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Social Media Marketing

What you need to know about marketing your business on social media. 

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What is

Social Media Marketing

Disclaimer: At our digital marketing agency located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, we are NOT defined as strictly social media marketers. As digital marketers, we deploy social media strategies within broader, integrated digital marketing campaigns, but rarely ever social on its own. Throughout this page, we often reference Social Lite’s Customer Value Journey methodology, which utilizes various digital marketing strategies at the different stages of the customer relationship. Nine times out of 10, social media is a strategy that takes place at the early stages of the customer relationship. If you have the time and interest, we encourage you to first read more about our Customer Value Journey methodology, which is at the heart of every digital marketing campaign we deploy four our clients, and ourselves.

social media marketing Edmonton digital marketing company. social media company Edmonton.

First, what is social media marketing?

You may have an answer, and others will have answers. But I want to paint a picture that strips back the fluff to understand the core intent of social media marketing. Before I paint this picture, let’s first explore our agency’s meaning of marketing.

Marketing versus Communications

Communications professionals and marketers are similar in that both craft, publish and promote messages to specific audiences with an intended response and outcome, or measurable objective.

But what differentiates communications and marketing is that when marketers promote messages to specific audiences, the intended responses and outcome is always, always, always the same — to qualify sales leads and drive revenue. marketing versus communications

With communications, your message has an intended goal, which may or may not be sales. communications vs marketing - social lite Edmonton, Alberta Social Media Marketers

So, when we discuss social media marketing on this page, and as an agency, we only consider how social media can be utilized to compliment and amplify sales revenue. Specifically, how can we attract buyers on tools like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, or Tumblr?

The finicky thing about social media, however, is that if you narrow your activity to only sales messages, nobody will care to hear what you have to say.

Your audience doesn't care about your sales pitch

Have you heard of the classic social media strategy book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vanerchuk? The takeaway is that in order for you to build raving fans on social media who may become buyers, your strategy requires interesting and undeniably engaging content and storytelling. You need to build likability, readership, and community, before your audience will care enough to enter a sales conversation with you.

Back to our definition of marketing tho — if we are social media marketers, and we succeed to build a robust social presence and grow our followers, these ambitions only support our greater marketing goal: to reach and engage target customers and begin sales conversations (Aware stage of the Customer Value Journey).

Note: Later down the customer journey, once you convert new customers through your online marketing efforts, you will again use social media to nurture and re-engage leads and customers, upselling and cross-promoting your products and services to maximize profits (Ascend stage of the Customer Value Journey).

“Any trained chimpanzee can update a Facebook page. Successful digital marketing and revenue growth requires integrated strategy.”

 

via GIPHY

Let's finish this section with an important reminder: if we are using social media as a tool to spread messages and ignite some aimed outcome, but that outcome is NOT a sales goal, then social media in this instance is a Communications function, not a marketing one. Any trained chimpanzee can update a Facebook page, but successful digital marketing and revenue growth requires integrated strategy.

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What' the difference?

What’s the difference: Digital Marketing versus Social Media Marketing

Digital marketing is about creating a strategic campaign for your business that will generate predictable sales leads. It’s a multifaceted approach to online marketing that integrates several digital strategies at the various stages of the customer journey. Digital marketing includes social media, search engine, email and content marketing. It includes SEO, AdWords, email automation, and website development.

social media marketing vs digital marketing

Digital marketing encompasses your entire online strategy. It’s about developing an integrated campaign that attracts targeted customers to your website and transforms those visitors into qualified prospects and customers. It's a methodical approach to marketing that relies on intentional strategy, as well as measurement, analysis, and continual optimization.

What’s the difference: Social Media Marketing versus Content  Marketing

Social media marketing and content marketing have similarities, they complement one another, and there’s certainly some overlap, but a few subtle differences distinguish them.

  • Social media is a channel where you distribute content, and therefore, social media marketing occurs when you market content on just social media with the aim to attract buyers and drive revenue. You may use social media to drive traffic to your blog, website, products or services, but social media is the sole driver of new traffic, leads and customers for your campaign.

  • Content is at the heart of all marketing; it’s where the message lives, and it manifests various forms, such as copy, video, photography, graphic design, and podcasts.

    Content is what you distribute on various channels, which go far beyond just social media, such as search engines, blogs, emails, and affiliate websites. Therefore, content marketing occurs when the campaign is focused on creating content assets that will be distributed through various channels to tell a cohesive story, but again with the aim to ultimately drive profitable customer action.

    The sole driver of new customers in this instance is the content, which relies heavily on multiple distribution channels including social media.

social media marketing vs content marketing

Click here to see one of our case studies, where our team helped an RV accessory company grow through a branded content marketing campaign that reached beyond only social media (although social media played an imperative role!).

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Why it's important

Why is social media marketing important?

Social media isn’t important if you have too many customers and you don’t need new leads, sales, or revenue.

If you are interested in promoting your products and services, like most businesses are, in this section I will outline why you don't exist if you're not on social media — and if you are on social media, but you’re not active, you cease to exist.

Customers like researching before buying

Here in 2019, if your customers are interested in purchasing from you, there’s an extreme likelihood they will investigate your website and social media pages before committing to you. An active presence that tells your story is the bare minimum you need on social media.

Your customers are online, guaranteed

But, maintaining a bare minimum only caters to those researching you. If we take it a step further with social media marketing, our intent is to actively reach new audiences and convert customers. If you feel I need to explain why social media marketing is important, I will in a brief statement: no matter what industry you are in, your customers spend significant time on social media.

And, if you know what you’re doing, you can find them, build relationships and trust, and attract buyers to your product or service.

I’ll get more into the “know what you’re doing” part later, but remember, if you want to use social media to get new customers, it’s key to develop a cohesive lead generation strategy before ever lifting a finger on Facebook. 

You'll need to advertise, guaranteed

To reach audiences on social media you will need to run an advertising campaign (we’ll talk about this in the next section), and you will need to pre-determine where to send potential buyers after they interact with you on social media (we’ll discuss this one later).

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Social Advertising

What do I need to know about advertising on social media?

The power of digital marketing — which encompasses search engines, social media, websites, email, blogs, and other online channels — is that we can enter markets virtually anywhere on this planet and get our messages in front of potential customers. But to do so, it’s important to first understand that you need an advertising budget. 

And, before launching a social media advertising campaign, you need to know a few things about the platform and the audience.

Social media advertising is significantly different than search engine advertising (for example, Google AdWords).

  • With AdWords, you are paying to get your message in front of people who are actively searching for your solution, today. These users have a high intent to purchase, and will click on your advertisement if you can demonstrate value. They are researching the best solution, and you pay for the opportunity to prove its you. 

  • With social media advertising, you don’t pay to get your message in front of high intent users who are actively seeking a solution. You pay to get in front of latent audiences who are killing time on social media, but who will interact with an advertisement if it speaks directly to their pain or passion points.

    Worth noting, your ad isn’t competing against similar products and services (unlike AdWords where your ad competes against your competitor’s ad) — you are competing for the user’s immediate attention. Social media users are presented with dozens of ads each day, and they aren’t required to click on any ad, but they will voluntarily engage with an ad if it provides undeniable value to them — again, if it speaks directly to their pain and passion points.

The takeaway is that when advertising on social media, you need to know your target customers better than they know themselves. They are on social media for entertainment, and aren’t actively seeking your solution, so what’s going to make them pause amongst a sea of content and pick you? There’s a phenomenal marketing book by Seth Godin called Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable that highlights this concept very well. 

We'll finish this section with great emphasis on the fact that you need to understand your customers for social media advertising to be effective.

First, you need to know their pain and passion points, then craft your ads and content around providing solutions to them.

Second, you need to know which social media platforms they spend their time on. Build your campaign around what keeps them up at night, and where they spend their time online. Note that when you develop advertising lists in your Facebook Business account, or on any other social media advertising platform, you will need to choose demographic information and interests. Intimately knowing your customer will help you create these lists.

Follow this link for a deep dive into online advertising.

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Which Platforms are Best?

What social media platforms, tools and strategies are the best?

The social media platform you commit to needs to be determined by where your customer segment congregates online. If you are a B2B company, it’s likely you will be on LinkedIn and Twitter, but we have had a lot of success with our B2B clients marketing on Facebook and Instagram. The determining factor is understanding your customer’s social media habits before you commit blindly to any platform.

The second most important factor to consider, after you determine where your customer spends time online, is remembering that you need to advertise if you want to impact your business. 

Below we have provided a brief rundown of our experience using the following platforms, including which is for who, and how to succeed. We aren't going to do a complete analysis of each platform here, but here are a few important takeaways.

LinkedIn. 

If you are a business selling to other businesses, there's no question whether or not you should be on LinkedIn if you want to grow your contacts and heighten your industry authority. When posting on your personal page, there's an immense opportunity to reach wide audiences without having to advertise, so you will succeed more on LinkedIn if you get in the habit of posting frequently and including it in your work routine.

If you're posting on your business page, and wish to reach wide audiences, there's a couple options. One, share your business content on your personal page, and get your colleagues to do the same. This is how you will increase your organic reach, and honestly it's a quire effective approach that we would recommend to most businesses. Two, you can advertise if you want to reach audiences outside of your inner circle, which is effective, but be prepared to invest. LinkedIn ads are costly compared to most other social platforms (for now, as other platforms will rise in price as competition increases over time). 

Click here for more need-to-know info about LinkedIn.

Facebook.

Facebook has the biggest audience of any social platform, so it's likely at least some of your customers are here at least some of the time. If you are a business selling directly to customers, it's near certain that your customers are here, so you need to be advertising on Facebook. Period. Every single campaign we ever worked on where our clients sells directly to consumers, we succeeded to drive a lot of website traffic through Facebook advertising. 

If you are a business who sells to other businesses, you can also succeed on Facebook, but it's certainly not guaranteed that your customers spend time here. We have had a lot of success with retargeting users on Facebook in this space, but we have also avoided Facebook altogether in some instances, so it's important you know your target demographic's social preferences in this case.   

And, if you don't know about Facebook Pixels, make it happen!

Instagram.

Instagram is Facebook's golden child, who is always growing fast and competing for the spotlight. Everything we said about Facebook is true on Instagram as well, if not truer. If you sell directly to consumers, be on Instagram. If you sell directly to other businesses, probably be on Instagram, too. 

If you want to get better at Instagram, look no further than our Instagram Guide!

Twitter.

If you want the latest political news, be on Twitter. Otherwise, honestly, unless you have a full marketing team with plenty of resources, prioritize your efforts elsewhere. Although we still use Twitter and succeed for some projects, we have reduced our presence here drastically, and seem to continue the descend as we place our focus on other platforms. 

Reddit.

Did you know Reddit is one of the most-visited sites in the US? Reddit is where the news first drops, before it reaches the other social platforms. Reddit is a great source for content ideas to use in your digital campaign, but it's also the wild west over there when it comes to advertising. We have advertised for some obscure companies on Reddit, where we once landed an oilfield company a $2M deal. Ask us about it sometime! And certainly test Reddit advertising for your campaigns, where you will need to be creative and remain authentic (Reddit audiences will see right through your insincerity).

Pinterest. 

Pinterest is a powerhouse for lifestyle brands that sell aspiration: design, nutrition, jewelry, and fashion, among other industries. Do you ever notice when you do an image search in Google, that quite often Pinterest appears at the top of your image search? It's because Pinterest is an image-driven platform that dominates search engines, and large audiences use it daily for mood boards and inspiration. 

Check out this blog for a handful of everyday strategies that have continually worked well for us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Pinterest. 

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Who is it for?

Who uses social media marketing for their business?

It’s rare you’ll find somebody who doesn’t spend time on at least one social media site. Older CEOs may only use LinkedIn, and young teenagers may only use SnapChat. And in between, many of us spend time on several platforms. As our generations get older, it’s safe to presume everyone all be wired into at least one social network.

So, the answer is obvious — whether you are a B2B or B2C company, and whether you are a small business or 50-million dollar company, your customer uses social media, and if you would like to connect with your customer, you’ll be there, too.

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Does it work?

Does social media marketing work?

It works when you integrate your social media activities with your company’s sales process. Before you launch a social media campaign, you need to understand your customer, and map the 8 stages of their Customer Value Journey. By doing so, you will understand how incredibly important social media is, because it’s often the first touch point with your customer, and the first impression. It’s not difficult — it’s more a medium challenge — to grow an audience who is engaged in your brand. You need to tell great stories; you need to know your customer and speak to your customer, not blab on about yourself; and you need to commit for the long haul.

But for social media to “work,” according to our definition where our goal is revenue growth, it is of the utmost importance that we strategize how we will deepen the customer relationship beyond your social media community. You need to plan how you will ascend your customer from someone who is getting to know you on social media, to someone who is buying from you.

Can social media marketing really help my business?

Not over night. Before you think that you will hop on social media today and start generating customers tomorrow, you need to determine how you will integrate social media into your daily operations. It needs to become part of your everyday culture. Who will develop the strategy? Who will manage the content schedule? Who will be responsible for advertising, and tracking and reporting success?

But if you align your strategy with your company’s existing sales process, and you deeply understand your customer, social media marketing will help you measurably attract new leads. I say that confidently, and although I can’t guarantee the rate of impact, or amount of new leads you will gain, you will succeed to find a customer (or more) if you commit, measure and adapt.

If you are uncertain that your team has the capacity to do it well, hold off, or consider consulting a professional. There are several ways you can develop a social media marketing campaign — you can hire in house, you can hire a freelancer, or you can hire an agency. There are pros and cons to each, which you can learn about here.

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How much does it cost?

How much does it cost to get started with social media marketing?

If you hire an inhouse social media employee who is a recent college or university grad, you may pay this person a salary of $40-$55k per year, for just social media management.  If you hire an agency like Social Lite to build, launch and manage your entire digital marketing campaign to drive measurable leads and sales revenue, you’re looking at a price of approximately $50-$70k per year.

I shared this article in the section above to highlight the pros and cons of different marketing solutions, but it also compares costs for each solution. I highly recommend giving it a read if you’re not sure where to start!

If you are a small business or startup, and you don’t have this type of budget, try building the base yourself. Or consider hiring a freelancer with proven experience.

For more info on our services, download our pricing guide.

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Where Do I Start?

Where do I start?

I mentioned Social Lite’s Customer Value Journey methodology more than once on this page. Before you start wasting thousands of dollars on a new social media employee, or on social ads, it’s essential to map out your customer relationship first.

If you don’t know where to begin with your customer mapping exercise, we offer a standalone Customer Value Journey Workshop where we will plan your digital marketing campaign strategy with you. It’s the same exercise we complete for every single campaign we deploy for our clients at Social Lite.

For more info on the workshop, contact us today.

Social Lite Communications Team - 2018 - Edmonton Social Media Marketing Company & Digital Marketing Company

More about Social Lite.

We are a digital marketing agency based in Edmonton with clients across North America. And yes, we are a social media marketing agency. Whatever you want to call us, our focus is driving leads, customers and revenue for our clients using the latest digital tools and strategies.