It’s no secret that social media marketing is disrupting the marketing world. In as little as ten years Facebook managed to connect 1 in every six people on the planet.
In this guide, I’m going to explain to you exactly what social media marketing is all about and how you can utilise it to help you take your business to a whole new level.
But, let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is social media marketing?
What is social media marketing?
In a nutshell, social media marketing is any form of marketing that happens on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many others.
This kind of marketing can be both in the form of free or paid advertising. Before we start, allow me to share some stats with you.
Some interesting social media stats and facts:
- According to The Drum, back in 2015, 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook marketing and lead to an offline or online purchase. This percentage was up 36% from 2014.
- According to Facebook, there are roughly over 50 million small businesses on its platform, and 4 million of those businesses are utilising paid advertising.
- According to Zephoria, over 300 million photos are being uploaded to Facebook every single day.
- The average time spent on Facebook is roughly 20 minutes per user.
- 80% of Instagram users are outside of the U.S. according to Wordstream.
- Six in every ten adults have an Instagram account
- There are over 8 million registered business on Instagram
- 60% of Instagram users say that they have learned more about a product or service from a business while being on the platform.
- 300 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute according to Fortunelords.
- Over 5 billion videos are watched on the platform every day.
- Six out of ten people say they prefer online video platforms to traditional T.V.
- 80% of all YouTube views occur outside of the U.S.
- 9% of U.S small business use YouTube to help promote their products or service.
Advertising is all about getting your message across to customers, and to do that; you need to know where your customers are spending their time.
The above stats indicate what customers are doing when they have free time, and by looking at the numbers, the perfect place to target customers would be social media platforms.
Which social media platforms are the most popular?
Facebook is in first place by far. According to Newsroom.com, Facebook brags with over 1.3 billion daily users, and 2 billion monthly users.
And according to Web Africa, 13 million South Africans are on Facebook.
YouTube is in second place with over 1 billion monthly active users, while 2 million videos get viewed every second.
YouTube has over 8.28 million South Africans using the platform.
According to Tech Crunch Instagram is currently the world’s third most popular platform with over 700 million daily active users, and over 1 million active advertisers.
When it comes to South Africa, approx. 3 million users are using the platform.
This means that Facebook is more than 4x more popular than Instagram under South Africans.
Twitter used to be more popular, however, in the last couple months the platform has shown no to little user growth. Twitter currently has over 320 million active users of which 157 are using the platform daily.
Even though the platform might be stagnating it’s interesting to know that 7.4 million South Africans are on the platform.
Snapchat and Twitter are neck and neck when it comes to fourth place. According to Expanded Ramblings, the platform has over 301 million active users a month.
However, when it comes to daily active users, Snapchat smiles back at Twitter with 166 million users compared to Twitters 157 million.
These are the top 5 social media platforms South Africans, and the world, spend their time on.
Don’t make a mistake thinking that there are only a few platforms out there!
According to Wikipedia, there are over 200 different social networks in the world.
With that said, platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn might not have made the top 5, but these platforms still show tremendous potential for advertisers.
By looking at the stats above, we can see that these platforms offer a great opportunity for brands and businesses to engage with customers.
And that is exactly what social media marketing is all about.
How can you use these social media platforms to market your business?
In this guide, I’m going to mainly focus on Facebook, only because it’s by far the biggest and most common platform in the world, not to mention the most attractive to market one’s business.
Here are a few simple ways to market your business on Facebook for free:
Start a Facebook Page
The best way to engage with customers on Facebook would be in the form of a Facebook page.
This allows you to talk to potential customers and clients on behalf of your business as opposed to your personal profile where people can also find your family photos and more.
Why you need a Facebook Page for your business:
There are numerous reasons to start a Facebook page today. If you are still on the fence, then maybe these benefits can help change your mind:
1A Facebook page can teach you more about your target audience
Once you start a Facebook page, you will gain access to Facebook insights. Facebook insights allow you to learn more about your followers and their interactions; this can help you streamline and improve your marketing efforts.
2Facebook pages help boost your SEO
In Part 2 of our Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing in South Africa, I broke down what SEO is all about and how it can help you grow your business.
Having a Facebook page can help boost your organic reach in search engines which means free traffic and higher ROI.
3Allows you to advertise on the platform
Later in this guide, I will breakdown how to utilize Facebook’s paid services, but for now, know that having a Facebook page allows you to advertise on the platform.
Without a page, you won’t be able to advertise to potential customers.
4Connect with more customers
A Facebook page allows customers to find and connect with your business.
This opens the door to a conversion or sale which I’m sure no business would want to turn down.
What can you do with a Facebook Page?
You can call your Facebook page whatever you want. However, best practice would be to give it the same name as your business.
This will make it easier for people to connect and build a relationship with the correct entity.
You can store your company’s information on the page which will make it easy for potential customers and clients to reach out to you.
Make sure you add an email, contact number, physical address, a link to your website and some of your biggest accomplishments as well.
This will help increase the authority of your business.
SHOWCASE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Using Facebook, you can showcase your primary services and products. This will help customers understand your business while providing them with more information on what you do.
BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
As the admin of the Facebook page, you can invite others to like your page. Once someone has clicked ‘like’ it tells Facebook that this person is interested in following your business and its updates on the platform.
Facebook will then show your updates to the individual via their news feeds. However, before you get too excited, Facebook has an algorithm called EDGE Rank, and this determines whether your update will make it into your audience’s news feed or not.
STATUS UPDATES AND OTHER POSTS
Facebook is designed with the purpose to share information.
As your business, you can share whatever you want with your audience, and you can do it at any given time, whether it’s latest news or updates about your company, a new product, more information on how you make your goods and/or even just something to get customers smiling; Facebook’s updates are the best way to engage with your potential clients and customers.
Did I mention that you can also share offers and discounts? Make sure you look into it the next time you are running a special.
SEND AND RECEIVE MESSAGES
You can engage with customers in the form of messages using Messenger, the Facebook messaging platform.
If customers have specific inquiries about your business, they can ‘inbox’ you which provides you with the opportunity to make a personal connection and to provide them with the necessary information needed which can hopefully assist in making a sale.
GET CUSTOMERS TO REVIEW YOUR SERVICE
Customers who have experienced your services can review their experience and inform the public about it.
This provides future customers with an idea of what to expect. If you have an excellent rating, it can help convert more customers as it will automatically help increase creditability of your brand.
Start a Facebook Group
What’s the difference between a Facebook Page and A Facebook group?
A Facebook page allows you to advertise on the platform where a Facebook group won’t.
A Facebook page can help customers identify your offerings, location, company details, and achievements.
With a Facebook page, a customer can see what others think about your business while allowing them to message and reach out to you directly.
A Facebook group, on the other hand, puts more focus on community.
What I mean by this is that a page it’s more of a one-way conversation, where a group is more of a two-way conversation due to the fact that groups allow customers to share their thoughts with you and other in the group.
If you run the kind of business where you prefer to connect with clients in a personal manner, then Facebook groups might not be a bad idea.
What can you do with a Facebook Group?
A Facebook groups are all about sharing. You or anyone in the group can share updates at any time in the group’s newsfeed (in the form of a status update, video, photo and more.)
This is the two-way conversation we talked about, and this is great to connect with customers on a personal level.
Allowing people or customers in the group to connect with each other also helps build a stronger and more loyal following.
Facebook groups work well for the following businesses:
- Small to medium-sized businesses
- A business in a small town
- Software companies who want to ensure their customers have a platform to ask questions and learn more about how to utilize its products
- Universities and colleges etc.
An overview of advertising on Facebook
Having a Facebook group or page doesn’t cost you anything, it’s free. As I mentioned before, you can only advertise on Facebook if you have a Facebook page, having a group only won’t allow you to tap into Facebook’s paid services.
With that said, let’s have a look at what you can do with Facebook’s advertising abilities.
TARGET SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS
Most of the popular social media platforms allow you to advertise your business and products on its network.
Facebook, in my opinion, is the best at targeting customers, and I will explain why.
Facebook (because it’s the biggest social network on the planet) gathers the most amount of data on its users.
For the users, it’s probably not always a good thing, but for us as marketers, it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Let’s say you’re an online golf equipment retailer looking to grow sales by utilizing Facebook marketing. Where do you start? Who do you target?
Well, you’d be happy to know that Facebook allows you to narrow down your target audience, so you can ensure you show your ads to individuals who are most likely to engage with your sponsored content.
With Facebook ads, you can target 45 – 50-year-old golf enthusiasts in the Johannesburg area, who play golf regularly.
But that is not all; you can narrow your audience even further by targeting regular golf players who have a habit of making online purchases.
That’s right, that is how targeted you can be.
GROW YOUR FAN BASE
I mentioned before that you could invite people to like your Facebook page, however, keep in mind the people you invite might not all be interested in what you have to offer.
So, how do you get more relevant customers to follow your business?
Well, you can pay Facebook to advertise your page.
The same way that you targeted customers to buy your golf equipment, you can target customers to follow and like your page so that they can be notified about regular updates.
What are some of the best ways to advertise on Facebook?
Below are some of the best ways you can market your business on Facebook.
- FACEBOOK BRAND AWARENESS ADS
If you’re the new kid on the block and looking to get the name of your company out there, then this objective might be for you.
However, if you have a small marketing budget and need to ensure every cent goes to something that can lead to an ROI, then this is not ideal.
Even though Facebook allows you to show your ad to individuals who will most likely recall your ad, this won’t necessarily mean they are the perfect fit or will engage or make a purchase.
- FACEBOOK REACH ADS
This is objective here is essentially just to get your ad in as front as many people as possible.
It’s very similar to brand awareness ads. However, they do not have the backing of Facebook’s algorithm which allows your ad to be seen by people that might recall your ad.
The primary objective here is just to get people to see it. Your cost per mile or cost per 1000 impressions (people that saw your ad) might be lower, but there is a good chance none of them will remember it.
- FACEBOOK TRAFFIC ADS
If you have a website and want to drive people to a particular page or product on the site, then this is the ideal objective!
When it comes to Facebook traffic ads, one can target your audience according to location, age, gender, interests, etc.
The beautiful thing here is that you are reaching people most likely to click-through to your website.
- FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT ADS
Engagement in Facebook slang mainly means people that are more likely to comment, like, and share. This doesn’t mean they are going to install your app, download your e-book, or make a purchase on your site though.
This might be a good idea to help drive a particular action. I’ve experimented with engagement ads, and sometimes they work just as well as brand awareness ads.
The reason for this is because if people engage with something, they are more likely to remember it. They also have a better chance of going viral because people might end up sharing it with their friends.
- FACEBOOK APP INSTALL ADS
If you’re a software or app development company or recently launched your own app, then this is perfect for you!
This objective allows your ad to be seen by people who have a higher probability of downloading your app based on their previous behaviors around ads. The moment you click the ad you will be taken to the specific app store associated with your device.
- FACEBOOK VIDEO VIEW ADS
If you have a video explaining how your product or service works then this is the solution for you. By choosing the video view objective, Facebook will assist in showing your ads to individuals who are more prone to watching your video based on their behavior on the site.
If you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, you will most probably see that half of the posts, if not more, are videos. Video marketing is currently growing at a rapid pace, and most marketers believe that video will drive 75% of traffic by 2020.
- FACEBOOK LEAD GENERATION ADS
I feel so strongly about lead generation ads that I want to approve it even before I explain why.
Facebook lead generation ads allow you to advertise and collect important data from potential customers while growing your database and mailing list.
Any marketer would tell you that an email and contact number is gold so with that in mind, the moment you collect that data, you have a direct line of communication with your new potential customer and now it’s just up to you to make the sale.
Social media marketing is for everyone, no matter what the size of your company, and no matter whether you are online or offline based.
Facebook makes it easy for you to target exactly who you want to target, and by putting your ad in front of the right people, you can ensure a higher ROI.
When it comes to Facebook marketing keep in mind that you can either set up a Facebook page or a Facebook group. Ideally, I suggest you have both.
If you want to spend money on Facebook advertising to start marketing your brand and products, then it’s essential that you start by setting up a Facebook page.
There are numerous ways to advertise your business on Facebook. However, it’s up to you to determine what your main objective is before starting your first campaign.