Decoding the Essence: What Is Social Media Marketing and Why It Matters

Today’s most successful brand managers understand that building lasting customer relationships is about meeting them where they live — so a solid social media strategy is vital. Here’s a look at how to do exactly that.

Updated: March 4, 2024
What Is Social Media Marketing

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A great social media marketing strategy is more than simply getting the word out about your brand. It’s also about nurturing meaningful connections with your customers by becoming part of their everyday lives, conversations, and routines. Get it right, and watch your brand grow in a big way.

But what is social media marketing? Why is it so important in today’s digital marketing scene, and what do brands need to know in 2024 to ensure their strategies resonate? Let’s dig into what you need to know.

    The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

    The term “social media marketing” describes the entire process of leveraging various social media platforms to share content, drive traffic, and create relationships with your ideal audience. It includes everything from content creation to content marketing to fielding customer service concerns via instant messages.

    However, the world of social media is constantly evolving — with new platforms exploding onto the scene all the time.

    Early ‘90s-era platforms like Six Degrees and Bolt started the craze by giving people places to stay in touch with friends, send messages, and interact on message boards. MySpace and later Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so forth added the ability to individualize profiles by sharing status updates, photos, and more.

    Throughout the 2000s, social media gradually stopped being a fad for younger people and became an important part of everyday human interactions. That’s when everyone’s favorite platforms also became potential marketing tools – a way for brands and businesses to meet their customers where they spend their time online and forge important business connections.

    Social Media Timeline

    Unveiling the Core Strategies: Social Media Marketing Demystified

    Although social media platforms change over the years and best practices evolve, solid social media marketing fundamentals remain pretty constant. Here are some key examples to keep in mind.

    Clear goal-setting

    Every new social media strategy should start with a serious goal-setting session. You need to define what you want to achieve with your efforts and why. How do your social media goals connect with the long-term goals for your business?

    Knowing your audience

    These days, just about everyone spends time on social media. However, not everyone hangs out everywhere for the same reasons, so knowing your audience is crucial. Who are they, and which platforms do they spend the most time on? The answers will help you craft incredible content that attracts the right customers for your products.

    Choosing the right platforms

    These days, there are so many social media platforms that it’s difficult for a brand to maintain a robust presence on all of them. So, consider where your target audience is today and where they might be in the future.

    Looking to connect with Gen Z? TikTok is the place to be. Looking for the best place to do some serious SaaS marketing? Make sure LinkedIn is part of your strategy. Need to plant some flags where nearly everyone hangs out? Go for mainstays like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

    Choosing the right KPIs

    How will you know you’ve crafted a successful marketing strategy for social media? By tracking the right metrics, of course. Avoid vanity metrics that don’t get to the meat of the matter and instead look to examples like:

    • Number of clicks
    • Overall reach
    • Engagement rates
    • Likes (on both paid and organic content)
    • Hashtag performance
    • Overall rapport followers have with your brand

    Quality content creation

    Content is still king, especially on social media. But audiences have a lot competing for their attention these days. You need content that stops people in their tracks and practically demands they stop scrolling long enough to absorb it.

    Amazing content that gets people’s attention differentiates your brand from everyone else out there. It engages people, encourages them to try your products, and inspires them to keep up with your brand.

    And when more people engage, the platform algorithms will show your content to even more potential customers. There’s a tremendous opportunity for genuinely well-crafted content to reach a massive audience, making it great for small business social media marketing, building awareness for new brands, etc.

    Posting consistency

    Today’s social media platforms reward consistency on several levels. Consistency boosts your presence on your platform of choice and raises brand awareness. Algorithms reward users who show up consistently and post high-quality, original content that adds substance to people’s feeds.

    Posting often and consistently also helps keep your brand and products on people’s minds. You become a valued part of their daily visits to their favorite platforms and raise the chances that they’ll choose your brand when they’re ready to purchase.

    For best results, create a social media content calendar that includes planned content and target platforms. Coordinate your social posts with blog content, guest posts, etc. Be sure to target consumers at all levels of your marketing funnel.

    Ongoing adjustments

    Successful social media marketing strategies aren’t “set it and forget it” deals. They involve ongoing monitoring, data gathering, and analysis to assess whether they work. Keep track of yours, and make adjustments accordingly.

    Keep track of emerging trends and occurrences that could affect your strategy. These include changes affecting social media platforms, as with Twitter’s recent rebranding move and subsequent rebirth as X.

    Building Your Brand: The Role of Social Media Marketing

    Whether you’re a small business looking to expand your reach, an independent contractor looking to attract new clients or someone else entirely, brand-building is an important part of using social media wisely. Building a strong brand via social media helps you:

    • Familiarize people with what you do
    • Develop your unique brand voice
    • Cultivate a strong community around your products and services
    • Establish yourself as an authority in your industry
    • Build trust in your business

    Today’s consumers aren’t just open to following brands on their favorite social media platforms. They want and expect to see them there, so building and maintaining a robust social media presence helps you meet expectations and keep up with your competition.

    Social media marketing is also a way to stay on your customers’ radar in a natural, non-intrusive way. Seeing your brand in their feeds daily helps increase the chances that they’ll remember you the next time they’re in the market for services and products like yours.

    Staying Ahead: Trends and Innovations in Social Media Marketing

    As platforms evolve and features come and go, the game keeps changing as far as what works best. The following are key trends and social media innovations to include in your strategy throughout 2024 and beyond.

    Influencer marketing

    Social media influencers come complete with readily engaged audiences that are primed and ready to take suggestions on what to explore further. Partnering with influencers in your niche is a powerful way to boost your signal and expand your reach.

    Video content

    Strong visual content is a huge part of making your social media feeds pop. Images, graphics, and data charts are good choices, but video is especially trendy right now. However, note that it’s not just about short-form video anymore in 2024.

    Longer videos have been making a comeback lately, especially on platforms like TikTok. Explore them as a possibility for your brand.

    Meme-inspired content

    Everyone loves a good meme, and with good reason. They’re shareable, relatable, and fun. Plus, leveraging a meme-style approach to social media posts can be a great way to show audiences your brand is stylish, playful, and super relatable. Consider ways to do this that align with your larger brand voice.

    Authentic content

    No one likes social media content that feels fake or overly promotional, especially from businesses and brands. Authenticity is where it’s at. It’s also something many wish they saw more often from the brands they love. Look for ways to humanize your brand via social media and add a personal touch to your content.

    Navigating Challenges: Common Pitfalls in Social Media Marketing

    Knowing what works for social media marketing is important, but so is understanding what not to do. Here are some common social media mistakes to avoid as you launch your next campaign.

    Being too promotional

    Modern consumers never want to feel they are being advertised to, but this is especially true on social media, where it’s important for interactions to feel more personal. Be sure to intersperse promotional posts with plenty of storytelling, user-generated content, fun behind-the-scenes looks, etc.

    Too much repetition

    Posts that repeat themselves or are very similar to one another can quickly bore audiences. They can also give audiences the impression that your brand is one-dimensional without a lot of creativity to bring to the table.

    Choosing quantity over quality

    Keeping your feeds filled with plenty of consistent content is important. But don’t focus so much on quantity that quality suffers. Fewer high-quality posts are better than an onslaught of low-quality filler content.

    Ignoring negative feedback

    Sooner or later, every brand faces critics and unsatisfied customers, and you’ll eventually hear from yours. Never ignore negative feedback or reviews. Respond professionally and politely, addressing problems head-on. It’s an important part of helping people trust your brand.

    Trying to do everything themselves is another common mistake many brands make regarding social media marketing, especially as they grow and diversify. Assembling a team of professional content creators and marketing experts can help you hit your stride and keep content quality high.

    Meet some of the industry’s brightest content creators and writers on WriterAccess when you sign up for your free 14-day WriterAccess trial today! You’ll love the difference the right talent can make for your brand.


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