what-are-the-benefits-of-social-media-marketing

Is Social Media Marketing the best digital marketing strategy for you? Why should you consider it over other strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Social Media Marketing involves using social networks to create, curate and share valuable content with a targeted audience in order to market a company’s products and services. The goals of social media marketing are to increase brand awareness, build online communities, attract leads and generate revenue.

The leading social media platforms where social media marketing takes place include Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Snapchat. 

Increasingly, new platforms and social media apps like TikTok, Telegram and WeChat have started to make their presence felt around the world. 

A wide range of online apps and tools are also available to assist your company in your social media marketing efforts. 

These tools can help you to create quality content or optimize your social media advertising efforts – the good thing is that most of these tools are available for free.

Why Social Media Marketing is Important

So why is Social Media Marketing so important for businesses in the digital age? Here are some reasons to consider.

Extensive Reach of Social Networks

There are currently more than 3.5 billion users on social media around the world, and together all users represent approximately 46 percent of the total population. That means that virtually every other person whom you meet on the street has a Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, WeChat, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media account!

Here are the number of users of some of the most popular social networks around the world:

  • Facebook: Over 2.45 billion monthly active users (source)
  • YouTube: Over 2 billion monthly active users (source)
  • WhatsApp: Approximately 1.60 billion monthly active users (source)
  • WeChat: Approximately 1.1 billion users (source)
  • Instagram Over 1 billion monthly active users (source)
  • Linkedin: Over 610 million users (source)

Time Spent on Social Media

Having many users on social networking sites isn’t the full story. Many people spend many hours on social networking websites too.

According to Statista, users spend on average 2 hours and 23 minutes on social networks every single day. In some countries, that probably represents the bulk of their free-time on screens, with users in the Philippines spending almost 4 hours a day on social media networks!

Lower Trust in Traditional Media Channels

Beyond the time spent, social media channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can also be powerful personal communication channels. 

Consumers are more likely to trust a recommendation from someone whom they know on social media compared to an ad that they see on television, a bus-stop shelter, newspaper or magazine. This powerful Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) effect of social media also means that you can use social proof (ie the number of likes, comments and shares on a post) to help to reach a larger number of people on social media.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing?

Now that you’ve learned about the importance of social media channels for your marketing efforts, the next thing you need to know are the advantages of social media marketing relative to other marketing strategies.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
Ubiquity among Users Difficulty in Measuring ROI
Mobile-First Social Networks Control Handed Over to Consumers
Less Technically Challenging Slow to Achieve ROI yet Time-Consuming
Relatively low to no cost (compared to other digital marketing strategies) Easy to Start – Difficult to Master
Relatively untapped in Singapore Government influence on social media
Gain market and audience insights Recurrent algorithm changes on social networks
Great for brand awareness and consideration Tight Competition
Complements off-page SEO efforts
Ability to trigger social sharing and virality
Ability to build brand affinity and thought leadership
Ability to foster brand advocacy and build community
Able to engage friends and family of users
Multimedia content formats (especially videos) help to improve brand storytelling
Simplify Complex Concepts with Visual Storytelling
Good for contests and other promotional campaigns
Ability to Deliver Customer Service

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

Ubiquity among Users

The pervasiveness of social networks among close to half of the global population means that it is relatively easier to reach your target audience through a social network than through any other online or offline channel.

This is especially important given the increasingly fragmented attention span of the average consumer – especially the younger generations.

Mobile-First Social Networks

Virtually all social networking websites and apps – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok – are optimized for smartphones. Given the preference for consuming social media content on a mobile phone relative to other screens like desktops and tablets, the mobile-friendliness of social networks make them powerful platforms for marketing.

Less Technically Challenging

Comparatively speaking, social media marketing has a lower technical barrier of entry compared to other digital marketing disciplines like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, Marketing Automation, or Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

While it is strongly recommended that websites should form part and parcel of your digital marketing arsenal, social media marketing allows any user to tap on his or her company or individual pages to reach new customers.

Relatively low to no cost (compared to other digital marketing strategies)

Membership to virtually all social networking websites is free. You can set up an individual profile or a company page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter without paying a single cent. Ditto for creating a YouTube channel.

Relatively untapped in Singapore

While Singapore has a relatively high number of social media users (approximately 76 percent are active on social media), most companies are still laggards when it comes to tapping on social media to grow their business.

Gain market and audience insights

Every social network offers some form of analytics – from Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, to Instagram and Pinterest. Provided free to users, these metrics allow you to learn more about your customer behaviours as well as your competitor actions. In the case of Facebook, you can even see what ads your competitors are running, or to monitor how effective their posts over the past week were! 

Great for brand awareness and consideration

Social Media Marketing is good for generating brand awareness and consideration – these are known as Top Of Funnel (TOFU) strategies in digital marketing. Thus, social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn are ideal for new brands seeking to build greater awareness and affinity to a cold audience.

Complements off-page SEO efforts

While shares on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn may not directly contribute to the number of backlinks to a webpage, they can certainly help to indirectly improve the SEO ranking of the page through indirect methods. This may include making your content more discoverable and possibly increasing the likelihood of a high authority website linking to you. 

Ability to trigger social sharing and virality

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube are made for virality. This may take place directly on the platform itself through shared posts or retweets, or through shares made on instant messages.

Ability to build brand affinity and thought leadership

Social networks are excellent platforms to build brand affinity and thought leadership. You can do this by regularly sharing helpful content and offering insights and perspectives on the latest developments in your industry. 

Ability to foster brand advocacy and build community

Heard of the term “Citizen Marketer”? Coined by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, it is used to refer to the phenomenon whereby power users of your brand take it upon themselves to promote your business – often without any form of payment or incentive. This is often mediated by social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, online forums, and Instant Messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram.

Able to engage friends and family of users 

As highlighted earlier, social media provides a more intimate experience relative to other digital and non-digital channels. This allows your brand to trigger WOM effects more easily.

Multimedia content formats (especially videos) help to improve brand storytelling

From live video streaming, articles, photos, and videos, to creating ‘stories’, social networks like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube offer multiple ways to share your content. These rich multimedia formats help to make brand storytelling more compelling.

Simplify Complex Concepts with Visual Storytelling

In a related fashion, social channels can help B2B brands (and some knowledge-based B2C brands) to simplify esoteric and complex concepts, and break them down into easier-to-digest chunks of snackable content. This includes short video snippets, infographics, animated shorts, eBooks, and other visual content types.

Good for contests and other promotional campaigns

Nothing beats a Facebook or Instagram contest when it comes to gaining fresh eyeballs and new followers to your brand. While there may be some contest fatigue in recent years due to overuse, most brands still find some benefit in organizing the occasional giveaway to spike consumer interest.

Ability to Deliver Customer Service

The standard these days is for Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of companies to serve as customer service channels. Responding effectively to customers on these channels may win you new ardent fans – provided of course you do it right!

What are the Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing?

While social media channels may confer numerous benefits to firms that get it right, mastering the art and science of social media marketing isn’t just a walk-in-the-park. 

Here are some of the challenges that you may face in using social networks to marketing your brand.

Difficulty in Measuring ROI

According to this article in Forbes, over 44 percent of businesses are unable to measure their ROI on social media. Apparently, only 20 percent of CMOs are able to accurately quantify the financial returns that they can glean from their efforts in social media.

Control Handed Over to Consumers

This is the age-old challenge that virtually all brands face in social media – consumers complaining and talking bad about your brand either on your page or on another platform. This could negatively affect your brand and result in the need for crisis management and damage control.

Slow to Achieve ROI yet Time-Consuming

If you think about the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, social media marketing is probably more akin to the latter than the former. 

You not only have to spend a considerable amount of time to keep “plodding on” in social media, you’ll also need to consider the long-term goal of establishing trust, building a brand, and generating leads on social media.

This is backed by a study by Social Media Examiner, which revealed that 59 percent of small business users did not see ROI from their social media activities. 

Easy to Start – Difficult to Master

It is virtually child’s play to shoot an Instagram story, add a couple of interesting stickers, or to conduct a poll on Facebook. However, getting results from your social media marketing efforts is another thing altogether. A study from Adestra and Ascend2 found social media marketing to be one of the most effective but difficult digital marketing tactics to execute.

Government influence on social media

Every day, you’ll hear or read about how governments around the world are clamping down on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Such sanctions may make potential customers shy away from social media, and this could reduce the effectiveness of using social networks for marketing purposes.

Recurrent algorithm changes on social networks

Social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are constantly tweaking their formulas to maximise their profits and nudge brands to spend more on advertising. This means that your organic reach is likely to reduce further each year unless you invest time and effort to cultivate your social media following while strategically investing in the right type of ads to influence your followers.

Tight Competition

Social networks are getting increasingly crowded. Ditto for advertisers.

In fact, it is a well-known fact that Facebook is running out of ad inventory – this could make it harder (and more expensive) to boost your posts or advertise on the world’s largest social network.

Conclusion

Social media marketing has grown in leaps and bounds in the 2010s and will continue to gain prominence in the 2020s. As a marketing platform, it is superior to many online and offline channels where it comes to affordability and reach. Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram also provide numerous benefits to brands, and are widely known as the “most viral” online channels. 

However, social media marketing does come with its challenges. To the uninitiated, these disadvantages can be daunting – the way to overcome them is to ensure that you apply the best practices in social media marketing. 


Ready To Learn More? Sign Up For Our Social Media Marketing Course!

What we have touched on above is just the icing on the cake.

In our two-day social media marketing course, we cover a detailed six-step process focusing on the most important social networks you need to know. You will be equipped with hands-on knowledge and valuable tools to strengthen both your skills and knowledge of social media marketing. Find out more about the course here.

CoSchedule Social Media Analytics

Any business that uses social media among its online tools needs to be sure it’s also using analytics to measure the effectiveness of those tools.

Analytics will help your business identify relevant data, and analyze and interpret that data. Such analysis and interpretation will allow you to make data-driven decisions about your business and its campaigns, rather than stumbling in the darkness without such valuable information.

As cited by Pyramid Analytics in its collection of great data quotes, “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.”

In evaluating the social media data of your business, a good analytics tool will help answer the key questions of your social media efforts:

  • Who (for instance, demographic information on who is engaging with your posts);
  • What (for instance, what are people saying about your business on social media);
  • Where (for instance, where are you getting the best results from your social media campaigns);
  • When (for instance, when is the best time to post);
  • Why (for instance, why are people engaging with your posts);
  • How (for instance, how are you best reaching customers);

How does a business-owner go about finding the answers to those questions? With analytics tools. So let’s take at our top picks in analytics tools, free and otherwise, to enable your business to make effective decisions and improve your performance on social media.

Here are 6 social media analytics tools :

  1. Google Analytics
  2. CoSchedule
  3. Hootsuite
  4. Cyfe
  5. Snaplytics
  6. Hashtagify

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics Social

We can’t talk about analytics without talking about Google Analytics, and it’s our top choice because it’s powerful and free. Most people think of Google Analytics as a tool to analyze website performance, but it also holds a lot of information about social media.

Using Google Analytics, you can tell how a user is interacting with your site, with details like pages-per-session and average session duration. The Social Pages report will tell you which pages on your site get the most attention with social media traffic.

Here are some other examples of what Google Analytics can tell you about social media:

  • What social media platform is bringing the highest number of visitors to your website, by displaying sources of social media traffic.
  • Goals Completion information, which allows you to assign goals for your social media posts, and then analyze the completion of those goals.
  • Number of conversions from your social media posts.
  • Number of assisted social media conversions.

With all that data available, and the right price (free), it’s no wonder it’s Number One.

2. CoSchedule

CoSchedule Social Media Analytics

We like CoSchedule for its in-depth post analysis that can be a benefit to all types and sizes of business. This tool analyzes the performance of social media posts to recommend improvements.

For instance, CoSchedule will analyze your social media data and let you know the best day and best time to post, as well as the best type of content to post. It will also provide information on:

  • Engagement with your social media posts.
  • The performance of a campaign across multiple platforms.
  • The performance of your business across various social media channels.
  • How many times a link has been shared.
  • An analysis of your top 100 posts.

CoSchedule has a free 30-day trial and then various pricing plans depending on whether the plan is for an individual, a business or an agency, and the size of the business.

3. Hootsuite

HootSuite Social Media Analytics

We would be remiss if we discussed social media analytics and didn’t have Hootsuite on the list. Hootsuite is one of the most established analytics services around, and it supports over 30 social media platforms.

Hootsuite provides a central dashboard view for every social media platform, and gives you basic information like number of followers, traffic and growth rates. It then digs into more granular information such as demographics of followers and geography.

It will filter results in a variety of ways, such as by location, keywords or hashtags, and gives you a snapshot of what’s being said about your brand, for instance, or your industry.

Hootsuite will also measure the impact of a campaign including measurement of conversions by social media platform and return on investment between owned and paid media.

It offers a free 30-day trial and then has a variety of price ranges, again depending on the business and its size.

4. Cyfe

Cyfe Social Media Analytics

Cyfe is another powerful analytics tools that you can try out for free. This business dashboard syncs data from a wide number of marketing tools. It has multiple integrations and dashboards that cover advertising, monitoring, emails, Search Engine Optimization, sales and web analytics, as well as social media analytics.

For social media, Cyfe will give you real-time data on how your brand is doing across 15+ platforms, including Facebook Ads and Facebook Pages, Instagram, Twitter Ads and Twitter, LinkedIn Ads and LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and Vimeo, to name a few. It also measures the return on investment of your social efforts.

Cyfe will give you statistics like followers and engagement, while also monitoring things like top performing posts. Cyfe also provides a great view of your social media analytics with dashboards that allow easy reporting and sharing on the performance of your business on social media.

5. Snaplytics

Social Media Analytics Snaplytics tool

There are also choices for platform-specific analytics. If you want to focus on a specific platform or two, there are those analytics tools that are expert at providing information specific to certain platforms.

For instance, Snaplytics has analytics specifically for Snapchat and Instagram only. This tool can build a library of a customer’s historical content and their engagement with your business. It also allows you to find top performing posts so you can create similar content, and provides a benchmark figure to allow you to compare results with your industry overall.

Snaplytics also provides quarterly reports, blogs and videos to help business maximize their effectiveness. Pricing plans vary but businesses can test a marketing campaign free for 14 days.

6. Hashtagify

Hastagify Social Media Analytics tool

The use of hashtags has been proven to boost the performance of advertisements and reduce the cost-per-click, while also providing cross-platform integration (for instance, across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). Analytics on hashtag performance might be important to your company, and if so, Hashtagify is for your business.

Hashtagify provides a variety of information on hashtag criteria, such as overall popularity, trends by the week and month, the languages used, and more. Using the results generated, your business may get inspiration from a successful existing campaign, or test the distinct nature of your campaign.

Hashtagify has a free search tool to allow for hashtag research, but for more in-depth data, there are monthly plans.

Final Thoughts

It’s not easy to navigate the world of data analytics, so it’s great to have powerful tools at your fingertips to give your business the insight it needs to improve its performance on social media.

We have made our top six picks with a view to giving you some options depending on your business, its size, the social platforms you use and your budget.

Some of your decisions around a tool to use may depend on the platform or platforms your business uses. For instance, if you’re focused only on Snapchat, check out our Number 5 pick, Snaplytics. But if your business uses a variety of social media platforms, Number 3 Hootsuite may be your best option.

If you want more than social media reporting, Cyfe might be a great option for your business. And if you want power at no cost, Google Analytics is a top choice.

What’s important is that you choose a tool that gives you the information you need to make great business decisions.

 


Further reading:

young adults using phones on social networks

Wonder how you can tap on social media marketing?

Keen to take baby-steps in growing your brand and expanding your business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or Pinterest?

Social media is now mainstream media. With billions of users around the world, social networks have exerted more impact on how people think, feel and act than virtually any other digital channel. Collectively, social media can influence public opinion, political landscapes, and economic environments in vast and significant ways.

Continually evolving, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn have become a part and parcel of everyday life and stalwarts of the digital world, while emerging social apps like TikTok and Telegram start to make their presence felt.

As the world adopts a social-first stance in consuming content, social media marketing has become an imperative for businesses and brands both big and small. As users share information in different forms – pictures, videos, stories, and live streams – their buying behaviours have radically changed. More consumers have begun starting their purchase journeys online.

This shift makes it necessary for businesses and brands to embrace various digital marketing techniques to remain competitive in the modern marketplace.

Huge conglomerates like Coca-Cola, Ikea, Intel, and Airbnb have used social media to enhance brand awareness, grow communities and improve their marketing reach. Ditto for solopreneurs, start-ups and SMEs attracted to social media’s lower cost of entry relative to traditional media channels.

But what does social media marketing truly mean? And how can your brand leverage on this ubiquitous channel?

In this article, we will cover the basic elements in social media marketing that you can use to attract, engage, convert, and delight your online customers.

Related: 15 Key Social Media Marketing Statistics for Singapore Digital Marketers (with analysis)

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing involves using social networks to create, curate and share valuable content to a targeted audience in order to market a company’s products and services.

The goals of social media marketing are to increase brand awareness, build online communities, attract leads and generate revenue.

Marketing through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others helps businesses to increase their brand awareness, engage their communities, drive sales, and deliver better customer experiences.

A successful social media marketing strategy involves creating unique social media profiles, publishing great content, engaging your followers, analyzing results of engagement, and running various advertisements to promote your business. Brands using social media for marketing should tailor their content to suit specific platforms and customer base.

young adults using phones on social networks

In thinking about social media marketing, it is useful to break down the different components of social media. To simplify them for easy recall, let us call them the 6 Cs:

  • Customers: You need to know who your target audiences are, where they typically hang out online, and what their interests are like.
  • Content: Social media eats, lives and breathes content. Your goal as a social media marketer is to create engaging and shareable content that amplifies your brand.
  • Channels: There are numerous social media networks, from Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, to Pinterest and blogs. Each have their own unique qualities.
  • Campaigns: Increasingly, companies realise that they need to invest some advertising funds to amplify their social media marketing activities.
  • Calibration: Thanks to the availability of social media analytics tools, you can assess the results of your marketing efforts and calibrate them accordingly.
  • Communities: If content is king on social media, then communities must be queen. Building a strong network of followers can help your brand gain traction online.

Customers: Who Are Your Customers On Social Media?

First and foremost, you need to identify your online customers.

What are their educational and economic backgrounds like? Where do they live? What concerns do they have in their day-to-day lives?

If you are selling to businesses, these considerations may include the size of the companies you are reaching out to, their interests, as well as their procurement processes and cycles.

Beyond these pointers, it is also important to consider your customer’s online activities. What are some of the topics that could trigger their interests? How can you distil and discern their pain points and keywords?

By mapping out your customer profile, you’ll have a stronger foundation to begin your social media marketing activities with.

What Content Should You Create On Social Media?

happy and successful

Content is king. On social networks, they may take a wide variety of formats, from text posts, image posts, link posts, videos, to infographics and ads.

There are three important factors to consider when you create content on social media:

  • Searchable: Is your content ‘findable’ online, and will people care enough to search for it?
  • Snackable: Does your content fit well into a mobile-first format? Is it easy to consume and understand?
  • Shareable: Does your content make your users want to share it on their own social networks?

Beyond these factors, it is also important to consider the value of storytelling. Virtually all the legendary campaigns on social media have a strong storytelling component.

If you don’t know how to get started, check out my winning schedule for social media content creation.

Related: What Is Content Marketing? Definition, Benefits, and Examples.

Channels: What are the Popular Social Media Channels?

Brands and businesses can leverage several social media marketing channels. However, note that the success of each platform requires social media marketers to implement a good marketing strategy.

This involves understanding the type of users on each platform and creating specific social media marketing content types that fit well with the target market in the platform.

Some of the popular social media channels include the following:

YouTube

youtube loading screen on mobile

As the second largest search engine after Google, YouTube has carved a niche for itself as the new TV. Virtually everyone watches a video on YouTube to entertain, educate or enrich themselves.

With the huge number of YouTube Channels available out there, gaining traction here requires a significant amount of investment in producing quality videos that are keyword friendly, topical and valuable.

  • Number of Users – 1.9 billion
  • Type of audience – Generation Z and Millennials
  • Industry impact – B2C and B2B
  • Best for – entertainment, education, and how-to videos

YouTube remains the number one platform for sharing video content. It also doubles up as an incredibly authoritative social media marketing platform. As a search channel, YouTube has the unique property of enabling evergreen videos to continually attract video views.

To succeed here, invest in creating how-to videos that are insightful and educational. These videos should also be optimised for the right search keywords, and be engaging. Such videos have an added advantage on ranking, as they may also show on Google search results.

Facebook

facebook mobile next to a laptop

With over 2.2 billion worldwide users, Facebook is the largest social network of all. Increasingly, more users access Facebook using their mobile devices.

Functioning more like a content management system than a conversational platform alone, Facebook allows you to create a wide variety of content types – from text, photos, videos, and articles, to live videos, stories (short video/photo segments typically created using a mobile phone), offers, polls, and much more.

  • Number of Users – more than 2.2 billion
  • Type of audience – Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers
  • Industry impact – B2C and B2B businesses, start-ups
  • Best for – advertising and promoting brand awareness, and community building

As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has a huge captive audience. However, it can also be extremely competitive due to the large number of brands and businesses on the platform. 

As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has a huge captive audience. However, it can also be extremely competitive due to the large number of brands and businesses on the platform.

To tap on Facebook’s marketing capability, you should begin by creating a Facebook Business Fan page and to engage actively on Facebook Groups.

Organic reach on this platform can be limited. Brands should thus consider employing the use of various cost-effective ad strategies, which can have significant positive effects on your presence.

Instagram

flatlay for instagram

Considered one of the youngest social networks in terms of user profile, Instagram has topped the 1 billion user mark.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram is ‘social media lite’ – this means that it has stripped down features with a greater emphasis on visual content like photos, videos and stories.

Due to the way it is built, Instagram tends to attract influencers with massive followings. Lifestyle brands have also used Instagram to great effect.

  • Number of Users – one billion
  • Type of audience – Millennials and Gen Zs
  • Industry impact – B2C
  • Best for – aesthetic content, fashion, food, lifestyle, behind-the-scenes

Instagram is a popular photo and video sharing social media channel. The platform allows users to shoot and share a wide array of visual content – they include pictures, videos, stories, live streaming videos (IG Live), as well as to send direct messages to each other.

Instagram’s latest product, IGTV, allows users to share long-form videos. However, unlike YouTube,  such videos have to be shot vertically (ie 9:16 instead of 16:9).

Businesses and brands should create an Instagram business profile, which has better capabilities compared to personal profiles. For instance, it enables brands to check their social profile analytics, schedule posts using third-party tools, advertise or boost their posts, and integrate their IG accounts with their Facebook pages.

LinkedIn

start up networking session

With over 645 million global users, LinkedIn is the largest professional social network in the world. It is also one of the most under-used and hence opportunities abound for B2B professionals to tap this network.

Unlike the past, LinkedIn now works more like a professional reputation platform than an online resume. Companies have also used this social network to build their follower base, engage business partners, and improve their lead generating efforts.

  • Number of Users – 645 million
  • Type of audience – Generation X, Millennials and Baby Boomers
  • Industry impact – B2B, Luxury Marketing
  • Best for – customer relationships, business development, and employment skills marketing

LinkedIn provides a great platform to engage in professional dialogue with other LinkedIn users within your industry and share insightful content with other like-minded people. Companies can post jobs and vacant positions – thus LinkedIn is a great place for employee networking.

Encourage your clients to give your brand or business a recommendation on your profile. Doing this makes your brand appear credible and reliable to new or potential customers. You should also pay attention to your company pages and your personal profile, and seek to post regularly.

Twitter

mobile login screen for twitter

Twitter is another popular social media marketing channel that allows businesses to broadcast updates across the web. You can follow users in your industry or related fields and employ a marketing strategy that enables your brand to gain a steady stream of followers. 

  • Number of Users – 335 million
  • Type of audience – Millennials, Gen Zs, and Gen Xs
  • Industry impact – B2B and B2C
  • Best for – customer service and public relations, broadcasting

Now capable of allowing up to 280 characters, Twitter functions more like a broadcast and conversational channel than a content repository. Savvy users tweet multiple times a day, sharing links to their content or responding to tweets by influencers.

A good thing about Twitter is that influencers on this platform tend to be more responsive to the right tweets or Direct Messages (DMs) sent their way, so don’t be shy in interacting with them here. Increasingly, tweets with embedded videos and images work better in gaining traction than pure text tweets.

Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter has a less professional and more light-hearted feel. Brands should consider mixing up your tweets with special offers, news, and discounts with fun and business-building updates.

Using this platform effectively revolves around engaging dialogue and communication. Always ensure that you answer people’s questions and concerns. Also, retweet your followers’ tweets, especially if they have said something positive about your brand.

Pinterest

Pinterest

  • Number of Users – 250 million
  • Type of audience – older Millennials, Gen Xs, more females than males
  • Industry impact – B2C and B2B
  • Best for – visual inspiration and advertising, infographics, designs, photos

Pinterest is among the fastest-growing social media marketing channels. It is an image-centered platform that suits retail businesses and brands. The platform allows brands to showcase their products while growing brand personality by posting high quality, unique, and eye-catching images on their pinboards. 

When planning a Pinterest strategy, remember that females are the primary audience (approximately 70 percent according to this source). If women make up the majority of your target market, it makes sense to create a presence on Pinterest.

Snapchat

Snapchat

  • Number of Users – 300 million
  • Type of audience – Generation Z
  • Industry impact – B2C
  • Best for –increasing brand awareness and advertising

Snapchat is another visual application that allows the sharing of photos and short videos between friends. Snapchat was the original source of the stories format with ephemeral content (expires in 24 hours). This was ultimately innovated on by other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Like Instagram Stories, users of Snapchat can share their snaps of business products and services to their target market.

Blogs

write new blog post on wordpress

Contrary to popular belief, blogs are not dead. Google and other search engines love blogs on websites as these are frequently updated, producing fresh and useful content for search engine users.

The beauty of blog articles is that they can be optimized to be both search engine and social media friendly – a great base for your content marketing efforts. Beyond that, blogs also reside on your own website and are thus more immune to the vagaries of ever shifting social media algorithms.

Related:22 Must-Have Elements In Your Blog Post + Template

 

Campaigns: What Is a Social Media Campaign?

Like any marketing effort, social media marketing is characterised by campaigns which are usually targeted at launching specific brands, product offers, or events.

  • These are usually fixed based on the following parameters:
  • Target Audiences: They have a specific targeted audience.
  • Goal-Driven: They have a specific goal, measured in quantifiable results.
  • Time-bound: They happen during a specific time duration and date.
  • Fixed budget: They normally have a fixed budget.
  • Creatives: Most campaigns need attractive and engaging copy and designs to work well
  • Offer: This would be the bait or hook to attract participation

In the social media world, advertising campaigns normally include a promotion or a lead magnet (a valuable piece of content, product or experience) that is used as a bait to attract participation. These are usually highly targeted to ensure that the right potential customers are drawn to the campaign.

How to Acquire Customers through Social Media

Acquiring new customers during the old marketing days was quite difficult. After spending months formulating a marketing strategy, brands hoped that their audience would see the much-awaited TV commercial, billboard, or newspaper ad.

With the advent of the Internet and social networks, brands can now be a lot more targeted and focused. Customer acquisition has become easier and better thanks to the multitude of tools that they can employ online.

Social media marketers can take advantage of social media audience data to identify their target customers with precision. That said, below are the top ways that brands can acquire customers through social media.

Choose the right social media platform

Each social platform differs in terms of user base and marketing strategies to employ. Choose a platform that appeals to your target market and has the right tools to create a successful social media marketing strategy. For instance, Facebook may be better for local businesses and smaller companies, while LinkedIn could work better for larger MNCs that have a B2B focus.

Have clear and motivating calls to action

Calls to actions are what motivates your target audience to visit your website, check out your services, and possibly make a purchase. Therefore, ensure that you include a compelling call to action that is relevant to what you have shared. Vary your calls to action to keep your followers engaged and interested.

Adopt best practices in content creation

Different social networks have different best practices in content creation. For example, on Facebook, we know that videos work better than other content types. Likewise, LinkedIn users are avid readers of engaging professional stories, while YouTube users tend to follow channels that they subscribe to.

Engage with social media influencers

Influencer marketing is another great way to get more of your potential customers through social media. Forming partnerships with proven social media influencers can help you increase brand awareness, grow your followers, and acquire new customers.

Calibrate: How Do You Measure Social Media Performance?

Thanks to the ever-growing basket of social media tools and apps available, you can easily track the performance of your social media campaigns on a single or multiple social media platforms.

Social media analytics are usually measured in terms of your page or account performance or your campaign performance. Some of the indicators tracked may include the engagement rate of your posts, growth rate of fans, number of clicks to your website, as well as advertising efficiency metrics like your cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), or cost per lead.

The best way to know if your social media marketing strategy is successful is by tracking several key performance indicators. Through this, you can be sure if you are reaching and engaging with the right audience and more. That said, your key performance indicators should be focused on the following areas

Awareness Metrics

Awareness indicators are those that track the visibility of your brand and its content on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Metrics like impressions, reach, video views, web traffic, and the number of fans can provide a good measure of your awareness.

Consideration Metrics

Social media engagement is the next metric that indicates how well your social media marketing is performing. Engagement measures the number of likes, shares, comments, and re-posts of your social media updates. Having a wide reach with low engagement means that your audience does not resonate with your content, or your marketing message is wrong.

Some social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, use engagement to determine brand quality and popularity. Key performance indicators that determine engagement include clicks, likes, comments, brand mentions, shares, profile visits, and the number of active followers.

Conversion Metrics

Most brands are caught up with the number of likes and shares they are receiving on social media platforms. However, the main question is, how many people who saw your post are interested in making a purchase?

You could have a huge following, which doesn’t reflect or translate to sales. On the flip side, you may have a small but dedicated following that could be more responsive to your Call To Actions (CTAs), and whom you could tap on to generate leads. If you find that you only generate a few leads despite having a large following, you could be marketing to – or attracting – the wrong target market.

Your social media marketing strategy is incomplete if you don’t measure the number of customers acquired. Conversions are the ultimate measure of the performance of your social media marketing. If you have found the right target market and are able to continually keep them engaged, they will ultimately make a buying decision.

Measuring your reach, engagements and conversions is a good way to ensure that your social media marketing strategy is targeted enough for you to generate more conversions.

Loyalty Metrics

Beyond the above indicators, it is useful to measure Loyalty or Advocacy indicators. This could be the number of shares and retweets, branded hashtags that are being shared, as well as the customer lifetime value (LTV) of your social media communities.

In summary, you need to track your entire social media marketing funnel and ensure that your goals are aligned through the funnel as shown below.

 

social-media-marketing-funnel

Courtesy of Cooler Insights

Related: 6 Free and Paid Social Media Analytics Tools

Community: How Do You Build a Social Media Community?

Community building is more of an art and a science, and it requires stamina!

To succeed in growing a thriving online community, you need to adopt a systematic approach involving recruiting of new members, engaging them with valuable content and offers, sustaining community interest, and working with brand advocates. Check out this article on social media contest ideas that you can immediately use to generate more engagement and awareness for your brand and products.

Brands that have done well in this space include Whole Foods Market which regularly serves useful recipes or holiday cooking ideas to their Facebook and Instagram fans. You may also choose to follow the example of Airbnb, which crowdsources attractive photos from their network of homeowners to be shared on the channel.

What are the Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing?

Done well, social media marketing can be beneficial to every business and brand. Below are the pros and cons of social media marketing strategies.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing
Increase Brand Awareness Requires qualified social media managers
Generates Leads and Increase Conversions Slow returns on investments
Improve Customer Experience Difficulty in tracking ROI
Learn from Competitor Research Time-consuming
Gain Customer Insight
Cost-Effective

Pros of Social Media Marketing

Increase Brand Awareness

Nearly everybody with access to smartphones, laptops, or desktops spend a considerable amount of time on social media sites. Therefore, implementing the right social media marketing strategy significantly increases brand awareness, as you will be interacting with a broad audience. 

Generates Leads and Increase Conversions

Using social media channels can help you to increase inbound traffic, as people will more easily find your products and services. Unlike before, where online customers had to search for business websites, social media can provide recommendations to users based on various metrics. It is through this that most customers find what they are looking for online.

Improve Customer Experience

Using social media platforms enables brands to respond to specific customer questions on time. Customers are human, and they feel appreciated when they get personalized and speedy responses. Doing this makes customers feel that they are an important and considerable part of the business.

Learn From Competitor Research

Brands that have just started out their business can use social media to learn a lot from other competing businesses. You can leverage various social media tools to study the competitors’ business methods and possibly improve your brand. 

Gain Customer Insight

As a business, it is important to get to know your customers’ needs, opinions about your products and interests. There is no better way to collect such data except through social media. Gaining such insights provides an opportunity to identify areas to improve to stay ahead of competitors.

Cost-Effective

Social media marketing is probably the most cost-effective method of advertising your products and services (especially Facebook). You simply need to create a business profile or company page, which is free for all social media channels. While the costs of advertising on social media is creeping up, most social networks are comparatively cheaper than advertising on mainstream media channels.

Cons of Social Media Marketing

The popularity of social media amongst brands and users may also present certain challenges to companies. Here are some of the drawbacks that you should consider.

Requires qualified social media managers

To focus on the core issues of your business, you should employ a qualified social media expert to help you along. While sharing an Instagram post, or recording a 15-second story on Facebook may seem easy, putting them all together into a cohesive and profitable marketing plan can be daunting.

Increasingly, more and more companies realise this and are focusing their attention on hiring qualified and trained social media experts.

Slow returns on investments

Marketing through social media is almost always a long-term strategy. The focus is on building a relationship with your users. Hence, you cannot expect returns almost immediately. Brands that need quick results should consider using other more immediate forms of online marketing, like Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on Google Ads.

Difficult to Track Return On Investment (ROI)

According to this recent article, less than 20% of B2B marketers know for sure that their social media is generating positive results. In the article, it was cited that “44% of marketers haven’t been able to show the impact of social at all, much less point to real ROI.” This difficulty in linking sales and revenue to social media is often cited as a reason why companies do not invest as much in social media marketing as other marketing strategies.

Time-consuming

It takes a considerable amount of time before people start appreciating your brand, products, and services. Hence, patience and perseverance are both key here. Social media users may also ignore your page or account simply because they may not be interested in your products or have other sites in mind.

More advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing outlined here.

The Bottom Line

Determining your company’s social media marketing course of action can be daunting, especially with the various upcoming social media marketing trends, but taking advantage of the available resources can help. Identify and develop a good social media marketing strategy for ascertained success.


Ready To Learn More? Sign Up For Our Social Media Marketing Course!

What we have touched on above is just the icing on the cake.

In our two-day social media marketing course, we cover a detailed six-step process focusing on the most important social networks you need to know. You will be equipped with hands-on knowledge and valuable tools to strengthen both your skills and knowledge of social media marketing. Find out more about the course here.

asian girl using laptop

Social media platforms in Singapore have come a long way since Friendster and Myspace. In this article, we take a look at the key social media usage and engagement statistics relative to Singapore audiences, and analyse what they mean for digital marketers targeting audiences in Singapore. Let’s get started!

Digital and Social Media Statistics, Singapore

1. Singapore has one of the highest digital consumption rates in the world.

asian girl using laptop

More than three in four people in the country use the internet regularly this year. Our smartphone penetration rate (73% in 2017, per eMarketer estimates) is also among the highest in the world. The growth of ecommerce and increasing use of smartphones will force advertisers to embrace digital at a faster rate. (source: 2017 Adspend Report by eMarketer and IAB)


2. Demographics: 83% of the Singapore population are on social media.

Qatar and United Arab Emirates takes the top spot in the global ranking with a staggering 99% of their population on social media. In contrast, only 0.06% of North Korea’s population (16,000 out of 25,610,672) have a social media account. (source: wearesocial x Hootsuite Global Digital Report 2018)


3. As of January 2018, number of social media users in Singapore have grown 9% since January 2017.

(source: wearesocial x Hootsuite Global Digital Report 2018).

For reference, there were 4.40 million users recorded on January 2017, so that is an increase of 396,000 users. Singaporeans are most active on Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube.

There is still debate regarding whether WhatsApp can be counted as a social media platform or social media network, or if it’s just a messaging app. You can read more about the different perspectives from this short discussion posted by Professor Kyujin Shim and her students, or on a Quora thread here.

Hootsuite has a great article outlining the benefits of marketing on Whatsapp, with examples of real campaigns by brands such as Agent Provocateur and Absolut Vodka executed successfully overseas. However, in Singapore, marketing on Whatsapp usually brings to mind the spam group messages used by illegal moneylenders. Perhaps it is time for that to change.


4. 75% of Singaporeans actively access social media via mobile.

(source: wearesocial x Hootsuite Global Digital Report 2018).

Mobile video is now the dominant social format, and passive content consumption is steadily climbing.  This is why brands are coming up with more video content on mobile, and there are more news outlets publishing news in video format.  Additionally, there is a recent upsurge in live streaming sessions, and small businesses are quick to capitalise on that by applying an element of gamification via offering live bidding session for items, which in turn, increases the engagement rate.


5. Mobile phones and smartphones are the most used devices for browsing the Internet, used by 95% and 91% of the population, respectively.

people using phone while waiting

Meanwhile, 71% use laptop or desktops, 42% use tablets, 86% use the television. 15% use a device for streaming internet content to their TV, 4% use an e-reader device, whilst 7% use a wearable tech device. (source: Singapore Business Review)


6. Singaporeans spend an average of 2 hours and 6 minutes daily on social media.

(source: wearesocial x Hootsuite Global Digital Report 2018).

Filipinos (Philippines) take the lead with 3 hours and 57 minutes, whereas the Japanese clock a mere average of 48 minutes daily.


7. In a recent preliminary survey published by Equinet Academy, jointly with Cooler Insights, 40.2% rated themselves “not very good”.

Only 1.6% would consider themselves an “expert” in Social Media Marketing. 10.7% consider themselves “proficient”, and 45.9% said they are “average”. With the high rate of social media usage in Singapore, it would be remiss for brands here to not step up their efforts. Sprout Social provides an excellent round up of how Social Media Marketers in other countries fare.


8. Singaporeans use an average of 8.8 social networks weekly.

(source: Connected Life 2017-2018 survey by Kantas TNS)

The following graph from Statista shows the percentage of penetration of leading social networks in Singapore as of third quarter of 2017. The data was published in January 2018.

penetration of leading social networks in singapore as of q3 2017


9. Online advertising now represents only 14.7% of total advertising expenditure in Singapore versus 25.9% in Japan and 53.6% in China.

(source: Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017-2021 by PWC).

Looks like there is still plenty of room for growth!


10. The Connected Life results reveal that one in five (22%) connected consumers in Singapore ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands.

Businesses need to avoid being invasive as a quarter (24%) already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising. (source: Kantar TNS) It is important to plan your content marketing efforts diligently and strategically. Storytelling is a great tactic used by many brands. When you are able to connect emotionally with your audience and their lifestyle, the brand loyalty and goodwill increases as well.


Instagram Statistics, Singapore

instagram profile

11. 38% of Singaporeans use Instagram daily

That puts us in third place for the global ranking of Instagram penetration by country, ranked by number of monthly active users compared to total population. Sweden comes first at 47%, and Turkey second at 41%. Hong Kong and Malaysia were tied at 35% Instagram penetration. (source: wearesocial x Hootsuite Global Digital Report 2018)


12. 36% of users are aged 25 to 34 years old.

See below for the spread of age groups for Instagram, in Singapore. 55% of active accounts are women, while 45% are men. (source: napoleancat.com)

instagram demographic age spread singapore


Facebook Statistics, Singapore

picture-of-mobile-faceook-app-with-scrabble-tiles

13. Facebook boasts a monthly traffic count of 33,400,000 in Q4 of 2017.

According to SimilarWeb, it is the top social media platform used by Singaporeans- and the rest of the world.


14. In Singapore, Facebook users aged 45 to 64 now make up 19.58% of the total count.

(source: Channel NewsAsia)

That translates to 1 out of 5 users. Conversely, the user base for ages 18 to 24 have declined, from 18.4% in 2017 to 17.5% in 2018. Why the increase in recent years? Two likely reasons: firstly, the older crowd tends to adopt internet trends late; and secondly, they finally got on social media to keep up with their kids and grandkids.


15. The average organic reach for each Facebook post is 8% of Page Likes.

(source: wearesocial x Hootsuite Global Digital Report 2018)

For example, if you have 1000 fans on your Page, then expect to see about 80 engagements (Likes, Reactions, comments, or shares) through organic reach. This statistic is in line with the global average percentage of organic reach to Page Likes worldwide. If you’re looking to make the most out of your organic growth, check out this article on Entrepreneur on how to create viral content in social media.

With more businesses ramping up their social media efforts to keep up with the demand, that means more competition for eyeballs and attention span. Social Media Marketing is an effective way to help businesses grow organically (read: almost free) and build lasting relationships with their target audiences.

In a field that’s dynamic and ever-changing, there is always something new to learn. If you’re not one for self-studying, check out our structured 2 day Social Media Marketing course for some actionable insights and guided learning. If you feel ready to kick things up a notch and run paid campaigns for targeted audiences, take a look at our 2 day Facebook Advertising course. When you are ready to go turbo, take a look at this excellent piece on how to spy on your competitors’ Facebook ads.

Do you have any other interesting social media statistics you’d like to share? Sound out in the comments below!

Social media is all the rage now. Every company has a Facebook Page, Instagram Account, or Twitter Account.

However, many businesses find it a challenge to trigger consumer interest or recruit members on social media. Somehow or other, run-of-the-mill content like inspirational quotes, blog posts or product highlights alone just won’t cut it.

This is where social media contests and other promotions come in.

Focused on gamification, social promotions can be easily tracked, monitored and measured on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Social promotion apps and tools like Wishpond and Binkd make it easy for your brand to gain momentum through carefully considered social promotions like contests, giveaways, and lucky draws.

So what can you do to kickstart your social media campaigns?

#1 Lucky Draws/ Sweepstakes

Considered the easiest kind of contest for your Facebook and other social media fans to enter, lucky draws are able to generate more sign-ups to your mailing list or “likes” to your Facebook page than any other contest.

Normally, lucky draws require your contestants to fill in minimal details like their name, email address, and mobile number to participate. Occasionally, they may also require the submission of some “proof of purchase” like the example from Pentel below whereby participants have to submit two finished refill pipes to qualify.


Source of promotion: Pentel Singapore

Due to the low chance of winning, you need to ensure that your prizes are fairly attractive to make lucky draws work. While you can probably get a large number of participants due to the ease of competing, you may also attract a lot of “contest freeloaders”. These are folks who are merely interested in winning your prize – they are unlikely to be good customers of your products or services.

#2 Voting Contests

Like lucky draws, voting contests are easy to participate in for your customers. You can either include a public participation element (eg vote for your friends) or you can use it as a way to gauge popularity for your products or services.

Voting also allows you to gain some consumer insights. You can tell what your customer is more interested in, and how interested they are in your products.

There are several points to note here:

  • Ensure that your contest is not too product centric
  • Incorporate some elements of fun and intrigue. For instance, you could state that participants are helping to choose the next “Superstar” in your range.
  • Include a hashtag for your event, brand or promotion.

Here is an example of the voting contest organised by ZoukOut.

Termed the ZoukOut Singapore Girl 2016 Voting Contest, it allows the public to win a pair of VIP tickets to ZoukOut Singapore 2016, and play a role in selecting the right girl to become the ambassador for ZoukOut – Singapore’s most iconic outdoor dance event.

You can see more details below:


Source of promotion


Source of promotion

In another variation of the voting contest, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) sought the feedback of the public on the preferred colours for their new buses. Eventually, the preferred colour was green. See details below:


Courtesy of Colour Your Buses

#3 Refer-a-friend + Comment Promotions

Also known as “Refer-a-Friend” or “Tag-a-friend” promotions, Referral Promotions work very well in helping you to increase fan growth for your Facebook Page, Twitter Account, or Instagram account.

The basic mechanics is that your fans are rewarded if they recommend and get friends to participate in your contest. This helps you to trigger Word Of Mouth (WOM) and virality quickly, especially if the incentives provided (like prizes) are attractive enough for the winners.

An example of such a promotion is from wt+ (Wing Tai Retail) below, which offers contestants a chance to win a $500 shopping voucher by sharing their 3 favourite clothing brands under wt+ and tagging a friend whom they love to go shopping with.

Note that it’s important to lay out the steps and prizes in your promotional mechanics, as well as any other Terms and Conditions (Ts & Cs). You can also include a link with further details if the space on Facebook (or other social networks) are limited.

Here is another variation of the contest mechanic where you’re requested to like Marina Bay Link Mall’s Facebook page (without a compulsory Facebook gating though, as that is illegal), “Like” and share an article post, and tag a friend whom you’d wish to share the dining vouchers with. This promotion is tied to a blog post written by an online food influencer Seth Lui.

Note the use of the square bracketed [GIVEAWAY!] in the post as a way to capture attention.


Source of promotion

Here is another variation of the tag-a-friend contest post, which involves writing down why a person is an awesome mum. The prize here are just samples of Pond’s different creams.


Source of promotion

#4 Photo and Video Contests

In an age where everybody and their dogs are taking selfies, it makes a lot of sense to organise a photo contest. Often, this is combined with votes (ie “likes” on Facebook) to determine which is the winning photo.

Photo contests are great for generating brand awareness and participation in view of their visual nature. In addition, the use of your brand hashtag helps to increase the virality of your Photo Contests require entrants to submit a photo in order to win a prize.

These contests are great for gathering user-generated content for your business. In addition, you can also encourage your fans to include your product or logo or colours in the image and to share it widely through their social networks.

In the example below by Liberty Insurance Singapore, participants have to dress up in the colours of the Singapore flag, share that photo in the comments section, like and share the post.


Source of promotion

In this second example below from UNIQLO, the global brand organised an Instagram contest whereby participants are supposed to take a photo or video of themselves dressed in their favourite UNIQLO outfit, and to sing, dance, cook or express themselves in a way that fits the brand image.


Source of promotion

#5 Spot the Difference, Count the Numbers, or Solve a Riddle

It is interesting to see how evergreen favourites like “Spot the Difference” or “Count the Numbers” can make a return in the digital age!

For this first, all you need to do really is to create duplicates of the same image, use a photoshopping software (like Adobe Photoshop or even Powerpoint) to edit one of the images, and present both for people to identify. Just look at the number of participants for this contest by Jia 88.3 FM radio station.


Source of promotion

This second contest by Westgate, a shopping mall in the Western part of Singapore, involved getting participants counting the number of mooncake designs in a GIF image that is uploaded on Facebook. In addition, they have to write down their favourite Earle Swensen’s mooncake flavour in the comments.

I love how it incorporated both a gamification element as well as the seeking of consumer insights in a single contest.


Source of promotion

This third variation of a simple online contest involved solving a riddle. Orchestrated by the Made in Singapore Lah folks, it involves understanding what some mystical Chinese idioms mean and writing down the answer in a contest form.


Source of promotion

#6 Essay Writing Contests

Before your imagination runs wild, do note that most writing contests on Facebook or other social networks are pretty short and succinct.

You should not be running a short story competition asking your prospects to pen down a 3,000 word piece chronicling their most unforgettable day in school.

Like Voting and Commenting contests, they can give you deeper insight into your customer’s preferences. However, the challenge is that the majority of your customers are unlikely to be good writers and hence, you need to manage the quality of your entries.

I love our “Chief Influencer” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent writing contest titled “What would you do if you could be PM for 12 hours?” in preparation for the National Day Rally this year. Looking at the responses, you can tell that he is a pretty popular guy!


Source of promotion

In line with Disney’s highly awaited movie “Pete’s Dragon”, Shaw Cinemas in Singapore has run an Instagram writing contest where participants are urged to do the following:

  • Follow the @Shawsg Instagram account
  • Like the contest post
  • Comment by describing which animal/pet they would take for a travel adventure, and why

While the prizes were more like movie swag than anything expensive, I like how the contest ties in thematically with the movie.


Source of promotion

#7 Crowdsourced Ideas/ Tips Contests

If writing essays are not your thing, you may wish to use your social media accounts to harvest tips and ideas from your communities.

Everybody loves to give their two-cents worth. Both Facebook and Instagram are excellent channels for such idea crowdsourcing contests to take place.

Check out the example below from Darlie Singapore, where winners can win a Fitbit Flex if they follow their Instagram account (@darliesg), comment with a health upgrade tip, and write how it improved their confidence and smile.

EZ-Link, the provider of public transport stored value cards in Singapore, has also run a crowdsourced ideas contest. Together with HotelsCombined – an app allowing people to compare hotels on their mobiles– they ran a Facebook contest where the public could submit a public transport tip for tourist, screenshot their favourite accommodation in Singapore using the HotelsCombined app, and stand to win a staycation.


Source of promotion

#8 Promo Codes and Coupons

Offers and discounts are one of the reasons why people gravitate towards your Facebook Fan Page or Instagram Account.

Personally, I feel that promo codes and coupons are less effectively than other giveaways. After all, FREE or WIN are much more powerful trigger words than SAVE or DISCOUNT.

Having said that, there are ways to make promo codes work well, like this hilarious example below from Occupy Democrat.


Source of promotion

An article in Wishpond (a wonderful social promotion app) highlighted this example below which offered a one hour massage at only $25. Note that the offer must be very clearly stated for coupons to work. This type of promotion can be run for a longer period of time, depending on how long you want the offer to be valid for.

The below coupon by Advanced Back and Neck Care have been running for over 6 months. Wishpond suggested that you should make the tab visible on your Facebook Page (not hidden in the drop down menu) and that you could post about the offer every week or two to remind customers about the ongoing offer.


Courtesy of Wishpond

You can also work with social media influencers, like William Tan below. In the deal with Domino’s Pizza, participants can enter a promo code into a contest engine to enjoy a special deal.


Courtesy of Only William

#9 Online to Offline (O2O) Promotions

With our brick and mortar retailers bleeding red ink each day, it is natural that social media channels like Facebook could be used to drive traffic and purchases at physical stores.

Here’s a great giveaway idea by Nescafe involving “Made in Singapore” bags featuring our colloquial language “Singlish” which can only be redeemed at roadshows in their stores with a $15 purchase of Nescafe items.


Source of promotion

The Sky’s The Limit

So there you have it, a total of 9 social media contests and other promotional ideas for you to chew over.

Most of these have been tested here in Singapore, and have helped their respective brands to gain online traction, drive social media fan growth, and increased sales and visitorship.

Remember that you need to have fun in creating your social media promotions for your campaigns.

To get more Social Media promotion ideas, sign up for our social media marketing course!

6 step social media strategy

Are you hiring an intern to manage your company’s social media channels?

Or outsourcing social media marketing to the cheapest vendor you can find?

Perhaps that’s why social media marketing isn’t generating that ROI which your company hungers for.

Like other aspects of your business, you need to be strategic and systematic in how you develop and deploy social media as a marketing strategy. Just having a Facebook page or Twitter account alone and sharing photos from your office party wouldn’t do.

This is where my six-step process for social media marketing comes in.

Equating Social Media Strategy with a Continuous Cycle

One of the first things you need to understand about social media marketing is that it is a journey rather than a destination.

The most successful social media marketers in the world knows this. This is why they are relentless in continuing to push out great content, share interesting information with their communities, and refine their social advertising strategy with ever targeted messages.

Unlike traditional marketing efforts on television, newspapers or radio, social media activities need to stretch beyond campaigns to include daily and weekly practices. It is a continuous learning cycle of constant analysis, measurement and refinement.

To guide you along, consider using my 6-step social media strategy (below) as a guiding post for your own efforts.

6-step social media strategy

#1 Analyse – Know Where You Stand

The first step in social media marketing involves understanding where you currently stand.

By now, virtually every small or large brand would have some social media and online presence. However, few of them would know how successful they’ve been, who they seek to serve, or how they compare with other players in the market.

There are three things you need to do here:

a) Company Social Media Audit

Conduct a comprehensive social media audit to determine how well (or badly) your social media channels like your Facebook page are performing. This would look at Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like the number of fans or followers you have, frequency of updates, levels of engagement (likes, comments and shares), and number of referrals made to your website.

(As you’d imagine, this may involve getting to know our good friend Google Analytics. Here’s a wonderful guide to Google Analytics for beginners from the lovely folks at Moz.)

b) Customer Persona Development

You need to understand who you wish to target. Describe the demographics (age, education, income, etc), psychographics (interests, lifestyles, and attitudes) and online behaviours of your target customers. Zoom in on how they search for content online, and determine what keywords they use.

(You can learn more at The ABCs of Building a Customer Profile.)

c) Competitor Analysis

Identify which brands your company competes against, and measure how you square against them online. Using tools like Fanpage Karma or Buzzsumo, you can track the frequency of your competitor’s social media posts, engagement of each posts, as well as their most shared content.

#2 Define – Zoom In On Objectives

Next, you need to establish what your goals and objectives for social media are, as well as how your customers search for, locate, engage with and transact with you.

a) Marketing Problem, Objectives and Metrics

With the analysis you have done earlier, you can identify where your current gaps, establish social media marketing goals and objectives, and layer on with suitable metrics to determine success. There are normally three main types of objectives and KPIs here:

  • Awareness: Total number of views, impressions (served through ads), reach, and visitors
  • Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, and retweets
  • Conversion: No of sign-ups, eBooks downloaded, and purchases

b) Map to Digital Marketing Funnel

Part of defining also involves zooming on your customer journey and where they “land” on your website. You need to understand the role which social media plays in attracting visitors, generating leads and converting them to become your customers.

#3 Develop – Contagious Content and Sticky Communities

Now that you know where you’re going, you need to determine how you can trigger social sharing amongst your targeted communities.

a) Making Your Content “Contagious”

According to Joshua Berger, author of the best-selling book “Contagious”, there are 6 STEPPS to triggering virality and sharing:

  • Social Currency: Remarkable facts or news, game mechanics, and making people feel like insiders.
  • Triggers: Specific days, seasons, phrases, or contexts of use.
  • Emotion: High arousal emotions like awe, excitement and amusement (or even anger).
  • Public: Creating a monkey see monkey do effect.
  • Practical Value: Offering listicles, tips, guides, and FAQs that help your customers.
  • Stories: Using the power of storytelling.

b) Community Management Tactics

If content is king, community must be queen.

Here, you need to craft out your social media community management tactics to recruit online members, engage them, sustain your communities, and develop advocacy amongst your members.

#4 Deliver – Monetize through Promotions and Ads

Once you’ve accomplished some social sharing through contagious content and built supportive communities of raving fans, you need to start monetising. There are two main ways to do so.

a) Create Social Promotions and Lead Magnets

These are promotional mechanics like contests, freebies and discounts which are aimed at triggering participation, sign-ups and even purchase.

b) Social Media Advertising and Influencer Marketing

To get the word out there, you may wish to invest in native advertising channels like Facebook Ads, sponsored posts, or influencer marketing activities.

A hot tip here is to ensure that whatever forms of advertising you do is trackable and measurable. This could include embedding a trackable URL, using tools like Google’s URL Builder.

#5 Measure – Track Success and Social Media ROI

You cannot manage what you do not measure. With superior analytics embedded into all things social, there really is no excuse for you not to know what your ROI is.

a) Know Your Metrics

Remember the social media KPIs which we have established earlier? Beyond these indicators, you may wish to also assess the effectiveness of your advertising investments using metrics like Cost Per Thousand (CPM), Cost Per Click (CPC), and Click Through Rate (CTR).

b) Calculate Social Media ROI

To evaluate what your social media ROI is, you need to know a few things:

  • The costs of running your social channels
  • Conversion rates for each social channel
  • The value of each conversion (for example 10,000 web visitors could translate to 100 eBooks downloaded, out of which 50 of those downloaders become yourcustomers)
  • The estimated spend of each customer (you can use your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) as a gauge)

You can read more about social media marketing ROI in my comprehensive post here.

Related: 6 Free and Paid Social Media Analytics Tools

#6 Manage – Keeping Your House in Order

Finally, you need to manage and sustain your social media marketing activities by incorporating the right resources, policies and procedures to keep things running smoothly. There are four key areas to consider here:

a) Social Media Manpower

Create the right organisational structure and ensure that you’ve got adequate human resources to do the necessary. This covers jobs like social media strategy, content strategist, creative/art director, community manager, and digital analytics.

b) Social Media Budgets

Ensure that you’ve got the right budgets allocated to social media marketing each year, and for each campaign. This would be especially interesting to your CEO and your CFO! Thankfully you already worked out your Social Media ROI and can stand up to scrutiny.

c) Social Media Policies

Are there guidelines for your employees on how they should use social media? What about your Facebook fans? Consider crafting them to minimise ambiguity in managing your social media channels.

d) Social Public Relations

Last, but certainly not least, you need to consider what you should do to continually cultivate influencers, manage “haters” and expand your earned media.

An Agile Learning Approach To Social Media Marketing

Together with content marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing is one of the pillars of the digital marketing world.

By using a systematic, cyclical and step-by-step process, you are better able to target your customers, track the success of your campaigns, and train your social media team to determine what works and what doesn’t. This “lean” approach enforces learning and ensure that you could improve your social media strategy and tactics with each campaign that you launch.

Master all the six steps of social media marketing strategy in my 2-day  social media course today. Done in partnership with Equinet Academy, this rigorous two-day training course will equip you with practical hands-on experience in social media marketing.

Are there other ways to optimise your social media marketing? I’d love to hear them.

LinkedIn Marketing Tips to Boost Your Career

Do you have an account on LinkedIn? If so, how are you using it to secure good clients or plum job offers?

Celebrating its 12th year, LinkedIn is the most important professional network for individuals and businesses. Unfortunately, many still treat LinkedIn as an electronic rolodex.

Failing to recognise the full potential of the social network, you literally leave career and growth opportunities on the table.
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