In today’s digital world, having an effective social media marketing strategy has become an essential part of the success of any business. But when you’re a beginner in marketing and are just starting to promote your small business online, it can be hard to know where to start, and can quickly become overwhelming, we get it!
If you’re a beginner in social media marketing and are looking for somewhere to start, we’ve complied our top 10 tips to jumpstart your online presence and get your business in front of the right people.
1. Understand your niche – what makes you stand out!
The first of our social media marketing tips, and arguably the most important one, is making sure you have a niche and understand it thoroughly. Having a business niche means that you are providing a specialised product or service which fills a gap in your target market. The goal is to produce something unique and engaging content, and that differentiates you from your competitors.
There are many reasons to make sure you find your niche and understand its demands:
- A niche makes you stand out. Specialising in providing something new that fills a hole in the current market is a known in the industry as a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which if nobody else is offering what you are, you are going to stand out from the competition.
- It establishes a loyal customer base. Focusing on your niche allows for a more targeted approach towards attracting customers and building long lasting relationships. Having a niche gives you a smaller potential customer pool, but this often leads to you being able to provide a higher quality product and customer service. This small target audience will come to associate your brand with providing solutions to their issues and prioritising their interests, which leads to brand loyalty, as your efforts are centralised around them.
- You become an expert. By dominating a niche within the market, you become a key figure and a ‘thought leader’ within your market to your customers, which builds trust and authority surrounding your brand. Customers are more likely to move along their buyer journey and recommend you to others if they can believe in your brand.
However, finding your niche can be a difficult first step, as you should research your general market of interest, identify a neglected area or an unmet need, and evaluate your own skillset to see if you are capable of providing the solution needed.
This first step towards social media marketing is perhaps the most time consuming, as it requires a considerable amount of dedication and research, but it is crucial to ensure you are providing relevant content and see a return for your marketing efforts.
Top tip: to research your niche, start from broad google searches, and narrow them down to specific social media platforms to see how your industry performs and which would be the best for you to invest your time and efforts into.
2. Get to know your target audience
The second of our social media marketing tips is understanding your target social media audience is a key piece of context to develop your content with effective messaging that resonates and forms connections; this is where your buyer persona comes in.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers and is influenced heavily by research into your market and target audience. It forms a picture of their daily life, interests, struggles, pain points and how they make decisions, all of which should inform your content going forward.
To build trust amongst your followers, you must show that you understand them, and their wants and needs, which upon building that trust, you can then present how your brand offers a solution. Formulating a buyer persona allows you to ensure that your content is being received by a relevant audience and that you are addressing their wants and needs, which builds trust amongst your followers, and will ultimately make the most out of your marketing efforts.
To start getting to know your target audience and to build a buyer persona, we have formulated a list of questions to ask yourself about your ideal customer:
Did you know: Despite common belief, understanding your target audience is so much more than analysing your audience demographics, but it is a good metric to use once you have gained a small audience and are continuing to develop your buyer persona for further brand growth.
To help you get started, we’ve created a buyer persona template for you to use!
3. Analyse your competitors
The next one of our social media marketing tips for beginners would be to look at what your competitors are doing to inform your marketing strategy. Conducting a competitive analysis involves scanning through other businesses’ social media channels to gain insight into their products, audience, and marketing efforts.
To find your competitors, search for businesses which offer a product or service that is similar to you, in the same market, and/or operate within the same geographical area. Another way of identifying your competitors is by using an online competitor research tool – such as SproutSocial and SEMrush.
When you have identified your direct competitors, you can then begin conducting a competitor analysis. When doing this, try to identify their:
- Go-to social media platforms.
- Current content formats – i.e., videos, posts, stories.
- Existing social media audience / online community
- Unique Selling Point.
- Engagement rate.
- Share of voice within the market.
The information gathered from this research can then be used to form a comparison between your own business and your competitors. To do this, you could conduct a ‘SWOT analysis table’ on both your brand and your competitors. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and is a great way to clearly segment your thoughts and do a direct comparison in your marketing efforts.
If you want to dive further in, ask yourself these questions:
- What are they doing better than me?
- What am I stronger at?
- Is there anything they’re doing that isn’t working well?
- What am I offering that is unique?
4. Pick your platforms
One of our favourite social media marketing tips is to pick your platform wisely! When starting out with social media marketing, it is tempting to dive straight into all of the major social media networks, but this can become very overwhelming and lead to pages being left unedited and unoptimised down the line, so it is very important to choose your social channels carefully!
Understanding what platforms you should be focusing on will come directly from your buyer persona analysis, as you want to connect with your target audience naturally and on a platform they already use. From your research, you will find that each social media platform has a different purpose, and the demographic differs alongside this, and so it is important to ensure your message will be received well from the audience of that platform.
Similarly, certain types of content will perform better on one platform rather than another. For example, short form videos will be received better on Instagram or TikTok, rather than Twitter or Pinterest. This is true of the platform demographic too, as LinkedIn is most commonly used by businesses and professionals, and therefore their interests and content preferences will lean more towards industry, rather than entertainment.
After conducting your buyer persona and your competitor analysis, you should have a good understanding of which platforms are best suited to promote your business on. Although there might be multiple platforms ideal for your customers, it is best to start small and ensure that they are at the highest quality.
We have created a little cheat sheet to help you get to know each different social media platform:
5. Set SMART goals
The next social media marketing tip to tell you on your social media marketing journey is setting SMART goals, in order to get better results from your social media marketing efforts.
SMART goals is an acronym that stands for ‘Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant (or realistic) and Timely’, which has been used by marketing professionals since George Doran published his essay in 1981.
Setting SMART goals helps you to understand what you want to achieve, and lays it out in simple objectives, to help you achieve your business goals.
Let’s break it down further:
Specific – you should be focused on one, specific aim.
Measurable – you should be able give a metric of success.
Achievable – you should set a goal that is challenging but within your level of reach and capabilities.
Relevant – you should align your goal with your overall business objectives, values, and long-term plan.
Timely – you should set a deadline for completion of your goal.
SMART goals can be applied to all aspects of your business, from generating leads to spreading brand message, but it is beneficial to apply it to your social media marketing strategy. This is because it ensures that you are getting a return on your efforts, and that your content is aimed towards your target audience and produced with purpose.
Here’s an example of a social media marketing SMART goal:
Overall goal: Build brand awareness and social media presence.
Specific – Increase Instagram follower count.
Measurable – I can accurately measure how many followers I gain and lose in this period.
Achievable – I currently have 400 followers, and my goal of 1000 is achievable.
Relevant – Increasing my followers aligns with my overall business goal of growing my brand and increasing brand awareness.
Timely – My deadline for this goal is 6 months. I should aim for 100 followers a month to reach this goal in time.
6. Establish important metrics
The next one of our social media marketing tips is all about establishing important metrics. This relates closely to the M in the SMART goals, as it encourages you to consider what you view as valuable information and insights for your business’s growth. These will differ depending on your industry and your overall business goals, but it is important to figure out which is important to you.
Without considering this step, we can very easily fall into prioritising ‘vanity metrics’, which are results that look impressive, but don’t actually connect to your overall business goal. For example, if your goal on social media is to get conversions, a vanity metric could be your follower count, as it doesn’t matter how many people follow you, if they aren’t clicking on your links and moving over to your website.
This means an account with 1000 followers with a 70% website click rate would be more successful than one with 10,000 followers with only a 5% click rate. However, we shouldn’t discount these metrics completely. Considering the example above, if you had no followers, it means you have no audience at all, and therefore have a 0% chance of turning followers into website conversions.
The bottom line is that social media platforms throw a lot of numbers and metrics at you, and all of them can play a role in your social media marketing strategy, but you have to prioritise the ones that provide valuable insights and will ultimately contribute to you achieving your business goals.
7. Have a strong brand identity
Our 7th social media marketing tip is to ensure you have a strong brand identity. Your brand identity is the visual representation of your business through its brand assets, such as your logo, colour scheme, typography, videos, slogans, website design etc. This can be best defined as how your brand expresses itself.
Your brand is the way your customers perceive you, through their expectations, feelings, associations, and impressions. Your brand identity is one of many aspects that contribute towards building a strong brand, which helps build authority and credibility within your market, and allows you to stand out against your competitors.
Following on from the steps above, including researching your market, determining key business goals, and identifying your target audience, you can now begin forming your brand identity, by determining your brand personality and message it wants to communicate.
Social media is a great tool to promote your brand identity on, as they can act as marketing channels and a direct line of communication between you and your target customer base. Ensuring your identity is cohesive across all channels allows for a natural cross channel flow for your customers. For each platform, you should ensure your brand identity resonates with that audience whilst keeping consistent. A lack of cohesivity can often lead to negative feedback and a lack of customer association of your products/services within the market, which is something to avoid, especially when establishing your brand for the first time.
8. Produce original, high-quality content
Now all of the preparation is complete, we can now move onto content creation! The first thing you should consider when making content is your target audience. Everything you create should be tailored towards your prospective customers and how they will respond to it. Your social media content should be engaging, interesting and relevant, but above all, should provide something of value. Whether this is entertainment or information, your content should aim to give your audience something to take away without excessive promotion.
Looking at our Instagram, we can see that the priority when creating content was to produce something unique and interesting, and most importantly, relevant to our target audience. At Converrt, we are creating content for businesses looking to get into marketing, and so our posts centre around marketing tips, tools, and advice. We aim to provide something of value with every post that we create, to ensure we are posting with purpose and that our customers find the content relevant and interesting.
Our page is full of original and engaging content produced by our marketing team, and it follows a cohesive brand identity throughout, to ensure that our high-quality content is being associated with us by potential customers.
Bonus social media marketing tips: Another great way of including high-quality, engaging content on your social media is by making use of User Generated Content. UGC is images, texts or videos produced by your customers, that you can use for promotional activities, whilst sharing and appreciating the people who have bought from and shared your brand. UGC is a great tool, as it shows a real example of someone who has used and loved your product/service, which can be of huge influence on prospective customers.
Let’s take a look at a great example of UGC:
Rare Beauty is a makeup brand founded by Selena Gomez in 2019, which aims to promote makeup in a different light – using it to embrace your natural beauty and promote self-acceptance. Their mission is to create an inclusive space for everybody, regardless of gender identity, race, age etc.
This post on their Instagram showcases their customers from different ages and races using their new tinted moisturiser with the hashtag #rareroutine. Rare Beauty’s social media marketing plan can be used as a brilliant example of using UGC to achieve multiple things, such as promoting their new product, showing appreciation to their customers, creating a community around the brand, and demonstrating their core brand values of inclusivity.
These are just a few examples of making use of high quality, original content and intregrating it into your overall social media marketing strategy.
Top Tip: When you produce high quality organic content, this often performs best if you choose to repurpose them for social media advertising!
9. Schedule your content for consistency
Scheduling your content is a key aspect of social media marketing and has become a standard within the industry. Scheduling your content allows for regular and consistent posting helps keep your audience engaged and aware of your presence on social media. Scheduling allows you to maintain a steady flow of content, even during busy periods.
Similarly, creating a content calendar can save you valuable time, and allows you to create content and publish in advance and when it’s convenient for you. This way, you can align your content with specific campaigns, events, or product launches, ensuring that your messaging is coherent and strategic.
Scheduling is also a helpful tool for optimising audience reach. Each social media platform has an ideal time to post for the most engagement, but without content scheduling, it can be hard to ensure you are free to post at that time every day.
With a scheduling tool, you can set the time you want the posts to go out ahead of time. In addition to this, if your target audience spans different time zones or regions, scheduling ensures your content is available to them when they are most active, regardless of your location.
Take a look at the best time to post on each social media:
However, it is important to ensure that you can be flexible in your schedule! There will be moments where you want to publish a post in between your planned content, in order to tap into trending topics and discussions. Real time monitoring of trending topics is crucial for social media marketing, as they reveal what people are interested in or what their intentions are, and puts into context how your audience will react to your content.
10. Engage with your audience
The final stage of our social media marketing tips for beginners is to engage with your audience! Being ‘social’ on social media is a fundamental aspect of a successful social media strategy, as it builds trust and authority around your brand, drives business outcomes, and helps you stay connected to your target audience in a personal and authentic way. Engagement comes in a variety of different forms, such as profile clicks, CTA’s, comments, shares, mentions from other pages and messages.
Social media platforms have evolved to reward authentic social interactions, and engagement should be a priority within your digital marketing strategy. Here are just a few reasons to engage on social media:
Builds Relationships: Engaging with your audience allows you to build meaningful relationships with your followers. Responding to comments, messages, and interactions shows that you value their input and are interested in what they have to say.
Fosters Trust and Credibility: Regular engagement establishes trust and credibility. When you respond to inquiries, provide helpful information, and address concerns promptly, it demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and professionalism.
Increases Brand Loyalty: Engaged audiences are more likely to become loyal customers or brand advocates. When people feel heard and appreciated, they are more inclined to support and promote your brand to others.
Gathers Feedback: Engaging with your audience provides a valuable information and feedback. You can gather insights into customer preferences, pain points, and opinions, which can inform product development and marketing strategies.
Humanizes Your Brand: Interacting with your audience in a personable and authentic way humanizes your brand. It shows the people behind the brand and helps create a relatable and approachable image.
As you now know what metrics are important to you and are in relation to your business goals, you can use them to understand what forms of engagement you should be focusing on to interact with your audience for the most return on your marketing efforts. For example, if your business goal was to increase brand awareness, you would focus on metrics that demonstrate your reach.
Engagement forms which would work with this business goal in mind would be creating high quality content that encourages sharing, engage with those who comment and share your posts, get involved in relevant hashtags that you want to be a part of, and start up a conversation with your followers!
There are so many different options to consider when it comes to forming an engagement strategy, and it can be quite overwhelming.
If you’re struggling with coming up with an effective engagement plan, or an overall marketing strategy, our team of professionals at Converrt can help! We can put together a detailed, well-researched strategy, that can be implemented across your social accounts – find out more.
Having an effective social media marketing strategy is crucial for businesses to succeed in the modern day, and it is something to get started as soon as possible, even if you’re a beginner! These 10 steps are here to help you set up of your account and start your journey through the social media jungle! Whilst it might feel intimidating at the beginning, sticking to a cohesive plan like this can make the process a whole lot easier!
These have been our top 10 social media marketing tips for beginners and we hope they have been helpful to you!
Take a look at our Youtube Channel to hear more about social media marketing tips for beginners and other similar videos:
Let us know in the comments which of these tips you’ll be implementing into your marketing strategy and tell us your number 1 tip for beginners to help each other out!
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Digital Marketing Assistant
Olivia started her digital marketing journey with her own small business back in 2021. Since then, she has graduated with a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing Management and has continued to grow her skillset working for Converrt. Her main interests are content creation and web design, as she feels this is where she can best exercise her abilities and creativity.