Social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Internet users now typically spend almost a third of their time online with social media. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down just yet.
So almost inevitably, your customers will be using social media. And businesses that don’t use social media to enrich their digital presence and reach their customers are very likely to be missing a huge opportunity. You can market your business through social media organically, of course. But, if you are already posting content, sharing and engaging with customers and prospects, it may be time to consider testing the paid option too.
Facebook is the lead platform as far as advertising investment goes, followed by Twitter, according to a study by eMarketer. While Instagram is steadily building its advertising profile, with a response rate reportedly 2.8 times higher than the average online advertising of other social networks.
But bigger isn’t necessarily better. Whichever social media platforms you decide to use, you’ll need to do your research and identify which ones will be the best fit for your content, your customers and your budget.
Still need convincing? Here are three very good reasons to consider advertising on social media:
1. Target your audience
When you sign up for some paid social advertising you’ll get the chance to select the demographics you want to target. And those demographics can get very specific indeed. You can segment your target audience for general things like age, location, gender and career. But you can also dig into details that cover personal interests, career details and liked pages, so you are targeting people that are more likely to respond positively to your content.
These days, we are looking for a more personalised experience online, so we pick and choose what content, including advertising content, that we want to consume. This gives platforms like Facebook the ability to drill down into very, very specific data to target the audience you want to reach. So your advertising will be much more effective than the broad-brush approach of traditional advertising, and often cheaper. You also have the choice of picking your objectives: do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want to build brand awareness? Each ad will be optimised according to your objective, taking you beyond the reach of your organic social activity to touch new prospective customers.
You’ll need to do your research and be very clear about the audience you want to reach but if they’re out there, social media can reach them.
2. Kick-start your leads
Organic social marketing is great for building awareness and trust. But you’re relying heavily on the quality of your content to persuade people to share and put your messages out there for you, not to mention competing with other brands paying to reach people before you do.
A paid campaign will take you directly to your target audience. That can do wonders when it comes to getting your name in front of people who either haven’t been thinking about you, or haven’t heard of you. If you want to retarget those people who’ve seen (and liked) your organic content, you can tailor the messaging of your ads to push them to purchase, and even create lookalike audiences to target people who are similar to those who have already interacted with your ads.
No matter which social media platform you’re on, you’re in a highly competitive space, so the quality of your content and its relevance to your target audience will be the key driver in getting your audience to engage with it.
It takes a lot to cut through the chatter and persuade a prospective customer to stop scrolling, even for a few seconds.
The major benefit of social advertising is the seamless integration of ads into organic content. Facebook and Instagram, for example, distinguish a paid-for post with just a single word to show that it’s been ‘sponsored’, so the ad itself appears in the user’s feed much like any other post. It is your job to convince your audience that it is worth clicking on.
3. Promote your content
If you think of organic social marketing as promoting by stealth, paid-for is more like breaking cover and running down the street naked with a loudhailer shouting “Look what I’ve got!” … Kind of.
But when you think about it, this analogy emphasises that the latter approach is only worth doing if you’ve actually got something to shout about. And if you have, then that’s exactly what you should do. If your team has spent time and money producing some excellent content, then it’s not working as hard as it could if it’s not being seen by as many people as possible: relevant, engaged, interested people in your target demographic, that is.
By linking to the quality content that you’re already promoting by organic search you can bring more people into the fold. If they like what they see they’ll stick around and engage with you further. They’ll post comments, ask questions, and perhaps even share your content on their own networks.
And of course, when people do look at your content, you can track their engagement and measure just how effective that content is. If it works – great, do more of the same. And if it doesn’t, you know you’ve got some work to do.