More people than ever are using social media. Pew Research Center reports that seven in 10 Americans use social media, or about 72%. Instagram reports hitting over 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2021, with 87% from outside the United States.
Statistics like these speak to the value of social media marketing. According to HubSpot, 73% of marketers rank "increased acquisition of new customers" as their favored outcome of social media use in 2021. What does this mean for business professionals who want to advance their career in marketing? It may be time to make social media marketing skills a priority.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are one way to gain an advantage in social media marketing. For example, Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers an online MBA with a Concentration in Marketing program that takes a comprehensive look at social networks, social media platforms and advertising on social media platforms. In as few as 12 months, students in this program can gain the tools they need to leverage social media as a digital marketing strategy.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media is about bringing people together. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are among the top platforms, but there are many others.
Social media marketing is about finding out where a company's target audience is hanging out online, and then using that information to develop marketing strategies to reach them. More than 2.6 billion people use Facebook actively, making it an obvious place to start. Social media marketing on Facebook can include:
- Creating a Facebook business page to connect with current and potential customers
- Using Messenger to interact with new and existing customers
- Buying targeted Facebook ads that are affordable
A look at one success story illustrates the power of social media marketing. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a global humanitarian aid organization, ran a video-based Facebook campaign to increase awareness and boost donations. Here is what that looked like:
- A "reach and frequency" campaign ran for five days to relevant audiences
- MSF retargeted custom audiences to convert people who showed interest but had yet to donate. They used "lookalike audiences" to reach more people who were likely to donate.
Reach is one way to measure the success of MSF's campaign (11.5 million people). More significantly, the funds raised in this campaign provided for measles vaccines for nearly 700,000 children.
What Leads to Social Media Marketing Success?
SproutSocial's Brent Barnhart offers a few tips for successful social media marketing. Just like cooking, social media marketing may involve more than following a recipe. What if you need to feed more people or take dietary restrictions into account? Similarly, social media marketing requires planning ahead:
- Know your audience. Who is already buying the product or service? What segment is difficult to reach? What are the best channels for reaching that demographic?
- Look beyond likes and followers. Reach, clicks and hashtag performance are among metrics that matter.
- Get to know the competition. What is working?
- Balance promotional marketing with relevant content. Videos are particularly effective.
- Engage with your audience. This includes trying to resolve complaints.
Social media marketing outshines traditional marketing strategies in many respects. For example, analytics tools make it easy to compare performance with objectives. Whether those objectives relate to fundraising for a good cause or generating buzz for a product launch, social media can help marketers make the most of their efforts.
Learn more about Southeastern's MBA with a Concentration in Marketing online program.
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