How can you enhance your social media marketing?
So you’ve created a Facebook page for your business along with a killer marketing strategy, aiming to get your fans and target audience to visit your website and explore everything you have to offer them?
Spent weeks recording and editing a range of informative tutorials and guides for your YouTube channel, helping subscribers to understand how they can make the most out of your market-leading new products and services? Perhaps your brand’s stylish aesthetic is a natural fit for Pinterest, and you’re wowing the public with cutting-edge designs and innovative fashions?
Where social media was peripheral to digital marketing, it’s now essential.
Regardless of how you play your hand on social media, it’s become the dominant medium to manage and produce content for, in tandem with your website – boosting brand awareness and providing access to traffic from sources that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
With any social media platforms you might choose, you’re faced with a ubiquitous problem – how can you compete with the general public? Because in a very real sense, the content you produce for social media is competing with your audience’s friends, family, bird-watching interest groups, Pink Floyd fan page, along with every other meme, video or blog ever uploaded. Most challenging of all, many of these pages are passion projects and it’s difficult to match the resources and effort invested when serving a specific commercial interest.
This is only compounded by the effects of machine-learning algorithms...
...which’ sole job is the delivery of relevant content to users day after day, learning with each new click, engagement or watch. These algorithms aren’t as open as you might like to imagine; typically attempting to classify individuals into bunches of similar cohorts, based on social-economic status, geography, shopping habits and hundreds of other factors which are tracked over the lifetime of an account. With this vast pool of data considered, users are served with recommendations of content which both their known and unknown digital peers have engaged with, have an interest in or are likely too. For the technically minded, Facebook offer a portal where you can fully explore some of the code and resources which drive this system.
With all this top-down effort put into gilding a user’s social media experience, it’s not hard to imagine how the process of breaking into new markets with organic social can feel like trying to board a moving bullet train.
These pressures have led increasing numbers of businesses to look to Paid Social as not only a solution to this barrier, but an enhancement to their social efforts which takes full advantage of the pressures of personalisation and algorithm-based content serving.
Paid social, or paid placements have been a feature of the social media landscape for over a decade...
...with the first mainstream social ads appearing on Facebook and YouTube in 2007. Both of these early implementations centred on the display ad model the web was hitherto acquainted with. As the 2000s progressed, a social data revolution took place, and users became willing to submit increasingly greater data to social platforms, with mobile and tablet use spearheading the changes. In return, users were delivered a range of deeply personalised experiences, available on demand and on an ongoing basis. The primary strength of paid social advertising which sets it apart from typical pay-per-click ads is its ability to target based on the aforementioned cohorts. This would be a very powerful tool if it was only 1 dimensional, for example, targeting users who are interested in a specific page, TV show, musical artist, etc. However the majority of social platforms don’t limit your creativity and you can get very specific with selecting an audience.
Imagine for example that your business is a shoe brand, trying to promote the launch of a new sports shoe, aimed at 18-30 year olds. In a standard online ad environment, you might aim for “sports enthusiasts”, with a bid emphasis on 18-30 year olds (with no guarantee that only this age range would see them) and be content that your ads are going to reach the right users. With social ads, you can go much deeper.
Firstly, you could set a specific 18-30 age range, with no need to mitigate for people outside that range. Secondly, not only could you target something quite generic like “sports enthusiasts”, why not add an additional requirement that users have to be interested in online shopping to increase your conversion rates? Perhaps you have competitors who you’re eager to take market share from? Why not create a second ad-set which will only show to people who follow or like their pages with its own unique ad-copy?
In addition to these rich targeting functions, many social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer something called “lookalike” audiences.
Using the same algorithm-based targeting used for organic groupings, you can heavily optimise the process of acquiring new users.
These work by aiming at people who display similar behaviours and interests to people who have already clicked on your ads and engaged with your brand.
It’s easy to imagine the benefits that can be derived from these targeting options, with features such as dynamic product remarketing easily accessible to ecommerce businesses with minimal setup, and simple, cost-effective (often free) integrations available for major platforms such as Shopify and Magento.
Also, don’t hesitate to check out the Facebook Pixel, and learn for yourself how creating and installing a Pixel can enhance campaign targeting and help you measure the success of your paid social efforts.
Paid Social in Summary
With Paid Social ads you can:
- Take advantage of more detailed targeting than standard online ad platforms, and can reach very specific audiences.
- Easily overcome the requirement of constantly creating and publishing extensive organic content and prerequisite resources.
- Expand your remarketing efforts and increase your chances of converting basket abandoners, for example.
Williams Commerce have delivered complete paid social management for a wide range of clients, from small independent businesses, to leading international brands. Why not get in touch to learn how we can help your business to grow with paid social advertising?