Social media marketing allows you to build an organic presence and communicate with your audience differently than traditional online advertising. While ads can sometimes turn off a consumer from a brand, organic social allows meaningful interaction through relevant conversations, thought leadership and educational content.
Global internet users spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes per day on social media. This number is growing as new social channels such as TikTok increase in popularity. And as more consumers spend time online consuming content, brands and businesses can increase their reach and interactions to get in front of those users.
Additionally, you can use social media marketing as a free way to drive traffic after you create a website and further nurture leads. Let’s dive into how to develop a strong social media marketing strategy that elevates your brand and drives growth can become an integral part of your digital marketing efforts.
Social media marketing
In this guide we will cover the following:
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What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is a type of marketing that uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter for branding and promoting products or services. Social media marketing can help achieve different objectives and target specific audiences, depending on the social platform.
Benefits of social media marketing
77% of U.S. small businesses use social media for sales, marketing and customer service. The benefits of this marketing strategy are vast, from branding and lead generation, to customer support and sales. Social media marketing should be a core content outlet for any business.
Today, users expect companies to be present on social media and even offer customer service on those channels, reports McKinsey. “Poor service is no longer resolved in private through traditional call centers and email channels but laid bare on social media with far-reaching reputational consequences—and opportunities—for companies,” explains Avinash Chandra Das, an associate partner at McKinsey.
Here are other benefits of social media marketing to consider as you begin implementing your strategy:
Today, having a web presence produces trust for both businesses and individuals. You should use social media in conjunction with your business website to establish a credible online presence. Rafael Tercarolli, principal at Hootsuite, explains, “The content you put out on your handles says a lot about your brand and sets the tone for further interaction.”
By posting anything from user-generated content (UGC) to behind-the-scenes footage of your company, your audience will better understand what you stand for. It is much easier to achieve social proof with a strong following and quality content.
If you get a verified blue badge on your accounts, you can build trust even more quickly.
Boost brand awareness
Building trust, fostering relationships and proving authority all lead to elevating your brand in the social media world. If you have an excellent social media marketing strategy in place, your brand will likely be better perceived and even known or discovered by new audiences. In fact, 83% of people surveyed say Instagram helps them discover new products or services.
To continually work on your social media branding, you should also aim to post content that goes beyond self-promotion. While you can announce the occasional sale or product launch, the majority of your content should focus on sharing industry news, giving shout-outs to customers and unique tips and tricks.
Drive leads and conversions
With social commerce’s rise, many small business owners now sell products through social media, either directly or indirectly. According to the LinkedIn Social Selling Index, "78% of social sellers make more sales than their counterparts who aren't using social media." Looking ahead, social selling is predicted to increase as web3 and the Metaverse change how brands drive new business.
Tips on how to drive more sales on social:
Drive traffic to your website by adding a link in your bio (Hopp by Wix is a great tool that helps create fast-loading bio pages with ease. It is highly customizable, its unique search feature ensures that your followers can access your links quickly.)
Host live videos, such as YouTube Live
Open an Instagram Shop with shoppable posts (if you sell a physical product). This is one of the most common ways to make money on Instagram.
Use user-generated content
Work with influencers - look into influencer marketing as a tactic in its own right
Regularly perform a social media audit to make sure your strategy is on-point
Social media marketing drawbacks
As a digital marketing strategy, social media marketing is incredibly impactful. However as with any marketing strategy, it can have its limitations and drawbacks. Some of the main ones include:
Potential limited organic reach, something that is controlled by the platform, and often means users have to use paid promotion to really see impact.
Algorithm changes, which on some platforms can happen quite regularly and without warning. One of these changes can mean what worked before no longer does, and you entire social media marketing strategy needs to be pivoted.
Saturation, of both ads and contents. Everyone is trying to stand out on social media, everyone is creating realms of content - standing out amongst all of this, is not easy.
Time and resources it takes to manage social media accounts. For social media to work for a business the account needs to be well managed, and the data tracked. Content needs to be created, schedule and published regularly. Comments, shares and engagements need to be tracked.
Negative exposure can be a huge issue on social media. As public platforms, users can leave comments about a brand that may not always be positive. These need to be handled quickly in order to prevent negative connotations around a business. You'll need to get on top of your buzz monitoring, social listening and online reputation management to tackle any negative engagement and comments.
Privacy issues are a real concern, as social media platforms and businesses are able to collect a large amount of user data, all of which can be at risk during a security breach.
Social media marketing platforms
Below are the most popular channels to consider building your social media presence, ranked by number of users. Guided by audience insights and real Wix user examples, you can best decide which platforms to focus on first.
Users: 2.91 billion
Audience demographic: Millennials aged 35-44. This audience might not be as tech-savvy as those on newer platforms, which is important to keep in mind when writing the content for the posts. On Facebook, it's good to focus on top-of-funnel professional and educational content.
Business example: Through Jimmy's Eyes celebrates Pride by tagging products from their shop to show support and display the artist’s craft.
Users: 2.56 billion
Audience demographic: Males aged 25-34 are YouTube's biggest advertising audience. This video based platform allows you to create video playlists and upload videos about your business. You can livestream events and upload customer testimonials and tutorials to help users learn to use your product better.
Business example: Ste Bradbury Design takes the educational route on YouTube and creates helpful design tutorials that create authority and trust from his audience. A fan even commented on the video below, “What I like most about this tutorial: 1: Fast explaining. 2: Effective Steps. 3: straight to the point. Keep it up man.” This is a strong sign of social media engagement, something any business should strive for. Here's more on how to start a successful YouTube channel for your business
Users: 1.48 billion
Audience demographic: 71% of IG users are below 35 years old. Visuals play a major role on the platform, so keep this in mind when you choose to post. You should pay attention to your feed and how images look on the grid. The platform has tools such as Reels, Stories, photo posts, live-streaming and more. Note that you can use a link shortener to add a link to a story that directs to your landing page or website, as regular posts do not have a clickable link option.
Business example: Zelie for She, who is revolutionizing the plus size fashion industry, created an engaging Instagram marketing Reel showing her clothing line to a trending tune. This is also a good strategy because other people can see it when searching for the tune, similar to a hashtag. Also, because she is wearing the product herself (instead of hiring famous models) and uses a DIY-feeling production, it comes across as more relatable and that she is "showing" and not "selling.”
Users: 1 billion
Audience demographic: Roughly 43% of TikTok's global audience is between 18 and 24 years old, which is great for targeting Gen Z consumers. This platform uses short format videos and is great for reposting UGC, behind-the-scenes footage, and educational content. Entertainment is the most popular category on TikTok by hashtag views, so feel free to also show your business's humorous side on the platform. The primary audience consuming content on the platform finds it very important to show your brand values and build trust, so create videos to help achieve that.
Business example: Wix uses TikTok for business content to engage with its audiences by sharing tips and insights about topics related to its products. To help users to understand logo color psychology, Wix created this educational and playful TikTok that also introduces the Logo Maker tool while defining the meaning of popular colors.
Users: 830 million
Audience demographic: The overall audience on LinkedIn is a professional one and is geared towards business owners. It is most popular with users 46-55 years old, as many people later in their careers with more experience use the platform. As a social media marketing channel, it is very good for B2B marketing. LinkedIn is still more text-based than other platforms, so posting things like company news, quotes and engaging debates can be an excellent way to start. Thought leadership content is also a great fit for this channel.
Business example: Wix's dropshipping partner, Printful, showed its brand authenticity on LinkedIn by sharing employee photos with an anecdote about the importance of working from abroad. This strategy effectively puts a face behind the business and shows its company values.
Users: 557 million
Audience demographic: 39% of Snapchat's advertising audience is between the ages of 18 and 24. This platform is the precursor to Instagram Stories. While commonly used for connecting with friends, Snapchat designed a way to let users engage with brands using the Discover section. Like TikTok, this platform is about being authentic and not picture-perfect. Unlike TikTok that is video-based only, Snapchat is also a photo and video messaging app.
Business example: E.l.f. Cosmetics reached millennials and Gen Z Snapchat users by producing an eye level campaign that speaks to its audience, “be extra without paying extra.”
Users: 444 million
Audience demographic: According to Statista, 38% of Pinterest users are between the ages of 50 and 64. Although the platform is historically popular among Millennials, the demographics of Pinterest are shifting towards an older audience. Great for visuals and inspiration, Pinterest marketing can help you reach many DIY creators, and B2C (business to consumer) users looking for fashion, decor and other forms of guidance and tips.
Business example: Culinary nutrition consultant Mikaela Reuben pins many of her recipes to Pinterest, such as this post on how to shred kale. By showing her expertise in an engaging manner, it's likely more people will repin, leading more people to discover her nutrition services.
Users: 436 million
Audience demographic: Pew Research Center explains a minority of Twitter users produce the vast majority of tweets. Among U.S. adults who use Twitter, the top 25% of users by tweet volume produce 97% of all tweets, while the bottom 75% of users produce just 3%, according to an analysis conducted over a three-month period in 2021. The general voice is casual, eye-level, not condescending, yet sophisticated, professional, and sharp. Content is mainly around SMB, marketing, blogging, branding, and entrepreneurship. Tweets are 280 characters long, so you must stay short and to the point. Here are more tips on how to use Twitter. Twitter marketing is centered around relevancy, so trendjacking (using trending topics, events or memes to connect with your audience) can be a very useful strategy on the platform.
Business example: Izzy Wheels tweeted about a new partnership with Disney, incorporating a high-quality image that shows the collaboration of their brands. They even pinned the tweet to the top, helping make it visible to everyone landing on their feed in the hopes of gaining more traction.
How do social media algorithms work
The way in which social media algorithms work is complicated, and something the platforms keep a well guarded secret. There are also differences between how algorithms work on different platforms - Instagram and LinkedIn's algorithm follow similar principles but would also have key differences in how they collect and process information to run.
In the world of social media algorithms there are two main types: passive and aggressive. The aim of each is to influence which content a user see.
Passive algorithms work based on a user's past activity and engagement history on a specific social platform. They determine which content to show a user based on the types of content they have engaged with in the past, the accounts they choose to follow, and the amount of time they spend on the platform and when.
Active algorithms however rely on user input to decide which content to show them. If a user likes a post, or shares it, this indicates that they liked the content and should be shown more like this.
Most social media platforms use a combination of both types of algorithms to display content to users and to refine what they see.
How to create a social media marketing strategy
Now that we’ve covered the value of using social media for your business and an overview of the most popular channels, now it’s time to strategize how to use them most effectively.
Here are the 5 ways to create a social media strategy:
01. Research and understand your audience
You can have the perfect social media campaign, but if it's not getting in front of the correct audience, it will simply get no social media engagement.
One of the first steps to a good social media strategy is understanding where your audience spends time on social media and which content they enjoy consuming. This ensures your message will best resonate and your post will succeed.
You need to align your content, voice and strategy to both the platform and your audience on that platform. By seeing what your audience truly needs and cares about, your brand and product offerings will be much more enticing.
Marketing guru Seth Godin says, “Don’t find customers for your product. Find products for your customers.” Use this advice when aligning your services with different social audiences.
How to research your audience on social media:
Create personas to identify unique segments
Check relevant hashtags and see who is using them
Look at competitor accounts, followers and tags
See which other accounts or interests your target audience follows
Research trending sounds and topics in your niche
02. Choose which social platforms you’ll focus on
Refer to the social media platforms we examined earlier and identify where your audience is most active. To start building your social media presence, experiment with several channels and then double down on the ones that work best for you. Also, remember to use different channels to reach different audiences with unique content.
For example, when Wix promotes its blog posts on social media, it chooses some articles for LinkedIn and others for Instagram to meet the audience’s interests and goals. An article about business growth makes a strong fit for LinkedIn, where users constantly are looking for ways to improve in the business world. When posting on Instagram, where many of Wix’s followers and designers, Wix shares articles such as web design trends to keep its audience informed and up to date.
03. Determine your KPIs
"We don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?" says Erik Qualman, marketing author. So how do we know if we do social media well? The answer is metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators).
Without defining what success is and which key performance metrics you'll measure, it will be hard for you to benchmark your growth and impact. Every good social media marketing strategy should keep in mind the commonly-used metrics to measure the effectiveness of social:
Clicks: How many people clicked on the post
Reach/Impressions: How many people saw the content
Engagement: What percent of people who saw the post interacted with it
Comments: How many people left a comment. How many comments were quality comments?
Saves: How many saved the post to review it again later
Shares/reposts: How many felt inclined to share or retweet
Followers: How many people followed your account
Video views: How many watched your video
Profile visits: How any people visited your profile after seeing your content in their feed
Mentions/tags: How many people mention or tag you in their posts
Choose which of these are most important to you and your goals. If your primary goal is to get traffic to your website, then link clicks can be your main KPI. If you hope to elevate your brand perception on social, then quality comments and shares can be a better metric to measure success.
04. Create relevant, original, engaging content
Good content is king on social media. Try to create content that is tailored to your audience's needs, questions and desires—while staying aligned with your brand identity and values. One promising approach is to focus on a post to educate, entertain or inspire. If it can do one or all of these three, chances are that your content can be valuable to your audience.
Wix user Carmen Christine made a TikTok video that explains to people what her business does (creates unique headbands). She uses her own point of view and then layers on user-generated content of satisfied customers. This is a simple way to showcase your product but add an inspirational element to the story.
Use these social media marketing content ideas for inspiration (mentioned in full with examples in the linked article):
Share your blog posts and other great content
Develop how-tos, tutorials, and tips
Announce big company news
Publish industry headlines
Show off data with infographics
Create engaging videos (check out Video Maker tools to help you)
Take advantage of trending topics
Leverage user-generated content
Show your personality with memes and GIFs
Post an interesting quote
Conduct an interview
Let your audience meet your employees
Put a spotlight on your customers
Give your customers a look behind the scenes
Create previews of upcoming offerings
Do an unboxing video for your product
Run contests and giveaways
Host and promote your live events
Team up with another brand
Share influencer content
05. Use a social media content calendar and scheduler
To help keep your posting on track and organized, use a calendar to plan out your content for the month. The Wix Social Media Graphics Tool has a scheduler built-in or you can sign up for external companies that help make this process easy.
Analyzing and measuring results
We highly recommend you regularly review your social media performance to look for meaningful shifts, trends and audience insights. Revisit the KPIs determined in step 3 of your strategy and see how you're stacking up against your ideal goals. You can use a combination of your website analytics and social media analytics for results.
If you feel you are not at the performance level you’re hoping for, try testing different types of content and re-visiting competitor sites. Another idea is to do a focus group to ask people in your target audience what they enjoy consuming on social media.
The future of social media marketing
Social media platforms and how they are used both by users and for marketing purposes change fast. An effective social media marketing strategy understands this and is able to adapt to these changes as they happen.
While no one can predict the exact future of social media marketing, here are a few potential developments to keep your eye on:
The use of AI for all aspects of social media marketing - content creation, scheduling, and understanding how users consume and search for content.
Increased emphasis on transparency around how users data is collected and used, and potential new curbs on this.
More and more video content, specifically short form.
The continued growth of social commerce, and greater integrations between social media and eCommerce platforms to sell.
The potential rise of new social media platforms which which to target users on.
Social media marketing resources
Social media is changing every day. New formats, trends and tools surface regularly and to be a true social strategy expert, it’s good to continue learning and staying up to date.
Here are some ways and resources to do that:
YouTube - simply search for social media marketing tutorials or webinar
Earn a digital marketing certificate.
Digital Marketing Nanodegree with Udacity
Marketing Leadership with Twitter Flight School
Social Media Marketing on LinkedIn Learning
Social Media Certification with Boot Camp Digital
Blueprint Certification with Facebook
Social media marketing books.
The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Content Marketing, Podcasting, Social Media, AI, Live Video, and Newsjacking to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott
Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – And How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
Social Media Strategy: Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations in the Consumer Revolution by Keith Quesenberry
Social media marketing podcasts.
The GaryVee Audio Experience
Social Pros Podcast
Savvy Social Podcast