As competition for the email inbox continues to grow, many marketers are focusing increasingly on social channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. As your team determines where and how to focus its efforts, consider these core does and don’ts.
DO have distinct strategies for both organic and paid placements. Creating a company Facebook or LinkedIn page and inviting others to join it can be a great way to connect with customers and industry contacts. After all, these “organic” posts cost nothing but your time. That said, posting on your company’s page—or even having posts on trade media company pages—won’t get you in front of new prospects with much success. To reach those who have yet to know your company, you should consider using paid ads to reach prospects on their feeds.
Audience differences should also be considered when planning your content strategy. Organic posts are a great place for sharing company news, discussing industry trends and inviting interaction from customers, while paid efforts are a better fit for demand gen activities, such as building brand awareness, driving traffic to your website and garnering white paper downloads.
DON’T let personal social media habits drive your decisions. Many people assume LinkedIn will be a better fit for B2B ads than Facebook. After all, LinkedIn is where people go to catch up on work-related news, right? The reality: When you target ads to an identical audience on Facebook and LinkedIn, Facebook will overwhelmingly generate more clicks and shares. The reason is that most individuals spend far more time on Facebook than on LinkedIn. And to-date, Facebook has more powerful data integrations, so it does a better job at matching when given an audience list—it simply has better ability to recognize someone by email or phone number, whether company email or personal email. Always let data be your guide.
DO consider how the ad will be served when selecting creative. In addition to ensuring your ad meets a social platform’s specs, it’s also important that it reflects the “goal” that the platform will try to maximize when serving. For example, Facebook and YouTube offer serving to maximize for “awareness” (visibility) or “consideration” (website visits, engagement). Creative that is focused on pure branding will align well with “awareness,” while more click-worthy content, such as ads that focus around a customer pain point or a download offer, will be a better fit for “consideration.”
DO recognize that bad creative can often put a drag on serving performance. If you’re thinking of advertising on YouTube, focus on creating videos that people will want to watch through to the end. Obviously, you need prospects to watch the video so they see and receive the value you’re offering. If they don’t watch to the end of the video, they’ll miss out on your offer or message. But just as important, if someone clicks on your video and doesn’t watch to the end, YouTube interprets that as a bad viewer experience and will give your video less priority in search and suggested results. Many social platform algorithms operate in similar fashion, prioritizing position and/or frequency by level of ad engagement.
DO test creative. The exciting part about advertising using social media platforms is that it’s easy to experiment with different visuals or video cuts, headlines, calls to action and types of placements, with many platforms even supporting easy split testing to optimize performance. Simple changes can often yield significant results.
DON’T “set it and forget it.” Social media ad campaign management is an active process, where you’ll need to be monitoring spend, percentage of audience reached, ad performance by key metrics and message frequency. It’s also important to keep current with platform changes and monitoring performance trends, as ad types and specs, algorithm serving preferences and audience targeting options frequently change. (Tip: If your team doesn’t have time to manage social media advertising, PMMI Media Group offers Facebook and LinkedIn options where its expert staff will oversee copy development and ad management. See https://hub.pmmimediagroup.com/ under the desired brand and search by“Facebook” or “LinkedIn.”)
DO invest with an eye to achieving best return. Frequent monitoring will also help your team assess ideal duration. A common mistake those new to social media advertising may make is cutting off an ad too soon. Usually there is an initial period where the social media platform will “learn” how the audience interacts with your ad followed by a period where it begins serving more efficiently to optimize for click throughs, view time, conversions or reach, depending on the goal selected during set-up. You’ll want to run your ad long enough to be in that sweet spot where you’re maximizing performance with your spend.
DON’T have a mismatch between ad and landing page. Ever click on an ad only to be taken to a landing page that seemingly has very little to do with the ad? Such ad and site incongruence will usually lead to page abandonment. To improve the pipeline experience, make sure your ads reflect the landing page’s fonts, color choice and other visuals. (Tip: If your access to graphic designers is limited, consider using no- or low-cost ad-building tools such as Canva or Visme to customize your ads.) Be sure to use similar language in the ad and on the landing page. Also, be sure not to take visitors to a crowded home page. The less friction between your ad and the landing page in terms of content promised, the greater the likelihood your site visitors will stay.
DO have your eye on audience. One strength of social media advertising is the ability for platforms to recognize your customers with just a few pieces of data, such as name and email address or by pixel. Most advertising on social platforms will allow you to upload custom lists of customers. Beware when choosing “lookalike audiences” to these lists, as there is little control over what the platform will deem similar demographics. (Tip:To confirm you’re reaching who you intend to reach, don’t simply run awareness campaigns. Test audience quality by viewing comments and running lead gen ads occasionally as well.)
Also, talk with trade media about social audience options. Some publishers offer ways to reach their audience on social channels in ways you otherwise couldn’t. As an example, OEMs can reach readers of Packaging World, Healthcare Packaging and other PMMI Media Group brands on Facebook or LinkedIn by vertical, job duty and other criteria. Also, Packaging World routinely offers Facebook reach to show registrants in the weeks leading up to and following PACK EXPO.
DO recognize that advertising around “keywords” isn’t for the novice. Google platform ads, including YouTube, allow you to target audience based around keyword search behavior, which can be very appealing. But this option may be better suited to some businesses than others, and you need to be SEO savvy. For example, will “labeling equipment” bring in a beverage manufacturer seeking a machinery supplier or someone looking for a device to aid a home organization project? Will “remote automation” bring you industrial automation users, or people who just want to control their iPhone and other personal devices on the same WIFI (hint: you’ll likely get a lot of the latter)? It’s easy for a beginner to waste money reaching the wrong eyes.
DO take advantage of social media’s strengths. One of the biggest advantages to becoming more active on social channels is the ability to reach your prospects where they already are consuming media and without email’s spam blocking or regulations. There also is an immediacy with social that’s difficult to achieve elsewhere, as you have direct insights into your audience’s needs and message preferences in ways like no other.