Social media marketing is transforming the way brands, large and small, communicate with their customer base both current and future. This two-part series explores the new frontier of social media advertising. In part one we explored the most popular social media outlets – Facebook, YouTube and Instagram – and took a deeper look into how Facebook plays a huge part in advertising your brand. We reviewed finding your demographic, determining your budget and most importantly, what content you should be posting. In part two of our series, The Art of Social Media, we will dive into YouTube, Instagram and analyzing your return on investment. But first, a brief recap of the powerful growth and success of social media.
Social media is the fastest growing trend in the history of the world? Actually, this sector has grown faster than the internet itself! According to the Global Digital Report 2018 compiled by the web influencer group We Are Social, the number of internet users worldwide in 2018 was 4.021 billion, up an average of 7 percent per year. The number of social media users worldwide in 2018 was 3.196 averaging 13 percent growth per year. The number of mobile phone users in 2018 was 5.135 billion up 4 percent per year.
In the United States, the majority of Americans use Facebook and YouTube on a daily basis with Instagram following close behind. So how do these social users interact with brands like yours on social media? And how do you leverage your social media posts and branding to get the most engagement from your followers?
Social media is increasingly being used as a customer service platform where potential customers want answers quickly and in real-time. Only 27 percent of social media user respondents will be prompted to purchase products after seeing behind-the-scenes content shared on brand social pages. However, what does happen is relationship building and that is very beneficial to your bottom line.
Analyzing Your Efforts
In part one we reviewed “how to play the Facebook ads game” and how the main three objectives – awareness, consideration and conversion – played a role in your advertising. Now, let’s review the return on investment.
According to Hootsuite, “Understanding your Facebook page’s metrics gives you the information you need to make sure you’re putting the right content in front of the right audience. It helps you work with Facebook’s algorithm instead of just sending content into the void and hoping someone will see it.” To begin, navigate to your business Facebook page and click insights. Here you will see your dashboard.
By using Facebook Insights you’ll be able to determine the best time of day to post, the best day of the week to post and what type of content is most popular. It is important to note that the Facebook Insights tool is constantly updated to reflect your page’s developments and any patterns that may form. Be sure to login and review this data on a weekly basis or daily while running any Facebook promotions.
The overview provides a page summary which has a quick look into the past seven days (or more depending on date range selected). Here, you can see at a glance how many page views, page likes, post reach and engagements your page has had. Selecting the column title (Actions on Page, Page Views, Page Likes, etc.) provides you with more advanced data.
To review insights into a recently-run paid promotion on Facebook, click on “Promotions” in the left-hand column. Here, you will see all promotions you have run and you can create a new promotion. The overview shows the number of people reached, post engagement or link clicks and dollars spent on the promotion. To gain more insight, select the “view results” button. The overview tab displays more detailed information including total amount spent, audience details, placements and locations. Facebook provides a ton of metrics to help you analyze your promotions and it can be overwhelming. To dive even deeper into your ads, select the down arrow in the top navigation bar in Facebook and click on “Manage Ads.” Here, you will see all your ads and multiple columns of data which you can filter down even deeper. Let’s go back a moment and review why you ran that ad. What was your main goal? Did the ad reach that goal? Regardless of the main goal, there are some metrics you should always take into consideration when measuring the campaign success:
- Conversions: Look at how many conversions your ads are returning and the cost of each. In order to monitor your conversions, you’ll need to utilize a Facebook Conversion Pixel. Learn about the Facebook Pixel at facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-ads-pixel.
- Reach: Expanding your audience means putting yourself in front of more people. How many users did your ad reach? What was the percentage reach of your target?
- Delivery/Frequency: How many times was your ad seen by the same people? Be careful here to look for News Feed placements.
- Different types of campaigns should have different frequency goals (based on where it’s being displayed). Also, if an ad is performing poorly and returning a high frequency, you should ditch it and focus on one that performs better.
The Rise of Instagram
Instagram has been around for a few years now, but recently it has picked up a lot of traction. This social networking app was made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. This simplified version of Facebook has an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Just like other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram.
According to Statista, Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users, less competition and a more engaged audience than other social media giants like Facebook. This presents businesses with an opportunity to market their products to a more targeted and interested audience without spending an enormous amount of money on paid advertising. So, how do you set yourself up for Instagram success? Follow these tips:
Branded and Complete Instagram Profile
Your feed is the first opportunity you have to make a great impression and entice people to hit the “follow” button. How do they make that decision? By quickly scrolling through your feed, reading your bio, or clicking on your stories highlights.
Get More Instagram Followers by Using Hashtags & Location Tags in Your Instagram Stories
Use hashtags to expand your reach. These can be campaign specific or general – the main goal is they are relevant. Make sure to also set up your main company hashtag (#yourbrandname) and use it sparingly across Instagram. This makes it easier for people to find content related to you as well as your main account.
Collaborate and @mention Others
Instagram is one of the strongest social media channels for highlighting collaborators and sharing customer success stories. Even if you don’t officially partner with a non-profit organization, you can give to charity or do a fundraiser a couple of times a year. It’s all good as long as the cause aligns with your brand values and mission.
Show What You Do in a Creative Way
Focus on the solution(s) you provide to your customer, not the products you sell. On Instagram, it’s essential to add value to your customers all while looking great. Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.
Try Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allow Instagram users to share photos and videos to their “Story” – which is visible to followers of the user’s Instagram account – and to specific users the Story’s sender follows. Like in Snapchat, Instagram Stories are ephemeral, meaning they disappear after 24 hours.
Take Them Behind-the-Scenes
Customers have a natural curiosity about where their products come from, and you can use Instagram to show them their whole lifecycle. This is especially relevant for companies that sell art from local artists, go green products and even Fair Trade products. Source images from these companies to demonstrate how products are made – from the base material, production and distribution and tell the story behind the product.
Post Those Selfies!
There’s no denying that Instagram is a very visual and social place. And people want to follow accounts that they can relate to, regardless of whether that’s a brand, influencers, or someone they met on vacation. So, it’s important to make your Instagram account as personable and relatable as possible, and really show off what your business and brand is all about if you want to get more Instagram followers. Today, people want to know the people behind the brand, just as much as the business and products. Get your staff to help by posting pics of them in your store, working with customers, sharing upcoming product launches or special campaigns.
Advertising on Instagram
Instagram advertising is a method of paying to post sponsored content on the Instagram platform to reach a larger and more targeted audience. While there are many reasons a business or individual may decide to advertise, Instagram advertising is often utilized to grow brand exposure, website traffic, generate new leads, and move current leads down the funnel (and hopefully towards converting views into sales). Since Instagram is such a visual platform, text ads are not a thing here.
According to Facebook, parent company of Instagram, your Instagram ad will appear in people’s Instagram feeds and stories along with images and videos shared by their friends, family and other Instagram accounts they follow. All Instagram ads will have a Sponsored icon on the top right and may contain a call-to-action button below the image. Your ad’s caption will also appear below the image. There are four formats you can use with your Instagram Ads:
- Images: If you use a single image in your Instagram ad, your image may appear in the square, landscape, or vertical format.
- Videos: If you use video creative in your Instagram ad, your video may appear in the square or landscape format.
- Carousel: If you use the carousel format as the creative for your Instagram ad, your ad will appear in the square format or vertical format on feed and stories.
- Instagram Stories: While it’s recommended to use mobile optimized for story ads, this format can support the same media you use in your other ads. Story ads can support all feed photo and video dimensions, meaning you can upload a single photo or up to a 60-second video in any dimension.
To create ads on Instagram, you first need to connect your account to a Facebook Business Page, which allows you to use Facebook Ad Manager. Ad Manager lets you create ads that run on both Facebook and Instagram. There are two main ways to create Instagram ads in Facebook Ads Manager: Guided Creation and Quick Creation. Guided Creation walks you through each step of creating an ad, with step-by-step instructions.
Step 1 – Choose Your Objective
Step 2 – Identify Your Audience
Step 3 – Select Your Ad Placements
Step 4 – Choose Your Budget and Schedule
Step 5 – Create Your Ads
How to Advertise on Instagram Within the App
You can also create simple promotions within the Instagram app. If you have a post that’s performing well and getting lots of engagement, promoting it within the app is a quick, easy method to reach even more users. However, you won’t have as many customization options as you do on Facebook Ads Manager.
Know You’re Audience
Instagram ads are very similar to advertising on Facebook. So, don’t forget who you’re trying to reach when setting your audience filters. Your customers are more than a set of demographics and interests. You’ve learned how to reach the right people, so once you have their attention, don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of it.
Measure Performance and Optimize
Like Facebook ads, you can view the performance of your Instagram ads within the Facebook Ads Manager. Set realistic goals and objectives for each campaign and monitor how the ad is doing. Ad not doing so well? Change hashtags, copy or even the image. Remember, each element of your ad should always represent who you are as a company.
YouTube for Business Growth
YouTube is an effective platform for businesses, and just like Facebook and Instagram, you want to be found by new people and stay in the minds of your current audience. While creating a video is much harder than uploading a picture or posting a store special, using YouTube is definitely worth it. After all, it is the second most popular website in the world, only behind Google (parent company) itself.
According to The Balance, since its introduction in 2005, this video sharing/social media site has become an indispensable advertising and marketing tool for businesses in every industry, of every size, to promote their products to prospects and customers and its reach is vast and global.
Did You Know?
3 billion people use YouTube
- 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute
- 5 billion videos are watched every day
- 80 percent of people aged 18—49 watch YouTube
Just about every type of business can benefit from this channel, including online businesses, small offline businesses, even freelancers and consultants who offer their services.
Creating Your Videos
Don’t be afraid to start! Grab your smartphone and begin. Follow some basic guidelines to ensure your video’s get found, watched, and create a call to action.
- Determine your format: Interview, speaking direct to the camera, screenshare, or how-to video? Brick and mortar businesses – upload commercial-style YouTube videos!
- Creating the video: Make sure you have great lighting, everything in the video should be clearly seen. Make sure the sound is clear, consider a microphone. Keep your videos around three or four minutes, maybe even shorter. Test this out and see what works best for your audience.
- Keywords: Choose and use relevant keywords and place them in your title, description and tags.
- Create a niche: Add your branding and keep all aspects of your channel as professional looking as possible. Consider adding videos that relate to each other, thereby keeping the viewers on your channel, watching you!
- Be social: Promote your videos on Facebook and Instagram.
Advertising on YouTube
There are three video ad categories on YouTube:
- TrueView ads: These are the skippable ads that appear at the beginning
- Non-skippable video ads
- Bumper ads
Although your ad will appear on YouTube, you’ll manage your campaign using Google Ads, an advertising platform used by businesses running ads on Google and its advertising network – which includes YouTube. If you have not already linked your YouTube account with Google please follow these steps:
- Sign in to your YouTube channel
- Click Settings, then click Channel
- Click the Advanced tab
- Click Link Account
- Enter a name for the link, a Google Ads customer ID, and choose which permissions you will grant
- Click Done
- Click Save
Once the owner of the Google Ads account approves your request, your YouTube channel will be linked to that Google Ads account. Let’s take a deeper look into the video ad categories offered on YouTube. TrueView ads are the skippable ads that appear at the beginning of YouTube videos. They’re a great place to get started advertising on YouTube because they are versatile and allow you to advertise your products and services with how-to videos, demos, video testimonials and more. These ads are also low risk because you only pay when the ad has played for 30 seconds or longer or has ended – or – the ad prompted an action from your viewer, like a click. Because these ads can be skipped after five seconds, you will rarely waste ad dollars on completely uninterested audiences.
Non-skippable YouTube ads can be annoying, but they can also be effective. There are two types of non-skippable YouTube ads, pre-roll ads which appear before a video plays and mid-roll ads which appear at the midpoint of 10 minute-or-longer videos. Pro tip – if you’re looking to tell a deeper, more nuanced story that requires a little build-up, you may want to set up some non-skippable YouTube ads. Make sure your video is hyper-focused and clearly showcases your product’s value to your target audience.
Bumper ads are the more tolerable version of non-skippable ads, lasting six seconds at most. They appear at the end of YouTube videos, and are paid for on a CPM basis. Because they’re short, bumper ads are ideal for targeting mobile users. They’re also a great way to recycle longer content.
To set up your YouTube video ad click Campaigns on the main toolbar>+Campaign>New Campaign>Select Video and follow the prompts to choose your audience, budget and locations.
Keep these best practices in mind when using YouTube to advertise:
- Hook viewers with engaging and relevant content
- Optimize your videos for search
- Add a join button to your YouTube channel
- Curate playlists for your content
- Publish content on a regular basis
- Keep an eye on your competitors by creating content that sets you apart
- Watch the length of your video. Too short may not garner enough attention, too long and the viewer may get bored
- Most importantly include a compelling Call to Action
Using Social Media for Marketing is Powerful
As we have learned, great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales. Beginning with a focused social media marketing plan and doing your research on keywords and your competition can set you up for success. Stay focused on building your brand and your message, keep an eye on your analytics and be flexible, willing to change out what does not work and try something new.