Social Media Marketing :

The Definitive Guide


This is the most comprehensive guide to Social Media Marketing.


In this expert-written guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about meeting your target audience and customers where they are and as they socially interact with each other and your brand.


So if you’re looking to get more targeted traffic (and customers) from Social Media, you’ll love this guide.


Let’s dive right in.

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So Why Social Media Marketing Matter's.

Let’s quickly look at some interesting stats…

49% of Your Brands First Interaction Happens Through Social Media

Total Population vs Social Media User's. (Smart Insights )

Now, there are over 3.5 billion active people on social media globally. Due to the sheer amount of people on social media, you can see why ensuring your business is sharing content related to your products as well as details about your company via a platform or two has the potential to help you improve Brand Awerness.


Chapter 1

What is Social Media Marketing

Chapter 2

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Chapter 3

The Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing​

Chapter 4

Best Social Media Strategy.

Chapter 5

Top Social Media Facts You Should Know.

Chapter 6

Top Social Media Stats.


What is Social Media Marketing ?

As usual, Wikipedia is a disappointment when trying to define social media marketing.It simply says, “Social media marketing is the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.”


Wow, who would’ve thought, right?


I’d like to take a swing at defining social media marketing myself:


Social media marketing is the process of creating content that you have tailored to the context of each individual social media platform in order to drive user engagement and sharing.


Before you begin creating social media marketing campaigns, consider your business’s goals. Starting a social media marketing campaign without a social strategy in mind is like wandering around a forest without a map—you might have fun, but you’ll probably get lost.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is all about meeting your target audience and customers where they are and as they socially interact with each other and your brand.


While social media marketing as a whole is incredibly valuable and beneficial to your business growth (as you’ll see in the following section), your strategy will differ based on which social networks your audience spends their time on.


Before we dig deeper into social media marketing, let’s segment the strategy by platform.

Even though you hear about the major social media platforms (at the moment) Like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any others out there.


Wikipedia alone lists over 200 of them.


This Great Graphic called “The Conversation Prism” gives a good overview.

Social media itself is a catch-all term for apps and sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages and media links with others. Facebook, meanwhile, is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events, groups and a variety of other activities.


Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

There are a variety of reasons why your company should use social media marketing. We’ve created a list of the four most beneficial reasons to consider.

Let’s dive in.

1. Increase Brand Awareness.

In 2018, there were over 3.2 billion people on social media globally. Due to the sheer amount of people on social media, you can see why ensuring your business is sharing content related to your products as well as details about your company via a platform or two has the potential to help you improve brand awareness.

In fact, social media has been proven to boost brand awareness by driving up engagement. Social engagement includes things like comments, likes, shares, and re-posts. Social media also helps you increase brand awareness by directing traffic straight to your site. You can do this by including direct links to your website in your profile, bio, and posts.

2. Generate Leads and Boost Conversions.

Promoting and sharing your products on social media is a simple way to improve lead generation, boost conversions, and increase sales because you’re advertising to people who have opted to engage with you by following your account.

Here are some examples of ways you can use social media to generate more leads.

  • ⦿ Create contests for your visitors and followers to participate in on your social media profiles.
  • ⦿ Include links to your website and offers in the bio sections of your profiles.
  • ⦿ Host live videos to make announcements about products and provide updates or details about exciting news at your company.
  • ⦿ Implement a social media marketing campaign on one of your channels.
  • ⦿ Sell your products through your social profiles. For example, you can enable Facebook’s Shop Section or Instagram’s Shopping feature on your profiles. These features allow your visitors and followers to click on products you’ve shared in posts to view information such as price, material, and size. Then, visitors can easily proceed to checkout through the platform and buy the product directly from you.

3. Foster Relationships With Customers

By connecting and engaging with your social media followers, you’ll be able to build lasting relationships between them and your business. You can do this by interacting with them on your posts, responding to their questions and comments, and providing them with any help they may need.

You can also ask your followers questions about your products, their pain points, or create giveaways to help you build trust and show them how much you value their input and support.

4. Learn From Competitors

Social media is a great way to keep tabs on your competitors — whether that’s in reference to their social media tactics, the products they’re promoting, the campaigns they’re implementing, or their level of interaction with followers.

Social media allows you to get a look at what is and isn’t working for your competition, and therefore helps you decide what should or shouldn’t change in terms of your company’s approach. Lastly, reviewing the social accounts of your competitors can help you make sure your marketing stands out and is unique to your brand.


The Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing


Planning and Publishing

Listening and Engagement

Analytics and Reporting


1. Strategy

Before you dive right in and publish something on social media, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The first step is to think about your social media strategy.

What are your goals? How can social media help you achieve your business goals? Some businesses use social media for increasing their brand awareness, others use it for driving website traffic and sales. Social media can also help you generate engagement around your brand, create a community, and serve as a customer support channel for your customers.

Which social media platforms do you want to focus on? The major social media platforms, mentioned above, are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. There are also smaller and up-and-coming platforms, such as Tumblr, Tik Tok, and Anchor, and social messaging platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. When starting out, it’s better to pick a few platforms that you think your target audience is on than to be on all platforms.

What type of content do you want to share? What type of content will attract your target audience best? Is it images, videos, or links? Is it educational or entertaining content? A good place to start is to create a marketing personal, which will help you answer these questions. And this doesn’t have to be fixed forever; you can always change your strategy according to how your social media posts perform.

To help you create a great social media strategy, here are our long-form, step-by-step guides on creating a social media strategy and social media marketing plan.

Fortune Magazine uses social media to grow its brand.

"The main objective we have is to grow our brand. Social is a place where we can own our brand and promote it.

We pay a lot of attention to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ to promote our content and to break news, basically to get our stuff out there."

Heather Muse
Franchises and Social Media Editor, Fortune

2. Planning and Publishing

Social media marketing for small businesses usually starts with having a consistent presence on social media. Close to three billion people (3,000,000,000!) use social media. By being present on social media platforms, you give your brand an opportunity to be discovered by your future customers.

Publishing to social media is as simple as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on a social media platform. It’s just like how you would share on your personal Facebook profile. But you will want to plan your content ahead of time instead of creating and publishing content spontaneously. Also, to ensure that you are maximizing your reach on social media, you need to publish great content that your audience likes, at the right timing and frequency.

There are now a variety of social media scheduling tools, such as Buffer Publish, that can help you publish your content automatically at your preferred time. This saves you time and allows you to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content.

Car Next Door schedules content to maintain a presence across a range of social media platforms with minimal time and fuss.

"Anytime I or someone else in the team publishes a new blog post or another piece of content I’ll add it to the queue in Buffer. If it’s evergreen content (which it almost always is) I’ll schedule it a few times over the next 3-4 months in different formats – a link directly to the post, with a graphic we’ve made in Canva, with a different caption, etc. The rest of the slots I’ll fill up with reposts of photos or videos our members have shared, recent media coverage of Car Next Door, and curated content that will be of interest to our audience."

Shannon Barker
Social Media Manager, Car Next Door

3. Listening and Engagement

As your business and social media following grow, conversations about your brand will also increase. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their social media posts, or message you directly.

People might even talk about your brand on social media without letting you know. So you will want to monitor social media conversations about your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise and delight them. Otherwise, you can offer support and correct a situation before it gets worse.

You can manually check all your notifications across all the social media platforms but this isn’t efficient and you won’t see posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile. You can instead use a social media listening and engagement tool that aggregates all your social media mentions and messages, including posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile.

1Password engages and connects with their customers through social media.

"Today, it's more important than ever to meet customers where they are. We live much of our lives on social media and expect the brands we use to be there too. Our customers are as global as our far flung friends and family and the same tools that help us stay in touch with our loved ones, help 1Password stay engaged with the people who interact with us.

Engagement is more than just marketing. It's lending a helping hand when things go awry, keeping the conversation going when problems are solved, and spreading the good word about what we're up to and where folks can come say hi.

The conversations we have on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and in our 1Password blog comments, allow us to truly engage and show folks that 1Password is not just an app, but a group of passionate (and sometimes goofy) humans working to make the web safer for everyone.

Kate Sebald
Social Interaction Lead, 1Password

4. Analytics

Along the way, whether you are publishing content or engaging on social media, you will want to know how your social media marketing is performing. Are you reaching more people on social media than last month? How many positive mentions do you get a month? How many people used your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts?

The social media platforms themselves provide a basic level of such information. To get more in-depth analytics information or to easily compare across social media platforms, you can use the wide range of social media analytics tools available, such as Buffer Analyze.

Foster Coffee Co. uses social media analytics to guide their content decisions.

"One of the things that I really like about Buffer is how I can build out as far as I want into the foreseeable future, but really start to tailor campaigns if we see certain trends within the industry. We can get ahead of that and it’s really easy to customize the publishing schedule afterwards.

We want to know our top performing posts for the year, we want to know what content was in those posts, so that way we can build a better model moving forward of content that generates more engagement.

Because as we know, the more engagement we can get online, the more that’s going to translate to a possible sale, or somebody walking through our doors, or checking out our website and maybe making a purchase that way”

Justin Ozanick
Marketing Associate, Foster Coffee Co.

5. Advertising

When you have more funds to grow your social media marketing, an area that you can consider is social media advertising. Social media ads allow you to reach a wider audience than those who are following you.

Social media advertising platforms are so powerful nowadays that you can specify exactly who to display your ads to. You can create target audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviors, and more.

When you are running many social media advertising campaigns at once, you can consider using a social media advertising tool to make bulk changes, automate processes, and optimize your ads.

Buffer uses social media advertising to promote blog posts and reach a wider audience.

"We use Facebook ads to promote our blog posts. Facebook’s powerful targeting options mean that we have been able to show our ads to only people that we think would be interested in our content. And the results have been great. We have been getting a sizable amount of traffic each month for as low as eight cents per click!

We also use Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, and other social media ads to increase our brand awareness and engagement on the respective social media platforms. Many other companies also use social media ads to drive leads and sales.

Alfred Lua
Content Crafter, Buffer


Best Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Ready to figure out your Social Media Marketing Strategy?


If you’re overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, you’re definitely not alone.


Because social media isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Not by a long shot.


From choosing the right channels to figuring out your content strategy, analysis paralysis is a serious problem for marketers today.


That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide to creating a social media marketing plan from scratch.


A succinct strategy will help your brand tackle its goals with a sense of purpose. Below is a step-by-step social media marketing guide to help you identify your social goals, engage audiences and optimize your results:

1. Set goals that make sense for your Business / Brand

First things first: you need to figure out what you want out of social media at large.

Because coming up with a social media plan means having an end-game in mind.

Whether that means more dollars and cents from your existing social presence or amping up your reach with new followers is totally up to you.

What matters is that you set realistic social media goals. We recommend tackling smaller objectives that allow you to scale your social efforts in a way that’s both reasonable and affordable.

2. Research your target audience

Making assumptions is a dangerous game for marketers.

And thanks to the sheer wealth of demographic data and social media analytics tools out there, you really don’t have to anymore.

So much of what you need to know about your audience to influence your social media marketing strategy is already out in the open.

Take today’s social media demographics. These numbers speak directly to which networks your brand should approach and what types of content to publish. Here are some key takeaways:

  • • Facebook and YouTube are both prime places for ads due in part to their high-earning user bases.
  • • The majority of Instagram’s are millennials or Gen Z, signaling the strength of bold, eye-popping content that oozes with personality.
  • • Women vastly outnumber men on Pinterest, which is noted to boast the highest average order value for social shoppers.
  • • LinkedIn’s user base is well-educated, making it a hub for in-depth, industry-specific content that might be more complicated than what you see on Facebook or Twitter.

See how no platform is one-size-fits-all?

And although the demographics data above gives you insight into each channel, what about your own customers? Further analysis needs to be done before you can truly know your customer demographics on social media.

That’s why many brands use a social media dashboard which can provide an overview of who’s following you and how they interact with you on each channel.

3. Establish your most important metrics

No matter what you’re selling, your social media strategy should be data-driven.

That means focusing on the social media metrics that matter.

The hiding of “Likes” on Facebook and Instagram should be an eye-opener for businesses today. Rather than focus on vanity metrics, brands are tasked with dig into data that aligns directly with their goals.

Metrics marketers should keep an eye on

What metrics are we talking about, though? Check out the breakdown below:

  • ⦿ Reach. Post reach is the number of unique users who saw your post. How far is your content spreading across social? Is it actually reaching users’ feeds? In the face of ever-changing organic algorithms, tracking reach is arguably more important than ever.
  • ⦿ Clicks. This is the number of clicks on your content, company name or logo. Link clicks are critical toward understanding how users move through your marketing funnel. Tracking clicks per campaign is essential to understand what drives curiosity or encourages people to buy.
  • ⦿ Engagement. The total number of social interactions divided by the number of impressions. For engagement, it’s about seeing who interacted and if it was a good ratio out of your total reach. This sheds light on how well your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact.
  • ⦿ Hashtag performance. What were your most used hashtags on your own side? Which hashtags were most associated with your brand? Or what hashtags created the most engagement? Having these answers can help shape the focus of your content going forward.
  • ⦿ Organic and paid likes: Beyond a standard Like count, these interactions are attributed to paid or organic content. For channels like Facebook, organic engagement is much harder to gain traction, which is why many brands turn to Facebook Ads. However, earning organic likes on Instagram isn’t quite as difficult. Knowing these differences can help you budget both your ad spend and the time you invest in different formats.
  • ⦿ Sentiment. This is the measurement of how users reacted to your content, brand or hashtag. Did customers find your recent campaign offensive? What type of sentiment are people associating with your campaign hashtag? It’s always better to dig deeper and find out how people are talking about your brand.
  • An effective social media marketing strategy is rooted in numbers. That said, those numbers need to be put into a context that circles back around to your original goals.

  • 4. Dig into what your competitors are doing

    Before you start creating content, you should have a good idea of what your competitors are up to.

  • While some brands might want to look into third-party competitor analysis tools to dig deeper into their competitors’ numbers, you can also gain useful insights from a fairly simple review of competitors’ social presence.

    Looking at your competition’s social channels will directly inform your own social media promotion strategy. The goal here isn’t to copycat or steal your competitors’ ideas. Instead, it’s to determine what’s working for them and what conclusions you can draw to adapt your own campaigns accordingly.

    Same industry, different strategies

    For example, let’s take a glance at how two brands in the same space can take two different approaches to their social media marketing strategy and still be successful.

    In this case, we’ll look at the surprisingly entertaining mattress space.

    Casper regularly light-hearted content that’s brimming with personality, oftentimes emphasizing comfort and coziness with a sense of humor. In short, the brand does a great job of not feeling like a totally corporate account.

  • 5. Create and curate engaging social content

    Your social media marketing strategy is obviously centered around content.

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what to publish based on your goal and brand identity. Similarly, you probably feel confident in which networks to cover.

But what does engaging social content look like and how do you make it happen? The principles below can help.

Sticking to content themes

One of the toughest challenges to visual content is creating it on a day-to-day basis. According to data from Venngage, one-third of marketers struggle with creating compelling visuals.

This highlights how important highly-visual content is to marketers and the people they want to reach. That’s why building content themes is a great approach to sectioning out your content.

Instagram is arguably the best channel for content themes given that it’s totally visual. For example, Postmates does an amazing job at keeping their Instagram feed consistent, colorful and aesthetically pleasing.

6. Make timeliness a top priority

Timeliness is a two-way street.

You can’t always expect customers to operate on “your time.” Likewise, it’s crucial to be able to reach and respond to followers in a timely manner.

How do you do both, though? Let’s break it down.

Post at the best times to engage

Quick question: when is your brand available to engage and interact with customers?

You might see some recommending times to post late in the evening, for example. But if your brand isn’t there to communicate, what’s the point of posting at the “preferred” time?

Instead, try to ensure your social media or community managers are available and ready to answer any product questions or concerns when you tweet or post. It’s smart to learn the best times to post on social media. However, it’s just as critical to engage after posting.

And hey, that leads us to our next point.

Respond to your customer questions and shout-outs ASAP

Not only do customers expect speedier responses from brands but also meaningful conversations on a regular basis.

Your brand can’t forget these core elements of networking. It takes effort to ensure conversations or engagement opportunities aren’t left unattended.

Through social media, you gain respect as a brand by just being present and talking to your audience. That’s why social customer care is so important to brands wanting to increase audience awareness. It’s all about engagement.

Whether it’s capitalizing on a compliment or responding to a question, businesses shouldn’t leave customers hanging.

Through the right social media monitoring tools, you can find instances across all your channels to interact, respond and gauge customers around-the-clock.


Designating teams to specific tasks can help your staff run like a well-oiled social media team, whether you’re a group of one or 100.


According to our research, a brand’s average response time is around 10 hours. But did you know that most users believe brands should respond to social media messages within four hours?

As Social Algorithms go through continuous updates, organic content has an increasingly tough time reaching the majority of your audience. The last thing you want to do is ignore those who do engage and lose out on sending more down your marketing funnel.


Top Social Media Fact's
You Should Know.






Facebook remains the world’s most widely used social media platform, but there are now six social media platforms that claim more than one billion monthly active users each. Four of these six platforms are owned by Facebook.


Based on publicly available data up to 16 July 2020, 16 social media platforms have 300 million or more monthly active users*:

Stats By DataReposter

  1. 1. Facebook has 2.603 billion monthly active users.

  2. 2. YouTube¹ has 2 billion monthly active users.

  3. 3. WhatsApp has 2 billion monthly active users.

  4. 4. Facebook Messenger¹ has 1.3 billion monthly active users.

  5. 5. WeChat (inc. Weixin 微信) has 1.203 billion monthly active users.

  6. 6. Instagram’s² potential advertising reach is roughly 1.08 billion.

  7. 7. TikTok has around 800 million monthly active users.

  8. 8. QQ (腾讯QQ) has 694 million monthly active users.

  9. 9. Sina Weibo has 550 million monthly active users.

  10. 10. QZone has 517 million monthly active users.

  11. 11. Reddit has 430 million monthly active users.

  12. 12. Douyin (抖音) has 400 million monthly active users

  13. 13. Kuaishou (快手) has 400 million monthly active users

  14. 14. Snapchat’s² potential advertising reach is roughly 397 million.

  15. 15. Pinterest has 367 million monthly active users.

  16. 16. Twitter’s² potential advertising reach is roughly 326 million.


Top Social Media Stats

Let's Segment the Strategy by Platform.


  • ⦿ Users1.73 billion daily active users worldwide
  • ⦿ Audience: Generation X and millennials
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2C
  • ⦿ Best for: Brand awareness; advertising


  • ⦿ Users126 million daily active users worldwide
  • ⦿ Audience: Primarily millennials
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2B and B2C
  • ⦿ Best for: Public relations; customer service


  • ⦿ Users1 billion monthly active users
  • ⦿ Audience: Primarily millennials
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2C
  • ⦿ Best for: Natural-looking media, behind-the-scenes, and user-generated content; advertising


  • ⦿ Users675 million monthly active users worldwide
  • ⦿ Audience: Baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2B
  • ⦿ Best for: B2B relationships, business development, and employment marketing


  • ⦿ UsersOver 2 billion logged-in monthly users worldwide
  • ⦿ Audience: Millennials, closely followed by Generation Z
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2C
  • ⦿ Best for: Brand awareness; entertainment, and how-to videos


  • ⦿ Users229 million daily active users worldwide
  • ⦿ Audience: Primarily Generation Z
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2C
  • ⦿ Best for: Brand awareness; advertising


  • ⦿ Users367 million monthly active users worldwide
  • ⦿ Audience: Primarily older millennials and younger baby boomers
  • ⦿ Industry impact: B2C
  • ⦿ Best for: Visual advertising; inspiration

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