Social media

Social media marketing

Social media has become a big part of our daily lives, it where we unwind, connect, keep up and in touch with friends, get updates and news, and discover new products and so much more. But what’s really been trending about social media lately, especially in the business world, is social media marketing.

Social-media-marketing

Brands are constantly exploring ways in which they can acquire more followers and customers and in the past decade, social media marketing has been a key focus for most start-ups and millennials-driven brands.

What most people that get into social media marketing don’t realize is how easy it is to get lost in the jungle of social media, especially if you don’t have the know-how and the right resources.

Easy access doesn’t mean easy to do right.

In this post, we’ll explain what social media marketing is, why every business needs to have a social media strategy, and how to develop one. We’ll also give you some social media marketing tips on the best social media practices and how to make use of the top 5 social media channels to build brand awareness, drive engagements, and grow your business.

What is social media marketing, and why does it matter?

Social media marketing, also known as SMM, is a form of internet marketing that makes use of social media channels to share content produced by brands or businesses in an attempt to drive engagements, acquire followers, convert them into paying customers and improve business performance.  Social media marketing includes posting interesting content such as pictures, text, videos, updates and articles, paid social media adverting and so much more.

Social media plays a big role in our lives both at a personal and professional level that more than 25 million South Africans use social media and 97% of marketers are using social media marketing.

With social networks being introduced in the digital markets every year, they’ll be more users to reach and social media marketing will only get bigger. Social media marketing in South Africa is still in it early stages, and this is the perfect time for brands to jump in and start acquiring loyal fans and customers.

Today, every startup focuses on leveraging the power of social media to acquire early customers, and there are a number of very good reasons for this.

A survey conducted by clutch investigating small business social media habits indicates that more than 70% of small businesses use social media.

With a carefully thought out, data supported and audience focused social media strategy and execution you can turn around your business and start seeing massive growth. Brands mainly use social media marketing for these benefits:

Growing brand awareness

With daily active users that login more than a few times a day, social media is a powerful tool that brands and business owners use to spread the word about their brand, product or mission. In fact, 70% of marketers and business owners that use social media report that they use it to build awareness for their businesses.

Increase website traffic

By linking your website to your social media accounts, you drive traffic of fans or followers that want to learn more about your brand to your website. Other social media sites like Facebook even go as far as allowing you to pay to promote your website and increase traffic.

Promote products or services

Ultimately this is the whole reason why you even want to invest your time, energy and money into marketing in the first place, to let people know about your business, the products and services you offer and how they help them. You will be able to do all that on social media and we’re going to help you do it better than most people.

How to get started with social media marketing in South Africa?

1. Strategy

Before you dive in head first into social media and start creating and posting content, you need a plan, a social media strategy. Executing social media without a plan is the same as getting on a boat and start sailing without a radar, you’re moving around but you have no idea where you’re headed. Sooner or later you get tired, end up in the middle of nowhere or crash into an island.

A social media strategy encompasses three main areas, and it critical that you’re clear on all these areas.

What are your goals for social media?

Before you get into it, you need to have a goal/s. What are you aiming to achieve with your social media marketing, and how will you know or measure if you’re close to achieving it? Some brands use social media for awareness, others to drive website traffic etc.

Here you’ll want to set realistic goals. Hoping to have a high conversion rate of 50% will only demotivate you when you realize you can’t do better than 15% with social media.

When you’re working on your goals for social media keep in mind where your business is at in terms of growth and size. If you’re startup your goals will differ from those of an already established and trusted brand and you might want to focus on building awareness, while an established brand might want to focus on accelerating conversions and maintain their brand/image.

Which platforms will you use?

Which platforms to focus on is determined by your target audience. You need to know where the people you’re targeting hang out, and go there. While there are more than a few platforms you can use to reach your target audience, you might want to focus on a few platforms if you’re just started with social media marketing.

The major platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and, YouTube, which we’ll talk more about in a minute. Other platforms include Pinterest, Snap-chat, and the up-and-coming Tumblr, Tik Tok, and Anchor. Social messaging platforms include WhatsApp, the world’s and South Africa’s number one messaging platform, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

You’re spoiled for choice here, but that might present a problem of struggling to figure out where to focus your efforts. Don’t worry, stay with us, we’ll help you figure out what platform is best for you.

What type of content will you focus on?

The type of content you create will depend on the message you want to deliver and where you want to deliver it. Since this is social media, you mostly likely will use pictures, videos, graphics and links instead of long text posts.

You need to think about your audience here. What type of content will they be attracted to? Should you be educational or entertaining?

Chances are you will not be always creating content for the same audience, as your brand grows, so will your responsibilities and audience expectations. You might want to target a completely different audience within the same market. So whether you’re getting started or not with social media marketing, it best to always have your target audience persona to help guide you create engaging content they will love. 

2. Plan and publish

Successful social media marketing is a combination of consistency, quality and quantity. The key is to find the right balance between your posting frequency, and posts quality. When you have that sorted the next step is consistency.

First you want to plan for your posts, you need to know what you’re posting and when, ahead of time. This gives you time to build great content that your audience will love and engage with. Small business social media marketing isn’t the same as handling a personal social media account. You can create and publishing content spontaneously here and there, but that shouldn’t be a norm.

To make sure you maintain your posting frequency and posts quantity, developing a content calendar  will help.

Balance between quality and quantity is tricky. More posts per day will help you reach more people at different times of the day, but you might have to compromise your content quality in the process. When you’re starting out we recommend posting at least 31 posts a month, meaning 1 post per day. That way you will produce fair quality posts at a frequency higher than that of most small businesses using social media marketing.

To make the most out of your one post a day, you will have to find out what’s the best time of the day to post on a given social platform.

3. Listen and respond

You don’t need to always come up with social media content all on your own. You can find out what people are saying about your brand on social media and build content around those findings.

Enter social listening.

Social listening is the process of monitoring all your social media channels your brand uses in attempt to find customer feedback, direct mentions of your brand, and industry related discussions followed by analysis to gain insights which you then use to create useful content for your audience.

Social listening is useful because you don’t assume on the content you create after. The insights you gather from social listening tell you what your customers are interested in, and what they expect from your brand. Social listening allows you to create and publish content your audience wants, providing a great positive customer experience since you’re always tweaking your strategy to fit their current needs.

Manual social listening is possible, but to a certain extent since you will only be able to see notifications from conversations of the people that tagged your brands business account, or commented on your content. You will not be able to monitor discussions that do not tag your brand.

To properly listen to your social media you can instead use social listening and engagement tools such as Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, Agorepulse, and Hubspot to name a few.

4. Data and insights

Now that you’ve been working super hard, you’ve developed a complete social media marketing strategy, you’re currently creating and publishing content on your social media accounts. How do you know if you’re making an impact and getting closers to your goal?

That’s what analytics are for. To help you find answers to those questions. After you’ve successfully put out a fair amount of content you need to find out if your approach is working or not, and identify what needs to be changed in order to achieve your social media marketing goal.

Almost all social media platforms today offer insights/analytics tools to business accounts.

  • Facebook insights
  • Instagram insights
  • Twitter analytics
  • LinkedIn analytics
  • YouTube analytics
  • Pinterest analytics

Use these free tools to find out what content connects better with your audience, what’s the best time to post for your audience, what are your fans demographics etc. This will allow you to see what works, and what doesn’t.

You need to constantly monitor your content’s data to see what changes you need to make to your social media strategy. If you want to go deep into analyzing your social media’s content performance you can use third party social media management tools, here’s a list to choose from.

5. Social media advertising

Social media networks are constantly updating their algorithms and if you’re like most busy business owners, you don’t have time to spend learning how these algorithms work and how to beat them. Because of these constantly changing algorithms, social media has become a pay-to-play arena.

Organic reach has, and still continues to decline on most social media platforms. A 2014 research by social@ogilvy indicated that only about 2% of your total followers organically see your business page’s content. That’s a loss if you’re someone that doesn’t have time to create and pump in more content in a day so that more of your followers see it.

That’s where comes in social media advertising.

Social media advertising is a method of paying social media networks to display your content or Advertisement in front of users that fit your specified target audience. Brands use social media advertising to target and reach larger audiences, increase awareness, get new followers and ultimately drive sales.

Why you should start advertising on social media

Brands and businesses may have different goals and business objectives, but ultimately they all want to grow, make more money and increase revenue. And social media advertising can play an important role towards driving business growth and increasing your sales.

With social media advertising you will drive traffic to your website, you’ll generate leads fast, you can run conversion campaigns to drive sales, expand your reach with audience targeting. And is a very cost-effective approach. If you haven’t been running adverts on social media, now is the time to start.

How to create and run effective social media Ad campaigns?

1. Have a clear objective

First you need to figure out what you want out of your advertisement. Do you want to build brand awareness and get engagements? Get website traffic? To generate leads? Conversions and sales? With a clear objective you will know what to measure and how to measure it to determine if your Advert is performing well.   

For example if the goal is to get engagements than you will measure likes, shares and comments. If your objective is to get website traffic you want to measure clicks on your website button and use google analytics.

2. Define your audience

One of the most exciting features about social media advertising is the ability to specify who you want to show your advertisement to. Different platforms offer different audience targeting options with Facebook having the best targeting capabilities.

You don’t want to waste your Ad spend on audiences that aren’t interested in what you offer and that won’t take any action. The goal is to get the most out of your Ad spend and to do that you need to know who your audience is, and direct your advertisements to them.

3. Create a compelling social media advert

This is a critical area and it requires creativity. You need to create a great advert that speaks to your audience. Your Advertisement’s content is determined by your objective. If your goal it get engagements, a great interesting, and entertaining video makes sense. If you want website traffic you should give your audience the reason to want to visit your website.

Tips for your creativity.

  • Have a short and simple Ad copy
  • Blend in by using images with less text
  • If you’re using video content, make it 15-30 seconds of run time
  • Match your content with your Ad copy
  • If you’re using landing pages, maintain visual continuity between your Ad and your landing page.
4. Constantly measure performance and optimize

The best thing about social media advertising is that it measurable. Social media platforms give you access to analytics tools that will help you see how your Ad campaign is performing. From there you can use the data to decide if you need to make changes in your Ad and optimize it for better performance and ROI.

Top 5 best performing social media platforms for marketing

While there are 20+ social media networking sites out there, we recommend focusing on these top 5 best performing and most used social networks in South Africa for your social media marketing efforts. 

1. Facebook

Facebook is the world’s most used social media platform boasting an estimated 2.5 billion active monthly users and more than 24.1 million users in South Africa. Facebook is great for both B2B and B2C marketing.

A 2018 study conducted by Clutch indicated that about 86% of small businesses use Facebook to market their products or services. On their 2020 state of marketing report, Hubspot revealed that more than 50% of marketers using social media get the most ROI from using Facebook.

Facebook is losing its appeal and is getting less popular with the younger audience, while users tend to get more active on the platform as age increases. Nonetheless, Facebook is still the best bet and should be included in every social media marketing strategy.

Content that performs well on Facebook is eye-catching images and short form videos with attention-grabbing headlines.

2. Instagram

Instagram now has over 1 billion active users across the world and more than 5.1 million users in South Africa according to napoleoncat.com, with users aged between 25 and 34 making up the largest user group by age. Instagram is home to influencers, bloggers and business owners.

Instagram is ideal for millennials driven brands and B2C marketing. Its second to Facebook when it comes to a social media network marketers get the most ROI from.

Instagram is best for businesses that rely on visual content marketing, for example painters, fashion designers, boutiques and more, since Instagram is all about stunning visuals. The best performing content on Instagram are beautiful photos, unique designs, selfie-style videos that talk directly to your audience.

Interesting fact: Instagram became popularly known as an image sharing platform, but today videos get 21.2% more interactions compared to images.

3. YouTube

Although you may not think of it as a social media platform, YouTube is still the best site to host videos users can enjoy for free and run Ads on. With over 2 billion users globally, YouTube is the number one video sharing platform in the world, and is the third most visited website in South Africa.

With YouTube you can create a video channel for your brand and connect with the platform’s growing audience in many ways that are different from other social media networks. You can create and host videos to embed on your website, long form video content like tutorials, interviews, and display company culture by having a daily or weekly vlog, show product descriptions etc.

Unfortunately, ranking on YouTube is as challenging as it is to rank on Google. To get views and more subscribers you have to optimize your video titles and descriptions for YouTube SEO.

What makes YouTube a great platform for brands is videos drive more engagement and conversions. Having a vlog can be a great way to show off your brands personality and culture, plus YouTube also allows targeted Advertisements.

4. Twitter

Twitter has been around for a very long time now. As of 2017 there were 8+ million twitter users in South Africa and we believe that number has grown significantly since then. Twitter is a fast paced platform with the majority of the users seeking news and information, making twitter an ideal platform for brands that publish updates and original content on a daily basis.

Twitter is popular among the tech savvy users and performs better as a social media marketing tool for B2B marketing. Use twitter for your brand to communicate urgent updates or breaking news. Pictures and videos are the platforms best performing content formats, although a written tweet still performs better than a written Facebook update.

According to dataportal.com the number of people that can be reached with paid advertisements on Twitter in South Africa is 2.3 million. Awfully smaller compared to Facebooks 24+ million. On the upside, Twitter advertisements have up to 3% more success than Facebook’s.

Use twitter as part of your social media marketing strategy to standout from your competition by consistently engaging with your audience, and adding valuable content with all of your posts. Take advantage of free targeting tactics offered by the platform such hashtags(#) and mentions(@).

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has established itself as one of a kind social media platforms available today on digital by being the preeminent social network for recruiting and hiring top talent. The world’s largest professional network reports having over 706 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

LinkedIn has over 7 million users in South Africa, and is trusted by over 2 million small businesses worldwide.

LinkedIn is perfect for B2B marketing, that doesn’t rule out B2C marketing. The platform offers marketing tools to businesses of any kind, B2B and B2C, small or large. Most companies use LinkedIn to attract new talents and partners.

A LinkedIn approach has to be different from all other social media approaches. The professional nature of the platform requires a different mindset. Users don’t access LinkedIn to get entertained, they go to LinkedIn to learn more about their industry, see what their professional contacts are up to, and look for new career opportunities.

If you plan on including LinkedIn in your social media marketing strategy here are few best practices to help you get noticed.

  • Share timely and relevant content
  • Post pictures and videos
  • Share well researched data and key stats for your audience
  • Include no more than 3 relevant hashtags in your post
  • Tag people and pages you mentioned
  • Call out your target audience, e.g. “Helpful stats for digital marketers”
  • Comment and reply to comments on your posts
  • Share industry related posts

Social media marketing tips

Ready to make some serious noise on social? We compiled a list of social media marketing’s best practices to help you maximize your social media efforts.

  • Create amazing content- social media users expect great visuals on social media, pictures and videos get high engagement, post them as often as possible.
  • Create relevant and valuable content- Create content that your ideal customer will love, and limit promoting yourself. Think about the brands you follow on social, you don’t follow them to listen to them constantly post about how good their product/services are.
  • Post regularly- as mentioned before, you should post regularly and be consistent across all social media platforms you use for your social media marketing.
  • Share curated content- not all content you share on your social media accounts needs to be yours. If other sources provide valuable information you think your target audience will enjoy, share it. Linking to outside sources will help improve trust and reliability. Save your amazing content idea for the next post.
  • Use analytics- the key to successful marketing is in the analysis and interpretation of marketing data. Use platform specific analysis/insights to track your performance on social media to see how close you are to achieving your goal.
  • Respond to customers– engage your customers/audience by replying to their comments, messages and thank them for reviews. If you can, go as far as messaging them if they completed a purchase with you, and encourage them to give feedback of what they think about your content.
  • Focus on quality- you don’t need to be present on all social media networks, It’s more important to create quality content and focus on getting established on one/two key channels when starting out.

Final thought.

Social media is a key component of digital marketing, and that cannot be denied. We live in time where the first place we head to when we need information is the internet. If it’s not online we don’t trust the source and we don’t believe it, and if it not popular on social media it not cool enough for the most of us to pay attention to it.

These are the times we now live in and the best thing to do for your business is to embrace the change and use it to your advantage.

When done right, social media has a huge potential to increase sales and grow business. With billions of people engaged on their devices, social media gives you an opportunity to easily reach them at the comfort of where ever they are at the click of a button.

Tap into the growing South African digital audience of more than 25 million users and start acquiring loyal followers that become paying customers in a matter of time.  

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