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The best social media marketing services can help build your audience online. We share what to look out for.
There are 3.2 billion daily active social media users in the world.
3.2 billion. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s roughly 42% of the world's population. That’s not just people who have a social media account either. It’s people who actively sign in and use the platforms every single day.
Just under half of the world is on social media.
If your business isn't, you’re missing out on potentially thousands of people seeing your brand.
Social media isn't just good for brand awareness either. It’s a way of forming relationships with your customers, strengthening their loyalty and increasing sales. In fact, businesses that do take advantage of social media have seen their ROI (return on investment) improve by up to 119%.
But you can’t just jump straight into social media.
You need a goal, a strategy, time and resources to make it work. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best social media marketing services and tools to help you find the right solutions for your business.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
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There are two different sides to social media: organic and paid.
Organic social media is the ‘free’ side to social.
The easiest way to explain this is the ‘normal’ day-to-day running of social media accounts. Think about the social media accounts you have for yourself. Anything that you do on them now is organic.
It involves everything from setting up your business accounts and posting updates, naturally building up a following, replying and interacting with other users.
Basically, if you aren’t directly paying money for it, it’s organic.
Paid social is exactly how it sounds. It’s the social media posts and advertising that you pay for.
Boosted posts – posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that are promoted to people who don’t follow your account.
Native ads – adverts that blend in with regular updates on your timeline. Typically these adverts are single image or video but can be a variety of different ad formats on Facebook. For example, Facebook supports multiple images in carousel or collection ads, which make it easier to showcase a range of products.
In-stream video ads – 5-15 second video adverts that play before the beginning of a video.
Story ads – adverts that are placed between people’s stories on Instagram or Facebook.
Paid social is a growing platform.
Worldwide, social media advertising spend for 2019 is expected to be over £76 million. By 2023, this is predicted to grow to £145 million.
Organic and paid social media have their own unique benefits that can really drive growth for your company.
If you're looking to make more of an impact right away, paid social might be the route to go. That’s because it can get your message in front of the right audience, without you having to build up your following first.
Although organic social media is free, it doesn’t mean that you’re not investing a lot of your business’s time and resources into it. So, like any marketing strategy, you need to consider whether it’s worth it.
Don’t get us wrong. It’s not paid OR organic. You can use both and if you’ve got the resources for it, we fully recommend it.
Used properly, paid and organic social media go hand-in-hand together.
But before you can make a social media marketing strategy for your business, you need to decide what you’re going to use. Then, you can find the tools and services that will help you to achieve your goals.
Finding the right social media marketing tools doesn’t mean surrendering control of your socials to an agency.
For some businesses, agencies are a great idea. It’s something we’ll touch on later. But for a lot of SMEs, it’s a lot of budget to dedicate to something that you can achieve by yourself.
You just need the right social media marketing tools to help make it happen. The biggest tool is the knowledge and insights on what tactics and strategies will actually work for your socials.
So, we’ve put together the top 5 social media marketing tips you need to know to successfully manage your own socials.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when starting out on social is not picking the right platforms to use.
It’s an easy mistake to make. You’ve got a range of options to choose from, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest… etc. So, it makes sense that the more you use, the more customers you’ll hit, right?
That’s not how social media works.
Each platform has a specific purpose. They have different user demographics. Which means that they don’t work the same way for every business.
Take Instagram and LinkedIn for example.
Instagram was created as a photo-sharing platform. Its users upload more than 100 million photos and videos every single day. Typically, Instagram is used by a younger audience, with just under two thirds of their audience between the ages of 18-34.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a network catered for professionals. It’s widely used by B2B (business to business) companies. 50% of its users have a university education and 45% of people who earn over $75,000 a year use the platform.
The content on LinkedIn is far less visual. In fact, 62% of LinkedIn members engage with content that they found educational or informative. Some choose to browse in the morning before work, treating it like a newspaper.
You get the picture.
Speaking of pictures, let’s talk about Janet.
Janet is an abstract artist. She’s started selling her artwork online and is ready to set up her social media accounts to reach more people and increase sales.
With that information in mind, should Janet use both LinkedIn and Instagram? Or focus her efforts on Instagram, where people will be far more likely to engage in her product.
The answer is pretty clear.
So, pick the accounts that work for you. Otherwise you’ll be wasting valuable time, energy and resources building up an account that your customers are never going to follow you on.
What’s the purpose in that?
I’m going to lay this one out plainly. You should not be using social media if you don’t have a plan.
There’s no point.
Social media is like any other form of marketing. You need to have goals and plans in place in order to achieve results. If you don’t, you’ll just be posting anything you want on social media hoping that one of them might strike a chord somewhere. What a waste.
There are 5 fundamental steps to every successful marketing campaign:
You can’t just accidentally stumble your way onto great results. You need to follow these steps and clearly outline your strategy before you jump into social media.
There are a few sides to this social media marketing tip.
Firstly, everything you put out on your social accounts should talk directly to your customers at their level. They’re the ones you’re trying to target and build a relationship with – so you should never talk down to them or use language that they’re unfamiliar with.
Use plain and simple language. There’s no point of making something more complicated than it should be. Take these two as example posts:
Which one is more engaging to you?
It’s post B right? That’s because it uses plain, simple and easy to understand language that directly talks to the audience.
As well as using accessible language, there’s also another key lesson that you should remember: Conversations aren’t one sided on social media.
People will respond to your posts. They’ll ask questions and, unfortunately, if they’ve got a problem they’ll let you know about it.
In fact, for 45% of consumers, social media is the first channel they’ll go to. If you don’t respond to them, you’re damaging your relationship.
However, if you talk to your customers, you’re building trust. And because 71% of users who have a positive experience are likely to recommend you to their family and friends, you’re also expanding your reach and helping get new customers through the door.
77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media.
That’s because if they’re following you, they have a connection with your brand. They trust your company and will be loyal to you.
But that doesn’t happen by magic. Customers actually need a reason to follow your account. Which means you can’t just post everything and anything that you want. You need to post relevant content that your customers care about.
Let’s use Pole Junkie as an example. They are an apparel company that sells fitness clothing and accessories specifically designed for pole fitness and dancing. I follow them on social media and have purchased several items from in the past. I’m eyeing up some extra pieces as I write this, but that’s beside the point.
Pole Junkie know how to use their instagram account. Everything they post is relevant and designed for their audience.
It’s a mixture of different outfit combinations, stylised in a consistent way so you know what to expect. It’s also a nice way of showing that you can mix-and-match the sets they offer, giving its users a little extra value for money.
They show videos and images of their real life customers wearing the apparel, while performing moves on the pole. This not only proves that their clothing is designed to perfectly fit pole dancers, but also acts as inspiration by highlighting different moves to try.
Imagine if they suddenly started posting pictures of Jennifer Lawrence without any context?
That’s not relevant. It’s not what I want to see and, with a personal dislike of her acting, I’d be out.
If you want the most engagement and results from your social media marketing strategy, you need to post at the times your customers are most active.
After all, if your customers aren’t online – who are you posting to?
There’s no magic answer for when you should post. This requires some trial, testing and research.
But to get started, we’ve got a handy guide of what are the most popular times to post for each social media platform.
This social media marketing tip is similar to the ‘create a strategy’ for organic social media. This doesn’t mean it’s any less important.
Before you create any adverts, do your research. Map out what your goals are, who you’re targeting and what they’re interested in. This is your ammunition to help you hit the target.
Defining your audience is an important part of this research. These are the people who are going to see your adverts and the ones you want to take action. So, they need to be the right audience.
After all, there’s no point showing people adverts of your collection of baseball memorabilia if they have no interest in sports.
The great thing about social media advertising is that you can get specific with your targeting.
This lets you narrow your focus down based on age, gender, interests and hobbies. Hell, with Facebook you can also target people based on the school they went to and recent life events like an engagement or new house. How crazy is that?
Just be careful about making your audience too narrow, otherwise you might miss out on leads and engagement.
Social media adverts need to be attention grabbing. If they’re not, why would your customers bother to read or click on them?
One of the best ways to capture attention is through visual content, like engaging images or video.
According to HubSpot research, visual ads are also more memorable with people being able to recall 65% of the content up to 3 days later.
But don’t just stick any old image or video in your adverts. They need to be high-quality and relevant to your advert.
When using images, don’t cover them with text. You lose the engagement and power of your image. What’s worse, if you upload an image with more than 20% text, Facebook may not even run them.
Why should your customers care about your ad?
Okay, this question may seem a little harsh, but it’s one that you need to ask. People are selfish creatures by nature. If we don’t know what’s in it for us, we don’t care about what you’re offering.
Life’s too short to stop and read every single advertisement out there.
If you want a successful ad, you need to loudly and clearly show what’s on offer. Tell them why it benefits them.
Do that and they’ll be ready to find out more.
What do you want people to do when they see your advert?
Send you a message? Go to your website? Follow your accounts? Book a night of luxury in your swanky hotel room?
Whatever it may be, there’s an action you want them to take. But they won’t do it unless you tell them to.
This is called a Call To Action (CTA). And it’s essential to getting the most out of your advertising.
For maximum effect, make sure they’re short and direct to the point. There’s no point beating around the bush with these things. Tell them what you need them to do. That's it. No one needs a paragraph of ‘pleases’ to email someone.
This is ours…
I cannot stress how important this point is for your social media success.
Testing is one of the single most important things you can do when it comes to social media marketing. It’s how you know what’s working and what isn’t. How you improve your results and skyrocket your ROI (return on investment).
Leonardo da Vinci’s first painting wasn’t the Mona Lisa. No matter how well your adverts are performing, there’s always room to be better.
Testing is how you get better.
Okay, now we’ve shared some of our social media marketing tips, it’s time to talk about the tools and services that you can use to save you time and streamline your processes.
SproutSocial is an all in one social media management tool that allows you to:
It’s ‘Smart Inbox’ also presents all the notifications, messages and replies from all your social media accounts into one stream ready for you to look at. When you’ve replied, you can also mark them as done, making easy work of keeping on top of your engagement.
SproutSocial’s reporting feature is pretty advanced as well. It has a range of preset reports to choose from, or you can create your own custom reports with the metrics you need. The downside to this is that some reporting isn’t available on all plans. But for most small businesses, you won’t need these extra features yet anyway.
At the minute, SproutSocial is also lacking integration in some key areas. For example, you can’t schedule videos in advance for LinkedIn or Instagram.
Personally, I’m a fan of SproutSocial. It’s the platform we currently use, it’s laid out in a nice and easy to use way and it has all the functionality you would want from a social media marketing tool.
Hootsuite is another all-in-one social media management service.
But, unlike the others on this list, it’s one of the only tools to offer a free plan of the software. This is incredibly limited features wise though and will only allow you to attach 3 social media profiles.
Unfortunately, there are a few problems with Hootsuite. Because it was originally created for Twitter, some of its features feel like they’re not designed for other social networks. Take the dashboard for instance. Separated into different columns, it’s like another version of TweetDeckout of date and just doesn’t lend itse . It feels wildly lf well to other social networks.
But if your business is solely concentrating on Twitter, then Hootsuite might be the platform for you.
Buffer is another social media management tool that’s fantastic for creating and scheduling posts.
That’s because it has a built in image creation tool called Pablo, which helps you create visually engaging and correctly sized images without leaving the platform. Buffer also has a Chrome extension which allows you to quickly share links, images or videos – making content curation easier than ever.
The downsides? Buffer doesn’t let you monitor your mentions, searches or hashtags. This means you’ll have to sign up to another tool to do this, or individually log into every single platform and manually monitor each one through the day. How exhausting.
Looking for content to publish? Buzzsumo is the social media marketing service for you.
It’s a way of finding out what topics are being written about right now – and what people are engaging with. It’s a great way to stay in the loop and make sure that your socials are filled with relevant, up-to-date information that’s always at the forefront of the conversation.
But as useful as this tool is, it’s not for every brand. Because it’s good for idea generation, it might be more useful for those that are looking to work on a content strategy for a blog, rather than those who are just starting out with social.
Monitor all your online mentions and get in front of the conversation with Brand24.
Brand24 is a way to monitor brand mentions, reviews and conversations around your brand in real-time. This is incredibly important in preventing any issues or problems from damaging your reputation and building positive customer relationships.
It also integrates with Slack, giving you real-time updates on the programs that you already use.
However, if you’re just starting out on social – you may not need all these features just yet. You’ll be able to monitor your mentions with the built-in features on other social media marketing tools instead.
Take these opinions with a pinch of salt. After all, if you find that it works for you, then it works for you. End of story.
The only way to know for sure is to try it. But these reviews should give you a bit of a head start on the groundwork and a rough idea if they seem right for you.
If those social media marketing services seem like too much work, then you might want to consider an agency to take care of your accounts for you.
There’s no shame in this. It’s actually a great way to free up your time so you can focus on other parts of your business. In fact, 28% of businesses use social media marketing agencies to manage their accounts.
That’s because they can help you take care of both paid and organic social media. They create and schedule posts for you, reply to your messages and and create your social media marketing strategy. They can also plan the content you need to really get the most from your socials.
Some agencies will also have their own photography or video departments and can even put together professional images and videos for you to share on your socials.
But, this does mean surrendering control to them. They’ll be the ones creating the voice for your company and it will be up to you to send them what’s happening day-to-day for them to post. Otherwise they just won’t know about it.
Also, social media marketing agencies are not cheap. You’re paying for their time and their services. For some businesses, it’s just not worth the money.
If you’re looking to do it yourself, the social media marketing tools we mentioned are great for organic social. But when it comes to paid social, there’s not as many options to consider.
Luckily, we’ve got just the tool for you. Our very own Adzooma platform.
This was originally built for Google Ads, but we’ve recently expanded to Facebook Ads. And we’ve got more expansions on the way.
Here’s how it works.
But that’s not all.
Adzooma lets you create automated rules. So when a certain event happens, an action that you set will be taken. For example, CPC (cost-per-click) reaches a certain limit, you can pause your campaigns or adjust your bids so you don’t waste your entire budget.
You can also set alerts, so you can just be notified about certain events and decide which action to take at the right time.
This saves you hours of time manually monitoring and making changes – giving you a chance to focus on what matters.
Adzooma also lets you monitor and track your results. With our custom reporting feature, you can generate relevant reports in minutes – saving hours of painstaking data analysis. You can also save these reports as templates which will automatically update as and when you need them.
Think it might be the paid social media marketing service for you?