The Principles of Social Media Marketing

4 Principles Social Media Marketing

When social media exploded into the mainstream, companies leapt at the opportunity to connect with consumers directly without needing the intermediary of old-school marketing platforms.

A phone screen with the social media apps Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in focus

However, social media comes with its own unique set of challenges:

Advertisers have always aimed maintain customers’ attention and engagement, but traditional marketers haven’t had to work so hard at getting that attention in the first place— think of a consumer being served a video ad while watching their favourite television show, or passing a billboard by the side of the road on the way to work.

While this is still the case for common digital marketing techniques like direct ads and sponsored social media posts, getting people to follow a branded social media page involves an additional challenge- providing multiple reasons for consumers to actively seek out your content.

ICN as a top social media management agency and cost-effective digital marketing company is here to provide support and advice to build your brand and boost engagement through marketing strategies focused on- among other core aspects of digital marketing- the best social media strategy, no quibble!

1. Planning

The first step of creating a productive social media strategy is to set goals with measurable outcomes.

These goals can be internal- such as increasing your follower count or working to boost engagement rates on posts, increasing likes and shares so your content can reach new users; or external- which can include raising brand awareness or increasing sales for a new product.

Most social media platforms come with in-built marketing analytics features, but it is worth investing in a more specific social media management platform which can provide deeper insights into the kind of content that works with your followers.

Refer to both your analytics and campaign goals to create a detailed follower persona for every platform you use- keeping in mind that the demographic factors for different social media platforms may vary- for example the average Tiktok and LinkedIn user tend to vary drastically in age, interest and engagement style.

An effective branded social media page should feel effortless to consume, but posts should be created in advance and released according to a schedule. If the bulk of your content is already prepared, members of your team will be freer to create timely responses to emerging news stories and trends.

2. Traditional Posts

As a rule of thumb, posts which appear early on a weekday morning perform the best, whilst those released on Saturdays do the worst, scheduling when to post can make the difference between a viral hit and unseen content.

It is important to use a range of different types of post including text-only, image or poll, but it is beneficial to favour video, which 87% of marketers found to provide the highest return on investment, and costs of this form of advertising can be surprisingly cheap with the right techniques.

A videographer filming of a group of people gathered around a coffee table

To perfect your social media persona and post engagement type, you can also use A/B posting as part of continual engagement monitoring. This is where you create two versions of the same post with slight alterations, for instance writing two headlines for an article, or posting the same image with different captions. By measuring how well each respective post does, this can give you a sense of what works best, helping you refine your house visual and textual styles.

3. The Personal Touch

Where with traditional advertising, content is nearly totally promotionally driven (directly focused on selling a product or service), effective brand social media accounts adhere to the 80/20 rule— this is the idea that direct advertisements should comprise just 20% of all posts. The other 80% should be focused on community-building measures such as responses to relevant industry news, pictures, employee profiles, memes and consumer interaction.

A good way to foster this more subjective approach is to like and otherwise respond to your followers’ comments and posts. This not only encourages users to engage with your content, but creates a sense of a meaningful two-way interaction.

In some ways, the level playing field social media ushered in, where competition for eyeballs can be as likely to come from self-employed content creators as companies with ever-expanding marketing budgets, has made social marketing especially demanding. However, research suggests consumers trust a recommendation from a friend as much as seven times more than conventional marketing. That brand social media accounts exist on the same platform as their target audiences provides the opportunity to close the gap between the emotional immediacy of social interaction and the strategic focus of a marketing department.

4. Using Influencers

Influencers are to digital marketing what product placements and celebrity endorsements were to traditional advertisers: a suitable influencer can be an excellent means of literally putting a face to a (brand) name.

When choosing an influencer to partner with, it’s easy to be seduced by high follower counts, but a creator’s engagement rate is a better predictor of return on investment. The specific formula varies across platforms, but engagement rate is generally calculated by dividing an influencer’s total engagement by their follower count, and multiplying by one hundred, arriving at a percentage.

Similarly, consider not just follower numbers but the rate at which the user has increased their follower count over the past few months; an influencer with relatively lower number of followers but who has gained them at a proportionally rapid rate may be more charismatic than one with a high but stagnating follower count.

A social media 'like' icon in a red speech bubble painted on a wall with a phone held up to it

Adapt with ICN

Adapting to social media marketing can be tough and effective marketing strategies to build your brand and develop your digital presence requires a lot of patience, but understanding the principles that ICN uses in our marketing services to optimise our clients’ social media presence and adapt to algorithmic changes, your business can begin to make the most of social media marketing.

If you’re still unsure about social media marketing or you don’t know where to start, please explore our services and contact us today and we’ll be happy to deliver a proactive and reliable service for you and your business.

Blog by ICN’s SEO Analyst & Content Creator Gemma Gibson

Leave a Reply