It’s so easy to lose yourself on social media. I was on Facebook the other day, closed the tab and loaded it up again absentmindedly a second later…
Social media is incredibly addictive. Over a third of the planet – nearly 3 billion people – are expected to be social networking by 2020.
Why’s that worth knowing? Because small business owners can leverage social media marketing in incredibly creative ways to attract new business, build a network of repeat customers and greatly enhance a brand’s reputation amongst certain demographics.
That last part is the most important bit. Social media has the ability to connect brands online with the people who really matter to them most, with the cleverest and most productive campaigns discovering and communicating with people at the very end of the buying process and building long-term relationships with them.
The targeting tools available on the world’s most popular social networks border on the ridiculous (in a good way), and smaller businesses are using them to great effect to steal a march on the competition.
To reach the next level and join them though, you’ll have to pay.
Social media isn’t so free anymore
Social media is still free, though, so why can’t you just create a Facebook page for your business and start talking to people?
Before we talk about paid social, it’s worth talking about Facebook and the changes it has been through over the years. Facebook is still far and away the most popular social network out there and where most business owners across the world invest when they want to reach out to people.
Except, Facebook’s changed its algorithms so much that you can now only really effectively reach out to the people you want to target most if you put some advertising budget into the platform.
You can create a branded Facebook page, but the way the network now works means not many people will see what you have to say unless you pay to ‘boost’ your posts – even if you have people who like your page and follow you – or use software like Facebook’s Power Editor.
Again, only effective if you pay to reach out to people, but boy is it worth it.
That goes for other networks too
Recently, Facebook announced that it is set to roll out adverts that can be used to target entire households and families at once; perfect timing for the summer holidays.
Not only will it be useful for marketers, but will also be a strong challenger to TV advertising, with that and radio typically the only mediums used at the moment to reach out to entire families at once.
Don’t forget, Facebook also owns Instagram, so expect that feature to likely roll out on that platform, too. And anything that Facebook does is usually copied by the competition; Pinterest and Twitter both offer ad targeting now, but are a long way from generating the revenues Facebook does.
The bottom line is that the majority of social media platforms allow small business owners to target people at incredibly intricate levels so long as they put some budget behind a campaign.
It’s not too expensive either, especially if you heavily research the audience you want to reach out to and build a creative campaign that really speaks to them.
5 ways to get more sales through social media
All of a sudden, social media marketing sounds quite complicated, and we’ve only really touched the surface of what Facebook can offer.
So how do you know which social network is the best place to spend your time, energy and money to get the best costs per lead and reach the most relevant people?
1: Do your research
Facebook may be the most popular social network on the planet by some distance, and though it’s likely your target market is signed up to it, it doesn’t mean it’s their social network of choice and the one they pay the most attention to.
Thoroughly research your local audience and the people you want to reach out to to discover what social networks they use and how they interact with them on a daily basis.
2: Explore the ad formats on offer
To get the best results from social media marketing, you’ll have to pay. Each platform has unique targeting options though, allowing you to build creative campaigns especially for people of certain ages, locations and the devices they use.
Do some competitor research. Which ads are the competition in your sector using to reach out to people via paid social, and what’s the creative message like?
3: Think beyond social media
When you invest in a paid social media campaign, your outlay is specifically to gain attention and attract traffic. Where’s that traffic going to go, though? Paid social marketing is one part of a wider campaign. That traffic has to be encouraged to complete an action.
Think about where you’re directing that traffic and why. If you’re looking for a boost in sales, are they going to product pages or general category pages? The state of your landing pages and calls-to-action will make all the difference.
4: Use your imagination
When paying for display ads on social media, you only have a small amount of space to get your message across. It pays to think outside the box and be creative, using fantastic visuals and punchy sentences to attract the people you’re paying to be in front of.
Free stock image websites are also out there if you struggle behind the camera, which can be especially effective for people looking to make an impact on Instagram and other visual networks.
5: Consider integrating marketing automation
As we’ve mentioned, it can be time-consuming and expensive to spread yourself too thinly across numerous social media accounts. Marketing automation as part of your inbound marketing campaign though can manage lots of accounts and provide a personal service to potential prospects.
Find out more about the benefits of investing in social media targeting by speaking to a Webpresence representative today.