Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Marketing
A Q&A Session With Pivot’s Lead Account Manager and Social Media Expert
Social media certainly isn’t a new marketing strategy, but it is still as relevant and critical as ever. Your social media presence plays a crucial role in shaping the customer journey. Whether you’re a seasoned business with traditional leadership or a budding entrepreneur, understanding the significance of social media for your brand is essential to thriving in the modern market.
Our Social Media Expert, Samantha Charette, answered some key questions about why social media matters to your brand (because it does!!), best practices for creating an engaging social media presence, and how to get the most out of your efforts. Having worked in the digital marketing world for over 10 years, Sam has developed in-depth experience in digital marketing, helping clients across various industries to reach their target audience in an engaging way.
Why is Social Media Such a Critical Aspect of Your Brand?
Younger generations – particularly Gen Z – heavily rely on social media when making purchasing decisions. They often see a lack of a social media presence as a reflection of the brand’s quality of product or service. Therefore, your business needs to have a strong social media presence to avoid losing potential customers.
Social media is a great way to show potential customers what they can expect when they work with you or buy from you.
For example, I was in the market recently for a whale-watching company because my daughter absolutely loves whales. After reading a few reviews and checking their website, I immediately turned to Instagram. If a company had no presence on Instagram, I am hesitant to buy from them, and I know a lot of people feel the same way.
On the other hand, if I find a business that’s creating engaging videos and valuable content on their social media platforms, I’m more likely to call them and book whale watch, because I’ve already seen what they’re capable of and can make a more informed decision. Without that sneak peek into what to expect, it’s harder to trust that a brand will deliver what they say they will.
“If a company has no presence on Instagram, I am hesitant to buy from them.”
What Are the Short and Long-Term Impacts of Being Inactive on Social Media?
Social media isn’t just a marketing tool; it’s a platform for building connections and amplifying your business. Customers today don’t want to be told what to buy; they want to make their own decisions based on experiences and emotions. And your presence on social media is one of the best ways to influence how they feel about your brand.
Ineffectively managing your social media presence (or neglecting it altogether) can have detrimental consequences for your brand. By not joining the conversation about your brand on social media, you miss a significant opportunity to connect with your target audience and to influence what’s being said about your brand.
To be efficient with your social media efforts, it’s important to:
- Create a consistent presence on social media
- Ensure your content aligns with your brand
- Share valuable and relevant content
- Vary your content to keep things interesting
- Use a conversational and down-to-earth tone
- Engage with your audience – talk to them vs. at them
“Customers today don’t want to be told what to buy; they want to make their own decisions based on experiences and emotions.”
What is Your Best Tip For Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media Efforts?
Plan ahead – and schedule your posts! I can’t stress the importance of planning ahead enough. Instead of creating each post on the day you plan to publish it, you can save a ton of time by batching your efforts by week or month and scheduling them to publish automatically.
Each time you sit down to work on social media, you need to set up your computer so you can do the necessary research, design the graphics, and schedule them appropriately – never mind getting in the right mindset to think creatively. If you have to do that multiple times a week, you might spend more time than necessary just gearing up to do the actual work.
Instead, if you can carve out 2-3 hours to sit down to create 5-6 posts at a time, you’ll find that once you’re in the flow, the ideas come easier, and the work happens faster. Alternatively, you could schedule a day to write all of the posts for a month and another day to create the graphics for those posts.
In my experience, I’ve learned that a really well-written post with a nicely designed graphic that is on brand takes at least 30 minutes. On the other hand, if you’re doing video work like reels – just a one-minute reel can take 1-2 hours with editing.
If you’re using internal employees or an intern to handle social, try to find someone that already knows and likes to use the different platforms and understands all the different features, such as IG polls, how to add trending music to reels on IG, TikTok reels, etc.
“Plan ahead – and schedule your posts!”
What Makes a Good Post?
In general, most posts shouldn’t be more than a few sentences long, with maybe 2-4 emojis, depending on the topic and goal. But more importantly, each post should include valuable and relevant information.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person who will be reading the content. For example, are you trying to reach moms who are getting ready for back-to-school time? They may be putting together checklists for supplies and other things they need to do to get ready for school. Help them ease the stress of going back to school by writing checklists for them that they can save and share with other moms, too.
Additionally, don’t make the content too complex. The tone should be generally conversational, depending on the audience, of course. Remember, you’re meeting them in a personal space, so it doesn’t have to be super professional. Of course, you’ll want to use common sense and your discretion. Think business casual.
The goal is to provide useful information that solves a problem, gains brand trust, and/or establishes brand clarity so that when your audience is ready to buy what you have, they’ll think of you and not the competition.
“Put yourself in the shoes of the person who will be reading the content.”
What Are Some Examples of Types of Social Media Content to Post?
There are a few different ways to post on social media. Some people stick to just static posts (an image or a graphic with a caption), but there are additional options, and they can all be used based on your goals and audience.
Stories are little snippets that you can post on Instagram or Facebook, and they come down after 24 hours. These are great for sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes content. The tone is typically fun and down-to-earth or casual.
Then there are videos and reels. Videos are typically used for longer content (anything over 90 seconds), while reels are used for shorter, more impactful content. If you’re trying to communicate a longer message or show someone how to use a product, a longer video might be necessary. But if you want to reach more viewers, shorter videos (reels) pack a much bigger punch.
Carousel posts, which look like slideshows, are another popular format for social media content. Viewers can swipe through graphics, but the caption remains the same.
“…If you want to reach more viewers, shorter videos (reels) pack a much bigger punch.”
How Do Businesses Decide Which Platforms to Use?
To decide which platforms to use and how often to post, you can start by determining your target audience’s age. While every platform overlaps a little bit, it’s important to understand the core age groups that flock to each one.
For example, Instagram has a primarily younger audience compared to Facebook, which has a much larger age range but starts a bit older (late 20s and up). LinkedIn also has a wide range of users but skews slightly older because most users start using the platform when they start building their careers in their 20s and 30s. Tiktok and Snapchat target the youngest audiences, starting in the teens. Let’s just say you won’t likely find a lot of retirement-age individuals on these platforms, but there are always exceptions!
In addition to analyzing the age of your audience, consider the product or service you provide and your industry and which platform will help you share that in the most compelling way.
If your audience is young and your products are highly visual, your number one platform will be Instagram. However, if you have an older audience and little visual content, you might just stick with Facebook. If you have the resources to be on multiple platforms, we recommend adding Facebook to the list no matter what, because of its popularity and the sheer volume of people who are on the platform.
The LinkedIn platform is great for B2B businesses looking to make connections and educate their audience about hot topics in their industry. It’s a great place to share articles, tips, and other content that positions your company as an expert or authority in your field.
“In addition to analyzing the age of your audience, consider the product or service you provide and your industry and which platform will help you share that in the most compelling way.”
Does Content Need to Be Customized for Each One?
The good news is, most content can be recycled from Facebook or Instagram to post to other platforms (~75%). This can save you a lot of time and effort.
However, because you can’t post links to blogs, articles, events, or any URLs in a regular Instagram post, it’s important to keep that in mind when recycling content. This type of content is best for Facebook or LinkedIn, while visuals and short videos are better for Instagram.
It’s also important to know your audience and understand how each platform works before posting content to them. In some cases, a slightly different version of the same post is necessary.
For example, you may post a short caption and link to the blog on Facebook or LinkedIn. For this same post on Instagram, you may choose to take another angle for your post. You might take a quote from the blog and turn it into a graphic and write a short caption to back it up. Or, you might just notify your audience that you have a new blog post up, and instruct them to head to your website to read it!
“It’s also important to know your audience and understand how each platform works before posting content to each platform.”
What’s the Best Way to Start Brainstorming for Social Ideas?
You’ll want to start with a general outline. Remember, the point of social media is to generate interest and engagement with your brand and its people, products, and services.
I recommend coming up with 8-10 topics you know you can talk about every month and that are relevant to your business and to your audience. Some general topics could be:
- Company information and events
- Employee highlights (birthdays, anniversaries)
- Highlight a service or product
- Client testimonials
- Industry trends
- Client projects
- Fun facts
- Funny memes
Next, look at each month and use a calendar to identify seasonal content, holidays, and national days (that are relevant or interesting to your audience). Once you have your general topics and seasonal topics identified, you can specify detailed topics for about 8-10 posts per month, which works out to be about 2-3 posts per week.
In most cases, the copy will guide the graphics, but in some cases, it will be easier to create a visual first and then create a caption to go with it.
“The point of social media is to generate interest and engagement with your brand and its people, products, and services.”
Q10: What Are Some Ways to Be More Efficient With Your Social Media Efforts?
One of the best things you can do to save time is to use scheduling features or platforms. They are a complete game-changer!
Some options the Pivot team recommends include:
- Loomly & Later (for social media scheduling)
- Canva & PhotoRoom (for creating stunning visuals for your posts!)
When scheduling social media posts, we recommend doing so from a laptop or desktop. You can type faster, click and drag with a mouse, and you also may need to have several internet browser tabs open while researching and creating posts.
That being said, there are some things you can do with social media from your phone. For example, you can easily like and respond to comments from viewers, answer messages from prospects, and confirm posts are published as scheduled from any device.
“[Scheduling platforms] are a complete game-changer!”
Q11: What Other Advice Do You Have For Companies Trying to Up Their Social Game?
Building and maintaining a strong social presence is best done as a team. Doing it solo can be extremely challenging, and can quickly lead to burnout.
No matter who is managing your social media efforts, they will need accountability and another set of eyes to proofread their work. Social media marketing work can feel very repetitive, and so your ideas can get stale, so it’s beneficial to have another person to bounce things off of or to split work with.
Find the right person to lead your social media efforts, and then build a team around them. Whether you hire someone from outside your organization, bring on an intern, or have a family member helping out, sit down every month and talk about it for 30 minutes to make sure it happens.
Social media trends are continuously changing. You need to keep up with the trends and stay relevant; if you’re going to do it and going to do it well, you really can’t do it alone. Your system might not be perfect right off the bat, but over time, you’ll find a process that works well for your organization and your team.
“Find the right person to lead your social media efforts, and then build a team around them.”
Well, there you have it. This covers just about everything you need to know about social media marketing today. Tomorrow? Everything could change. If you need help with your social media marketing efforts to grow your online presence, get in touch with the Pivot team today!