Sawaram Suthar is the founder of TheNextScoop and Jagat Media. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in branding, promotions, page optimization, research, and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on Twitter @sawarams.
The social media marketing landscape is ever-changing. Here's how startups could keep up with the trends and maximize their social media efforts to achieve company goals.
The pandemic and social media's increased popularity have changed many business and marketing rules.
Before social media, many businesses could still establish themselves and gain moderate success, all while staying offline. However, that is no longer true, especially if you want your startup to gain national or global recognition.
There are currently 4.59 billion active social media users worldwide in 2021, which is more than half of the global population. Researchers expect this figure to reach 5.85 billion by 2027.
Getting access to such a large audience would be beneficial for startups. That makes social media marketing an essential tool for establishing one's brand in the modern world.
Understanding Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves creating content across various platforms to draw more people to your business or organization. It is a method for promoting your products, services, and initiatives and building a sense of community within your target audience.
One unique aspect of social media is its capability to connect with people directly. It is a highly personal platform, which calls for a more intimate approach than traditional advertising and marketing methods.
With social media, businesses can meet their customers where they are. They can connect with them more humanly through relatable, impactful, and engaging content. However, businesses and startups need to stay up-to-date with trends and changes in the space to reap these benefits.
Many social media platforms have existed for less than two decades, yet so much has changed regarding how they work and what kinds of content appeal to audiences.
Benefits of a Good Social Media Strategy
Most businesses and marketers have great faith in social media marketing and have seen excellent results, especially in social listening. In 2021, social media was marketers' most preferred marketing channel, with 8 in 10 companies investing in it.
A well-planned and executed social media strategy could generate leads and draw in more customers and possible investors to your company. Many companies have dedicated social media marketing teams to focus on their approach.
Below are five advantages of an excellent social media strategy that could benefit your startup.
1. Increasing Brand Awareness
Brand awareness in marketing refers to the degree to which target consumers or audiences recognize a product, service, or company by its name, logo, or other identifiers. An effective social media marketing strategy allows you to reach more people, especially within your target audience.
As a startup, one of your marketing priorities should be to create social media accounts across platforms most relevant to your target audience. Once you establish your company's social media presence, your next task is to produce relevant and engaging content and schedule them gradually.
Your posts should resonate with your audience because social media algorithms often prioritize those. If you manage to accomplish that, it becomes easier for your target audience to find and see your content. If it happens often enough, they will likely recognize your brand and identity through your content alone.
These chances increase if one or more of your posts achieves viral status or high levels of popularity and engagement. Sometimes, viral posts become viral by chance, but a good strategy could help you accomplish similar results.
2. Reaching The Right Target Audience
There are billions and billions of social media users today. However, while those numbers might signal great opportunities, not all of them are part of your target audience. Effective marketing helps you reach the most people. Still, your startup will get the best results if the people you reach are the people in your target clientele.
Most social media platforms use unique algorithms to help curate what regular users see on their feeds. If you consistently create content your target audience wants, your posts might appear organically on their social media feeds.
However, there is a more precise approach. Many social media platforms offer special business account features, including targeted ads.
You could run ads tailored specifically for your target audience for a small fee. Customize who might see your ads according to their likes, dislikes, age, gender, location, or other identifiers for the best results.
3. Humanizing Your Brand
People connect with other people. They are more likely to trust fellow consumers than a faceless company that wants their time and money. Social media marketing is an excellent way to humanize your brand and build consumer trust.
Users primarily use social media to connect with friends and show their personalities and interests. They share posts and interact with posts. Brands can do the same on their social media accounts.
Authenticity is key. Be consistent with your content, making sure your messages reflect your company values. Talk to customers in their language and meet them where they are. Introduce your audience to the people behind your brand and how things might work behind the scenes. A good question is about your brand's value in their lives and communities.
4. Becoming A Thought Leader
Misinformation, unfortunately, thrived during the pandemic, with a deluge of fake news penetrating nearly all media channels. One study reveals that this led to an epidemic of mistrust in institutions like the government and the media,
As more people perceived traditional institutions as failing them, many flocked to small businesses. The trend allows companies to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry.
Accomplish this by consistently sharing high-quality, truthful, and valuable content through your channels. Your audience will soon see your startup as the go-to source of information in your niche or industry.
5. Boosting Website Traffic
Your company website is your little corner of the internet. Potential customers can purchase your products, book your services, or learn more about your startup. However, that's not enough. To grow, you need to market your company on other platforms like social media.
You can use social media to benefit your business and increase your leads. Use your social media presence to lead people back to your website and take concrete steps to support your business.
Social media popularity is excellent, but there needs to be an intention behind your social media presence. There should always be a purpose behind each post or interaction.
Your website should be prominent in your social media accounts to increase brand awareness. Most, if not all, of your posts should encourage your followers to visit your website.
Image source: Pexels
Social Media Marketing Trends for 2023
In the early days, social media sites were just that—online platforms that helped people connect and build personal networks. However, so much has changed since then. Today's social media landscape is vastly different than it was ten years ago.
Nowadays, social media is more optimized to benefit businesses and advertisers. Social media companies are constantly updating their platforms to encourage users to spend more time on their apps. They aim to persuade companies to advertise to their massive user base.
Social media teams should constantly be on the lookout for new trends. The information can help them create and implement effective social media strategies. It can also help companies to maximize exposure and ensure they are ahead of the competition.
1. Massive Shift To TikTok
Facebook has dominated social media for several years and still has the most active users. Instagram is another marketers' favorite due to its fast growth and high return on investment.
However, TikTok's rapid growth in popularity is threatening the status quo, especially since the pandemic. The app surpassed the 1 billion user mark in 2021 and has been the fastest-growing social media network in recent years.
TikTok is currently the top app for short-form video content and is especially popular among teens and young adults. It is now implementing more features for businesses, so it would be wise to jump on its current upswing.
2. Livestream For E-commerce
E-commerce had become extremely popular, especially during the pandemic when people had little access to brick-and-mortar stores. One e-commerce trend is getting special attention—Livestream shopping.
Livestream e-commerce is most prevalent in China, where it amassed $171 billion in value in 2020.
More e-commerce platforms are adopting a similar approach. Livestream shopping is appealing because it provides a personalized shopping experience. It also simulates human connections in the ease and safety of your home.
3. Focus On Sustainability
Climate change is an issue of significant concern among the younger generations. With the world's future on the line, people are becoming aware of the adverse environmental effects of large-scale manufacturing.
Gen Z consumers are particularly concerned about the sustainability of brands. They are eager to hold the companies they patronize accountable for their business practices.
Consumers are paying more attention to sellers' ethical practices. These include the sustainable sourcing of materials, fair treatment of workers, and environmentally-friendly packaging.
Startups would greatly benefit from incorporating a sustainability angle into their products, services, and marketing efforts. Authenticity is critical, as conscious consumers quickly recognize and call out corporate greenwashing.
4. Impact Of Short-Form Videos
Long-form videos still work on dedicated streaming sites like YouTube. However, short-form video content reigns supreme on all other social media platforms.
The massive popularity of TikTok and Instagram short-form videos has made it the social media content trend of 2023. Everyone from all sizes of celebrities, influencers, and businesses can benefit from creating short videos for different social media platforms.
To reap the best benefits of short-form videos, continuously monitor content trends in your platforms and adapt them to your brand.
Image source: Unsplash
5. Trust in User-Generated Content
Trust is a crucial tenet to building communities and maintaining customer loyalty. User-generated content (UGC) is an excellent way to engage with your customer base and possibly attract new ones.
As the name suggests, user-generated content is organic posts uploaded by the community. UGC might take the form of a photo of your product in use. It may also be a detailed review of your services.
A strong sense of community and brand involvement greatly encourages your customers to create content for your startup's benefit. Apps like Archive help companies keep track of UGC to promote and use in their official accounts or business communities.
Mistakes to Avoid
Marketers want as many eyes on their brand as possible, making social media a popular marketing tool for businesses worldwide. However, mistakes are bound to happen, especially when just starting.
It's always possible to salvage some minor slip-ups here and there. However, too many could hamper your growth or even set you back significantly. Below are some social media marketing mistakes that you want to avoid.
1. Having No Plan
Planning your social media strategy sounds obvious, but many companies don't have one. Instead, they choose to post whatever they want whenever they can. This might gain a few engagements or even get your page some followers, but it will not get you sustainable results.
It's essential to treat your social media strategy the same way you would any other marketing effort. Set your goals, create a plan, assign a budget, set a timeline, and implement your strategy.
2. Broad Target Audience
One marketing goal is to attract as many people to your business as possible. However, it is just as important to be discerning about the kind of people you target with your strategy.
Start by defining your target audience. Having a clearly defined target allows you to be more specific when crafting your social media strategy. It helps you focus on what works with a particular group or demographic.
3. Not Engaging Enough
You could spend hours creating your content, which might not matter. You're not getting your message across if they aren't engaging and fail to gain any likes or responses.
It's essential to create engaging content that sparks conversations and elicits responses from your audience. It's vital to keep your audience in mind when crafting your social media content. What interests them? What language do they speak? How can your brand communicate with them more effectively?
4. Ignoring Analytics
An excellent social media strategy is data-driven and scientific. It evolves with your company's needs and the demands of your target audience.
Fortunately, most social media platforms offer analytics tools. These are especially useful for keeping track of data concerning your company account's performance.
However, many marketers ignore analytics because they don't understand it or think they know better. It is essential to monitor your analytics to help you adapt your strategy to the methods that work. Avoid relying on outdated or ineffective approaches.
5. Same Strategies For All Platforms
Even though many sites identify as "social media platforms," this does not mean you should treat them all the same way. Each platform is unique, with different demographics and communication styles.
Take TikTok and LinkedIn, for example. You wouldn't use a TikTok video with niche humor on a platform like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a network of professionals wanting to expand their business contacts. TikTok is a platform for jokesters and pranksters. .
A good social media strategy involves learning how each platform works and tailoring your content accordingly.
Social media marketing is relatively inexpensive for startups to build a significant audience when done correctly. With proper planning, attentive social listening, and adaptability to change, social media could help your startup get off the ground.
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