What Works in Social Media Marketing

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Social Media Marketing Budget Strategy

Social media marketing has been a hot topic for a while now and there are any number of ways you can go about it. But what really works? What is the best way to spend your social media advertising budget and the time it takes to implement your strategy?

Below are a few worthwhile talking points.

Spending money on social media ads

Both Facebook Marketing and Twitter Ads offer some pretty cool marketing options for social media consultants that want to implement an advertising campaign on these platforms.

While both offerings have their own quirks, both make advertising very easy. The options are varied, the targeting parameters are powerful and both welcome the use of images and to some extent, video to augment your ads.

Direct response social media campaigns

Many social media advertising managers find that spending on social ad campaigns aimed at direct response conversions can be a little disappointing. People simply aren’t in the conversion phase of the sales cycle when using most social media.

I have seen similar results when working with clients.

Paying for Facebook likes and Twitter follows has a reasonable success rate, but direct response campaigns aimed at increasing sales tend to fall flat.

Ad campaigns to boost follower numbers

Paying to increase your Twitter follower numbers usually delivers a poor ROI because Twitter followers are fickle. I did a lot of this with various organisations early on and am left unconvinced of its usefulness. Twitter followers come and go frequently so paying for them is not really a good use of your advertising budget.

Facebook likes (fans) derived from ad campaigns have more value since they tend to hang around longer and will see more of your messaging. Just don’t bombard them with status updates; nobody likes a social spammer.

There are dozens if not hundreds of ways to spend on advertising via a social media platform. I’ll describe a simple example later.

Trust me, this won’t work

Before you bother setting up a Google Adwords PPC campaign to promote your social media profiles (directly), abandon all hope. You are not permitted to link to a Twitter profile or Facebook page/app from Adwords ads. Sorry.

There is no reason why you can’t add social follow widgets on your landing pages however.

Simple social media marketing strategy

Let’s look at a simple strategy that uses its social marketing budget wisely.

Preparing your audience

A simple approach is to build follower numbers on Facebook. By increasing the number of interested followers you build a ready made audience that you can turn to when you have a promotion set-up and ready to go.

By using the targeting options offered by the Facebook advertising interface you can drill down to a selection of Facebook users who have a demonstrated interest in your product or service. Using this targeting effectively is very important.

Getting people to respond to your ads and become a fan on Facebook takes more than just an ad that links to your Facebook page. You need to provide an incentive. This may come in the form of a fan gate in exchange for something of value, a competition, etc.

Try a tool for creating interactive and interesting content on Facebook such as the Agora Pulse app. Have one of these apps on the end of your ads and your Facebook fans will grow – fast!

Whether you hire a social media manager or look after this stuff yourself, you probably have a limited budget that will be exhausted. The next phase is to do something with your newly bolstered audience.

Engaging your audience

Now you need to get your Facebook fans to do something that takes them further down the conversion funnel, perhaps even completing it. You may want them to engage with your brand more, buy something online, download your app – whatever it is you need them to do. To convert!

While you can pay to display ads to followers of your Facebook page this usually isn’t worth the money. They already follow you so they’ll likely see anything you post, including promotions.

Instead, turn to your trusty Facebook app provider and create something engaging. Your options will depend on your tool of choice but the app linked to above is a good place to start.

Keep in mind that the best products and promotions solve a problem for your customers, not you. Keep the focus on them and conversions are never far away.

So my point is this: use your social media marketing budget on very select ad channels and the rest on the tools, offers and design elements that will make them popular. Getting clicks on your ads is easy. Getting value for those clicks is something else entirely.

Analyse the results

This one goes without saying for professional marketing people but you must analyse your results. What worked – what didn’t? What would you change next time. Where was the best ROI?

Due to the ever changing nature of social media and the advertising tools that integrate with social mediums you need to move with the times. This includes your theories developed from the results of older campaigns. What worked in the past may not work now and vice versa. Talk about moving the posts!

So avoid Twitter advertising?

For most businesses I would say yeah, leave Twitter ads alone unless your are in a branding phase or launching a new product with a decent budget.

Even with the addition of Twitter cards raising the interaction level, paid ads have a limited use. But if you must persist and decide to use Twitter ads, you better have your landing pages 100% mobile optimised. Otherwise, you are simply throwing your money away.

I would suggest using my favourite Twitter tool if you have a bit of money to spare: SocialBro. I’ve been using it for a couple of my clients as it is a real time saver with a lot of insights and some very engaging tools.

If you would like to experiment with Twitter advertising, try encouraging sign-ups to an email newsletter directly from the ad/cards (it’s one of the options). This can be effective if people already know your brand.

Conclusion

If you are an experienced social media marketing consultant you will no doubt have examples that run contrary to some of my advice above. I do too! But complex, integrated strategies are not considered here.

I just don’t want companies starting out with internet marketing by giving social media marketing a try and finding the results less than impressive (should that occur). You learn a lot along the way and you may even hit the ball out of the park right away. Just be patient.

Of course, there are many other platforms you can try. Facebook and Twitter just happen to have huge active user numbers so they are an obvious starting point.