Social media marketing has become one of the most powerful tools for companies that want to engage new and familiar audiences. A short video or image can go viral and reach millions of users. And even less popular posts can still advertise products effectively. According to a recent survey, 82% of American users have bought a product on their phones after discovering it on social media.1
Advertising a business on social media might seem easy. However, it takes effort and skill to craft consistently compelling content with a high return on investment. This process becomes even more complex if you plan to use multiple platforms. This article provides platform-specific strategies and general best practices to take your digital marketing to the next level.
Understanding Social Media Marketing
The American Marketing Association defines social media marketing (SMM) as, “the practice of using social media channels to promote business products or services.” Companies often implement SMM as part of a larger digital marketing strategy, which may also include email marketing and search engine optimization.2
Businesses primarily use SMM to promote brand awareness and increase sales. Posts can influence purchase intention and motivate audiences to engage with the brand through reviews, likes and other interactions.3
Additionally, SMM can develop online communities of like-minded followers. These brand communities not only allow members to share information about products but also to build meaningful relationships with other consumers and industry professionals.3
Adopt Platform-Specific Strategies
According to a 2023 report, around 65% of Americans use social network platforms, most notably Facebook. Additionally, 59% use image- and video-sharing platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube.4 Each platform attracts different types of users and has unique norms. Platform-specific strategies can help you reach the right audiences and achieve social media advertising goals.
Facebook Marketing Methods
Facebook is among the most popular social media platforms, especially among older Americans. The Pew Research Center reports that 73% of Americans aged 50 to 64 and 50% over 65 use Facebook.5 However, marketers can create targeted Facebook content for users of any age group.6
Effective Facebook marketing methods include:6
- Create a Facebook Business page so you can launch advertising campaigns
- Use Facebook’s ad targeting tools to market your content to users in specific locations and with relevant interests, such as hiking or home decor
- Set a strict advertising budget upfront and stick to it
- Build a unique landing page on your website for each advertising campaign
Instagram Marketing Strategies
Like Facebook, Instagram is owned by Meta, but these platforms have different audiences. According to the Pew Research Center, 71% of Americans aged 18 to 29 use Instagram, compared to around 25% of users aged 50 to 64 and 13% over 65.5 Additionally, Instagram focuses on photos and short videos instead of primarily text-based posts.4
Here are four platform-specific strategies for Instagram marketing:7
- Reach a broader audience by using Instagram’s Collaboration tool to produce content with other businesses or influencers
- Include relevant hashtags in your posts to make it easier for users to discover your content organically
- Add alt-text and keywords to post and reel captions to boost accessibility and searchability
- Encourage interaction by creating stories that invite users to participate in polls, ask questions, or share insights
LinkedIn Marketing Techniques
Approximately 30% of Americans use LinkedIn.5 This social media website focuses on professional networking and can be a powerful tool for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.8
LinkedIn allows marketers to share a broad range of content, including infographics, slide decks, videos and webcast recordings. Best practices for LinkedIn marketing include:8
- Optimize your company profile with brand-consistent images and keywords and post content three to four times daily
- Build brand awareness by producing content that provides unique insights into your culture or industry
- Establish yourself as a thought leader by publishing long-form posts bi-weekly or monthly
- Reach professionals outside your followers by publishing content with paid LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
Twitter Marketing Methods
An estimated 25% of Americans use Twitter (or X), though this platform draws fewer daily users than other popular applications like Facebook and Instagram.5 Still, Twitter can be a powerful social media advertising tool if you create content strategically.
Here are some tips for Twitter marketing:9
- Host Twitter chats to engage with followers directly and create an online community
- Pay for promoted tweets to get more eyes on your content
- Brand your Twitter with a handle, header and bio
- Use hashtags strategically to connect with trending topics or spread awareness of a special product or offer10
Embrace Multi-Platform Marketing Strategies Methods
Social media marketing professionals must establish that their strategy on each platform works in concert with the others. While there may be significant variation in what you post on Facebook and Twitter, for example, repurposing relevant content when possible is an efficient way to reach a broader audience. Scheduling tools such as Hootsuite also go a long way in maintaining your presence overall.
In addition, there are several best practices that apply across all social media sites.
Use Paid Social Media Advertising
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn allow users to pay for social media advertising. Investing in paid ads can have several benefits, including:11
- Grow brand awareness
- Reach more users
- Promote your company or brand
- Attract more followers
- Target specific demographics
Your ad campaign should be optimized for the specific platform where you plan to run it. Additionally, utilize A/B testing to identify which versions of your ads are most effective in driving brand awareness or conversions.
Take Advantage of Social Media Analytics
All platforms offer social media analytics tools you can use to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Use this data to identify posts that generate the most engagement and tailor your content creation accordingly. Social media analytics also allow you to anticipate future trends, such as increased engagement during holidays.12
Embrace Influencer Outreach
Influencer outreach involves partnering with popular social media users who produce content about your brand. According to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2023, 82% of marketing professionals believe that influencer marketing attracts high-quality customers more effectively than other advertising methods.13
Expand Your Social Media Reach With William & Mary Online
Social media marketing strategies and technologies evolve rapidly. Keep up with the latest trends with William & Mary’s Online Master of Science in Marketing. You’ll study innovative advertising approaches as you take courses like Digital Content Management and Integrated Campaign Marketing. You’ll also learn industry secrets from seasoned faculty who have created marketing campaigns for prominent brands like American Express, Microsoft and Volkswagen.
Want a free taste of our online curriculum? Participation marketing is an effective strategy to implement on social media. Learn how to effectively incorporate participation into your next marketing campaign with the on-demand micro-course, “Participation Marketing Strategy: Trends to Incorporate in 2023 and Beyond.” Access the free micro-course today.
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- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from theinfluencermarketingfactory.com/social-commerce-report-2022/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from ama.org/what-is-digital-marketing/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8803150/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from statista.com/topics/3196/social-media-usage-in-the-united-states/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2022/12/09/what-to-consider-before-advertising-on-facebook-today/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-organic-content-strategy-what-works-in-2023/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from cdn.ymaws.com/www.naada.org/resource/collection/142F4B2B-960E-488C-8E2A-FF54474B4C8F/NAADA-Tactical-Guide-to-LinkedIn.pdf
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from socialmediamagazine.org/twitter-marketing/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from business.twitter.com/en/blog/the-dos-and-donts-of-hashtags
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/05/06/the-differences-between-paid-and-organic-content-on-social-media/
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from bbb.org/article/business/26583-bbb-business-tip-how-to-use-social-media-analytics-to-find-opportunities-for-growth
- Retrieved on October 27, 2023, from influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-benchmark-report/