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Intro to social media marketing

Learn the basics of social media marketing campaign strategies.

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Social media marketing is relatively new in the history of marketing and advertising. Facebook Business Manager launched in 2014. Instagram business accounts followed in 2016, and TikTok entered the social scene the same year.

It's safe to say social media's got a hold on us. We're linked in, taking pictures of our #dailylooks, and learning how to dance via TikTok. But we're also learning about new products and businesses. We're reading reviews, leaving our own, and rating everything from tai chi classes to Thai iced tea. Where we go to play on the internet is also where businesses have learned how to grab our attention and encourage us to take action.

What is content marketing?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of social media marketing, we have to take a step back and understand the concept of content marketing.

Content marketing is the branch of marketing that uses content to drive and achieve its marketing goals. "Content" is the catch-all term for the art and information marketers use to inspire their audience to take action. Content includes podcasts, social media posts, blog articles, video spots, and more. Content is the means through which marketers tell brand stories.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is a subset of content marketing that uses social media channels to disseminate content, engage with audiences, and collect valuable analytics to improve strategy.

You engage with social media channels daily: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, amongst others. Social media marketers take the content they've created and post it to these channels to be seen by their followers. Social media marketing aims to organically attract and engage with people who are interested in what a business has to offer.

The benefits of social media marketing

Social media marketing has become a highly-effective marketing medium in recent years. Because social media connects the stories of everyday people with the stories of the businesses surrounding them, social media marketing has taken up the mantle of humanizing business in a way that hasn't been possible before. In doing so, it has become a massively beneficial medium for marketers and small business owners alike.

Increase trust and build brand awareness

One of the first significant benefits of social media marketing is that it helps you to increase trust with your customers and build brand awareness, even brand loyalty. By sharing space with your customers (i.e., using the same social media channels they do), you humanize your brand and develop brand authenticity. Customers see that your brand includes people who have a sense of humor, support the same causes, and have the same interests as they do.

Provides a direct line of connection to customers

Like we said earlier, sharing space with your customers helps humanize your brand, but it also allows you to communicate directly with your audience. No more wondering about how people feel about your business. They'll tell you through likes, comments, and shares.

Moreover, you can gain valuable feedback by running polls and linking to surveys. You can increase customer satisfaction by meeting customers where they are to answer questions, comments, and concerns.

Helps you to monitor competition and trends

Another great benefit of social media is that nothing exists in a vacuum. Your customers can see what you're up to and you can research your target audience. Knowing what your audience is interested in, what kind of competitor accounts they are following, and the sort of people they find influential is invaluable information for your business.

Being active on social media means you can monitor trends and your competition to help get ideas about high-performing content. What you see floating around in cyberspace might inspire your next great marketing campaign.


Know your audience


Marketing means nothing without an audience. You want your messages, designs, and videos to be seen and, more importantly, to be seen by the right people — people who are primed to engage with your content and take an interest in your business. These people are your target audience.

Social media marketing is no different. Finding the right target audience is key to building a successful presence in the social sphere. 


Determining your target audience

To understand who your target audience is on social media you’ll need to take the time to research, refine, and repeat. 



Data is everything when it comes to developing a quality target audience. You’ll want to make some educated guesses about who your social media target audience will be based on your current customer base, but then you’re going to have to back them up by collecting the appropriate data as you test and refine your audience target. 


Demographic Data 

The first step to determining your target audience is to take a deep dive into the demographics of your current customers. Think about the people who are purchasing your products or booking your services. Some demographics you’ll want to pay attention to are: 

  • Age
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job/Career


Search out your audience

As you recognize what your customer base looks like you’ll have a good understanding of the type of users to gear your content towards online. The first step is to find where your audience is hanging out online. Remember that your audience might not be present on every platform.


Find your competition

Use your competition as fuel for your social media marketing efforts. Find competitors within your industry and see what kinds of content they are posting and who their audience is. 


Repeat & Refine

It’s important to remember that your audience will grow and change as your business does. Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your social sphere by repeating the cycle every quarter and refine your target audience(s) when necessary. 


How to attract followers

Getting people to notice your business takes work and attracting followers can seem like a tough challenge, but fear not, we’ve got you covered with some top tier tips and tricks to help you peak potential customers’ interest and see your follower count skyrocket. 


Start with your base

When you first create your social media accounts, start with your base to attract followers. This includes your friends, family, and current clients. Ask your base to follow your accounts and spread the word about your business.


How to grow beyond your existing base

Once you’ve tapped into your stores of loyal fans, it’s time to figure out new ways to grow your social following. Hashtagging, following relevant accounts, and cross-channel CTAs will help you to expand your social reach. 



Hashtags are a great resource to getting your content seen by potential customers. Tag your content with no more than ten relevant and/or trending hashtags to make sure your content is easy to discover. Sources like WhatTheTrend (@WTT) and https://hashtag.org/ will teach you how to find hashtags. 


Follow relevant accounts

Following user accounts and business accounts relevant to your brand can help you grow your presence and expose your content to new customers. Just be sure to follow credible accounts, don’t purchase followers, and don’t follow a ton of accounts in one visit (you’ll end up looking like a bot). 


Cross-channel CTAs 

Encourage customers to follow your social media accounts by adding clickable links to your email marketing, print materials, and website. 



Selecting the right channel


Social media is a vast and varied medium for marketing. While you may want to go all in and start posting to every channel, it's essential to pause, think about strategy and what will be most effective for your business in the present and the future. 


So before you jump in with both feet, consider this: it's better to be consistent on one channel than to post haphazardly to every medium available. 


Check out the following demographic information, collected in 2022 by Sprout Social, to help you determine the best social channels for your business. We've compiled a list of the best content types per channel to ensure your posts are ready to garner great engagement.



Engage with other businesses and professionals, and share thought leadership and achievements. In terms of audience, the largest age group for LinkedIn is 25-35, predominantly male. On average, users spend around 33 minutes a day using the channel.


Best content types: 

  • Sharing events
  • Webinars
  • Company updates



Engage with customers, and share image and video-based content to promote and reinforce your brand. In terms of audience, the largest age group is 25-34, with slightly more male users than female. On average, users spend around 29 minutes a day using the channel.


Best content types:

  • Memes
  • Video content and reels
  • Event showcase
  • Promotion
  • Bite-sized content (repurposing blogs), hints, and tips 



Quick updates, customer service, curate content, engage with partners. In terms of audience, the largest age group is 18-29, with predominantly male users. On average, users spend around 31 minutes a day using the channel. 


Best content types: 

  • Customer service queries
  • General updates
  • Memes
  • Polls
  • Engaging in relevant conversations
  • Social listening
  • Engaging with partners
  • Shout-outs to customers



Announce events, share blogs, and answer questions. In terms of audience, the largest age group is 25-35, with more male users than female users. On average, users spend around 33 minutes a day using the channel.


Best content types: 

  • Sharing events
  • Webinars
  • Company updates



Entertain your audience, and gather customer testimonials. In terms of audience, the largest age group is 10-19, with predominantly female users. On average, users spend around 89 minutes a day using the channel. 


Best content types:

  • Brand awareness content
  • Product demos
  • Customer testimonials



Share links to your products and content that encourages their use. In terms of audience, the largest age group is 50-64, with the vast majority of users being female and spending an average of 14.2 minutes daily. 


Best content types:

  • Product-centric posts and ads
  • Ideas and relevant blogs to inspire customers to use your product
  • Mood boards, including your products
  • Great for design businesses (interiors, homes), the food industry, and hospitality



Share behind-the-scenes content, customer testimonials, and product demos. In terms of audience, the largest age group is 15-35, with slightly more male than female users. On average, users spend around 30 minutes a day using the channel. 


Best content types: 

  • Product demos
  • Customer testimonials
  • Event recaps
  • Q&As 
  • Business ads


Determine your goals

You need to set goals to thrive as a business in the online social sphere. The goals you select will help you determine how to use social media to better your business. As you work on setting goals, remember to make them SMART goals. The SMART goal framework stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound.

To help you get started, we've listed a couple of ready-made goals and the types of content that will help you achieve them.

Drive awareness

Whether you're a new business, new to social media marketing, or launching a new product or service, getting people to notice you is essential. Use content to help people get familiar with your brand and what you have to offer.

Types of content to drive awareness:

  • Behind the scenes of your business
  • Q&A or FAQ
  • Product Demos
  • Service overviews
  • Contests

Please note this is a fictitious example created for this post. 

Treats picture with text on it

Grow contacts

Once you have their attention, you can grow your contact list. By increasing your following and subscribers, you'll increase your prospective customers and be able to communicate with your audience through other channels, like email, SMS, or phone calls.

Types of content to grow contacts:

  • Email opt-ins
  • Sign-up forms
  • Downloadable content
  • Competitions
  • Event RSVPs

Please note this is a fictitious example created for this post. 

Bread picture with text on it

Promote product/service

As your business launches products and services or wants to promote current offerings, you can use social media to help you publicize.

Types of content to promote a product or service:

  • Product demonstrations/tutorials
  • Product features: images and videos
  • Customer testimonials
  • Previews

Please note this is a fictitious example created for this post. 

Eclairs picture with text on it

Increase customer advocacy

It's one thing to entice your customers into supporting your business and another to get them talking about it.

Types of content to increase customer advocacy:

  • Encourage product reviews
  • Run contests where people have to share your content or tag a friend
  • Polls/Voting
  • Share customer stories/customer quotes

Please note this is a fictitious example created for this post. 

Smiling girl


Posting to social media

Once you've set your social media marketing goals, it's time to start creating content, scheduling posts, and testing to see what works.

Create a post

As you start to create content, remember to refer back to your goals. Every piece of content you produce should have a purpose that drives it. Once you know what action you want your content to inspire, it's time to focus on copywriting, design/imagery, and video editing where applicable.

Copywriting: Messaging is extremely important for getting your audience to engage with your content. What you say and how you say it matters. The tone you choose to communicate with will differ depending on your audience. Be thoughtful and consistent with your messaging style and tone … and a grammar/spell checker doesn’t hurt to have handy.

Design tools: It's crucial to select design tools that allow you to design quality content. When choosing a design platform, thinking about turnaround times and integrations is essential. Social media is a fast-moving environment, so you want access to agile project software that lets you keep up with the internet's rapid pace.

Video editing: As you consider video editing software, think about the types of videos you will be sharing and on what platform. You'll often find that social media apps have native editors, which ensure you create hostable content. For social channels that are more video focused, like YouTube, you might want to invest in a third-party video editor that has more robust capabilities.


Planning out content in advance and using social scheduling software will allow you to be consistent in your posting efforts. Social scheduling tools give you a bird's eye view of all the content you have scheduled for weeks across channels and allows you to be present on social media even when you’re away from your desk.

Quickly move content around to keep up with trends and save time in your work schedule. Setting your daily posting to auto-send via scheduling software gives you time to monitor and engage with your audience, work on more material, etc.


It's important to play around and test your posts to see what works and what doesn't. Pay attention to what engages your audience. Notice the kinds of content that work on one channel may yield completely different results on another.

Play around with image styles, design, video, and caption content.

Measure and adjust your social media campaign strategy

Once you've made your posts, it's crucial to monitor the success of your content. You'll want to see what people found relevant, engaging, and informative and what they could have responded better to.

Making an effort to analyze your previous content means you can adjust for the future and create better content with each new piece. Here are some metrics that will be useful when you measure your social media campaign performance:

Impressions: This is the number of times your content appears in the social feed to be seen by users.
Reach: This is the number of people your content has reached.
Engagement: This is the number of times users engage with your content through clicks, likes, comments, mentions, and shares.
Conversions: This is the number of times your audience responded to your call to action by completing the desired action. For example: subscribing, purchasing, and signing up for an event.

Best practices for Social Media Marketing

Now that you have the knowledge and know-how on social media marketing, it's time to ready your social strategy and start creating your posts. As a quick little cheat sheet, refer to these best practices whenever you need a refresher on what makes great social media marketing.

Consistency over quantity:

Remember it is better to post consistently on one social channel than to sporadically post on all of them. A suitable method is to use a content calendar to plan your posts and keep your presence consistent.

Repurpose content:

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. When content works, it works. Repurpose the content you've already spent time creating. Select a blog post to pick and choose from and turn it into an infographic or social content. When you see a piece of content getting a high engagement rate, pause and assess if there are ways to repurpose it.

Have a clear call to action (CTA):

You want your content to inspire your audience to take action. A "call to action" or CTA is the little nudge you give your audience to purchase, click a link, or sign up for a newsletter. CTAs are a vital part of creating content that gets high-quality engagement.

Engage with your audience and listen for feedback:

Take the time to engage with your audience. Set aside time daily to attend to your followers' questions, comments, and concerns, so they feel supported by your business.

Tying it all together

Now that you’re well-versed in the world of social media marketing, it’s time to generate buzz in the social sphere. Get started by setting your first SMART goal, choosing a social channel to post to, and creating content to engage your target audience. Good social content will help you drive awareness, grow your contacts, promote your products and services, and increase customer advocacy, amongst other goals you set for your social media marketing strategy. Once you've played around and tested content types, you can start scheduling a whole fleet of posts that are ready to engage your audience and help grow your business.

About Constant Contact

Constant Contact delivers for small businesses and nonprofits with powerful tools that simplify and amplify digital marketing. Whether it's driving sales, growing a customer base or engaging an audience, we deliver the performance and guidance to build strong connections and generate powerful results.

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About Dave Charest

Dave Charest is Director of Small Business Success at Constant Contact, the online marketing leader trusted by millions of small businesses to provide email, web, social media, text and event marketing tools. In his role, Dave acts as an educator and an advocate for small business leaders, marketing professionals, and nonprofits by providing them with practical marketing advice that can help them achieve their goals. He is a dynamic leader, speaker, creator, and award-winning marketer who strives to inspire small businesses by simplifying the complex world of online marketing

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