Social Media Marketing in the 2020s

Written by Newspaper Humor Columnist & Social Media Expert

July 22, 2022
Social Media Marketing in the 2020s

Fifteen years ago, when social media first became popular and businesses were starting to embrace it, you only had to start a blog and set up a Twitter or Facebook account, and you could outshine your competition.

You could absolutely dominate your competitors just by writing a good weekly blog, which could help you become a mini celebrity in your industry. I know this because I was able to do it. I've been blogging since 1997 and when it became popular around 2007, I posted more frequently. I wrote about social media and marketing topics and became a minor celebrity in my hometown, and someone who was invited to several conferences to speak.

Not anymore. Those days are long gone.

These days, businesses can't get ahead by doing social media marketing, they can only keep up.

Social media is no longer an option, it's a must. Businesses will not succeed without a social media presence anymore. Sure, they can exist without it, but these tend to be small companies in small industries that don't have a lot of competition.

For example, a small engine repair shop in a small farming town isn't going to live or die because of their social media. But a company that hopes to attract customers from across the country or around the world absolutely must have it.

But your social media presence doesn't have to be a constant stream of 20 daily tweets and photos to 87 social media accounts. You can get by with one or two social accounts. You don't need to blog every day, but you should publish at least once a week because it helps with your search engine optimization.

Social media marketing in 2022 looks much different than it did in 2007 and 2008, but the principles are the same. No matter what year it is, you need to:

1. Create good content

It has to provide value and should be interesting to the people who read it.

2. Publish it consistently

Publish two or three social updates on your chosen social accounts, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

3. Engage, don't advertise

Nobody wants to be advertised to, but they do want to have conversations with their brands. So have conversations with people, don't shout at them.

These rules are true whether we're talking about blog content, videos, photos, podcasts, or social media updates. It needs to be produced or written well. You need to publish it on a regular basis — daily for social media updates, weekly for blog content, every two weeks or once a month for podcasts.

But rather than write a basic "here's how to do social media" article that explains how to blog, how to tweet, how to do Instagram — because there are thousands and thousands of articles about that — I want to share some intermediate advice that goes beyond the basic advice.

Even so, this article assumes that you have already done the following.

1. Started a Twitter account and follow likely customers in your area.

2. Started a Facebook or LinkedIn page for your business, depending whether you're a B2C or a B2B business.

3. If you sell products, you have started an Instagram page and regularly share photos of your products being used or in service. You also share photos of installations and projects.

4. Publish weekly blog articles to your website that talk about problems you can solve. They should share information and educate your customers. Since the idea is to get them to want more information, you should be writing a mix of beginning and advanced articles.

5. You're following basic SEO rules of using the right number of keywords in the body text, the headline, and the meta description.

Since you're already doing those things, or plan on doing them as soon as you finish this article, here are five advanced tactics you can use to take your social media marketing beyond what your competitors are already doing.

1. Start an Email Newsletter

Start an email newsletter

This is one of the most important marketing tactics you can do. That's because your email subscription list is the only thing you actually own in all of your digital marketing efforts.

Your Twitter account can be canceled at any time. You can be kicked off of Facebook. Your LinkedIn profile could be shut down. And you're not allowed to download your list of followers, friends, or connections.

But your list of email subscribers is yours and yours alone. These are the people who have said, "Yes, please communicate with me further. Send me messages. Share news with me."

You can download that list and save it to your computer, and no one can ever take it away from you.

If you ever change email service providers, you can upload that list to your new provider and continue sharing your newsletter without them ever knowing you switched. You can also upload your list to any new social networks and connect with those subscribers immediately.

More importantly, as your subscriber list grows, you can segment your list so you share specific issues only to specific customers. If you run a clothing store, you can segment between male and female shoppers, parents and non-parents, younger and older shoppers, or anything else that will help you target your specific audience.

If you have a business-to-business company, you can segment your audience based on the size, the type of company, or the type of products they typically buy.

Your email newsletter is probably the best form of marketing you can do for your customers because you know you're sending it directly to them, you know if they read it or not, and you own that valuable list of customers yourself.

2. Automate Your Social Media Messages

You can automate your social media marketing by using different apps and websites designed specifically for that purpose.

There are automation services like Zapier or If This Then That (IFTTT, pronounced "ift") to handle the repetitive and low-value tasks.

For example, if you want to share an Instagram photo to your Twitter account without creating a second message, Zapier or IFTTT can do it for you.

These automation services let you do things like receive text notifications when it's going to rain, record daily fitness activity to a Google spreadsheet, turn on smart appliances with your smart speaker, or adjust your home's thermostat when you're leaving work.

For our purposes, we'll use it to re-share social content. Let's say you want to post a photo to Instagram and then repost it to Twitter and Facebook. You could upload the photo and retype the caption for each network, doing that every time you post a photo. Or you could automate the re-sharing with an applet (IFTTT) or a zap (Zapier).

Of course, you can share Instagram photos automatically from the app. But the problem is whenever you share a photo that way, Instagram will only post a link to the photo in your tweet, it won't post the actual photo. But an IFTTT applet will post a photo natively inside your tweet, as if you had written the tweet yourself.

Other automation tools include HootSuite, Loomly, and Buffer, to name a few. They will let you copy and paste updates and post them to your chosen networks, but IFTTT and Zapier do so much more.

3. Don't Automate All Your Messages Though

But you shouldn't automate all of your social messages. You want to take advantage of some of the features of each social message, but full automation won't let you do that.

For example, Twitter only lets you write 280-character tweets, but Instagram lets you write 2,200 characters. You can also include a few hashtags in your tweet, but those cut into your character count. You can also cram several hashtags into the first comment in your Instagram post so you don't clutter up your actual message.

Plus, don't worry about your social followers seeing the same content on every social network because people aren't following all of your content at the same time every day.

So it's OK if you post the same type of message in more than one place, even if they're slightly different.

There are a few ways you can avoid automating your messages. For one thing, you can set up an applet or zap so that it will only work if you use a certain #hashtag in the message, which you create. This way, the applet won't execute with every update you make.

4. Use Google Analytics or Another Analytics Package

Use Google Analytics

What's driving traffic to your website? Which social networks are having the most impact? Did one particular blog article resonate with your audience and bring in a lot of visitors?

The best way to know this is by using Google Analytics to monitor your web traffic. With Google Analytics, you can get a basic look at what pages are bringing in visitors, what paths they take while they explore your site, which social networks they're visiting from. You can even assign a dollar value to visits to a specific page and measure whether you're meeting sales goals for certain pages.

Google Analytics is a bit advanced and so you'll want to take some time to get to know the program and how it works. You may also need help installing Analytics on your website. There are plenty of YouTube videos to tell you how to do it, but you can also find an SEO expert who can install it for you in under an hour.

5. Create UTM Links

This one is somewhat advanced, but I'll try to keep it simple.

When you send out social media updates with links and people visit your site as a result, it's sometimes difficult to know which message brought in certain sales, or which tweet generated the most traffic to your site. This is where UTM links can help.

UTM stands for Urchin tracking module. Urchin was a software company that Google bought in 2005, and this is what became Google Analytics, but they kept the name.

A UTM link provides additional information about that link. It tells you where your web traffic is coming from, how it's getting to you, and why. In other words, when someone clicks a UTM link, that tells Google Analytics about the source, the medium, and the campaign.

You fill that information in when you build the link, and then you'll be able to see how and when. You can build UTM links at a site like

Let's look at an example.

UTM example

You can see that the source of the traffic is the newsletter, the medium is the email, and the campaign is June 2022. In other words, when you check your Google Analytics, you can see which page visits came from the June 2022 email newsletter.

You can also change up your UTM so the source is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the medium is social, and the campaign is still June 2022. This way, you can tell whether Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram was the best performing network for you.

Why is this important? Because if you're running a regular marketing campaign with a lot of postings, you're going to want to know which message delivered the best results to you. You want to know which medium is delivering the most visits and sales. And you can also see which campaigns were your most successful.

If you know these details, you'll be able to replicate your efforts for future campaigns. Maybe you'll find that your email campaigns are producing far more traffic than your Facebook ads. That information can help you decide whether you need to improve your Facebook ads and increase your ad spending or to cut back on Facebook altogether.

Final Thoughts

Social media has been around long enough that the marketing around it has gotten more sophisticated and measurable. We can do things with measurement and analytics that we could never do with traditional marketing and advertising. And we can target our prospects and customers in a way we never could, thanks to Facebook advertising, email newsletters, and segmenting.

Hopefully you've already been doing social media marketing, but there's so much more you could be doing. You only have to take the next few steps and you can up your marketing game and get ahead of your competitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to display my art on my website?

Your website can be used for many things; however, you need to keep in mind that you created your website to promote your art. Don’t get wrapped up in all the things around your site and forget to put the primary focus on your art.

How do I choose a design for my website?

One of the most important things when creating a website for your art is the design. Even though your pieces of art might be amazing, people will leave if your site is hard to navigate. This is why it’s important that the site is easy on the eyes and easy to navigate.

How much money can you make from a blog?

In the first year, most bloggers earn very little money, mainly from affiliate marketing and ads. However, it’s possible to earn $50-$200 per month in the first year. When you increase your traffic, you can start earning over $1,000 per month.

Why should I create a website?

There are many reasons why you should create a website if you’re an artist. You can use it to create a place where people can learn about you, talk about your art, or show off your work.

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