Social Media Marketing 101: Guide for Beginners

Social Media Marketing 101: Guide for Beginners

On social media, it’s not the one who works hard that wins, but the one that works smart. 

Social media marketing has become an inseparable part of every marketing strategy. Even though social media has millions of users, businesses struggle to get the attention of their target audience. 

The most interesting part here is that those who promote a business are also the target audience of another business. As a user, you’re well aware of how people react to social media promotion and ads. And, as a marketer, you should use that knowledge and try to avoid the mistakes that other businesses make.

To succeed on social media, you should keep up with all the trends and follow the best practices of social media platforms. 

In this article, we’ll define what social media marketing is and will speak about its 4 important components that will help you optimize your social media presence.

  • What is Social Media Marketing?
  • Social Media Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media Planning and Publishing
  • Social Media Listening and Engagement
  • Social Media Analysis and Reporting


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What is Social Media Marketing?

SMM has many different definitions that complement each other. Here’s a combined definition that summarizes all of them:

Social media marketing is a type of digital marketing that includes all the activities a business does on social media platforms to reach its target audience and achieve its long-term and short-term goals.

These activities include creating different types of content tailored to the needs of their target audience. The business goals may include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, and driving sales.

social media marketing definition

What are the benefits of social media? With the right strategy, social media can work wonders. Let’s list some of the benefits of social media:

  • Brand recognition
  • Brand authority
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Connecting with audience
  • Keeping audience up to date
  • Increased website traffic
  • Data and market insights
  • Lead generation and conversions
  • Chance to go viral
  • Cost-effective campaigns

Why is social media important for your business? Well, this depends on the type of your business and it’s something you need to figure out yourself.

If you think that social media is not the right place to promote your business then you’re most probably using the wrong platform, or you should improve your social media marketing strategy. Read on to learn how to do it and get the most out of your social campaigns.


Social Media Marketing Strategy

While social media marketing campaigns help to reach a broader audience, it’s important to choose the right platform and have a more narrow target audience to address their pain points.

Before initiating any SMM campaign, first, answer the following questions:

  • Who is most likely to be interested in it?
  • What’s the goal of my campaign?
  • Is this the right platform to use?

These questions are the cornerstone of your SMM strategy. The answers to these questions will give you direction, and you can further plan your campaign.

Now, let’s see what you should include in your strategy.

social media marketing strategy


  • Social Media Goals and Objectives

When launching any kind of campaign, you should measure its success. How to do it? By setting measurable goals.

Social media is no exception. To understand the effectiveness of your social media strategy, you should set goals and objectives. Your goals may include increasing the number of your followers, boosting engagement, attracting more traffic to your website, more sales, and so on.

But how to make your goals measurable? Make them SMART.

setting SMART goals

Here’s how a SMART social media marketing goal will look like:

  • Increase the number of followers on Instagram by 10% within the next 2 months.
  • Drive 20% more traffic to the website in the next 6 months.

These examples are Specific (increase the number of followers, drive more traffic), Measurable (10%, 20%), Achievable, Realistic (may be based on historical data), Time-bound (2 months, 6 months).

Having certain goals and objectives helps you concentrate on the important tasks and priorities, find new ways to achieve your goals, and keep the team motivated. It’s important to mention that your social media goals should be aligned with your business goals.


  • Target Audience

Another must-have point in social media marketing strategy is your target audience. If you don’t know who your target audience is, you can’t achieve your goals.

Defining and adding your target audience will help you and your team concentrate on attracting a certain audience which will maximize your results and bring in more qualified people interested in your product or service.

And, more importantly, knowing your audience will help you create content that will resonate with people and encourage them to interact with it (likes, comments, shares).


  • Competitor Analysis

On social media, you’re going to fight for attention. It’s gonna be tough!

As the attention span of the users decreases, it’s getting harder to impress them and be memorable. Especially when your competitors are trying their best to get the attention of your target audience too.

This is when competitor analysis comes to help.

competitor analysis

Knowing your competitors will give you the advantage to learn from their mistakes and improve your strategy. 

Check all the social media accounts of your direct competitors to find out:

  • Which platforms they are active on
  • How often they share content on each platform
  • What types of content do they usually share
  • Their top posts and how the audience engages with them
  • The number of their followers and the page growth

Collecting all this information is not enough, you should act on it. Besides, this is an ongoing process as social media trends and user preferences rapidly change.


  • Social Media Platforms

Now, how to choose the best social media platforms for marketing your business? 

When you complete the previous steps, you’ll have enough data to rely on while choosing social media platforms. Choose the platforms that:

  • Your target audience uses the most
  • Your competitors are active on the most

These platforms overlap in 90% of cases. If your competitors target the same audience, then they are already trying to attract their attention on the platforms they are active on. The other 10% is when your competitors are using new platforms as a testing ground.

But, you can always try to reach your target audience on other platforms with your unique approach.


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  • Metrics to Track

When it comes to metrics, you need to add them based on your goals.

social media metrics to track

The most common set of metrics that are tracked on social media are:

  • Reach and impressions
  • Engagement (Likes, shares, comments)
  • Number of followers and the percentage of active fans
  • Leads and conversions (website traffic, sales)
  • Organic vs. paid 

Avoid tracking vanity metrics that might be satisfying but don’t really contribute to reaching your goals and objectives. 

These were the 5 main points that should be included in your strategy. Like I’ve mentioned before, there’s science behind every social media campaign. And now you’re becoming more aware of all the possibilities that social media has to offer. 

After finalizing your social media marketing strategy, you should start planning, creating content, and publishing.


Social Media Planning and Publishing

Do you plan your posts on social media? If not, then it’s high time to start.

Planning your social media activity based on your goals and objectives will help you stay on track. Besides, it will give you time to come up with creative post ideas and content.

Most marketers keep a social media content calendar and plan out their content beforehand.

social media planning

Your social media calendar should include all the necessary information about your social posts. This includes:

  • Which social media platform you focus on
  • What type of posts you’re planning to post
  • The date, time, and frequency of your posts on different social media platforms
  • Content and visuals created for your posts
  • Additional comments to keep your team informed about any important matter

Even if you plan your posts for a week or even a month, remember that your calendar is a versatile document that can be adjusted if needed. There are always some trends that may arise or events that can be covered, so you’ll need to edit your calendar accordingly.

Refer to your calendar as a document where you can brainstorm ideas, monitor your progress, find more inspiration from your old posts, prepare your social media graphics beforehand, and whatever you wish to use it for based on your priorities. 

When it comes to publishing your posts, you can use the native scheduling tools of social media platforms, or use other social media tools to get it done. When you have your calendar all set up, all you’ll need to do is just copy and paste your content like you’ve planned it.


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Social Media Listening and Engagement

When you’re on social media, you’ll get both positive and negative reactions from users. Everything is public, and everyone can share their opinions online without hesitation. 

This is why you should always be aware of what they say about you. Moreover, you should have a set of responses prepared for any situation, for example when you need to reply to a negative comment or post about your company. 

Social media listening should be an inseparable part of your strategy.

social media listening

Once you become active on social media, you’ll notice that people start to notice you and engage with your content. And your task is to monitor all the conversations around your brand and respond to them. 

This can be done both manually and with the help of social monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, BuzzSumo, etc. Within time, you’ll gather valuable information about your audience. 

The question is how you’re going to use the gathered information. If you analyze it and learn more about your audience, you can improve your social media marketing strategy and make it more effective.


Create Outstanding Visuals for Social Media


Social Media Analysis and Reporting

So, you’ve finalized your strategy, created a social media content calendar, created your content, and started sharing it on social media. Now what? 

Here comes one of the crucial parts of social media marketing: analyzing and improving.

This brings us back to our strategy, where we’ve set our main goals. Data analysis shows us how close (or far) we are to reaching our goals. Having this data at hand will help you optimize your social media activities, make them more efficient, and maximize your ROI.

social media analysis

Social media platforms have in-built analytics tools that provide you with the data about your audience, performance of your posts, and engagement. But if you want to collect all that data in one place, you can use the social media monitoring tools mentioned above. 

If there are many stakeholders involved in your marketing strategy and implementation, you need a way to share all the gathered information and your results with them. Visualizing your data is the best way to present it. 

You can do that with the help of infographics or a simple but comprehensive presentation.

create presentations and pitch decks


To Sum Up

In this article, we’ve tried to bring clarity to the complex world of social media. Even though at first glance it seems to be overcrowded, you still have a chance to break through the noise and get noticed. 

Social media marketing can be effective if you do it right. So, having a clear strategy is a must, otherwise, all your hard work and efforts will be in vain. 

Plan beforehand, create content tailored to your customers’ needs, analyze the results, and make conclusions on how to improve your social media marketing strategy.

High-quality content plays a huge part in attracting the attention of your target audience. It will encourage them to engage with your content and take the desired action. 

If you’re not a designer, but in need of professional designs, click the button below to find hundreds of customizable social media graphics designed by professionals.

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