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What is social media marketing?

Wow! What a question. How long have you got?  Shall I write a book, or start a website dedicated to posting about this everyday?  I could and people do.  But let’s back back.  Let’s not get ourselves all worked up over this topic. Yes there is lots to know and investing time into knowing as much as you can will benefit your business, but fortunately, getting started and managing your social media presence is actually not that difficult and you can learn along the way.  It is ok to make mistakes and not know it all.  The key is to start out with the right intentions and follow some basic guidelines and that is where we are going to start.

Social Media Marketing

When you are using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube or Google + for your business, you are engaging in social media marketing.  Very simply it is the process of trying to increase awareness of your brand and drive traffic to your website, by using social media sites.  If you already use things like Facebook and Twitter you may be wondering, just how you do that with a ‘post’.  That is a great question and the answer is actually really simple – content.  You need to create content that connects people to your brand and that they want to comment on and share, in positive ways.

What is Content?

Content is what you choose to share with your audience.  It might be an image of a wedding you worked on and a caption about your involvement, or a link to a blog post you wrote with tips for choosing a venue for your wedding.  It might simply be a positive comment about someone else’s work, or a picture of you at your desk or news about a sale your are having. If you are having coffee with a supplier you could share a picture of your meeting on Instagram and tag them in.  When it comes to content, variety is king and I like to follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of my content is designed to inspire and entertain.  This content comes from the heart and I think like a magazine editor when I determine what to post. I want people reading what I have to say to be inspired or learn something from it.  The other 20% of my content relates more directly to my business – it is the promotional content.  Use 80% of your posts to draw people into what it that is fun and creative about your business and make them enjoy coming to your page because it is interesting (which in turn makes you more interesting).  That way, when you have something important to say, or something to promote (the 20%) they will be happy to listen.

Why?

Why would you want to do this via social media?  I have already said that your aim is to increase awareness of your brand and drive traffic to your website, but there are other forms of marketing that can do this. So again, why social media?  Well there are a number of great reasons, firstly it is cost effective and convenient and it gives you the chance to connect with a far wider audience than you may be able to do via traditional forms of marketing and you can specifically target those that may be interested in your product or service, via social media.  It is also very immediate.  No waiting for a magazine to come out running your advertisement.  If you have something positive to say, you can say it right then and there and you know people are listening.  Look around you, consider your own habits – where are people getting their information from?  I know you must have guessed right – social media.
But social media marketing is not just about sharing information or inspiration even.  Social Media Marketing helps people connect with your brand message and that is why what you share in that 80% is important and should be chosen with as much care as the 20% which is far more promotional.

What next?

I love to dive into challenges with a sink or swim attitude, but a little planning never hurt anyone and this is what I suggest you do when it comes to social media marketing.  Your social media marketing campaign should be considered alongside your wider marketing campaign and be based around goals you want to achieve.  To help you set goals that make sense to your business consider these key things that social media can help you achieve:

  1. Sales
  2. Website traffic
  3. Brand awareness
  4. Subscribers
  5. Connections within the industry

Not all of these things will relate to your business, so choose the ones that do and formulate a plan for what type of content you need to post where to help you to start achieving those goals.  You may even like to draw up a calendar of what you are going to post when to help you stick to the 80/20 rule.

Five tips

This post is really broad and only skims the surface, but I know, from my own experience that there is almost enough here for you to get started, but I have five more tips to help you:

  1. Choose 2 (three if you must) social media platforms to start with.  I recommend either Facebook and Instagram or Facebook and Pinterest. That will give you a place to talk and a place to be visual and in the beginning it doesn’t need to be harder than that.
  2. Have a blog, connected to your business website.  This will be a place for you to create content, that you can share as part of your social media marketing campaign.
  3. Post a minimum of 2 times a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. If you can post once more, post in the middle of the day.  Post once on a Saturday and Sunday, in the early afternoon.
  4. Over a period of 1 month pay attention to what content your audience likes and what times of the day they are more engaged with it and build your next month’s social media marketing campaign based around that knowledge.
  5. Follow the Wedding Academy Live blog all month for more on social media for your business + links to loads of resources that can help you build on this general knowledge, starting with How to create a Social Media Marketing Plan in 6 Steps by Hootsuite, that goes even further into designing a social media marketing campaign for your business.

Please leave your comments for us here and if you are an Academy Student/Graduate, join us in the Academy Live Facebook group for discussions on this topic and more tips.

 

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