Neil Patel

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The Three Different Forms of Social Media Marketing (and How to Use Them)

Social media marketing seems like it’s the marketing technique du jour.

And it makes sense.

81% of the United States’ population is on social media platforms every single day.

On top of that, there are more than two billion monthly active users on Facebook.

Meaning there’s huge potential to tap into social media to grow your business.

There are tons of different strategies, tactics, and methods to use for building and leveraging a social following.

But how do you know what’s good? What works? What social media marketing tactics are actually worth the time?

It can be hard to sift through all the info and tricks out there to know what’s best for you.

But although it can be a little overwhelming, it’s necessary.

You need social media to build a brand following.

To showcase social proof and trust.

To drive leads and sales.

And thankfully, even with the influx of how-tos and social media guides out there, there are just three basic forms that social media marketing is made up of:

Community management, content creation, and growth.

So instead of worrying about the latest innovations when it comes to social media tactics, you can narrow your focus and really excel with social media marketing.

Here are the three different forms of social media marketing and how you can use them to grow your business ASAP.

Community management

The first form of social media marketing falls under community management.

This is where you focus on driving engagement, interacting with fans and followers, and helping current fans solve problems.

Community engagement can take shape in a variety of ways.

For example, you can use social media to help solve user problems.

Here’s Slack offering some customer service via Twitter:

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Or you can simply use it to thank users for their existing purchases and loyalty:

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Social media is an incredibly diverse marketing tactic that allows you to engage in ways we’ve never seen before.

It’s personalized (just look at how McDonald’s called out John by name and referred to their “date”), and people love interacting with brands.

71% of people who interact with a brand on social media and have a good experience are likely to recommend that company to a friend.

On top of that, platforms like Facebook influence 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchase decisions.

That’s a 36% increase from just three years ago.

Social media is one of the best ways to create a loyal following and deliver a perfect customer experience.

70% of people who get help from a brand on social media will return as a customer:

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And if those people receive great customer service from you, they are likely to spend much more:

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So how do you provide the best community engagement and management to deliver the results you need?

Here are a few of my favorite ways to build a better community around your following and drive more engagement:

Respond faster

Response time is critical in giving the user a good customer experience.

In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why most companies use social media in the first place.

73% of the top-performing companies cite customer service as their main priority in social media marketing:

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But in reality, only 36% of customers who ask for assistance via social media have reported having good experiences.

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And that’s not good if your goal is to build a community that engages with your brand.
In fact, that’s a death wish for any company on social media.

So what do you do? You respond faster.

Responding faster is critical if you want to improve contact rates and lead conversions.

In fact, every five minutes you wait to respond can have catastrophic results for your business:
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But the truth is, most firms are slow to respond to new leads or messages from users:

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Meaning that you are likely at risk of losing out on potential customers and simultaneously giving a poor user experience.

So, how do you fix it? How do you respond faster?

Start with using a social media management platform that can give you instant alerts.

I prefer HootSuite. It’s great for managing all your social profiles in the same space.

Plus, you can set up alerts for brand or direct mentions so you can instantly respond throughout the day.

To get started, create your account and head to the dashboard on HootSuite:

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On the left-hand side, click “Set Up Now” to set up a brand “stream.”

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Here you can enter your brand name or direct Twitter handle to get instant alerts:

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For example, when you type in your username, you can see what the results will look like:

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Here, you can play around with the alternate spellings, URLs, and more. Customize this section to fit your brand needs.

Next, select a Twitter account to link to this alert system:

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This will be the account that you respond to alerts and mentions from, so make sure to select your company account.

You can also refine your search and alerts by including negative keywords:

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Here, I would focus on identifying any keywords that might get mistaken for your brand.

The goal here is to respond fast, but also to save time.

Once you are ready to save your new feed, it should appear on your HootSuite dashboard like this:

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Now, simply repeat that step for each social media channel you have.

You’ll get instant alerts when someone messages you or mentions your brand so that you can quickly respond and take advantage of high-quality customer service.

Be genuine

I can’t stress this point enough when talking about community management and engagement:

Interact with users like a genuine, real human being would.

When not done right, marketing can be seen as cold, boring, automated, and robotic.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it shouldn’t be that way on social media.

It’s important on social media to interact with your followers like they are your friends, not just your customer.

Just look at how big brands pull this off, like Southwest:

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And that’s not something that only big brands can do. It costs zero extra dollars from your marketing budget to take five seconds to personalize a response.

Notice how they include the user’s name in conjunction with personalized language like “you” and signing off with the support staffs initials?

That’s great personalization at work.

And look how SaaS company HelpScout does it:

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The goal here is to have genuine responses and real communication.

Don’t automate your responses.

Content creation

The second form of social media marketing is content creation.

Content creation is the name of the game when it comes to providing value and driving traffic to your site.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to drive cheap leads and see explosive growth.

According to Oracle, in the first five months of implementing content marketing, you can expect a cost per lead drop of 80%.

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And social media is the preferred platform for content marketers to share their pieces.

In fact, 87% of content marketers share their content on social media platforms after publishing it.

And 81% of content marketers found an increase in traffic after spending just a few hours a week promoting content on social media.

So, how do you implement better content creation for your social media marketing strategy?

Here are two things to focus on.

Utilize videos and images in your strategy

People love visually appealing content.

And they love to share it: visual content will get shared 40x more than content without visuals.

Visual content will almost always outperform plain text.

Why? Most people aren’t scrolling through their social timelines to read a huge block of text.

In fact, if the pictures in the content are relevant, they will get more attention than the associated text.

Why do you think Twitter limits posts to 140 characters? Nobody wants to read your 500-word post.

Social media is fast-paced, and visual content is perfect for grabbing someone’s attention when they’re scrolling at 100mph.

And video is one of my favorite ways to do that.

In fact, the majority of marketing professionals say video produces the best ROI:

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And that’s why I use YouTube to drive tons of traffic:

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Using visuals is critical for success on social media.

On Twitter, tweets with images will dominate your timeline for a reason:

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They get the mass majority of social shares.

And if you still weren’t convinced, people follow directions better when illustrations or visuals are included:

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That’s why my social media timeline always contains images for a CTA.

And guess what? Consumers want more of it.

43% want to see more videos in the future of marketing, according to HubSpot.

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And we can further examine this trend by looking at the incredible, explosive growth of the mobile video industry:

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Last year, Google found that more 18+ users are watching YouTube on their phones during any given week during prime time than they are watching any network cable channel.

People are watching videos. So how can you make marketing videos that aren’t boring?

And ones that really drive engagement?

Just follow HubSpot’s example. They are using video on Instagram to make typical marketing information enjoyable:

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To get started creating simple videos for social media, I recommend using Biteable.

This program is free and one of the easiest to use for creating videos.

First, head to Biteable and create a free account to get started:

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Click “Get Started – It’s Free” to create your account in just a few seconds.

Next, you’ll be asked to select a type of video to create.

You can choose between tons of different options:

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Simply click on any of them to get a basic preview and see if the content type fits with your goals:

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These videos are pretty amazing, and you can edit any of the templates available, or start a new one from a blank canvas.

Select your template, then start editing the content section and adding new content to each slide:

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Once you add  your text and data, the slides will automatically update:

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On top of that, you can edit the custom colors of your slide to match your current logos and branding:

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And, you can choose from a large library of royalty-free music tracks, or even upload your own:

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The options here are nearly limitless.

You can then export these videos to be shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever social media platform you want!

This tool has been a huge part of my social strategy because it allows me to develop high-quality videos in just a few minutes.


The third form of social media marketing revolves around growth.

This sector is focused on increasing your following, driving traffic, and expanding your social footprint.

This can be achieved with tons of different marketing methods:

Promotions, contests, cross promotions, giveaways, and more.

But how do you do it? How do you run a successful content that generates a provable ROI?

Well, that’s what I am here to show you!

Get started with a contest or giveaway

First, let’s jump into some basics that you need to nail down before you dive into growing your presence on social media.

Just like any type of social media engagement, timing plays a critical role in contests and giveaways:

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Be sure to run your contests during the most active months of the year to take full advantage of their ability to drive traffic.

Also be on the lookout for effective contest duration– not too long, and not too short.

And these types of growth style promotions work:

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On average, Facebook Pages can expect a 34% increase in new fans through a contest.
That’s huge. Growing your social following through contests and giveaways should be a big part of your social strategy.

Some of my favorite tools to use for giveaways and contests are Gleam and Kontest.

Gleam is focused on giveaways, and Kontest is more geared towards contests (hence the name Kontest).

Let’s jump into using Gleam first, and then we’ll go over how to create a contest with the Kontest App.

First, open up and create a free account.

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Next, login with your current Facebook profile:

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Once you hit the dashboard, click on the “+ New Competition” button to get started:

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The three key starting components in your competition are the name, start and end date, and terms:

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Make sure to fill these out properly before moving onto the next step.

On the “How to enter” step, you can start taking advantage of ways to drive massive growth on your social profiles:

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You can set up new ways to enter by clicking on the various social media icons.

For example, someone could enter to win your giveaway by following you on Twitter:

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Or you could make an entry that tells people to follow or like your content on Instagram:

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There are tons of options to pick from here!

And the great thing about Gleam is that these entries are all verifiable, meaning people will have to follow your accounts or like posts for the entry to be confirmed.

Now you’re ready to share your giveaway link on your social platforms to build a huge following fast.

If you want to run a contest too, you can use Kontest.

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Click on “Free access” to get started with a free account. You will have to pay later if you decide to use certain contest features.

Select “+ New game” to create a new contest:

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Next, you can choose between dozens of applications that will drive huge growth for your social profiles:

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These games are incredibly interactive and great for building engagement.

You can edit everything from the rules to the prizes and the entry form:

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Plus, you can customize in the “Settings” section to develop your perfect contest:

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And just like with Gleam you can add social-following options under the “Rules” section:

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Kontest is an awesome app if you want to run fun, viral contests that will drive email signups and people to follow your social channels.

Spend time making the game as fun as possible and give great prizes to winners!


When you hear the term “social media marketing,” what comes to mind?

Possibly a jumbled mix of tactics, buzzwords, and lots of jargon, right?

A quick “social media marketing” search on Google brings back more than 40 million results.

That would be a lot to take in if you truly needed to know it all.

Luckily, you don’t. Because, thankfully, we can break down social media marketing into three forms to continue to build social proof and drive leads to our content and brand.

Start by managing your community. Focus on engaging with fans and driving buzz around your company.

Then, make sure to deliver great content that fits your target audience.

Finish it off by running contests and promotions to build more buzz and drive growth through the roof.

What’s the main focus of your social media marketing plan?

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