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Blasting Off! A Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing

Written by Tonia Latham

Did you know that over 3.5 billion people use social media every day to connect with their friends and follow their favorite brands? With that information, how could businesses stay away from this gold mine?

Your ideal customer probably already lives inside social media. Much like you would prefer a billboard on a heavily trafficked area, social media allows you to engage where your customer is already traveling. Now is the time to take advantage of the open roadway!

Social media marketing is part of your overall marketing plan and should help you aim toward your business goals. The same identifiers that you use in other marketing tactics will apply inside social media, such as knowing your ideal customer, identifying your audience, and crafting the message that best reaches them (all part of your strategy!) With that information in mind, let’s review how to implement your plan, engage, and measure results.


Knowing your audience and your strategy will help you determine which social media platforms are best for your organic and paid content. Organic content is what you post for free and has the potential to reach your followers. Paid content is shared with your financial spend so it is shown to more people.

Choose your platforms wisely. Invest your efforts where you have the best return on your investment and where you will engage. For example, having a solid presence on Facebook and Instagram where you regularly share, engage with your commenters and sharers, answer messages quickly, and provide valuable content is far more important than having accounts on 10 different platforms where you never do any of that. It’s better to do a great job on specific social media platforms than spread yourself too thin and not be effective anywhere.

Keep your messages focused. The adult attention span has dropped to 8 seconds. You have approximately 1-3 seconds to possibly capture the focus of your audience with:

  • Clear, concise messaging
  • Engaging, appealing graphics and videos
  • Calls-to-action that provide easy-to-follow directions

Build a content calendar. Rather than deciding each day what you want to share at that time, build a cohesive branding message that you can implement. This can be as simple as defining out on a physical calendar the messages you want to share on each platform or as detailed as using an online tool. Take advantage of the various tools available to schedule your messages so you can then focus on engaging with your audience.


Imagine if you sent out postcards to potential customers, but never answered phone calls, emails, or provided service when the customer tried to ask questions. Frustrating, right? The same concept exists in social media engagement. Rather than merely “info dumping” on your pages, you want to develop a relationship with your virtual customers. Social media marketing creates leads that need to be nurtured. A few ways to create engagement include:

  • Share your business page with your personal contacts and ask them to follow.
  • Respond to comments and messages quickly. Don’t leave someone hanging!
  • Ask questions in your posts to create ongoing engagement opportunities, then follow up by responding to those answers.
  • Encourage reviews and publicly thank the reviewer.
  • Create cross-promotions with companies that serve similar audiences.
  • Tag appropriate businesses and individuals in posts and comments. This also expands your reach so new people have the potential to see your fabulous content!
  • Provide valuable content that is on brand so that your presence becomes recognizable.
  • Don’t always be selling. If all someone sees from your social media presence is continual asking for them to purchase, they may no longer engage.


It’s often been said that we should begin with the end in mind. Before you start your social media marketing, define what results you want to see so you can measure return on investment.
Measure against SMART goals:

  • Specific: What do you want to accomplish?
  • Measurable: How will you quantify the results?
  • Attainable: Is this realistic and possible (and it’s okay to stretch a bit to make it happen!)
  • Relatable: How is this relevant and worthwhile?
  • Time-bound: In what timeframe will you reach this goal?

Use the analytics tools inside each platform to determine how people are responding to your various pieces of content. With this information, you can adjust and improve as needed to continue to reach your goals.


Rather than being a jack of all trades on social media, focus in on where you can be the expert. If you would rather not worry about it, you can always outsource your social media.

Building a large following who doesn’t engage with your posts is not good. You are aiming for quality, not necessarily quantity. You want to add value to your target customer, not just create another unmemorable billboard on their digital highway. Remember … social media marketing works best when you create two-way communication with your audience!