If you want customers to find your business, go join them where they live.
And in case it isn’t already obvious, they live on social media.
Sure, you have plenty of ways to draw potential customers through digital marketing — like populating your website with content that establishes your business as a go-to destination for topics you want to be known for.
Having your own, SEO-friendly organic content is a great way to build and attract your target audience over time, but it isn’t so likely to grab hold of your full audience’s undivided attention — at least not quickly.
Social media advertising is a better bet for rapidly connecting with that audience.
About 3.5 billion people around the world are active users of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn — so one of the very best ways to draw them in is to engage with them on the social platforms where they spend so much of their time.
Build Your Brand
You need to get your message out. You need brand awareness. Ask industry professionals what the biggest advantage is of social media marketing, and most of them will say increased exposure to their brand.
- Of the B2B marketers who utilize paid online advertising, 72 percent use social media ads.
- In the B2C world, paid social ads are the fourth most popular way for people to find new products — out of any method, on any medium. Only word of mouth, TV ads, and search engines are more common means of helping consumers identify products.
- About 74 percent of people use social media to help them decide what products to buy.
Social Media Has Spread
Yes, consumers spend tons of time on social media sites. But which ones are your customers using?
Sure, Facebook is an obvious (and smart) target if you want to capture the attention of customers and prospects — it has more than 2.6 billion monthly active users, after all — but it isn’t necessarily the one and only place to spend the lion’s share of your advertising budget.
If you’re targeting a predominantly male audience, Twitter could be a logical place to focus your advertising dollars. Pinterest is much more popular with female users. Younger folks in recent years have grown increasingly devoted to platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Businesses have adapted to the fascination with Instagram, for example, by posting photos related to their product or service that their followers (and potential customers) would enjoy checking out. Think of a restaurant posting images of scrumptious-looking desserts — who wouldn’t want to look at that?
First Stop: Facebook?
But for all the platforms that can help you target just about any demographic, Facebook is still a very logical first step, in large part because so many different audiences can be reached there.
Facebook ads can help you reach three goals:
- Awareness: Educating an audience about your brand.
- Consideration: Boosting engagement, generating leads, and driving traffic to your business’ website.
- Conversion: Making actual online conversions and sales.
You have plenty of choices for how to reach these goals. Facebook offers photo ads, video ads, Facebook Stories ads, slideshow ads … and the list goes on.
The vast majority of Facebook users are reachable through these forms of advertising. Around the world, the average user clicks on 12 ads every month. (For Canadians, it’s 15 per month. Americans click on 18.)
Meanwhile, on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), you’ll see a similar range of advertising options: photo and video ads, Instagram Stories ads, and collection ads that include several product images.
And Instagram’s ads are largely aimed at the same overall goals: brand awareness, consideration, and conversion.
Those core goals are shared by most social media platforms when it comes to their advertising offerings.
Know Your Audience
So how do you make the most of it? It largely comes down to understanding who your audience is, and building a buyer persona to help you understand where they spend their time and what they look for.
Aiming for a younger group of potential customers? You’ll find a great many young adults through Instagram and Snapchat.
Focusing on B2B advertising? LinkedIn allows you to target users by industry and job title — and much like its social media counterparts, it serves the purpose of creating brand awareness, boosting engagement, and driving more conversions.
Review Your Results
This takes some regular follow-through. You’ll want to analyze the results of your advertising efforts to see what worked and what didn’t. Certainly one significant advantage of social media ads is the analytics reporting that can easily help you measure which ads deliver the most promising results.
And while the level of engagement you can achieve with your customers through social media presents an exciting opportunity, it also poses a challenge. It’s one thing to put your message out there, but it can be just as important to listen to your audience as they respond to that message with comments and reviews.
Like any other aspect of your business, this obviously takes some work. However you choose to approach it, be sure to do some research on your base of customers and prospects, and consult the experts if you need to.
If you need help with your social media advertising plan, Blue Cow Marketing can provide the expertise you need.
Social media is here to stay. If you embrace the vast opportunity that’s out there to expand your brand’s following, you can help make sure your business sticks around too.