Social Media Basics – These are the basics of social media marketing
Have you ever wondered: what is social media and how does it benefit you? This blog aims to explain just that.
Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have been part of our everyday lives for some time now. Lots of businesses exploit this trend and make sure that they're visible on those platforms since that's where their customers are active.
Social media platforms can be used, among other things, to
- maximize your business' and/or products' visibility and popularity,
- create new target markets and attract new customers,
- make contact with customers and keep them coming back for more,
- get closer to the customer and improve the quality of the service you provide.
Social media has lots of benefits to offer SMEs: for one, it is an affordable and simple tool, on the other hand, it means you can access the desired target market online - without much effort. That's why it's worth both smaller and larger businesses' while to be on social networks. They can reach out to their target markets, pick up new customers and network with them easily.
What exactly is social media?
Social networks or social media platforms refer to websites and applications where users can create a profile, post content on it, share this content and network with other users. In the first instance, these platforms revolve around the concept of interaction - the platform users interact, communicate and engage in a digital dialogue with one another. This interaction is defined as many-to-many communications as it takes place within social networks and thus enables lots of different users to exchange information with one another at once. In short: social media aims to connect humans with one another digitally.
The most significant networks for the purposes of SMEs include::
The primary goals for businesses are always similar: increase popularity, disseminate information and gain access to customers or target markets. By choosing the right platforms, you can reach out to your target market - precisely where they're represented. Every platform is different and some are better suited for specific target markets than others. For the purpose of advertising SMEs in particular, it is often unclear where, when and how social media should be used. It is not recommended to attempt to cover all platforms. Focus on those which prove sensible for your business - define your goals and target market carefully. Who do you want to reach out to and what's your goal in doing so? Some social media channels are best suited to sales support, others to advertising your business. Keep asking yourself one simple question: Which social media platforms do my customers use? Either ask your customers directly or research on the Internet.
Which platform is the right one for your business?
Every social network offers different benefits, that's why it's important to find the best sites for your business and use them to your advantage.
Choose your platforms according to the following criteria:
- - Target Market: Does your medium reach out to the target market?
- - Appropriate offers: Can you use it to present your offers well?
- - Updates: How often does the platform need to be updated?
- - Coverage: How many customers can you reach using the platform?
- - Cost: Is it possible to advertise on the platform and, if so, what does it cost?
Essentially, the different platforms can be grouped according to the following categories:
is the most well-known and wide-spread social network. More than 2 billion people make use of their services worldwide and have a Facebook profile. They can upload images and videos, chat, publish information about their business and offers, etc. However, Facebook's biggest plus is its extensive coverage which is crucial for word of mouth. If a user "likes" your page and then chooses to interact with you, your updates will be displayed in this user's feed and are thus visible to all this user's friends.
That means: If your customers are members of the public then Facebook is the best choice for you. See Facebook as a chance to reach out to target groups which were previously difficult to make contact with as Facebook has the most regular users.
is a visual network, a so-called "photo sharing app," and is based on the idea of sharing photos and videos. This is about lifestyle and a business' visual identity. Instagram is less suitable for direct sales and deals and more suitable for brand representation. You have the option of uploading pictures and promoting a lifestyle that relates to your business and your brand. That means: If you offer products and services relevant for a specific lifestyle, then Instagram is ideal for you and your company.
has tasked itself with maintaining company contacts and establishing new ones. LinkedIn users can create a profile with their CV. Small and medium-sized businesses can make use of it for the purpose of exchanging and expanding company relationships. You can also set a goal for yourself; for example, to establish an international network of customer acquisition and loyalty. Besides that, you can also use LinkedIn for personal recruitment.
That means: If your customers are business professionals, then LinkedIn is the perfect way to get in touch with them.
, being among the big players, is not a Social Media Giant but a hugely popular visual platform. A good reason for companies to take a closer look at it. Pinterest functions completely differently to Facebook - people use Pinterest to search for inspiration or for specific new product ideas or sales opportunities. The platform is interesting for all business branches because boards are created for all aspects of one's life: recipe ideas, wedding planning, haircut inspiration, interior design, landscaping, beauty tips and much, much more. Think about how you could use it for your business. Perhaps offer a service or a product that could inspire people - then make yourself visible on Pinterest.
If you would like to use Pinterest as a marketing instrument for your company, you should create a company account instead of a private account. This will provide you with special offers for businesses, such as Pinterest Analytics, if you have already have a private profile on Pinterest.
That means: if your company is involved in areas of people's life where they like to find inspiration, then make yourself known on Pinterest.
YouTube is a Videoportal where the user can watch, rate and upload videos for free. Because the preference for videos is becoming increasingly popular for social media users, the platform can be used as a great marketing tool for businesses. Look at YouTube as a showcase for your products, services and even innovations. You can use YouTube to prepare visually complex content and share it with a wider audience - make yourself an expert in your industry.
You don't have to be a TV or music producer to be on YouTube and to share successful content. If you have created a video channel on YouTube, it is easy to upload videos and then to add them to your Website or integrate them into another social media platform. Small businesses can also create videoclips for YouTube for their intended target group easily and on a limited budget. You don't have to hire an agency or buy expensive equipment.
There are many different cost effective options today that allow you to create high-quality videos; for example, handheld cameras, smartphone cameras, and easy-to-use apps.
That means: If you are tech savvy and dare to create small videos, then you should definitely use this option and upload your videos to YouTube.
How do you find and create the appropriate content?
No matter which platform you are using, try your best to use visual content as often as possible. Create posts using photos, pictures, videos, graphics, GIFS, etc, because studies show that visual content encourages the user to like, share, comment and participate more. The most important thing is to make sure that your content is relevant to your audience - do not post content that has nothing to do with your business or your products. Concentrate more on quality than quantity. Be visible where your target group is, procure added value for yourself, and reap the rewards of your work. Focus on preparing the content for your audience appropriately and place value on high quality content that targets the issues of your audience and helps simplify life - your audience should be able to benefit from the value of the content. Then your social media marketing will also prove successful.
Let yourself be inspired by successful brands and businesses that are established on social media. Confidently implement the tactics on your profile and try it out. Also keep up with what your competitors are doing and let yourself be inspired. You could adopt a great idea for your own campaigns - and let's be honest, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Which dangers do companies face when they represent themselves on social media?
The biggest danger, which can also be seen as a blessing, of social media marketing is the opportunity for users to give direct feedback. If the audience does not approve of the communication or are of a different opinion, they can and will take a stand against the company posts. This can either be interpreted as a danger or valuable feedback which gives you the chance to understand. You can't go too wrong when representing yourself on social media platforms. A large budget isn't necessary and you will be on the safe side.
Our tips to ensure a good start:
In the event that you are not already represented on social media, do the same as many other small businesses and get on board. Raise the awareness of your brand, boost sales and attract new customers.
We show you step-by-step how to get started on our blog post "How to set up your Social Media Marketing."
Create a Facebook page for your business and set yourself the goal of winning over your audience with every posting and publication. With every contribution you make, your Social Media Marketing will become more and more successful.