Back to School & Back to Marketing Basics

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back to school back to marketing basics BLOG

As the echo of school bells signifies the beginning of another academic year, businesses can mirror this renewal. Like foundational subjects in academia, marketing basics are essential for business longevity. Let’s explore social media marketing by going back to school & back to marketing basics.

1. Class is in Session: Understanding Your Audience

Before devising a marketing strategy, grasp who you’re speaking to. This involves in-depth demographic, psychographic, and behavioral analysis.

Consider Apple. Their audience ranges from tech enthusiasts to professionals to students. Apple’s advertising on platforms like Instagram and YouTube speaks to innovation, quality, and a seamless user experience. A recent campaign highlighting privacy features resonated with an audience increasingly concerned about data security.

To mimic this, tap into analytics tools like Facebook Insights or Google Analytics to dissect and understand audience behavior.

Facebook Insights: A Deep Dive

Meta, with its vast user base, is a treasure trove of data. Facebook Insights, its native analytics tool, is designed to help brands decipher this data.

  • Demographic Details: Insights provide you with a breakdown of the age, gender, location, and language of your followers. For instance, if a brand finds that a significant portion of its audience is Spanish-speaking, it might consider creating content tailored to this demographic.
  • Engagement Metrics: Track likes, shares, and comments on your posts to understand which content resonates the most. A post with higher engagement is a clear indicator of what your audience prefers.
  • Page Views: By knowing how many times your page was viewed and by whom, you can gauge the effectiveness of external marketing efforts and discover if particular partnerships or campaigns are driving traffic.
  • Reach: This metric reveals how many people saw a post, helping brands understand the organic versus paid reach of their content.

Google Analytics: Beyond Social Media

While Facebook Insights is platform-specific, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides a broader picture. If you have a primary website or landing page, GA4 is indispensable.

  • Audience Overview: GA4 offers an expansive view of who’s visiting your site. It breaks down visitors by location, device, browser, and even interests. If, for example, you discover a majority of your audience uses mobile devices, you’d prioritize mobile optimization.
  • Acquisition: This section reveals where your traffic originates. If you’re running a Facebook campaign, you can see how many users are visiting your site through Facebook compared to other channels.
  • Behavior Flow: One of GA4’s most fascinating features, it showcases the path users take through your site. If you notice users dropping off after visiting a particular page, it might indicate an issue or area for improvement on that page.
  • Conversion Metrics: If you’ve set up goals (like filling out a contact form or making a purchase), GA4 will track these conversions, letting you know where your highest-value traffic originates.

2. Timetable Your Posts: The Power of Consistency

Consistent posting isn’t just about frequency—it’s about timing, relevance, and platform appropriateness.

Starbucks is a masterclass example. Their postings, be it a new latte or an environmental initiative, are timed perfectly across platforms, especially during morning coffee hours, when users are most likely to desire a caffeine jolt.

For achieving this seamless consistency, leverage scheduling tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Later.

3. Homework Matters: Researching Trends

Staying updated with digital trends is pivotal. This doesn’t just mean viral challenges but also platform updates, new features, and changing algorithms.

Take Spotify. Their “Wrapped” campaign, which provides users with a year-end summary of their listening habits, became a massive end-of-year trend. Not only did users eagerly await their personal stats, but they also shared them, providing free advertising for Spotify.

While viral challenges and trending hashtags offer fleeting moments of fame, it’s the more subdued undercurrents like platform updates, innovative features, and shifting algorithms that often make the most profound impact on a brand’s digital strategy.

Platform Updates

Social platforms, in their bid to stay relevant and user-friendly, regularly undergo changes. These can range from aesthetic redesigns to significant shifts in user experience. Brands need to adapt quickly to these changes to ensure their content remains optimized for the platform. For example, when Instagram introduced its Stories feature, brands had to swiftly adapt to this new format, focusing on ephemeral, 24-hour content.

New Features

Platforms constantly introduce new tools and features. Snapchat brought in the idea of AR filters, which quickly became a rage. Recognizing these features early and innovating around them allows brands to stand out. When Twitter introduced Fleets, brands had another avenue to showcase behind-the-scenes content or time-sensitive promotions. Threads is a new platform and a branch of Meta’s several social media platforms.

Changing Algorithms

Algorithms dictate content visibility. With platforms like Facebook and Instagram continually tweaking their algorithms, brands must stay updated to ensure their content doesn’t get lost. This might mean more video content, increased engagement tactics, or even leveraging user-generated content.

4. Group Projects: Collaboration & Influencer Marketing

Influencer collaborations are about mutual benefits. Brands get exposure, and influencers get content and compensation.

Fitness brand Gymshark excelled with their influencer strategy. Instead of short-term partnerships, they built long-term relationships with fitness influencers. This deep-rooted collaboration meant influencers were genuinely invested in the brand’s success.

While follower count is a noticeable metric, brands should dive deeper when selecting influencers for collaboration:

  1. Engagement Rates: An influencer with a million followers but little engagement might be less valuable than one with a hundred thousand highly-engaged followers. High engagement often signifies trust, which can translate to better conversion rates.
  2. Audience Overlap: It’s essential to ensure that the influencer’s audience aligns with the brand’s target demographic. Using analytics tools can provide insights into the influencer’s audience demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  3. Brand Fit: This is perhaps the most crucial factor. Does the influencer’s image, values, and content align with the brand’s ethos? For instance, a luxury brand might seek influencers with an elegant, upscale image, while an eco-friendly brand would look for those advocating sustainability.

5. Pop Quizzes: Engaging Polls, Surveys & Hashtags

Interactive content like polls or Q&As can provide brands with invaluable insights while simultaneously boosting engagement.

Coca-Cola’s #TakeATaste campaign, which encourages fans to protect their beloved Coke Zero Sugar from would-be drinkers. According to Coca-Cola, the idea is that thirsty thieves will bring the #TakeATaste message to life across social and digital media (including downloadable filters), out-of-home creative, point-of-sale communications, experiential sampling and interactive mobile games.

6. Report Card: Tracking Metrics & Analytics

A strategy is only as good as its measurable results. Track every campaign meticulously.

Consider Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” real-time marketing during a Super Bowl blackout. The subsequent virality was not just gauged by likes and shares, but by an increase in sales, showcasing the real impact of timely social media marketing.

Dive deep with tools like Sprout Social, Google Analytics, and platform-specific insights to understand campaign performance.

7. Extra-Curricular Activities: Venturing Beyond Main Platforms

Going beyond the ‘Big Four’ (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) can yield fruitful results.

Airbnb’s strategy on Pinterest is a testament. By pinning high-quality images of their most picturesque listings, they catered to Pinterest’s audience, who love aspirational content. This not only showcased the diversity of Airbnb’s offerings but also drove traffic to their website.

The ‘Big Four’ – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – have dominated the social media space for a long time, commanding massive user bases and setting trends in digital marketing. However, the broader social media universe is teeming with platforms, each offering unique audiences, tools, and engagement potentials. Brands that venture beyond the familiar often unearth valuable niches and novel marketing avenues. Airbnb’s foray into Pinterest serves as a compelling case study in this regard.

Why Look Beyond the ‘Big Four’?

  • Diverse Audiences: Platforms outside the major four often cater to niche demographics or interests. Whether it’s the Gen Z dominance on TikTok or Threads or the professionally-minded crowd on Behance, each platform offers a unique audience profile.
  • Unique Engagement Tools: Platforms like Snapchat with its AR filters, or Pinterest with its pin boards, provide brands with fresh, platform-specific engagement tools.
  • Reduced Competition: The ‘Big Four’ are saturated with advertisers, making it challenging for brands, especially smaller ones, to stand out. Lesser-known platforms might offer a more level playing field.

8. Summer Reading: Continuous Learning & Adaptation

The digital landscape is akin to a book that never ends. Continuous learning is paramount.

Brands like Taco Bell often demonstrate adaptability. They jumped onto TikTok, capitalizing on the platform’s younger demographic, and adapted their content style to fit the platform’s playful, short-video format.

Just as summer reading programs emphasize the importance of continuous intellectual growth, brands must commit to an ethos of perpetual learning in the digital space. The chapters of the digital narrative are written in real-time, and brands that are proactive in their learning and swift in their adaptation will be the ones crafting compelling stories. Whether it’s a new platform like TikTok or Threads or an emerging technology on the horizon, the key lies in being curious, agile, and always ready to turn the page.

9. Class Participation: Engaging with the Audience

It’s not enough to just broadcast messages. Brands must listen, respond, and interact.

Wendy’s Twitter is legendary for its witty interactions and playful banter. This not only humanizes the brand but also makes users more inclined to interact, knowing they might get a humorous response.

funny wendy tweets jokes 11 5a3b7c9ca6995 700

Source: BoredPanda

Class participation in marketing, exemplified by Wendy’s playful Twitter engagement, underscores the importance of brands actively listening and responding, fostering genuine interactions rather than just broadcasting messages.

Final Thoughts

As the academic world gears up for another year of lessons and discoveries, businesses too have an academic journey ahead in the world of social media marketing. The digital realm is ever-evolving, but with a strong grasp on the basics, continuous adaptation, and a keen ear to the ground, brands can navigate this terrain masterfully. In this era, where every like, share, and comment can make a difference, diving deep into the foundations and keeping the spirit of learning alive is the way forward.

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Joanna Maher

Joanna Maher

Joanna is an Advertising Manager for B Squared Media. She has over 6 years of experience in the social media world in a variety of different roles. She loves sharing her experiences and learnings from her years in social media in these blogs. Joanna is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and loves to work remotely, hang out with her puppy and collaborate with the B2 Crew!
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