7 Essentials of Social Media Marketing in 2019

Social media is ubiquitous today. In fact, you might have come across this very article due to social media if you saw it shared via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Or maybe you’ve already checked in with Instagram today, looked at Snapchat, or pinned a recipe on Pinterest. If you didn’t use any of these social media platforms, perhaps you’ve been on Reddit, Tumblr or Flickr or you’ve watched a video on YouTube. And if you haven’t visited any of these top social media platforms yet today, you probably will before the day is over!

Social media is so widespread that we can be certain you’ll use it today in some form. According to WeAreSocial’s 2018 digital marketing report, more than 3 billion people around the world now use social media monthly, with 9 out of 10 accessing social media sites via mobile devices like smartphones.

We have plenty of platforms to choose from today. The most popular social media platform in the U.S. is Facebook by far, with 68 percent of adults on Facebook. Instagram comes in second with 35 percent, then Pinterest at 29 percent, Snapchat at 27 percent, LinkedIn at 25 percent, and Twitter at 24 percent. However, people aren’t there solely to be social. According to SproutSocial, 7 out of 10 Gen Xers will buy something from a brand they follow, 30 percent of Millennials engage with a brand on social at least once a month, and 60 percent of Baby Boomers are looking for promotions on social media.

With so many people using social media and making buying decisions influenced by what they see, you need to make social media marketing a key part of your overall marketing strategy. If that’s where your customers are, that’s where you need to be as well. SearchEngineLand defines social media marketing as “…the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.” That’s not much help for someone getting started with social media marketing, so we’ve pulled together seven essentials for you to help you get off to a good start with this marketing method.

1. Understanding How to Use Social Media for Marketing

Your first step in social media marketing is understanding why people are there and how you can use it. Social media is not a sales platform, and consumers will reject messages they see as overly sales-y. Users are on social media to keep up with friends, because they have a fear of missing out, to post their photos and comments, etc. They aren’t there to shop or to get sales pitches. So keep in mind that you’re going to need engaging, compelling content to get—and keep—their attention. Start creating appealing banners, and design them in a way that your audience is driven to click your social media post. In addition, you want your content to have “social appeal”, so people will share it with other users. 

2. Develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy

With so many platforms out there and ways to jump right into social media, it’s easy to flounder. Instead of jumping right in, develop your strategy first. Know why you’re using social media for marketing and what you hope to achieve. Doing so will also help you choose the most relevant social media platforms to focus on since you can’t use them all—at least not all simultaneously, unless you have a bottomless budget. Your goals might be to build a following, increase brand awareness or word-of-mouth marketing, drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar location, or something else. It matters less what your goals are and more that they are clearly defined and is used to shape your strategy.

3. Go Live with Video

Check just about any recommendations for social media marketing and you’ll find references to videos. YouTube has over a billion users. Hundreds of millions of videos are viewed on Facebook every single day, with videos outperforming images on Facebook, getting more views and engagement. And the time spent watching videos is increasing: Cisco predicts that Internet traffic from videos will make up 82 percent of all Internet traffic by 2021.

But there’s video and then there’s live video, and consumers are showing a definite preference for the latter. According to LiveStream.com, brand audiences prefer live video by a huge margin, with 80 percent preferring live video to read a blog post, and 82 percent prefer to read social posts. Neil Patel says that Facebook users spend three times more time watching live video than non-live, and comment 10 times more. 
Make sure you make video part of your social media marketing strategy but make it live if you can. (Learn more about marketing with YouTube here.)

4. Switch from Macro to Micro Influencer

In 2018, influencer marketing was all the rage, especially on Instagram. However, that trend led to celebrity endorsements that were all about the cash in some cases, and thousands of fake followers in others. The credibility of such recommendations was shaken. Besides, most marketers can’t afford a big-name influencer. So think micro influencer instead.

Finding influencers via YouTube might be more affordable and effective. By far, more Millennials relate better to YouTube stars than celebrities (at 70 percent), and the YouTube stars tend to have a more engaged audience. But also consider the value of word-of-mouth marketing among friends and social media connections. People are more likely to believe what someone else says about you than what you say about you, and 71 percent of people are more likely to make a purchase online if others recommend it. This goes back to our first essential as well: understanding why people are on social media in the first place, and creating content they will appreciate and share.

5. Boost Your Advertising Budget

As social media has grown in volume and popularity, it has become harder to get attention solely by organic means and marketers are going to need to start buying ad space. So says SocialMediaToday: “The time of free organic reach has passed us by, and we need to accept that to gain any kind of traction with social media marketing and you need to have an advertising budget of some kind.” Therefore, it will be essential to your social media marketing strategy to have an ad budget, to know how to spend it wisely, and to know how to measure your results.

6. Measure Your Results

Speaking of results, another essential of social media marketing in 2019 is measuring results. If you don’t have an understanding of analytics and metrics, you won’t know what’s working and what’s not. And when it comes to your advertising budget, you won’t know how to allocate your spend. Determine what it is that you will measure, such as impressions, reach, frequency, click-through rates, likes, comments, shares, etc. Then determine how you will track, measure, analyze and act on those metrics.

7. Get Educated

Finally, consider learning more about social media marketing with a certification. Technology keeps changing at a rapid pace, and so does social media. While ephemeral content and Artificial Intelligence are two trends on the rise in 2019, next year will bring other trends to be considered and mastered. By earning a certification, digital marketers can have a rock-solid foundation in social media marketing that positions them to more easily tackle these new developments.

The Advanced Social Media training available at Simplilearn includes 25 hours of eLearning content, quizzes and practice tests, and downloadable workbooks and exercises. It covers topics ranging from viral marketing to microblogging and content marketing to web analytics. In addition, the course covers strategy, online reputation management, and influencer marketing. Earning this certification will give you extensive project experience and the capability to manage and strategize social media marketing initiatives so that you can implement the essentials of social media marketing for 2019 and win. 

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal holds an honors degree in English language and literature and is working with Simplilearn as a content writer. She is a passionate digital nomad who loves all sorts of writing. In her free time, she is a veteran of poetry and philosophy.

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