Nothing in the history of communication technology has connected more people than social media, which makes it one of the best places to advertise your business and connect with would-be customers.
Every day, billions of people scroll through their newsfeed, “liking” or commenting on pictures and posts by family and friends. So why not reach them where they are?
This blog post focuses on Facebook and Instagram, but those are just two of the most widely used platform. There are many others, with different reach, focus and audiences, including Snapchat, Tiktok, Pintrest and LinkedIn.
We find that most of our clients, when it comes to social media, find their customers on Facebook or Instagram. You probably have some target audiences on those two networks. Facebook has 2.7 billion active users per month and 1.7 billion active users every day.
Instagram has 1 billion active accounts, and 90 percent of them “follow” a business.
Ads on these platforms can be presented in ways that look remarkably similar to so-called “organic” content posted by users, except for a small “sponsored” label and a “Shop Now” button or some other call to action.
Start with smart targeting
One of the most powerful features of social media advertising is the ability to target your message — to hone in on the audience you are trying to reach. You can provide real value with your advertising. You are not just interrupting someone who is not relevant to you or your message. You are responding to something they are looking for, based on their posted content and online actions. You are giving them something they are looking for in a fluid flow of information that is not intrusive to their daily routine.
To successfully target, you really need to know the answer to some basic questions. For instance, who is your ideal customer? What do they do during the day? What are their habits and activities? Where do they live? And, most importantly, what problems can you solve for them?
The answers to these questions will help you compose the ad and start a Facebook or Instagram advertising program that will get the best result for your investment.
You can target based on location, age, gender or interests. You can have your ad served up in front of people who own a dog, are parenting, buy things on line, lean left, lean right, read books, travel a lot … you name it.
If running a nationwide campaign, you’ll want an audience of at least one million. At the same time, you don’t want to target your audience so broadly that the message is wasted.
There is a higher premium to target very specific audiences, as opposed to the broadest audience. The audience has to be broad enough so that Facebook can find the right people. If you are targeting only 1,000 or 2,000 people you are going to have a hard time getting any reach.
This is why it is so critical to know your audience so you can target correctly. We don’t wake up hoping someone will sell us something, but we all wake up with problems we know need solving, so if you can reach someone with advertising that suggests you can solve that problem, you can cut through the noise.
Social media has data on all of us. We’re being targeted and traced every single moment we are online. Love it or hate it, we might as well use it to our advantage.
Understand the customer’s process
Before launching effective social media advertising campaigns, you have to understand the process your ideal customer goes through in relation to what you are offering. The steps someone takes when buying a car are different than the process involved in buying clothes. And the clothes-buying process is different for teenagers than aging boomers.
Your ideal customer goes through a process when considering and then purchasing the goods or services you are offering. What is that process, and, does it even include social media at all? Break it into stages (awareness, consideration, decision) so you can develop a message that aligns with their questions and concerns throughout the buying process.
Once you understand your ideal customer and how they size up your offer, you can create a strategy to reach them. After that, it becomes a matter of implementing that strategy and measuring its success using metrics that are unique to social media advertising.
Determine your objectives, timeline, and your intake plan
There are things we always ask when working with a client to create a winning social media campaign.
The first question we ask is, what are you trying to accomplish; what’s your objective? Are you trying to gain new customers, extend your reach, improve branding, generate more engagement, acquire email addresses?
What are the actual outcomes you are trying to achieve? How will you measure the results? What does success look like?
Another key consideration is the time frame driving your advertising. Social media ads require time to season on the platforms, so that the Facebook and Instagram algorithms can learn how to best serve you the clients you are seeking.
In the background Facebook is making micro decision about the right people to target with your message, and that requires data to be collected over time.
Staff and resources are also important. If an ad generates emails and phone calls, messages or comments, are you set up to handle them? Some businesses have been caught off guard by the volume of traffic a good social media campaign will generate.
Determine your strong, compelling offer.
The purpose of the ad is to take the person from the platform they are on and put them somewhere you want them to be, whether it be a phone call, a message or to your website, so you need to have an offer that inspires or entices them to do that.
The offer could be “Download this piece of content to be on our email list,” “Call us now to get on our schedule for next week,” “Download our free information guide and we can have a representative reach out to you.”
There has to be something that inspires people to act.
Be clear about your objective. Facebook and Instagram have many different objectives to choose from. They can generate traffic, leads, messages, engagement, likes, shares or comments.
Even if you don’t have a product to sell right now, you can get people into an email list to buy from you in the future. Just getting them to interact with your ad puts them into a custom audience that you can retarget down the road.
Create a good clear ad with clear, concise copy
Your goal is to make people stop what they are doing when they are scrolling through their newsfeed and read your ad. It’s called “thumb-stopping ability.”
Facebook allows carousel ads with multiple images and headings, or a single image, or a video; there are many options to consider.
If people start to engage with your ad at a high rate, Facebook knows that and will show your ad to more people for less money, so we often provide multiple images for people to see in the same ad, thus extending their engagement.
Be clear about what you want people to do. Understand most people are going to be viewing your ad on a mobile device, so if you have something to say try to say it in the first three lines. Give people a directive. If something is unclear or lacking in a call to action, people get annoyed and move on.
You have three seconds to get someone’s attention; if they have to think too much about what’s going on, you lose them.
For more information on running successful social media advertising campaigns, visit us online at scdigital.com.