brands shouldn’t assume that even their most loyal fans will see every piece of social content they push out. With the rise of ad-blocking technology, marketers are finding it harder than ever to be heard—and it’s proving to be an even bigger challenge to reach target audiences.

Social media is just another marketing platform—and it needs to be treated that way

Although social networks are fantastic for brand building, they’re still just one piece of the ever-growing marketing pie.


Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency

Venturing into the vast land of social media marketing can be a little overwhelming. Where do you begin? Where is the best place to “land?” Who should you work with? How much will it cost, and what’s the ROI going to look like? These are all valid questions that can keep entrepreneurs from signing up with a social media marketing agency.

It’s not uncommon for business owners to feel apprehensive about handing over the reins to their social profiles and digital marketing strategy. The problem is, they can’t do it all themselves, and sometimes hiring a firm dedicated specifically to helping you meet your goals is the best option.


Reasons to Hire a Social Media Marketing Agency

The following are key reasons why entrepreneurs should consider working with an agency:

Let’s dive into each of these points, so you can decide whether or not hiring an agency is the right option for your business.

1. You Don’t Have the Time

Social media marketing is hard work. Setting up accounts, updating them regularly, and engaging with followers is a time-consuming process. Even more so if you’re juggling multiple accounts for your business that include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and some other platforms you might have heard of.

If you already have a full workload on your plate, it’s understandable how adding one more thing to the daily routine can be way too overwhelming.

When you hire an agency, it will take care of creating Facebook posts and Twitter updates and everyday tasks like responding to user queries and comments in a timely and professional manner. They can also monitor your digital presence, so you don’t have to worry about the ups and downs of social media — unless, of course, you want to stay up to date with it.

2. You Don’t Have the Skills

Some entrepreneurs are tempted to set up accounts on different social media platforms, have their friends and families rubber stamp them as official profiles, then call it a day. Or worse, they’ll rely solely on their digital marketing team to handle it all for them — a huge mistake, if you may ask.

Social media marketing requires specialized skills and knowledge to navigate the ever-changing landscape of what’s popular, what works and how to use social media as a rewarding tool that gives back to your business. If you’re unfamiliar with all things social, you’re not going to be able to produce effective campaigns that generate results.

3. You Need a New Perspective

Setting up a Facebook page, creating a Twitter handle, and figuring out how to schedule posts on Instagram is half the battle. Figuring out the ROI for your efforts takes trial and error. In addition, your business might not be ready for some of the more advanced features social media has to offer, like paid advertising.

Getting a professional perspective on your social media marketing campaign will help you determine the right goals for your campaigns and how to give each platform its unique voice. In addition, it will keep you from wasting time with strategies that aren’t going to move the needle for your business.

4. You Have No Idea How to Measure ROI

Social media marketing is all about numbers: the number of followers you have, how many times they’ve liked or commented on your posts, how many new people visit your website, and so on.

There’s a lot to keep track of when monitoring the ROI to your social media campaigns, and if you aren’t prepared with the right tools for tracking, it’s going to be tough to determine if your efforts are giving you the results you need.

5. You’re Not Using Multimedia

Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine are popular social media sites that focus on multimedia content like photos, videos, and GIFs. Considering more than half of people over age 45 would rather watch a video about a product rather than read about it, it’s important to recognize that your brand needs a visual presence across all the different social media platforms.

6. You’re Not Using Social Listening

Social listening is just what it sounds like: monitoring social media channels to determine the sentiments being expressed in conversations around your business, products, or industry. By identifying which topics are trending, you can join in on relevant discussions that could potentially turn into partnerships or joint ventures while turning away from any negative feedback about your business.

7. You’re Unsure of What Tools to Use

Conversely, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of social media tools available to help you craft the perfect posts, analyse their effectiveness and reach new people who are interested in your business. You might not know which tools are worth investing in and which ones aren’t worth your time.

In such a dynamic industry, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with social media marketing. By enlisting the help of a professional, you can rest assured that your efforts will be practical enough and leave you with enough time to work on other parts of your business.


How to Shortlist a Social Media Marketing Agency

Not all social media marketing agencies are the same. Some know their game better than others. Some are more adept at handling various tasks, while some focus solely on the task at hand.

To help you with your search for one, here are ten points to consider before hiring a social media marketing agency:

1.    Research

The first step is to do your homework on the available social media marketing agencies.

By knowing what to look for, you can save time and effort in your search. We recommend searching on Google Questions like “social media marketing agency near me” or “Hiring a social media marketing company.”

2.    Experience

Next, you want to consider the experience of each company in social media marketing. Knowing what they’ve handled in the past will give you an idea of how well they can handle your needs.

3.    Budget

Another important factor is your budget. How much are you willing to spend on their services? That will help narrow down your list when looking for social media marketing agencies to hire.

4.    Rates

As for their rates, know that there is a correlation between experience and cost. That is to say, the more experienced the agency is (and the bigger they are), the higher their prices tend to be.

5.   Flexibility and Communication

For businesses with many moving parts, you might want to look for an agency that’s flexible in terms of communication. They’re not limited to only one particular way of communicating. They can adjust and meet the needs of your business.

6.   Agency Culture

If you can, try to look for an agency with a culture that suits your company’s culture. It may not be appropriate for you to work with an agency where employees make memes all day or say “dope” in official communications. It all boils down to who you are as an organization.

7.   Reputation

In line with agency culture, you might also want to consider the reputation of a social media marketing agency. Look for one that’s been around long enough and has a good track record in their field of expertise.

8.   Portfolio

A social media marketing agency should also be able to show you its portfolio. It’s one thing to see what they can do; it’s another to be shown exactly how they do it. Look for an agency with a good mix of case studies in different types of businesses—from small companies to big corporations to celebrities.

9.   People Skills

You’re hiring a social media marketing agency for their people skills at the end of the day. After all, they are the ones who are going to be communicating with your customers online. Make sure they have strong written and verbal communication skills (including grammar!). They should also be able to understand and adapt to your brand and its voice.

10.   Free Consultation

Finally, consider a company that offers a free consultation with no strings attached. That way, they can show you what they can do without spending on their services right off the bat. You’ll be able to see how well it goes before deciding if you want to move forward with them or not.

Social media marketing is something you want to leave in the hands of experts–those who know the ins and outs and how to use it well. With these points, you’ll lessen your chances of hiring an agency that isn’t a good fit for you.


What Tools Are Your Agency Using?

A social media marketing agency should have a few tools at its disposal, most notably scheduling tools. Many businesses do not have the time to maintain their online presence on their own.

What tools are they using, exactly?

Buffer

Buffer is one of the most popular tools social media marketers use for scheduling posts because it’s free to use (with some caveats). It can be integrated with other apps, especially Hootsuite, LeadPages, Meet Edgar, MailChimp, etc. It has a user-friendly interface that makes publishing to multiple social media accounts a breeze. Posts are displayed in the order that they will be published, and this can be rearranged simply by dragging and dropping them to a new position.

Hootsuite

Another top-rated scheduling tool for social media marketing is HootSuite. As its name suggests, it specializes in managing social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It has a free version, only that it’s a bit more limited than the full-featured paid version.

BufferApp

Buffer also has an app that can be used on mobile devices (Android and iOS). Mobile phones are fast becoming the tool of choice for accessing social media accounts. BufferApp enables users to access these accounts more conveniently on their mobile phones. It’s free and can be downloaded from either the Play Store or Apple App Store (iOS).

IFTTT

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a platform that connects online tools and devices so you can perform specific tasks when certain conditions are met. You can use it to set up automatic posting on your blog or create emails based on the hashtags you’re using in your social media marketing campaigns.

RiteTag

RiteTag is a Twitter-specific tool for hashtag analysis. It analyses tweets to determine which hashtags are trending, calculates the reach of each hashtag, and helps you choose which hashtags to use based on your target audience.

TweetDeck

Tweetdeck is a free social media tool that runs on Mac and Windows computers. You can track hashtags and keywords in your tweets, mentions, and DMs. It also has a feature called Smart Inbox, which sorts your incoming DMs based on priority. You can also filter your incoming messages based on keywords and hashtags.

Social Flow

SocialFlow is used by big brands like Macy’s and HP. It also has a Chrome extension that you can install in about 10 seconds or less. Its focus is on optimizing social media content for better reach and engagement rate. It specializes in processing large amounts of data, so if your business needs to process, filter, and post massive amounts of social media data, then this tool can help.

Hootsuite Pro

Hootsuite Pro is a premium version of Hootsuite with more features compared to its free counterpart. It’s only compatible with the Chrome browser but works seamlessly with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Analytics. It has a better user interface, too, which makes it much easier to use.

Edgar

The Edgar platform for social media marketing serves as your content hub. It can be programmed to post content at the optimal time when people are most likely to see it and share it. You’ll also save time and effort because you won’t constantly create new content for your marketing efforts.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a great tool for tracking how much exposure your social media marketing campaigns generate. It can be used to find influencers who share the same audience as you, and it displays reports about their outreach efforts (and yours). You can even use it to find trending stories in your industry.


Social Media Marketing KPIs

As you can see, there are many social media marketing analytics tools available to help you determine whether or not your marketing efforts are working. But these tools can’t provide concrete numbers.

What they do is estimate the reach and engagement rate of your content. They do this by using hashtag rankings, keyword rankings, and influencer rankings. They also use social media analytics to provide you with a massive amount of often confusing and difficult-to-understand data.

You need to combine the data provided by these tools with other metrics to prioritize your efforts and measure their impact on your bottom line. Here are some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be measuring:

Brand awareness – How many people know about your brand? Have you reached a point where your fans can easily identify your company and its products or services, even without an official logo or slogan? Are you consistently reaching a critical mass of new customers?

Just how big is your customer base now compared to last year? Did you gain more followers this year? What about fans of your page?

Business development – Have you been able to generate leads from social media marketing efforts? How many sales have been made from customers who first learned about your company on a particular social platform?

Note: You can also track conversions with Google Analytics. This way, you’ll know exactly where the traffic is coming from and what actions they’ve taken.

Customer retention – It’s important to know how many of your followers are still with you now compared to last year. Are you losing more customers than gaining? Are most of your new fans coming from inactive accounts? If so, it may be time for a rebranding campaign.

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Customer relationships – How many customers are engaging in conversations with you on social media? Do they have suggestions, complaints, or compliments that you need to address? Are there specific topics that are being discussed at a high volume compared to others? All these elements could provide valuable insight into what your customers want.

Customer service – How long does it take for your team to respond to social media messages? Are they getting resolved on time? If your customer satisfaction rate isn’t very high, you need to take steps to improve it.

Follower Count – a large number of followers can help you gain increased exposure. But are they all real people? Most social media analytics tools estimate the number of real followers you have.

Engagement – How often are your followers interacting with you on social media? Which posts do they interact with the most? What type of content seems to resonate best with them?

Audience demographics – Are certain age groups or genders interacting with your content on social media more often than others? What is the ratio of male to female followers? Is it consistent across all of your social media networks?

Hashtags – Which hashtags are being used most often in association with your brand name or the specific topics you post? Are there particular keywords that people who want to learn more about you or your products and services are actively searching for online?

Retweets – Have any of your posts been shared a high number of times? Which ones get retweeted the most often? What types of content seem to elicit the strongest responses overall from your followers?

Likes – Likes can drive traffic from social media platforms. It would help if you tracked how many likes each of your posts received. This data can help you determine which types of photos or videos may be most engaging to your followers.

Citations – How often are people mentioning your business name in their social media posts? Do they tend to use a specific tag on Twitter or include a link back to your site? Are the majority of these on Facebook or another social networking site?

A quick search will give you an idea of what the market currently looks like and the type of solutions that are available to cater to your business needs. Depending on your budget, expertise, and preferences, you can choose from enterprise-grade solutions to free tools.

As you can see, there are lots of ways for companies to measure how successful their social marketing campaigns are. It all depends on what business goals they want to achieve through these campaigns.

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