It seems that every company, charity and foundation are seeking to get social media attention and trying to achieve this by advertising across social platforms, attempting to ‘go viral’. However, for every success, like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, there is a flop. Total Beauty, for example, confused Oprah with Whoopi Goldberg, causing a huge online backlash for the company. So, how can you ensure that you get the most out of your social advertising spend and engage your target audience?
Is Social Advertising Actually Right For You?
Firstly, you need to consider whether social media is actually right for your business. You should ensure that you have a well thought out blog-plan in place with budget allocated; if you struggle to think of posts that would spark the interest of a social media audience, social advertising may not be worth the investment for your company.
Whilst deciding whether or not social advertising is right for your business, you also need to identify your target audience and their usage of social media.
If you are a retailer selling mass market clothes with an identifiable target audience then social advertising can be great. You will be able to reach people of the right age, location and with the right interests and what’s more reach them at peak times where they are more likely to engage.
On the flip side, if you are a multi-national industrial automation company that markets millions of pounds of retrofitted equipment to giant factories, not all social platforms will put your business in front of the right people.
Your target audience would most likely be buyers and managers at Fortune 500 companies with substantial budgets. How much time do you think these kind of people spend on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, in a professional capacity? And what are the chances of them buying after viewing your ad? It is not being facetious to use this type of company as a straw-man, there are companies like this that are currently successfully using social advertising to promote their businesses, mainly on platforms more suited to professionals, such as LinkedIn. However their probability of success is less than that of a more commercial B2C company, who have an undeniably larger audience on more of the available social platforms.
Reach Out To Influencers
In the 21st century a new breed of celebrity has risen: the ‘Facebook Famous’, ‘Instagram Influencers’, ‘Twitter triumphant’ or ‘Insert Platform Here Famous’. A great way to get the most out of your social advertising spend is to reach out to those people who are seen as influential amongst your target audience. As an example, if you are a retailer that sells affordable yet fashionable clothes, you may want to contact a fashion blogger who has a large social following. You can send them some samples to wear and post about and this gives you exposure to a new audience whilst also providing pictures of the influencer wearing your product. These can be used in your social ad campaigns to strengthen your message and capture the attention of your target audience.
The key to this tactic working is to conduct research into your target audience; you can do this by looking at your Facebook insights demographic and cross check these with your Google analytics demographics. From this you should be able to find influencers with high numbers of followers on your desired platforms.
Make Sure You Fully Understand Each Social Platform
So, you have successfully identified your target audience, you have established whether social is right for your business and decided to plunge into paid advertising. The next step is to fully understand each platform. To do this you need to be able to answer each of these questions:
- What differentiates Facebook from Twitter, Instagram from Reddit?
- How do the users behave on each site?
- What tone of voice is suitable on each?
- Do my target audience use this site?
For instance, you want to advertise your new line of men’s wear on Pinterest, firstly you have to determine whether this is the best use of your budget. On Pinterest approximately 68% of the site’s users are female, which is a large proportion of the platform’s 70 million active users. Therefore, the chance of hitting your target demographic and achieving a good conversion rate is not likely. Meaning, you will need to consider one of the other platforms for advertising your new line.
On the other hand, if you are the supplier of bespoke wedding dresses you may find that Pinterest is the perfect platform. Weddings are one of the top five topics on Pinterest, which guarantees a far more receptive audience who are likely to be interested in your products.
Add Value To The User With Your Social Advertising
Social advertising can be very useful if you understand what you are doing as these platforms are still primarily used by people looking to ‘be social’; which, means overly promotional, standard adverts are not going to be well received. Differentiate yourself from your competitors: you can do this by offering discounts or a freebie as an incentive to make an immediate purchase. However you can also stand out by looking at popular posts by other companies in your industry and using a similar format. For example, video content works well on Facebook, according to Social Media Today ‘Facebook now serves a staggering 8 billion video views per day’, showing the prevalence of this medium on Facebook.
If you are not a fan of discounting you can add value instead: you can either offer a free download in the form of an e-book, or a style guide, depending upon your target market and business goals. This gives people a reason to engage and click on your advert and experience your brand before choosing to make a purchase.
Measure Your Performance
As with any type of marketing activity, measuring your performance is important and social advertising is no exception. Luckily, compared to traditional forms of advertising it is easy to measure the effectiveness of your social ads and adapt the content based on the results.
Start by creating a wide variety of content tailored to different social media and testing it using only a small amount of your budget, once your highest performing ad has been decided you can then put more money into this ad and remember the format for future social ad campaigns. You can create a more visual advert for Facebook using images or a video and, as a test, run this alongside a simple text-based ad to see what works with your audience.
The key to success is to test on different platforms to discover the right formula for your target audience bearing in mind that the type of ad will differ depending on the platform.
If you need help with your social media advertising contact Receptional today to discuss how we can help.
Featured image credit: howtostartablogonline.net/socialmedia