A social media marketing strategy can be very beneficial to small businesses, but it goes beyond social media posts. Instead, it involves building brand awareness and engaging customers with your product. It allows you to market directly to customers rather than waiting for them to come to you.
To market on social media properly, you need to think beyond gaining followers. Instead, think more in terms of the engagement of your target audience. I don’t want to discredit the value of followers. Followers help amplify your message. I’m sure you are aware that every like, reaction or comment appears in their feed, and their followers see the post in their feeds. The key to using these followers as part of your marketing is not just creating content but creating content that they will engage with and share.
The issue at times with followers is that followers aren’t necessarily your audience. For example, you could have a women’s beauty product and have men followers. Some of your followers can also be your competition. There isn’t an efficient way to filter out the followers that don’t fit your ideal audience, which is why followers are helpful, but they don’t equal sales. Your marketing approach needs to be more targeted. If your goal on social media is sales, you will need a more direct plan.
Directly targeting your customers with ads will have a more significant impact on generating sales. The ads are delivered straight to your target audience’s social media feed. It’s going out to get the customer rather than waiting for them to find you.
Creating ads on social media begins with finding an audience that matches your current customers. The idea is that if a bunch of people with a particular demographic buys your products, you can correlate that others with those same demographics would do the same. That is the beauty of social media marketing.
If you are unsure of your target audience’s demographics, a quick and easy way to is to use Google Analytics to find your audience demographics. I wrote an article about how to use Google Analytics to find your audience. You can read more about it here.
Creating an ad for social media is a relatively simple process. Ad platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have built-in, easy to use ad builders designed for the do-it-yourselfer. Rather than making your eyes glaze over on the mechanics of creating an ad on Facebook, I want to focus on the ad structure.
Every ad should focus on three things:
This last one is always a killer, mainly if you are in a very saturated market. You are going to have to do some real soul searching. I put together three steps on how to craft a message that separates you from your competition. In that article, in which I encourage you to read, I mention that you need to figure out what your competition is not doing and come up with a way to fill in those gaps.
Facebook offers two types of ads, display and post boost. For display ads, you can choose a single image or video, a carousel of images or videos, or a collection of pictures. You can also do a post on Facebook and promote that post as an ad. Which should you use, it depends on what kind of content you have available or can create.
If you have some excellent photography for your products, then a display ad could work better. A service business may be better suited for a post. You can test more than one type of ad to see which works best for your target audience.
The great thing about these ads is the data that is collected. You can use this data to target your audience better. You can also see what ads are working and which ads should stop running.
Each platform has analytics tools that give you engagement data such as likes, shares, reactions, and clicks. A great thing you can do with the data you collect is to create similar audiences to market within these platforms directly. You can use these custom audiences when you boost a post or when you create an ad.
Once you start running ads, Facebook, and the other platforms, are collecting data on the people who engage in some way with your ad. Now, before you have your hair stand up on end, the data is anonymous. It doesn’t reveal that John Smith at 1 Main Street, just visited your site. Instead, it tells you about John Smith’s demographics. Things like gender, age, and other demographic data, and with the data, you can build new audiences to test your ads. The idea is that if a bunch of people with a particular demographic buy from you, then you can correlate that others with those same demographics would do the same.
There is a tremendous cost-saving with using social media. Social media marketing can provide a more direct approach to reaching your customers and costs much less than Google AdWords. You can start a social media marketing campaign for as little as $2 – $5 per day. If you have a highly competitive business, you could be spending $5 per click on search engine pay per click! Using social media gives you the ability to test different ads and audiences at a fraction of the cost.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to Facebook. If your target audience is on LinkedIn, you can place ads on LinkedIn or Twitter or Pinterest. All social media platforms have similar abilities to target your audience directly.
I’m sure that telling you that a social media marketing plan should be an essential piece of your digital marketing strategy is not anything new. I hope you realized that it is a much more effective way of reaching your target audience in terms of efficiency and cost. Truthfully, I only scratched the surface of its potential. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things, because you’ll never know what you could learn.