What Is Social Media Marketing? (Including Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing can be an essential part of building a business's brand awareness and increasing its customer base. Social media marketing (SMM) helps get brand products and messaging in front of consumers via social networking channels. Understanding what this type of marketing is and what a social media marketer does can help you determine if SMM is the right career for you. In this article, we discuss what social media marketing is, what a social media marketer does, their working conditions and share some tips to help you in the role.

What is social media marketing?

To help you understand the answer to 'What is social media marketing?', it can be beneficial to know that it's an ever-evolving form of digital marketing. SMM involves creating promotional content for a business and sharing it on various social media platforms. The goal of social media marketing is usually to provide information to generate leads and gain referrals. The content businesses create is typically unique to their brand voice and style guide. Businesses often have a social media marketing strategy in place to ensure their online persona and actions align with their overall marketing objectives.

Many people have access to social media accounts and social media usage volume is high. Because of this, SMM has the potential to reach a larger audience. Consumers are likely to be more aware of a brand advertised on social media platforms than through traditional marketing channels, for example, magazines and radio stations.

What does a social media marketer do?

A social media marketer oversees a business' SMM strategy, creation and execution. Whether they do this alone or as part of a team of marketers can depend on the type and size of the business they work for. There are many ways a business can market itself on social media. It's typically the role of a social media marketer to identify which way may be best for a business, based on their goals. Ultimately, a social media marketer understands and implements the core areas of SMM, which you can find below:

Related: What Does a Social Media Marketer Do? (With Average Salary)

Research

Before a social media marketer develops an effective SMM strategy, it's a good idea for them to have a thorough understanding of the business' customers and competitors. Marketers may often do in-depth research to get acquainted with the target audience and become familiar with their demographics and behaviours. They're also likely to research competitors by reviewing their social media channels to gain valuable information about their social media presence and audience.

Related: How to Become a Market Researcher

Strategy

A social networking marketer helps a business develop its SMM strategy. Businesses often have unique reasons for wanting to market their business on social media. These reasons may include increasing engagement, leads or conversions. Once the business goals are clear, a marketer can decide which social media platforms, types of content and marketing persona may be best to achieve them. A social media marketer usually drafts the SMM strategy and then presents it to management for approval. A complete strategy normally states what content to share, where to share it and how often to share it.

Related: What Is Social Media Management? Definition and Steps

Create

Once a clearly defined SMM plan is in place, the social media marketer can begin the content creation. They usually create content in advance to assist with a seamless publishing process later. The type of content social marketers create can include written information, graphics, photos and videos. It can be beneficial for marketers to understand and think about the target audience's psychology when creating content. Doing this can ensure the content appeals to new and existing customers.

Publish

A common task of a digital marketer is to publish content on various digital social platforms. Part of an effective social media presence is consistency. A digital marketer usually follows a publishing schedule that aligns with a content calendar as set out in the SMM strategy. A content calendar typically highlights a specific day and time to post content and on which social platform. Many marketers use publishing tools to save and schedule posts for publishing at a later date.

Engage

Marketing through social media typically involves engaging with a target market via digital social channels. As a business develops an online following and delivers consistent online brand messaging, customers and potential customers can begin engaging with the brand. They may do this via commenting on posts, sharing content and tagging people, for example. It's usually the media marketer's responsibility to ensure the brand engages appropriately with its customers and potential customers in response. This can involve monitoring online conversations, replying to comments, thanking people for positive feedback and offering solutions when receiving negative feedback.

Analyse

An essential part of the social network marketing process is analysing performance. By analysing the performance of posts, campaigns and overall SMM strategies, marketers can make necessary adjustments to their approach to ensure the business meets its marketing objectives. Most social media sites provide data about page views, clicks, comments and other interactions. As part of their duties, the SM marketer may use these analytics to assess, adjust and improve a business's SMM strategy. The particular metrics they have an interest in can vary depending on the business goals.

Report

Social media marketers usually create and present reports that showcase SMM performance and related findings from their ongoing analysis. These reports can help team members, managers and third parties understand the business's SMM statistics. The details of the reports and the frequency of their delivery can vary from one business to another depending on various factors. These factors may include the business's SMM strategy, marketing goals and the nature of their marketing department and general business operations.

Working in social media marketing

There are no formal education requirements to work in this field, but hiring managers often look favourably upon candidates that hold a related certificate, diploma or degree. Marketers are typically creative people who commonly possess a range of technical skills, amongst other skills such as communication, interpersonal and organisational skills.

Social media marketers can work in a variety of conditions. Some marketers are part-time or full-time employees, whereas others may freelance or work contractually. Some digital marketers might work in a business's marketing department in an office, whereas others might work from home. SMM employees typically work standard Monday to Friday working hours. Freelancers generally operate when the businesses they work for operate, though they can often choose their working schedules. The national average salary for a social media marketer is $60,000 per year.

Related: 10 Careers in Marketing (With Salaries)

Tips for social network marketing

Below, you can find a list of general social network marketing tips to help you on your journey as a marketer:

  • Clearly define goals. When you're fully aware of the goals, it can be easier to create and execute a well-aligned strategy. These goals might focus on business areas like conversion, drive traffic to website or receive a specific number of views on a video or campaign.

  • Create SMART goals: SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. You can use the SMART strategy to help you clearly define the business marketing goals.

  • Use limited space wisely. Many social media sites' layouts are conducive to scrolling on a smartphone. Use the limited space available to your advantage with brief but compelling content.

  • Know the audience well. It can be a great idea to create all of your content with the audience in mind. Ensure you know them well enough to identify and understand their problems and desires.

  • Engage concisely and regularly. Connecting and engaging with your audience can be crucial in today's marketing for profitable results. Ensure the audience knows what you expect them to do with the information you provide, whether it's to share the post, create their own post with your hashtag or go to your ecommerce website.

  • Research the competition. It can be a good idea to follow the competitors on social media to see how they interact with their customer base and what social media strategies they employ. You can use this information to inform your own social media marketing decisions.

  • Take advantage of SMM tools. There are a variety of tools you can use as a marketer that can help you execute your strategy with ease. These can include scheduling and publishing tools, engagement tools and analytics tools.

  • Stay up-to-date. The social networking market is ever-evolving, with changing algorithms, newcomer networking platforms and a steady flow of the latest trends. Maintaining current insight into the continual changes and advancements can benefit your digital marketing career.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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