For the past decade, businesses have been told that they need a presence on social media to be successful. Many companies follow this advice and create business pages on all the most popular social networking platforms. After countless hours of perfecting their brand image and crafting post after post, some begin to question if they will ever see a return on their investment. The truth is that social media is an amazing tool and while it does require time and dedication, implementing the right approach can benefit your business greatly. Social media experts recommend a strategy that incorporates a combination of organic (free) posts and sponsored or paid promotions to increase engagement and return on investment.
CREATING ORGANIC POSTS
Deciding what to share organically isn’t terribly challenging. Focus your posts on topics that are interesting to your audience in addition to creating content based on your goods or services. For example, if your audience is fond of natural skin care products, they may also enjoy reading about healthy recipes, exercise routines, and other wellness topics. It’s a good practice to subscribe to a few newsletters that cater to your audience’s other areas of interest. Sharing their articles, along with content created about your products or services, will save you time and keep your page from feeling like a constant sales pitch. This mixture of content keeps your audience engaged and helps prevent posts from being subject to any of the social network’s pesky algorithms.
GENERATING ADVERTISING CONTENT
Generating content for advertising on social media is a bit more challenging than sharing a tasty recipe or highlighting a favorite service. Not only is it vital to ensure that your promotional content has considered your target audience and their needs, it’s also important to review the insights on your advertising platform. Social media providers supply businesses with feedback on their activity in the insight area or tab. The insights showcase the business’ best performing posts, detailing reach or how many users were able to view the content. Insights also provide engagement statistics that break down user actions such as likes, shares, and comments.
FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
According to bigcommerce.com, the top two social networking sites for e-commerce advertising are Facebook and Instagram. Facebook allows businesses to sponsor promotions in two ways: a boost or an ad. A boost promotes a post already on your business page. An ad is new content that can’t be found on your business page but is shared directly to the targeted audience in their newsfeed. Additionally, Facebook ads allow for greater control over targeting, while post boosting keeps advertising simple. Instagram offers a variety of advertising options. Similar to Facebook, businesses can promote posts already shared on their page, along with advertisements created for Instagram stories and the explore area.
Boosting a post on Facebook is an easy and effective way to increase engagement on a specific post. Typically, only a small percentage of your audience will be exposed to your business’ posts without boosting. This is thanks to Facebook’s algorithm. Fortunately, boosts are affordable and can increase reach and engagement quickly. Reviewing the insights allows businesses to select the best performing posts prior to investing in the promotion. It’s an essential practice for getting the best value for your investment. Incorporating boosted posts is an important part of your social media strategy but should be a smaller portion of the budget, as most of the social media budget should be reserved for ads.
One major benefit of using Facebook ads is the advanced audience customization feature, which allows for selection of income, gender, age, interests, and more. It’s not always best to cast a wide net when advertising, focusing dollars only on your desired audience is more efficient. Spend some time developing the descriptive criteria for your target group before logging in to create the ad. You’ll also want to have any artwork complete. Both Facebook and Instagram have strict requirements for the images associated with ads. Only 20% of your artwork can have text on Facebook, so it’s vital to ensure that your image is visually appealing and demonstrates your message well. Users usually engage with videos more than images; if available, they are an excellent choice for ad artwork.
DURATION AND SPEND
The next factors to consider are duration and spend. Due to the number of advertisements people see every day, we often require exposure to a message multiple times before we can absorb or engage with it. Longer ad durations provide more time for your target group to have your ad delivered to their newsfeed. Be sure to log into ads manager frequently and review the ad’s performance. Allow the promotion to run for one to two weeks, then analyze the insights. If it’s performing well, continue to let the ad run until a decrease in interaction occurs. Otherwise, try altering the message, artwork, or audience to achieve desired results. A combination of duration and spend determines how many audience members you will reach and how frequently. As you adjust the time and amount in ads manager, Facebook will estimate the reach and frequency with each combination. Once you select the final criteria, your ad is off for approval before becoming live for your audience to view.
Ad manager is also used for Instagram ads. Often, advertisers will create one promotion using ads manager that will be broadcasted on both applications. This feature is a huge time saver. Instagram also has a promotion option that is like Facebook’s post boost. You may have noticed when scrolling through your business’ Instagram that there is a promote button under each post. You can quickly and easily sponsor a post already on your business page to increase the engagement and reach of that post. Creating the ad in the ads manager application will always provide you with the most targeting and customization features.
The right strategy will increase your return on investment and prove the value social media brings to your marketing efforts. Experiment with ads, take note of how your audience behaves online, and use that information going forward to continue to tailor your ads to drive desired actions. Advertising on social media is an effective method to build your audience, reinforce brand personality and keep a connection with current clients.
Kelly Conlan is the marketing and communications director for DermaMed Solutions, an administrator for the Esthetician Connection, and a freelance marketing and social media consultant. Conlan discovered her enthusiasm for skin care over 12 years ago and found a home in the aesthetic industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business with a focus on marketing and management from Penn State and has expertise in generating content and strategic marketing plans to increase brand awareness for aesthetic manufacturers, as well as spas, medical spas, and plastic surgery practices. In recent years, Conlan has found a new passion in the healing powers of CBD and hemp-based cannabinoids. Research and education are top priorities for Conlan as she continues her in-depth exploration of the developing uses and benefits for CBD.