Social Media 101: Your Complete Guide to Social Media Basics

Macy is a Content Writer at WebFX. With a Content Marketing Certification, she's an expert in crafting pieces filled with the facts about all things digital marketing. You'll find many of her pieces featured on UpCity's Top Digital Marketing Articles of the Week. When she isn't clacking her keys, she's wondering why her dog is so cute. Follow her on Twitter @iinfinitestorm.

If you don’t have a presence on social media, you’re missing a prime opportunity to reach new prospects for your business. Considering that 74% of people use social media when making purchasing decisions, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to help nudge them towards buying your products. But if you’re unfamiliar with social media, it may feel like a daunting task to figure it out.

Our social media 101 guide can help, as we cover critical information like:

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Social media 101: Why you want to use social media

Before we dive into the social media basics, let’s cover the reasons why you’ll want to use social media for your business:

1. Social media helps you build relationships

Social media is an excellent place for you to build relationships with prospects interested in the products and services you offer. It provides you with a medium to engage one-on-one with prospects through features like direct messaging and commenting on content posts. Building relationships and communities are valuable for helping your business grow online.

When people know your business and feel comfortable with your brand, they are more likely to choose you when it comes time to convert.

2. Social media helps you increase brand awareness

Brand awareness is fundamental to help you earn prospects for your business. When people connect with you on social media, they learn who you are and what you offer. Social media enables you to put your brand in front of prospects.

You can post content that appears in your followers’ newsfeeds and encourage your followers to share your content with people that follow them. It helps you take up more online real estate, which in turn, leads to more people seeing your business and increasing brand awareness.

3. Social media helps you increase traffic on your website

Social media is a valuable avenue for you to increase traffic from social networks on your company’s website. When you create a social media profile on any number of channels, you can share links to your website and encourage users to visit pages on your site. As a result, more people spend time reading your blog posts, checking out your products, or learning about your services.

    By driving this traffic to your site, you can capture these leads, by using tactics like email sign-ups and gated content, to nurture them into sales for your business.

Social media 101: The platforms

Next in our guide of social media basics is the social media platforms you can choose from. There are dozens of social media platforms you can use to grow your business online. Here are some of the most popular social platforms you can use to grow your business:

  • Facebook: This platform is popular for sharing multiple types of content with your prospects.

    From photos to links to content to polls, you can create numerous types of content to engage and inform your audience.

  • Instagram: Instagram is a popular platform for taking a visual approach to your marketing. This platform focuses solely on sharing photos and videos to provide followers with insight into your company’s products or services.

  • Twitter: Twitter is a popular platform for sharing short blurbs about your company online. Like Facebook, you can post content like photos, videos, and polls to engage prospects and get them familiar with your brand.

  • Pinterest: Pinterest is another visual social media platform that enables you to share photos, videos, and GIFs with your audience.

    This platform allows you to create boards of content and organize them to provide your audience with a seamless experience.

  • LinkedIn: If you’re looking to make professional connections, LinkedIn is the platform for you. This platform enables you to connect with industry leaders and businesses to share helpful information about your company.

  • YouTube: This video-based platform is an excellent place for you to share helpful content with your audience. From how-to videos to informative videos, you can provide your prospects with the knowledge they actively seek.

  You can use any combination of these platforms to help you engage with prospects.

Generally, you’ll want to stick to platforms where your audience engages the most so you can reach them effectively.

Social media 101: Organic marketing vs. paid advertising

When you learn more about the basics of social media marketing, you’ll find that you have two options for reaching and engaging prospects: organic marketing or paid advertising.

Organic social media marketing

With organic social media marketing, your content appears in front of people who follow your business by way of your wall or timeline. The goal of organic social media marketing is to engage with prospective clients in a natural way through your social platforms. Organic content can be anything from links to your blog to product updates.

Paid social media marketing

With paid social media advertising, you run advertisements that appear in others’ social media feeds.

These ads target prospects that you know are interested in your business — which you can find based on demographic or previous interest in your business. The goal of paid social media is to turn prospects into leads or sales for your business to help you grow online.

Organic or paid social marketing?

So, which strategy is best? Using a combination of both strategies will help you drive the most success with your social media marketing efforts.

Your organic presence will help you build valuable relationships with your audience, while your paid ads allow you to discover new prospects and nudge current leads towards conversion.

Social media 101: 4 tips for social media success

We’ve covered tons of information in this social media 101 guide, including why you want to use social media, the platforms you can use, and the difference between organic and paid social media. Now, let’s dive into some tips to help you launch a successful social media strategy.

1. Choose the platforms that are best for your business

When you see how many social media platforms are available, you may feel like you need to build a presence on all of them. But just because there are dozens of platforms available doesn’t mean your target audience is on every one. You don’t need to build a presence on every social media platform, but you do need to create a presence on social media sites where your prospects spend their time.

Instead of spreading your business thin on a variety of platforms, spend most of your time focusing on the platforms that your prospects frequent. To find the right sites, look at your target audience. You’ll want to determine characteristics like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Income

Use these characteristics to determine where your prospects spend their time and try to reach them where they’re likely to engage.

2. Keep a consistent brand image across the platform

If you’re building a presence on multiple social media platforms, you want to ensure that you have a consistent brand image across the board. Whether people find you on Twitter or Facebook, you want them to identify your brand easily. To build a consistent brand image, make sure you:

  • Use your logo as your profile photo
  • Have a consistent banner photo (where applicable)
  • Share images and videos that have the same style
  • Use the same tone in all your social media posts

3. Post content often

Posting content often is one of the most important aspects of social media 101. People follow their friends, family, and other businesses on social media. They’re seeing posts from hundreds and thousands of other users, which can cause your business to get lost in the mix. To ensure that users can see your content, post content often.

Posting content often creates more opportunities for people to come across your content in their social media feed. You can use a social media calendar to ensure that you post content frequently. This calendar will help you organize when you’re posting content to ensure you post often.

It will also help you identify gaps in your calendar where you may not have any social media posts.

4. Monitor your social media

The last part of this social media 101 guide focuses on monitoring your social media. When you launch a campaign, you want to ensure it’s driving success for your business. You don’t want to put money, time, and effort into campaigns that don’t help your business grow.

By monitoring your social media, you can discover what posts or ads are working for your business. You can track key metrics like:

By tracking these metrics, you can optimize your social media strategy to produce more effective content and ads to help your business grow.

Not happy with your social media engagement?

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Going beyond the social media 101 guide

Now that you know the basics of social media marketing, you’re ready to launch a campaign! But if you’re still feeling overwhelmed with trying to create and launch a social media strategy, WebFX is here to help.

We have a team of over 500 social media experts that are ready to help you craft your business’s unique social strategy. With over a decade of experience, you can feel confident we’ll craft a custom social media strategy that drives results for your business. In the past five years alone, we’ve driven over $3 billion in sales and over7.8 million leads for our clients.

Ready to get started? Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to learn more about our social media marketing and advertising services!

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