An Introduction to Social Media Marketing: Everything You Need to Know in 2023
Two and a half hours—that’s the amount of time the average person spends on social media every day. That may sound like a potentially frightening statistic to parents or even to social media users, who may be looking at their app activity stats as they read this. However, for marketers, it’s music to our ears. The volume of time that users are consuming social media content marks an excellent opportunity for businesses to connect with their current and prospective customers.
Social media is a tried-and-true marketing channel that has existed since the inception of Facebook, and it’s not going away anytime soon. According to a recent HubSpot survey, social media will be among the top three marketing channels that brands invest in for 2023. So whether you are a veteran looking to improve your social media efforts or you’re simply trying to hop aboard that social media train—we’ve got you covered. In this introduction to social media marketing, you’ll find an overview of how you can use social media to grow your business.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of promoting your product, service or brand on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram. Social media has become an integral part of people’s lives with billions of users worldwide spending hours each day on different social media platforms. This has made it an ideal place for businesses to connect with their target audience, build relationships and promote their products or services.
Social media marketing can be an excellent way to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, grow brand authority, develop trust and ultimately earn leads and sales.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube have different features and capabilities that businesses can use to achieve these goals.
What Is the Introduction of Social Media Marketing?
The introduction of social media marketing to your overall business strategy begins when you include writing, video or other content that is specifically created for social media platforms in your regular marketing calendar. Let’s take a closer look at how that works.
The Value of Social Media Marketing in 2023
Social media marketing has been important for businesses in recent years, and its importance will continue to grow in 2023. The number of social media users worldwide is expected to increase, which means that the reach and potential audience for businesses using social media marketing will continue to grow. Social media platforms are also constantly evolving and introducing new features and capabilities that businesses can use to reach and engage with their target audience.
In 2023, the use of social media for e-commerce and online shopping is expected to increase, making social media marketing even more important for businesses that sell products or services online. Social media platforms will also continue to focus on providing more opportunities for businesses to engage with their target audience and drive sales through features like shoppable posts, Instagram catalogs and, most recently, TikTok Shop.
But the growing social media user base and engagement time marks a considerable opportunity for non-commerce businesses as well.
The Leading Social Media Platforms
The leading social media platforms for businesses to focus on this year include:
With just under 3 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social media platform. It offers a wide range of features for businesses, including the ability to create a business page, advertise products and services, and connect with customers through messaging and comments. While declining in popularity among younger users, it’s still a fantastic channel to reach older generations digitally.
Owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), Instagram has over 2 billion monthly active users and is especially popular among younger users. It is a highly visual platform that allows businesses to share photos and videos. Instagram is a great option for e-commerce brands or organizations that have a visual or potentially educational aspect to their business.
With over 450 million monthly active users, Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows businesses to share short updates and engage with customers in real time. It has a very active business and media community, which makes it a good option for B2B businesses or those looking to develop relationships with potential business partners or media outlets.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform with over 875 million users. It’s a great platform for B2B marketing and recruiting that allows businesses to connect with other professionals, share content and promote job openings.
TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app that has become increasingly popular among younger users—and now, older generations as well. It’s a great platform for creative and entertaining or educational video content and has a lot of potential for e-commerce and influencer marketing.
How Social Media Fits Into Your Marketing Strategy
Social media can play a significant role in an overall marketing strategy by helping businesses achieve a variety of goals, including:
Building brand awareness: Social media platforms allow businesses to reach a large audience and increase brand visibility. By regularly posting engaging content, businesses can attract new followers and increase brand recognition.
Engaging with customers: Social media platforms provide businesses an easy way to interact with their customers. Businesses can use social media to respond to customer inquiries, comments and feedback, which can help build customer loyalty and trust.
Generating leads and sales: Social media platforms can be used to drive traffic to a business’s website, generate leads and increase sales. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow businesses to create targeted ads while platforms like TikTok and Instagram allow businesses to create shoppable posts that link directly to e-commerce websites.
Influencer marketing: Social media influencers are people who have a large following on social media platforms. Businesses can partner with influencers to promote their products or services to a large audience.
Market research: Social media platforms allow businesses to gain insight into customer opinions, preferences and behaviors. By analyzing social media data, businesses can identify trends and make informed decisions about product development, marketing and sales.
It’s worth noting that social media should be integrated into an overall marketing strategy and not treated as a standalone campaign. The goals, tactics and metrics for social media should align with your overall marketing goals and should be measured and optimized accordingly.
Organic Social Media Marketing
Generally, when people talk about social media marketing, they are referring to organic social media marketing.
Organic social media marketing is the practice of promoting a business or brand on social media platforms without paying for advertising. It is a way to reach potential customers and grow a brand’s online presence through creating and sharing valuable and engaging content and building a community of followers.
Think of it as SEO but on social media. Just as building website authority allows you to generate free traffic for years to come, organic social media marketing helps you build a follower base that you will be able to reach for free for as long as you maintain access to the account. However, as most social media users will attest, your ability to reach these users is at the mercy of the social media algorithms that show your content to your followers. For this reason, email marketing is still one of the best ways to build a free list of contacts.
Key Components of a Successful Organic Social Campaign:
Content: Businesses must create and share valuable and engaging content on social media platforms to attract and retain followers. This can include text posts, images, videos, infographics and more.
Community: Businesses can engage with their followers by responding to comments and messages, hosting Q&A sessions and encouraging user-generated content. This helps build a community of loyal followers.
Partnerships: Businesses can collaborate with social media influencers to reach a larger audience. Influencers can share a business’s content with their followers, which can help increase brand awareness and credibility.
Optimization: By including keywords and hashtags in social media posts, businesses can increase the likelihood of their content appearing in search results.
Consistency: Organic social media marketing requires consistency, meaning that businesses need to post regularly and consistently in order to build a following and maintain engagement.
It can take a considerable amount of time to see results from organic social media marketing—sometimes months or even years. You can accelerate this process by tracking progress, seeing what works and adjusting your strategy as needed. It can also be inefficient to try and have a presence on every platform. For that reason, it’s worth choosing one or two platforms that make the most sense for your business and industry.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social is another component of social media marketing that can be used as a standalone channel or an add-on to improve the efficacy of organic efforts.
Paid social media marketing refers to the practice of promoting a business or brand on social media platforms by purchasing advertising space. It is a way to reach potential customers and grow a brand’s online presence through targeted ads and sponsored content without necessarily needing a lot of followers, although profile engagement can improve the results of advertising efforts.
Businesses can purchase ad space on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to reach a targeted audience. These platforms offer a variety of ad formats, targeting options and bidding choices.
An advantage of paid social media marketing over organic is that you receive a lot more data and can learn much more quickly. This allows businesses to see the impact of their advertising spend and make data-driven decisions.
Types of Paid Social Marketing:
Boosted Posts: These are organic posts that you can promote for a fee, giving them more reach and increased visibility.
Sponsored content: Businesses can pay social media influencers to create and share sponsored content with their followers. This can include sponsored posts, stories and videos.
Retargeting: Businesses can use paid social media marketing to retarget their ads to people who have previously visited their website or interacted with their brand.
Lookalike targeting: Paid social media marketing allows businesses to target users who are similar to their existing customers or leads.
Paid social media marketing can be an effective way to quickly reach a large, targeted audience, but it requires a budget and a strategy. It’s important to set a clear goal, define the target audience and measure the results in order to optimize the campaign and get the best return on your investment.
B2C Social Media Marketing:
Business-to-consumer (B2C) social media marketing refers to the practice of promoting a business’s products or services to individual consumers through social media platforms. The goal of B2C social media marketing is to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic and sales, and build a community of loyal customers.
B2B Social Media Marketing:
Business-to-business (B2B) social media marketing refers to the practice of promoting a business’s products or services to other businesses through social media platforms. The goal of B2B social media marketing is to generate leads, build relationships and establish thought leadership within a specific industry or market.
B2B vs. B2C Social Media Marketing:
B2B and B2C social media marketing strategies differ in several ways, including:
Target audience: B2B social media marketing targets other businesses while B2C targets individual consumers. B2B strategies should focus on reaching specific industries, job titles and company sizes while B2C strategies should focus on reaching a broad audience.
Platforms: B2B social media marketing typically focuses on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn while B2C social media marketing typically focuses on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Content: B2B social media marketing strategies should focus on sharing industry insights, thought leadership and case studies that demonstrate the value of a business’s products or services. B2C social media marketing strategies should focus on creating engaging and entertaining content that resonates with individual consumers.
Lead generation: B2B social media marketing strategies often focus on generating leads and building relationships with other businesses while B2C strategies focus on driving website traffic and sales.
Paid advertising: B2B social media marketing strategies often use paid advertising to reach a specific audience and generate leads while B2C strategies often use paid advertising to increase brand awareness, sales or website traffic.
Metrics: B2B social media marketing strategies typically focus on metrics like lead generation and conversions while B2C strategies generally focus on website traffic and sales metrics.
Relationship Building: B2B social media marketing strategies should focus on forging relationships with other businesses and industry leaders while B2C strategies should focus on building a community of loyal customers.
Overall, B2B and B2C social media marketing strategies differ in the way they address their key components. B2B strategies are most successful when they focus on reaching specific industries and decision makers, sharing industry insights and thought leadership, generating leads and building relationships with other businesses. B2C strategies find success when they focus more on reaching a broad audience, creating engaging and entertaining content, building a loyal community and getting users to visit a site or buy products.
How Do Beginners Start Social Media Marketing?
Beginners can start social media marketing by defining their target audience, choosing an appropriate platform to focus on and starting to post content regularly. The hardest part is getting started. Once you begin putting out content on a regular basis, you will start to learn what types of content perform the best at which times and how to dial in on what’s working.
Social media marketing is an essential part of digital marketing. It allows businesses to connect with their target audience, build relationships with customers and promote their products or services. Different social media platforms have different features and capabilities that businesses can use to achieve their goals. Social media platforms also offer paid advertising options that allow businesses to reach a wider audience and target specific demographics. B2B and B2C social media marketing have different focuses, and businesses should choose the platforms that are most appropriate for their target audience.
Emily is an experienced digital marketer with almost a decade of experience helping businesses scale through online channels. In addition to her business background, she is also a personal trainer and nutritionist and runs a growing wellness blog called Girl Let’s Glow.