Social Media Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners in 2021

Social media marketing wasn’t such a big “deal” when it was in its early phase. 

As time went by, with companies spending big money and just about every other brand trying to gain exposure on the internet, social media growth strategies have been under the limelight.

This post highlights some of the best social media marketing strategies for brands, entrepreneurs, digital marketers, musicians, and literally just about anyone who’s looking to scale in near future.

In other words, one could say that it’s the ultimate social media expansion guide with a culmination of various strategies that we’ve learned, planned, and executed over the last couple of years.

So, let’s get to it.

Table of Contents

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Types of Social Media Platforms

As you already know, we’ve got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest among the bigwigs of the social media industry.

At the same time, there do exist other types of social media platforms as well.

There’s TikTok and Snapchat, both of which weren’t part of the social media marketing staple when these brands were incepted. However, many companies use the latter two to gain leverage over their competitors. 

Part of the reason for using TikTok, or Snapchat over Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest is the human psychology factor. People have a short attention span, so brands use captivating 10 – 15 sec videos to retain user attention with strong CTAs. 

And you know what? It works at least 95% of the time because interactive visuals and videos have the tenacity to maintain users’ focus as opposed to simple text + image-based posts. 

Anyhow, we’ll get into the crux of things later. For now, let’s take a look at why the following social media platforms stand out:

What type of social media platform is Facebook?

FB
  • Brings in more than 1.8 billion active users daily
  • Caters to a large group of millennials and Generation X users
  • Ideal for Advertising, Business & Brand scalability through targeted ads

Although Facebook is perfect for B2C practices, you should know that the company maintains Facebook pages under three categories. A, B, and C. If a brand’s page falls under the C category, despite having millions of active Likes, the page may not have a high engagement percentage.

Likewise, studies have shown that “Validated” Facebook profiles bring in more active users, as opposed to profiles/ pages that haven’t been verified. 

For Facebook page verification guidelines, you can follow this link:

Instagram

insta
Instagram is a free, social media network and photo-sharing application that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Some of the salient features of Instagram are: 
  • Boasts of more than 1 Billion active monthly users.
  • Since Facebook acquired Instagram, the engagement and user count has grown exponentially.
  • Ideal for UGC (* User Generated Content), Brands, Advertising, Natural Looking Media
  • Millennials make up for the majority of the Instagram user base

Twitter

twitter
Twitter is a “microblogging” platform that facilitates sending and receiving short posts called tweets. Twitter over the years has become increasingly popular with policymakers, students, politicians and the general public at large. Some of the prominent aspects of Twitter as a platform are:
  • Maintains more than 206 million active daily user
  • One of the best microblogging websites to date.
  • Best for customer service, news media, public relations, game developers, etc.
  • Impacts B2C and B2B industries respectively.

The Role of Content Marketing in Social Media Content Communities

For marketers, “captivating and audience” holds an entirely different meaning as compared to generic music artists or someone within the same niche. 

The latter category intends to retain the audience’s attention for visual entertainment, but brands and marketing agencies have an entirely different agenda. 

For brands, audience retention through social media marketing strategies is all about:

  • Staying on top of content updates with the right message
  • Conversion and funnel optimization through social media marketing for increased revenue
  • Business scalability
  • Engage people towards a specific B2B or B2C service through ad campaigns
  • Ensuring that whatever newsfeed rolls out, it aligns with a business’s marketing goals and objectives

Social Media Content Strategy

Our intestines literally quiver with excitement at the slightest hint of seeing entrepreneurs, businesses, startups & brands engaging in social media marketing campaigns. 

However, not all of them succeed or manage to bring in expected users as per the pre-campaign assumptions.

In a way, it is all about the type of content that you are considering pushing out through your social media profiles. Also, the selection of social media itself matters a lot because some platforms are not perfect for a certain business.

A Poor Example: Advertising chiropractor services through SnapChat or TikTok will definitely not ruffle any feathers out there in the online stratosphere.

Learning to Avoid the Disparity Factor in Content Rollout

disparity factor in content marketing

Another thing to look out for is the disparity factor in the content itself when it’s rolled out through social media profiles. Newbie marketers often make the mistake of using different types of filters that are not visually aligned with the brand’s identity. 

A good example of synonymous content would be ‘The Frye Company’ Instagram page. They are a fashion brand known for aesthetic, creative, and bold apparel choices. 

What’s more important about Frye’s Instagram account is the fact that all their images have a nearly identical filter applied to them. They also use Hashtags to promote their brand identity because users pick up on it, and reshare the content through their respective profiles. 

This careful selection of content, alongside proper imagery and scheduled intervals, is what helps the company to match Instagram profile to Facebook feeds and vice versa. 

Frye, in other words, is the same as other social media platforms because they are moving forward with their social media marketing campaigns with a crystal clear perspective of how the content needs to stick with the brand’s theme. 

What Type of Content Is Best for Your Audience?

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It actually starts with the nature of your business, followed up with an extensive review of the audience demographics, age groups, user preference patterns, and the best time of the day to release the content. 

On top of that, you need to double down on the type of social media platform that you plan on using for building upon your marketing strategy. 

According to a recent survey about the type of content that gets the most attention on social media, about 74% of people prefer visual content over plain text feeds. Images just happen to have a way of being emotionally expressive and powerful for users. 

Regardless, text feeds also make up for a certain portion of the content staple that rolls out through social media marketing campaigns these days. For best results, adopt one of the following content types:

a. Text-Based Content

Ideal for attracting people looking to engage with a brand through:

  • Humor Posts
  • Real-Time Stories
  • Critical Brand Related Updates
  • Customer Testimonials and Reviews
  • Tips Oriented Content Style

b. Image-Based Content

Image-only content does have an impact, but when it’s paired with text overlay, the strategy helps to push brands’ messages easily. 

For instance, food bloggers and business owners in the F&B industry use powerful drool-worthy closeup shots of online food order menu items with a bit of text and a follow-up link that redirects to the brand’s services page.

c. Video Content

Videos, as we mentioned earlier in this post, create a ripple effect when they are in short bursts. 

Take the example of TikTok and Snapchat’s video content strategy. It’s powerful, to the point content, with a precise call to action. The no-fluff strategy works well towards increased ROI by a whopping 83% for many businesses all over the world. 

The remainder of the content type under the social media marketing hood is based on Gifs, Infographics, Stories, Memes, and such similar nature.

The Five Best Content Ideas for Social Media Marketers in 2021

Social media marketers often stumble upon the metaphorical “writers’ block”. Except that this time, it’s about hitting a wall where you run out of ideas to promote your campaigns with.

Here are the 5 best content ideas for social media marketers in 2021 and beyond:

  • Educational Content: Train and educate viewers to not only create awareness about anything in particular but also drive more traffic to the brand in question. 
  • Questions Oriented Content: Identify and solve problems. Think Quora, but on Social Media Pages!
  • Repackaged Content: Use your old content with a twist of new images, or placeholder text to keep the audience coming back for more.
  • Shareable Stories/ Content: Share intriguing content and promote through short span story videos. Ask people to follow your services page, website, or visit an e-commerce shop for the rest of the mystery reveal!
  • Powerful Visuals + Text Content: Be creative and think outside the box. Combine your designers’ artwork with mad copywriting skills to market your product online.

Growing Your Social Media Target Audience Like a Pro

isometric view of social media audience growth

A spurt in social media audience growth is ultimately one of the long-term goals behind any social media marketing strategy these days. 

With more people following your digital footprints, rest assured, there are higher chances of engaging prospects and converting some of the leads into actual sales. 

Here are some of the best audience growth tactics for social media marketing and advertisement connoisseurs:

1. Demographics of Social Media Users

While running Facebook or Instagram ads, you have the choice of selecting a region-specific audience for your ads.

Facebook advertisers can tinker with audience demographic settings through a dedicated panel inside Facebook Analytics Dashboard. If your brand or services are meant for a specific audience range, have at it. Use the tool to not only save money on paid social media campaigns but also have a higher chance of CRO.

Besides, running paid ads without focusing on demographics doesn’t garner as much of an engagement factor as seen in many cases.

multi channel campaigns

2. Multi-Channel Campaigns to Support Brand Strategy

Hyperactive brands leverage their marketing campaigns through a multi-channel approach.

For instance, your favorite brand might be using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to attract potential customers. If you have dedicated funds for running paid social media campaigns, adopt the multi-channel approach through different platforms.

3. Organize, Schedule, and Manage Content

For larger companies, populating Facebook and Instagram pages isn’t all about posting random bits n’ pieces of content all day.

Yes, they schedule posts in advance, but there’s a tad bit of rocket science going on behind the amazing content strategy.

For instance, it’s a good idea to manage and plan your content feed through a dedicated social media content calendar. Speaking of content calendars, there are plenty of free content calendar templates for social media content creators. Search for any one of them and download to customize everything in there.

For social media marketing enthusiasts, relying on a content calendar that lays out the content release plan, in advance, is essential to increase audience pool in the long run.

Likewise, with so much content amassing those cells in the content template, it’s better to spread everything over via a proper content schedule.

The conventional way of scheduling content is by manually adding each post to your social media feed and selecting a ‘Content Publishing’ date in advance. However, that’s not as effective if you were to use a content scheduling tool in advance.

You can use robust social media content scheduling tools, such as; Buffer, PromoRepublic, and Plannable to get a head start over your competition.

4. Paid Tools are Often the “Best” Tools

Do you know why that’s so for social media marketers? It’s because paid tools offer dedicated resources and feature sets to execute social media marketing campaigns through a fuss-free interface.

Take the example of Canva.

We’d say it’s a pretty awesome visual imagery tool used by social media content creators and designers from all over the internet. However, Canva drives more value through its paid plans by offering access to thousands of images, features, filters, and whatnot.

The best thing about Canva is that it’s not that expensive.

However, we wouldn’t want you to topple over to the “broke campaigners” side. As long as you don’t have a proper budget for using paid social media campaigning tools, make do with the free ones.

5. Time-Sensitive Content

Marketers often use time-sensitive content to grow their audience on social media.

Forget about posting ahead of Holidays, Black Friday, or Labor Day!

Think at a small level about using time-sensitive social media stories to humanize your brand/ services.
Here’s a good example. Food truckers often post in advance when they are about to set up shop or visit a location. If these mobile street food businesses have a fair chunk of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform, posting ahead of the curve helps to keep the audience on standby.

Likewise, if there’s a special public get-together or a welfare event, mobile food businesses make it a point to pull over near the venue. However, these business owners are also engaging audiences through social media feeds to bring in more revenue by the end of the day.

Social Media Analytics and Monitoring

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Are you using social media analytics tools to nail down your SM marketing campaigns?

For marketers, it’s all about capitalizing on metrics to outperform the competition. For instance, knowing the answer to one of these questions helps to create and implement better strategies from business/ brand scalability POV:

  • Which Tweets Performed the Best?
  • What’s the Ideal Time Slot for Posting and Scheduling Content on Social Media Platforms?
  • The type of Content that Creates the Most Engagement?
  • Which Hashtags are Used More Often?
  • What Type of User Generated Content is Focused on Your Brand and Services?

… and about a bazillion other variables go into the above parallels. 

Luckily, everything can be tracked with the help of integrated and 3rd party paid social media analytics tools. 

These tools have the metrics and data-driven statistics to highlight pain points for social media marketers and brand influencers.

A. Facebook Insights

social media marketing, free social media marketing tools, content marketing through social media, marketing tips in 2021

A default tool to double down on your posts reach, engagement, user demographics, etc.

B. Twitter Analytics

A powerful integrated social media marketing tool for measuring different variables of Tweet Activity.

C. LinkedIn Insights/ Analytics

social media marketing, free social media marketing tools, content marketing through social media, marketing tips in 2021

Check page views, unique visits to your LinkedIn posts, and visitor demographics to reshape all your future content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a Digital Marketer?

A digital marker is any person who caters to your social media marketing requirements as a professional. You can hire digital marketing agencies with in-house resources to ensure that your ad money is well spent on maximizing ROI and sending a brand message across industry verticals. 

Should I Use Paid Social Media Marketing Tools Instead of Free Tools?

Paid tools, in most cases, are way better than free social media marketing software. 

You get tons of exclusive features to perform competitive analysis from different angles. Plus, these tools are designed to publish, handle and monitor different aspects of your marketing strategies like a coin-operated pony outside Dunkin Donuts!

How Do I Promote my Business without Spending Any Money on Social Media?

Startups are often strapped for cash. 

As a new business owner, you can use free organic social media marketing tools to handle your activities without spending anything. For analytics, use integrated solutions that come with the social media platforms by default. 

Which Content is the Best Content for Social Media?

It actually depends on your product and service niche. If you’re a leatherworking business owner, post content about leather-made goods, the tanning process, your product catalog, and vice versa. 

Can I Get an Online Certificate in Social Media Marketing?

social media marketing, free social media marketing tools, content marketing through social media, marketing tips in 2021

You can actually get a bundle of certificates on social media and digital marketing through online courses.

A good example of one such platform is CXL Institute. They have a free scholarship program for deserving candidates who can qualify the institute’s requirements and demonstrate potential through the application form. 

For more details, visit CXL Institute Mini Degree Scholarship Program page right now.

At The End of the Day...

Social media marketing is the need of the hour these days. 

While it’s true that you can execute and take charge of your own social media marketing strategies, it’s better to employ professionals with dedicated resources to handle everything. Your potential user group, on the other hand, lives and breathes social media by the day. 

It’s better to start soon with a proper roadmap in line to achieve your social media strategy goals for the entire year. 

But at the same time, the most important thing for any brand to remain successful and relevant in the social media realm is consistency. Millennials have a bad habit of quitting ahead of the curve if they don’t see results in ”5 easy steps.”. 

It takes realistic short-term goals, patience, and a bit of elbow grease to take any social media marketing strategy to the next level. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually break through.