Marketing is a core component that has a huge bearing on how well a business fares with respect to client base & subsequent sales. Due to the intricate & multi-tier nature of marketing, it tends to be quite expensive if it’s to be done effectively. However, the proliferation of technological advancements means there is now a platform that affords businesses to effectively market their products or services at relatively lower costs. Social media has become a dominant part of individual lives & the corporate world. The options to choose from social media are several, can be used collaboratively, involve lower costs, are characterized by greater consumer reach & are manageable on the go. Examples of common social media are Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, etc.
Social media marketing is now very plausible in the Zimbabwean context due to the very high mobile smart phone & mobile internet penetration. I shall discuss important aspects that one should be abreast with in order to effectively use social media marketing.
What You Need Know About Social Media Marketing
First of all, social media marketing is the development of content that you share by means of social media with the aim of marketing your products or services. Social media marketing entails advertising, branding & building a followership (client base). 6 important things to consider:
Which platform(s) you’ll use & the strategy you’ll employ must be determined beforehand.
Most social media platforms allow you to specify your target group(s).
Posting captivating content that lures consumers is the Holy Grail to driving traffic towards your business profile.
Once people converge on your platform regularly engage them so that they become loyal to your brand.
At the end of the day it’s crucial that the prior efforts culminate in actual sales. So it’s important that you come up with strategic ways of ensuring that sales are realized after all is said & done.
SEO In Search Engines & Social Media
The other important aspect to note is about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You must know that social media profiles appear foremost in search engine searches e.g. Google. You must also note that people can search for your business profile using search engines of the social media platforms. What I’m basically saying is that you must ensure that your business profile is easily discoverable in search engines like Google & search engines of social media. You do this by branding effectively by use of profile names, descriptions & photos that identify your brand immediately.
3 Common Social Media To Use
With a simple free Facebook page you can build your business portfolio and start marketing your business. It offers templates/interfaces that you can choose from, one of which is a business template. On your title, description, profile & cover picture ensure you clearly present the business image in a uniquely identifiable way (the branding aspect).
You can take advantage of Facebook Ads, though you pay for this. Facebook Ads have a lot of value-added services that enhance your marketing experience, namely, you can specify your target group & characteristics, you can pre-budget your ad regime, you can do pilot runs of your ads to assess them before full swing use & there are assessment mechanisms to evaluate the performance of your ads.
There is also post promoting or boosting of posts. From as little US$1 a day your posts can be boosted to get to a far greater reach of people. Here you also have the options to choose the demographic, gender, location, age etc, of your intended target group. Later on you will get comprehensive data on how the post fared i.e. reactions, likes, comments, people reached etc.
Remember to regularly post (combine photos & reasonably sized text chunks), promote dialogue & respond to users quickly.
Here the visuals (photos & video clips) are the key aspect. Your profile picture must make your brand apparent. Take advantage of the bio feature; your bio must be succinct and must effectively communicate your brand. It is commonplace in your bio to include web links that redirect users to your other platforms. That is why “Link In Bio”, is a common inclusion in most posts; do likewise.
There is an option to switch your profile to a business profile. However, you must have a pre-existing Facebook page that you’ll link it to. This will enable you to have access to analytics data that evaluate post performance.
Use hashtags as they are central to searches & analytics. Also leverage on Instagram Live & IGTV (involves uploading pre-done videos).
WordPress is commonly used though you can still have an independent website developed for you. The idea is to regularly post content that builds brand awareness, lures & engages the public. Blogging enables site visitors to leave comments, thus interaction can be done. You can also incorporate sign-ups in the form emails such that you regularly engage users in the form of updates, newsletters etc.
The beauty of blogging is that you can incorporate features of your own choice (you are not limited). For instance, you can include links to your other platforms e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. You can even get other brands to pay for advertising on your site if you generate high traffic to your site.
You can also incorporate e-commerce features on your site thus enabling people to actually make purchases directly on your site.
I highlighted just 3 social media but the platforms are many. The rules of thumb are more or less the same across all social media. Targeting, regularly posting engaging content, continual engagement with users (posts must foster dialogue), ensuring brand visibility carries consistent image, content & form and ensuring all efforts culminate in conversion (actual sales) are universal principles in social media marketing.