Social Media Advertising Success: How To Stand Out

10 Steps to Successful Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising SuccessSocial media is where we spend our time.

As such, marketers must be present to attract your attention for their products and services.

Yet, social media is no longer the “free” marketing platform.

If you had any doubts, the senior management shakeups at Twitter and Pinterest underscore the need for these media entities to yield sales, not just equity valuations.

Translation: Show me the money!!!

This shouldn’t be a surprise. The “freebie” party doesn’t last forever. Investors generally want more than eyeballs in return for their money.

For most social media networks this translates to advertising.

Most notably, Facebook’s revenues have been driven by advertising sales. Its growth during the past year is mainly attributable to the increase in higher priced mobile traffic. Next year, it’ll come from more expensive, video advertising as evidenced by Facebook’s drive to increase native video.

To be effective, augment your social media activity (which was never free) with paid social media advertising. For many marketers and social media executives, this may be jolt to your already stretched budget, but consider:

Why do you need social media advertising?

  • It’s difficult to get noticed above the noise on social media. Your marketing message is competing with significant others, family and friends, even if you’re a large brand name.
  • Social media networks may be hindering your business’s ability to be seen in people’s feeds. They have algorithms that work against business content.

The US social media advertising spend will reach almost $14 billion in 2018 according to Business Insider. Notably about 2/3 of the advertising will be via mobile devices. Expect the big social media advertising opportunities to include mobile and video.

Social Media Advertising Spending Growth - Business Insider-1

The 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report conducted by Social Media Examiner found that the overwhelming majority of respondents used social media advertising as follows:

  • 84% of respondents used Facebook ads.
  • 41% of respondents used Google ads (Note: This response wasn’t clear since YouTube was listed separately.)
  • 18% of respondents used  LinkedIn ads.

Social Media Advertising - Social Media Examiner-2015-1Going forward, respondents planned to increase their social media advertising.

  • 53% would increase their  Facebook ads.
  • 38% would increase their Google ads.
  • 31% would increase their Twitter ads.
  • 29% would increase their LinkedIn ads.
  • 23% would increase their YouTube ads.

 Social Media Advertising Plans 2015 by platform-SOcial Media Examiner

BTW: Here’s a fuller analysis of the 2015 Social Media Examiner data.

10 Steps to social media advertising success

For social media advertising success, you need to formulate a plan following these 10 steps. Social Media Advertising Success

1. Establish your social media advertising objectives

For most marketers, the 3 major reasons to support your social media marketing with paid advertising are:

  1. Attract prospects, generate leads and acquire customers.
  2. Extend your reach beyond your prospects and customers.
  3. Increase branding.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Define your social media advertising goals in specific terms. Make them measurable to be able to assess your progress.

2. Understand your audience on social media

Start by identifying how your prospects and customers use and interact on various social media networks.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Create social media persona. Understand how your audience differs on various platforms. Specifically, what do they respond to as it relates to your offering?

3. Select the content you’re going to promote on each social media network

Social media runs on content. What information do you plan to share on each network so that it resonates with your target audience on that platform?

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Tailor your content by social media platform. Use headlines and images that are formatted to improve response based on the specific network.
  • Optimize your social media content for SEO. The objective is to ensure that you still have an opportunity to get your information viewed.

4. Decide the social media platforms where you’re going to advertise

Start by leveraging the power of free social media to see what works and what doesn’t work to achieve your goals. Bear in mind that social media networks continue to adjust their algorithms to reduce business content visibility.

Advertise on a subset of the social media networks where you’re active and engaged.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Understand the advertising model on each platform you select. Social media advertising is NOT one size fits all. Many networks have different advertising options and performance metrics. Take the time to appreciate what is offered and how it relates to your needs.

5. Tap into social media advertising targeting

Targeting is the big win of social media advertising. It allows you to reach very small groups of people with the same traits or behavior. (Take advantage of Facebook’s targeting potential. Check out Jon Loomer’s blog for specifics.)

Among the social media targeting options are:

  • Interests, connections or behavior. This is the traditional way marketers have selected potential audiences.
  • Custom audience. Select specific people based on information you already have about them. Previously you could only do this by appending data where it existed.
  • Look alike audience. Reach a similar audience to your existing audience.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Choose targeted audiences over mass options. It’s worth the investment since you’re selecting the people you think want your message based on your existing data.

6. Create contextually relevant ads

Since people spend a lot of time on social media, ads tend to wear out very fast. Therefore, rotate new ads frequently.

This isn’t new. It’s the same advice people used on blogs where you had highly engaged audiences who kept returning for more information.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Optimize your ads for mobile. Since the social media action has moved to mobile, ensure that your social media advertising renders on smartphones where people check in during the day.

7. Test, test, test social media ads

Start by trying a variety of different ads on each social media platform to understand what works best to attract your core audience.

Where possible, run small A/B tests to determine what works best. This saves you money in the long run by giving you actual results rather than seat-of-your-pants guesses.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t. Don’t guess—test.

8. Have a conversion process in place

All of your advertising is for naught if you don’t have a process in place to nurture your leads and convert them into customers.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Include a call-to-action. Don’t expect prospects to take the next step in your process without guidance.
  • Keep the social media scent alive. Where possible, keep your landing pages and other conversion process content consistent so that prospects know they’re on the right path.
  • Have a way to track your prospects. Ensure you can measure your conversions back to your social media advertising.

9. Set a reasonable budget for social media advertising

Accept that social media is an ad supported medium.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maintain your social media presence to attract customers and fans as well as to handle customer service.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Start small. Grow your social media advertising budget based on your objectives and performance.

10. Measure results

Don’t just focus on your social media ad spending. Track your results to your key objectives set in the first step.

Actionable Social Media Advertising Tip:

  • Connect the results from all aspects of your marketing mix. There’s a propensity to focus on tracking your marketing spend without incorporating all of the steps.

The bottom line: Social media requires advertising support.

To maximize your social media advertising success, you need a plan to ensure that your investment yields tangible results.

What is your experience with social media advertising?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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