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Should You Ever Pay for Social Media Advertising?

by Joanne Dolezal on 19th October 2018

Many of you have been using social media for a number of years and can’t believe how much things have changed in that time, but should you now be paying for social media advertising too?

When the main social media platforms were launched, they were free to use.  Over time, as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest have grown their user base, they have introduced paid tools to increase ‘reach’ but also ‘revenue’.

In this series, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of paying to reach more people on the platforms we regularly use to share content, attract website visitors and raise our brand awareness.

There was an assumption that social media would allow us to connect with our customers free of charge, create profiles and build a following. When Facebook went public (i.e. floated their shares on the stock exchange), they had to start making money from advertising revenue. Almost immediately, business page reach went down.

The other social platforms followed suit, which is to be expected.

There is a clear trade-off: we get to access our customers, communicate with them and let them talk to each other. In order to reach people we don’t already know, though, we have to pay.

They gather the consumer data we share with them to build a picture of who we are as individuals. They know what we’re interested in, which is based on everything we do and every interaction we have. Selling access to this data is how they make money.

In this series, we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of social media advertising on some of the most popular platforms, what sort of costs are involved and the potential benefits.

First, you have to decide what your goals in using Social Media are

Some of the goals that a business or organisation will have for using social media are marketing goals:

  • raising awareness of your brand and products
  • engaging with people and building on their awareness
  • encouraging them to be willing to share contact data or details with you
  • using their contact data in lead generation to convert them to purchase.

Predominantly, your goals will include lead generation, generating enquiries, finding people who are interested in working with you and getting that sale – either as a one-off or repeatedly.

Other goals could included: customer service, enquiry handling, complaint handling, recruitment, public relations, etc.

 Before you start using social media advertising, there are a few things to have ready and wise steps to follow.

Step 1 – The Target

Every time you go into the advertising tools on your social media platforms, you need to consider your advertising goals and who makes up your target audience. This is the first question they will ask you as their templates and tools serve different goals, i.e. the Call to Action button will say something different. Yes, it is often as basic as that.

The question you need to ask yourself is, do you want people like the customers you already have, because that already works for you?

Or do you want to reach out to a new type of customer? You can define the categories or characteristics using the knowledge you have about the people you want to target.

 Step 2 – The Message

It may take some time to work on the ad creative – the graphic design, photography, ad copy and tone of voice – the language you use. This includes the ad copy (the words) and the call to action, and these can often be ‘the make or break’ of an advert.

Step 3 – The Design

You may use a self-service tool such as Canva or Pic Monkey, or you may be working with your graphic designer or agency. The ad creative (photography, graphics, animation) was always vital for advertising, and continues to be so now. This is where time and budget needs to be focused.

Step 4 – The Positioning

Selecting ad placement is about where your ads will be seen. Will they be on the main feed or in an advert sidebar? Are they on both the desktop and mobile version, or just one? Depending on what you want to achieve, there may not be much difference between them. However, if you feel that your customer makes decisions about you ‘on the go’, consider a mobile-only campaign.

Step 5 – The Budget

Deciding on your budget and scheduling is also important. You may run this ad as a one-off, or you may do it regularly. Either way, start small and build. Monitoring is really important, but one of the good things about social media advertising compared to traditional ad campaigns is that you can stop, pause and modify your ads at any point.

The key question is always what the Cost of Acquisition is (the average of how many people you reach, how many convert (respond) divided by the total cost). If it is more than you can afford to spend on each new contact (who may not be ready to buy from you just yet), then focus on other tactics to increase your reach on social media.

Step 6 – The Impact

The great thing about all these platforms is that they have fantastic FREE analytics, so you can dive in in real time and see how your campaigns are doing.

Your customers are almost certainly on social media. Most people are on something, even if they’re just on Pinterest for their hobbies or they WhatsApp with the ‘rellies’ – without realising they are social media platforms.

As with any of your activities on social media, though, are you confident that your customers expect to see you there and are they happy to hear from you on that platform? Is there a conversation you can add to or enhance in some way?

Are there places where your customers wouldn’t expect to see you? You don’t want to be the gatecrasher.

The same approach applies to your ads as it does to your posts and general social media activity – if customers would be happy to see you there anyway, they’ll be open to seeing your ads too.

You can now advertise on almost all of the social media platforms. With some of the newer platforms, they haven’t opened the whole advertising suite fully to everyone. For example Snapchat who launched the first tier of social advertising tools, but you had to use one of their affiliate marketing providers to access these tools.

Now for the fun bit

You now need to decide which platform is best for you and what type of social media advertising (or paid promotion) to create. Over the series, we’ll focus on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, because they are the platforms where you’re already most active, no doubt, and they are a good place to start.

In our next blog, we look at the ‘pros and cons’ of Facebook advertising.

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by Neonbrand on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalShould You Ever Pay for Social Media Advertising?

Know the Right Place for Social Media Success

by Joanne Dolezal on 6th July 2018

How do you decide which social media platform to use? Why not let your customers lead the way. If you want to know the ‘right place’ on social media, here are three questions to ask yourselves:

  1. Where are your customers actively using Social Media?

Pick 5 – 10 customers at random and see where they have social media profiles.

2. What do they do on each platform?

Post? Share? Comment? Follow? Like?

3.  Are you a welcome guest… or a gatecrasher?

Not all brands have universal appeal and sometimes you’re just in the wrong place.

Know when you’re invited and when you’re barging in.

One of our Digital Marketing Institute Diploma (at nesma) students told us a great story. He is the IT manager for a big campus university in the heart of England. They were having difficulty engaging students attention on Facebook, yet were persevering with their plans to keep students up to date on the platform. One of their quarterly student surveys flagged up a key piece of feedback:

Yes, students were on Facebook and Twitter. But Facebook was where they went to hang out with their friends, organise their social lives and laugh at celebs. They didn’t want the university butting in on their ‘party time’.

They were perfectly happy to hear from them on Twitter, though.

Needless to say, said university doesn’t waste time and energy on Facebook updates to students any more: Twitter now works a dream.

Being in the Right Place…

With a little effort, you can become one your customers trusted sources in time.  Respect their preferences and you’ll be the welcome guest.

Don’t turn up empty-handed. Instead show up regularly with useful, relevant, timely (and where appropriate, entertaining) content.

Here is an overview of the ‘main’ social media platforms that most businesses would be looking at in the early stages:

Linked In

The most commonly used ‘business to business’ social media platform. You can have a personal profile, rather like an online CV, and a company profile page, like a mini website.

Linked In has been going since 2003, is well trusted and established, with over 500 million users worldwide. It is great for connecting with business contacts, colleagues and networking connections and has groups and forums galore.

The paid accounts have added functionality and allow you to connect with people outside your immediate circles, so it can be a great business development tool too.  The search function supports Boolean Logic, so you can literally find ‘an needle in a haystack’.

Posts on Linked In are nearly three times more trusted than on other social media platforms.

The new style Linked In company pages enable you to have something akin to a mini-website, great for promoting your brand and for search engine optimisation for your website – Linked In performs extremely well in online search.

There is also a paid advertising feature as well as sponsored InMail. So if you’re target customers are “white collar” workers, from junior management level up, you are likely to find them here.

Facebook

With over 2 billion accounts worldwide, Facebook has achieved critical mass with users and brands alike. Even if you are not active here, you will want to have a presence, but manage your expectations!

Increasingly Facebook acts as the ‘plumbing’ for a host of other online platforms and tools, including other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. You will be given the option to log in via Facebook.

You can have a personal profile or a range of ‘professional’ profiles, depending on your status and requirements and it is still the most effective way to reconnect with old friends online.

It is particularly effective in the retail or ‘business to consumer’ sector, with very sophisticated and cost-effective targeting tools for paid promotions to existing connections and new target groups.

Is your brand “conversational”? If people naturally talk about what you do, Facebook may be your invitation to the party.

For ‘business to business’ it can work well for some service providers, as well as bloggers, coaches and trainers. However, Facebook only presents your status updates to connections (Likes), and only a small % will now see them unless you pay to boost them to reach all your page followers. As well as personal and business pages, you can set up groups and many communities live within Facebook.

Twitter

Twitter is part news feed, part social media platform with over 300 million users worldwide. It is especially popular with journalists, bloggers and media folks for breaking and sharing news stories and opinions. The character limit favours brevity and clarity, but you can attach images and short videos to tweets. The advertising tools allow you to promote your twitter account to encourage followers or your tweets, to increase engagement.

Whatever your industry, profession, interest or niche, #hashtag search will help you find and connect with your kind of people.

Twitter is informal, so it is a great place to interact, share and promote your ideas and news in real time with few barriers and minimal cost. It is as common for ‘business 2 business’ as ‘business 2 consumer’ brands to be active on twitter and many are opting to use Twitter to support their customer service function.

YouTube

YouTube is the original online video sharing social media platform and since its launch in 2003 has become, reputedly, the second most widely used search engine after Google, (by whom it was purchased in 2006). It hosts a mind-boggling quantity and variety of video (and film) on any topic you can imagine.

It is extremely popular and closely linked to Google (who own it), so can help to drive traffic to your website if you have useful and/or relevant footage on YouTube. You can have your own branded channel – an entry page branded to represent your company – and populate it with your own and curated videos.

YouTube is busy, but don’t expect more than Likes and Shares. It takes a lot to get comments from your viewers so don’t expect interaction.

YouTube can be a great place to host ‘how to’ and trust building content for those at the early stages in your sales pipeline.

Instagram

Bought by Facebook in 2012, Instagram is one of the newest platforms but has a growing user base – currently 700 million and rising. It has been a runaway success, benefiting hugely from Facebook’s support and many new developments, including ‘InstaStories’ are designed to compete with newcomers, like SnapChat.

It works really well for tangible or visual brands (and celebrities) and for certain types of business it’s a clear choice, based on sector, target audience and location.

On Instagram, people take and share photos and short videos, typically on a smartphone, which they then upload directly to Instagram with a bit of text. And a lot of #hashtags!

It’s harder for brands to publish into Instagram, as it doesn’t tolerate most social media scheduling software, like Hootsuite, Buffer, MeetEdgar, etc, but this may make it popular with a certain kind of user – it rewards spontaneity.

So what is the ‘Right Place’ for you on Social Media?

If you are happy to be led by your customers, you will save so much time, effort and disappointment spent hanging out with the wrong crowd.

You may need to step outside your comfort zone and start using social media platforms that are new to you. If you’re uncertain, take some time to ‘listen’ – observe your customers and the people they are happy to interact with and see what works for them.

The acid test: can you be true to yourself and still be welcomed in to the conversation?

If you can, then you’re in the Right Place, will build connections effortlessly and will gradually learn about the next of the Three Rs of Social Media Success.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How You Will Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buyer Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. ‘Mobile First’, Live Streaming & How to Succeed with Social Media Marketing

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

 

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Joanne DolezalKnow the Right Place for Social Media Success

Social Media – To Pay or Not to Pay Video

by Joanne Dolezal on 7th April 2017

Every day there are more and more social media channels… and more ways to reach your customers with paid and unpaid social media tools.

The days of free social media reach will soon be over, BUT where and when to pay for ‘reach’ is the question. Facebook, Linked In and Twitter all offer sophisticated targeting tools and you can potentially reach out to millions of people at a time. YouTube taps in to the Google advertising platform so has a powerful search marketing function.

You can achieve a lot without spending money but at some point, you may want to tap into the potential the paid features to achieve your goals:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Customer Engagement
  • Customer Retention

In this video we take you through the pros and cons of social media advertising. We will share our experience of when it can be worth it… and when to stick with the free tools.

We want to be able to help business owners and marketers like you who are looking for a digital marketing consultant or sound advice, anywhere in the world.

In this video we take you through:

  • Should you ever pay for Social Media?
  • To Pay or Not to Pay for Facebook Advertising – Part 1 & Part 2
  • The Pros and Cons of Twitter Advertising
  • Linked In Paid Features and When to Use Them
  • The Power of YouTube Adverts versus Free SEO Tools
  • Top Tips for Creating Social Media Adverts

Check out the blog series that accompanies this video.

Questions answered included:

  1. Why do you have to set objectives in ad campaigns?
  2. How effective are paid Ads on Facebook?
  3. How do Twitter Cards work?
  4. Which platforms allow you to target by location?
  5. Are ‘one-off’ ads ever worth it?
  6. Are Linked In ads value for money?

If you enjoy our video, why not download our free guide:

“Quick Links to Ad Tools”

Look our for our online courses, starting Spring 2018. 

Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to know.

 

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalSocial Media – To Pay or Not to Pay Video

Why your Sales Team holds the key to Content Marketing Video

by Joanne Dolezal on 15th January 2017

Sales and content marketing? What do the sales team have to do with content marketing? Or customer services? Or your service and site engineers, for that matter?

Your marketing team may have the customer data you need to market to the people on your database. But do they have the real customer insights you need to get results?

Content Marketing is most effective when it gets inside your customer’s head, speaks to their wants and needs and nestles closely to their heart. But for sales to occur, content marketing needs to attract and nurture your target customers.

Welcome to your sales team.  Your sales team hold the key to your content marketing.

Your sales team knows what your customers want.

Why?

Because they’re on the front line when it comes to the problems customers face, to the questions they ask – and they know the actual language that’s used when your customers describe their issues.

But how do you get everyone around the table and translate the sales’ teams insight into compelling content marketing?

This video will show you how to tap into this customer expertise and create Content Marketing your customers will love.

We want to be able to help business owners and marketers like you who are looking for a digital marketing consultant or sound advice, anywhere in the world.

In this video we take you through:

Check out the blog series that accompanies this video.

Questions answered included:

  1. our Sales team knows what the customer wants NOW but our Marketing team are working months in advance – how do you bring the two together?
  2. how do you make sure that we are consistent as a brand in all forms of communication so as to avoid confusing the customer?
  3. our marketing team are focused on building our brand, our sales team want leads and enquiries right now. How do we achieve both?
  4. if we can’t our sales and marketing staff to cooperate on other things, how will we ever get them working together on content marketing?
  5. what is the ROI of content marketing?
  6. how long does it take for sales to increase from content marketing?

If you enjoy our video “Why your Sales Team hold the key to Content Marketing” why not download your free guide:

“Top 10 Questions for Your Sales Team”

Look our for our online courses, starting Spring 2018. 

Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to know.

 

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalWhy your Sales Team holds the key to Content Marketing Video

How to get your Email Marketing RITE Video

by Joanne Dolezal on 22nd April 2016

Email marketing still gives the best ROI for your marketing spend at 40:1.

But it isn’t always plain sailing.

Even when you’ve picked your Email Marketing Software (EMS) and your mailing lists are set up, you still need to plan what you’re going to write.

In this video we show you new ways to get your email marketing RITE, based on our extensive experience helping clients with content marketing consultancy in Newcastle and North East England.

We want to be able to help business owners and marketers like you who are looking for a digital marketing consultant or sound advice, anywhere in the world.

What does RITE stand for? 

Well, for your email marketing and in fact, any content marketing to be successful, it needs to appeal to your target customer.  If you don’t have customer insight, you’ll struggle to create copy and content that means anything to them.  So, your content needs to Relevant, Interesting, Timely and the all important Engaging. (Thanks to Mark Schaefer for RITE).

There are many different types of email campaign that you can send, so if you’ve run out of steam and need some inspiration we have loads of ideas for you.

In this video we take you through:

  • crafting killer subject lines
  • how to generate great content ideas
  • examples of different types of campaigns
  • B2B versus B2C mailing lists
  • how and when to personalise your campaigns by using merge tags
  • why it is important for your templates to be mobile friendly

Check out the blog series that accompanies this video.

Questions answered include:

  1. do you have any tips on writing subject lines that will catch peoples’ attention?
  2. is it okay to sell my products or services via email?
  3. I struggle to come up with ideas for things to include in my emails – do you have any tips?
  4. how can we create simple email content for complex services?

If you enjoy our video, “How to Get Your Email Marketing RITE” why not download our free guide:

The RITE Email Marketing Checklist

Look our for our online courses, starting Spring 2018. 

Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to know.

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Joanne DolezalHow to get your Email Marketing RITE Video