Social media marketing (SMM) uses social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. It includes posting text and image updates, videos, and other content that drives public engagement and paid social media advertising. Social media websites allow marketers to employ a broad range of tactics and strategies to promote content and have people engage with it. From the most popular platforms to the more obscure, marketers today must understand the best practices social media sites have to offer.
For example, an e-commerce or travel business is highly visual and can get a lot of value from a strong presence on Instagram or Pinterest. A business-to-business or marketing company might find more leverage in Twitter or Linkedin.
Types of Social Media Marketing
Among hundreds of types of social media marketing websites available, we have broken them down into three categories:
1. Social networking sites:
Of the various types of social media, networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram represent the bread and butter of modern marketers. These sites put marketers on a level playing field with their clients and customers when it comes to networking.
2. Image sharing sites:
New social media sites based primarily on images have emerged. Image-sharing platforms like Instagram and visual messaging apps such as Snapchat and Instagram exploded in popularity in recent years. They provide users a much-needed break from traditional blogs and lengthy written content.
3. Video sharing sites:
Much like image-based social sites, video hubs like YouTube and Vimeo are attracting visitors via visual content. Video content requires less effort for viewers to take in. There is no reading or no scrolling, just watching. There is also a lower barrier to entry for video creation because of smartphones and laptops.
Challenges of Social Media Marketing
Whether you are an expert or an amateur at social media marketing, you will agree that it isn’t easy. Changing technological and social trends make it very challenging. While social media seems like a perfect place for advertising for all businesses alike, it comes with its challenges.
1. Understanding your audience
Many brands do significant business in-store but fail miserably on social media. In traditional stores, customers approach brands, whereas, on social media, brands have to seek out customers. By understanding the target audience, marketers know how best to create content to generate leads and conversions. There are many social media platforms, and someone cannot spend all day interacting with their audience on various social media platforms at the same time. A brand should know what its audience has to say about it, and social media is the best way to get feedback. Though great content gets engagement, it might not generate leads if it isn’t according to your target audience’s needs.
2. Expensive resources
While social media marketing does not require billboards and television advertisements, this doesn’t mean that other kinds of resources are not required. It is tough to make your social media marketing strategy successful without enough resources. To run successful campaigns and promotions, you may need support, and it is tough to get good resources nowadays. This support may be in the form of employees and staff or technology. You cannot handle every marketing strategy alone. After a point, it becomes necessary to hire people to work with you and bring about new ideas. Other resources include laptops, tablets, a full-time internet connection, etc.
3. Creating varying content
Not all social media content is created the same. Some platforms are designed for audio-visual content alone, while others are built to publish text-based content. Creating the right content for the right platform requires a deep study of statistics and overall analysis.
For example, YouTube is perhaps the most popular platform for creating and sharing videos. Though written content can be uploaded to the description box provided, YouTube is not a primarily text-based social media platform. Instagram is like YouTube because the platform is designed for sharing audio-visual content. In addition, Instagram also allows users to upload still images and videos. Both these platforms require different kinds of content creation, which could be challenging to manage.
4. Launching a successful marketing campaign
If you want to make your social media campaign successful, you should concentrate on engaging your audience. It can only be possible by researching what they are expecting from your business. It is important to humanize your campaigns and make them more relatable to your audience for a successful campaign. There are great examples of how inspirational and story-driven content can help humanize brands and instill brand loyalty. Some brands continuously publish thoughtful, inspirational content representing their missions while also making them more relatable to individuals. These, however, are not as easy as they look. It takes a lot of patience and brand loyalty to achieve success on social media.
5. Expanding your reach
One of the social media challenges brands face today is connecting with their target audience personally and individually. When people like you and your content, your reach increases via word of mouth. Not only this, without promotion, the chances that your content will collect dust on your website blog are much higher. Promoting your content, partnering with influencers and other brands, and generating attention is an entirely different social media challenge. Visit your industry influencers and follow their followers. Be positive in your interactions and proactive in your reach. It is essential to ensure that your audience and promoters know that you want to expand your business and are open to collaborations.
6. Effective time management
It is tough to manage time when you use multiple social media platforms at a time. To be a better social media marketer, you need to work your time well and fit all the tasks within the assigned time. It isn’t easy to be available on social media all the time. However, if not, people will consider it a sign of callousness and think that you are not sincere or serious about your business. Hence, it becomes challenging to maintain a work-life balance.
There are pros and cons to every marketing strategy. While there are many challenges to social media marketing, if used effectively, social media marketing always has its advantages.