Using social media for advertising is quintessential to any serious business today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest have elevated themselves to the ranks of dominating the advertising platforms, surpassing their essential purpose. Consequently, they became key players in modern marketing and a force to be reckoned with.
The first distinct advantage of social marketing is that users are often not aware that they are being exposed to the advertisement; hence they become more receptive to ads. The second is that this type of advertising is precise, very targeted and offers valuable insights about customers - unlike traditional advertising. With these advantages, you can promote your business and reach those who are most likely to purchase your service.
The best part is that understanding and the proper use of social media can be cost-effective and aimed at the desired group of people.
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1. Social media advertising is not free
Although it is cheaper and can reach more people than any billboard you put up, keep in mind that social media also found a way to squeeze out a couple of buck for their services. The so-called "organic reach" is overcrowded and it's increasingly difficult for brands to find any organic exposure on this platform. The majority of popular social media are using the "pay-to-play" model.
The standard way of advertising through social media is with a particular social ad campaign. Popular platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, usually offer the option of boosting your posts and promoting your brand for a specific fee. If not appropriately managed and set up correctly you can end up spending thousands of dollars without any results.
With that in mind, a better way to use social media for advertising is by partnering up with influencers. Many retail brands (especially those in clothing, makeup or jewelry industry) use this marketing strategy. It comes down to this: your brand offers an influencer a valuable item and, in return, you get a sponsored post from that influencer. Simple quid pro quo that uses the natural reach of a particular influencer.
This method helps you track how much success, regarding conversion, every influencer had generated. This way, you get an accurate picture of your ROI concerning that specific social media ad. You can search for influencers on Instagram, by using apps or through management agencies who specialize in media monitoring.
2. Be creative and add value
Albert Einstein once said that creativity is intelligence having fun. To attract customers and clients, famous brands resort to inventiveness. People are often bored with regular advertising techniques and want to be entertained. The best advertisers are mixing video and visual content and interactivity of social media with useful and usually entertaining advertising. The key is to create an ad that will encourage the audience to associate your brand with positive feelings which will help you to "nudge" people toward your products or services.
It is a known fact that people react positively to creative and amusing commercials that add value to their lives. The same rules apply to posts on social media that demonstrate real wittiness and originality. An excellent way to engage people and keep them interested is by telling a story. This ancient way of passing information goes hand in hand with the core idea of every social media platform - sharing. That is why many famous fashion brands like Calvin Klein and J. Crew are using Facebook and Tumblr to tell stories and dictate trends.
On the other hand, Twitter is the perfect platform for promoting your name and staying in tune with the latest trends by using branded hashtags. The real power of hashtags in advertising was the most obvious in the favorite #IceBucketChallenge. More than 6.2 million retweets on Twitter drew attention to ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. This awareness campaign helped ALS Association raise millions of dollars.
Some other brands, like Red Bull, built their campaign around their YouTube channel, therefore focusing on creating videos dedicated to extreme sports. With almost 7 million subscribers this brand can tap into the interests of their followers and customers with high precision. This helps create certain loyalty and trust between a brand and an individual.
3. Guerilla marketing
This marketing style can be best described as the repurposing of existing content and expanding it into something new. Marketers love guerilla marketing on account of its reasonably low-cost nature. This method's principal investment is intellectual and creative one - the cost of its implementation isn't necessarily high. Essentially, guerilla marketing is attracting (potential) customers with innovative techniques. It is primarily an investment of time rather than money. Its unconventional execution can give you excellent results especially when combined with social media.
Historically speaking, guerilla marketing is often related to shocking or even offensive ads whose purpose is apparently to attract attention.
One can say that “all publicity is good publicity" but keep in mind that negative feedback on social media can backfire and destroy your business in no time.
The main reason guerrilla marketing is so popular is due to its emphasis on visual. A correctly placed video or image can easily catch someone's eye with its eye-candy appearance. An excellent way to promote your brand is to make sure that your website and apps are mobile friendly. This way, all mobile users will be able to participate in your campaign without a hitch. However, keep in mind that guerrilla marketing is focused on people, so make sure your content is visible on the platforms they use.
Creating stronger, better and more creative campaigns can help businesses in distinguishing themselves through the realm of social media. This will require not only a thoughtful content strategy but investing in it as well. Try to be creative and use social media to your advantage. One thing is for sure: social media sites will still need to make money, and companies will even need to sell their goods and services, therefore making this a perfect symbiotic relationship.
Claudia Paisley Propp graduated journalist, digital marketing lover, based in Sydney. Copy-writing, Online Marketing. Let's say – Communication in all shapes and sizes is her passion and what she does best. She is that lucky girl who gets to live her dream. Here to share her knowledge and write about latest trends in (social) media that can help small businesses grow big. Writes for Bizzmark blog.