By Ben Hardt, Director of Digital Strategy & Operations, TruStar Marketing, LLC

Your strategic guide to social media advertising

Everybody’s on social media, but social media isn’t for everybody – especially when it comes to your business

It seems like every week there is a new hot app or social media platform claiming to keep you connected personally, professionally or both. But don’t get caught up in the latest craze because “everybody’s doing it.” When it comes to placing your business in the social media orbit, it’s really important to be strategic.

As any good business understands, knowing your audience and customer is tantamount to being successful. But if you’re venturing into social media, it’s just as important to know who is using what app.

You can’t just set up one social media page and call it a day. Conversely, it doesn’t make sense for many businesses to be on every platform…what’s an accounting firm supposed do with Pinterest? It’s important to give careful consideration to which platforms you choose, who is on them and the content you create.

For example, even though Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, their primary audiences are different. Facebook users are primarily Generation X and Baby Boomers, while Instagram users come mostly from Millenials and Generation Z. Your lead generation strategy has to be different for each platform.

Here is how we approach social media ad campaigns for success.

Facebook ad strategy:

Facebook is an effective tool for advertising because content and ads come up as part of an integrated feed. Your paid content appears right next to pictures of the user’s new niece or nephew two states over. As a result, people regularly engage with the platform and potentially see your ads multiple times daily. Sprout Social reports roughly three-quarters of Facebook users visit the site every day, and half of them look at it more than once.

There are 221 million people in the U.S. alone with a Facebook page, so those are a lot of eyeballs and potential customers. That’s why Facebook has been the go-to channel for awareness and lead generation.

If your business specializes in lead generation, shopping, retail and e-commerce – this app is for you. Think about it – how many times have been scrolling through your feed, stop and think “I really like those shoes” or “I’ve been meaning to look at new grills”? The next thing you know you’ve spent 10 minutes checking out those shoes and grills and a bunch of other things the company sells.

People use Facebook to connect and re-connect with friends and loved ones and keep up with some of their favorite places and people. Its users are fairly close to even when it comes to gender, income, education and location.

Because of the way the platform tracks and uses customer data, advertising can be explicitly targeted. You can generate leads from a broad swath, adults 18-54 or you can reach a 37-year-old mother of two who lives in Huntsville, Alabama and loves cats, crocheting and college football.

Aside from the advertising potential, it’s also important to create a page for your business. In order for your page to show up in people’s feeds, the content has to be fresh, engaging and legitimate. It needs to be updated often and give users and people who “like” your page a way to interact with you.

Instagram ad strategy:

Instagram is another safe bet if your business focus is the shopping, retail or e-commerce sector. It’s a popular site, but a first runner-up to Facebook.

A little over 60 percent of Instagram users check the site daily. And as opposed to Facebook where the words can be just as important as the visual, Instagram is all about the visual. It’s important to put special emphasis on the visual content used for your strategy to be effective. Unless the picture or video grabs the user, they may not even read your caption to be able to know what you’re trying to say or offer. Instagram (and Facebook) are so strict about this they only allow a certain percentage of your image to have text on it.

Instagram is the favorite for teenagers of the major platforms and it’s typically used more by females than males.

Instagram can also be highly targeted. Any ads users see are based on who they follow and pictures and videos they may have liked or commented on. And just like Facebook, having an Instagram account for your business is important business. Your content has to be worthwhile and engaging for it to work.

YouTube ad strategy:

YouTube continues to grow as a go-to for entertainment. Nearly 75 percent of adults in the U.S. visit YouTube daily and the coveted 18-49-year-old demographic uses the site the most. Men beat out women in usage by about 10 percent, but there are only a few percentage points differences when it comes to income, education or location.

YouTube has a “Find My Audience” feature for potential advertisers that helps you determine who you want to target based on your business goals. And instead of paying for an advertising package – YouTube allows you to pay only when someone watches your ad.

Waze ad strategy:

Waze is a GPS-enabled app that helps give you the fastest routes from here to there. It also allows users to engage with each other by allowing them to warn about wrecks, road hazards or law enforcement along routes. Waze is a great marketing tool for local or near-me voice searches, meaning it’s most effective if your business is in the area of where the person is currently or where they are going. With 30 million users in the U.S. alone, it’s a solid way to reach potential customers.

Waze will pin and mark your location, even including information like your address, hours, and phone number. It’s owned by Google but the two don’t share information.

Google Maps ad strategy:

Google Maps works similar to Waze. It’s a great marketing and advertising medium for local or near-me voice searches or to reach people on the go. It’s an incredibly popular app for navigation – just because it’s Google. If you need any more proof, consider more than a billion worldwide users.

Google has created ways for businesses to be more prominent than others by giving it a purple pin and an option for company information or promotions.

Social media platforms to stay away from:

There are more than enough other social media apps to go around. But that doesn’t mean you should waste time or money engaging with them. For instance, Twitter is a popular site, but it seems to be more of a place for news, arguments, shade and general dissension. Unless you’re a major corporation using it has a secondary customer service platform or to take a friendly shot at a rival (see Wendy’s), it’s not an effective tool as part of an overall social media marketing strategy for most businesses.

You’ve probably heard of Snapchat and TikTok, but unless your market is a great fit for teenagers and young adults who like to take pictures and video, it’s not a good option for your business either. You would be better off spending your budget on Instagram and YouTube content.

Social media can be a valuable tool for any business. It has become the new customer service center. Users can engage with you, ask questions, make comments and, like it or not, criticize. It’s a great way to get to know who your customer is and what they value in real-time. But it’s extremely important that you have someone on your team dedicated to answering those questions, responding in a timely manner, accepting feedback and passing it along and in some cases, making changes where you need to. When used correctly, social media platforms can serve as a great tool to market, improve and grow your business.

If you would like to talk to an expert about social media options that best fit your brand and customer demographics, give the experts at TruStar Marketing a call at 615-371-6112, or click the link below.

TruStar Marketing fuses the art of the brand with the science of analytical marketing to increase ROI. We specialize in Account Based Marketing, Voice Search and Mobile First Website Strategies design and development for health care, financial & insurance and global manufacturing industries.

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