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2016: The Year That Paid Social Media Advertising (ALMOST) Took Over The World

by Markiesha Ollison

Date

March 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM

pexels-photo-58639-medium.jpegIt’s no secret that social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even SnapChat are redefining what it means to advertise on social media. The evolution from outdated banner ads to new aged native ads has already enhanced the social advertising experience for marketers and consumers alike. Marketers have been forced to create quality content that adds value to the lives of their audience. In response, consumers now make more informed buying decisions. Furthermore, content can be delivered based on gender, location, interests, company, role, and more. It’s easier than ever for marketers to target their audience. Companies are increasing their social media marketing spend from $17.7 billion in 2014 to $23.6 billion in 2015, a 33.5% jump. As algorithms improve user data collection and analysis, social advertising’s cost will rise, along with its.

How can social media marketers respond?

Response no. 1) Improve brand storytelling.

Author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you sell. They buy why you sell it.”  Today, consumers are targeted on social media by dozens of businesses that market and sell the same thing. Use your brand story to stand out.

Skip the part where you create a cheesy “about us” video and share it all over the web. Instead, exemplify your brand story through new and interesting ways to showcase why you do what you do. Give one of these a try:

  • Create a 15 second video to spotlight a delighted customer.
  • Create a slideshare that helps detail your company’s culture code
  • Let your employees take over your social media accounts for a day and show what it’s like to work at your company.

Response no. 2) Direct your audience to the right place.

Gone are the days of your social media profile serving as online window dressing for your business. Today, it has the power to be so much more. For example, it can be positioned as the digital GPS for your audience. Use it to distribute links and visuals to guide visitors to where you know they should go next. Use the banner image to showcase a high-converting content offer. Change the link in your bio to be the landing page for the offer.

Use social as a visual to highlight a current campaign. Include a strong call-to-action in campaign specific messages that persuades visitors to navigate to a landing page or blog post. Update the link in your profile on a monthly or even a weekly basis to be a link to a downloadable content offer, webinar registration page, or even a link to subscribe to your company’s blog. Small tactical changes will liven up your social media profile more than ever before.

Response no. 3) Optimize, optimize, optimize!

Social media optimization (SMO) is a phrase that fits nicely between search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO). To be clear, social media optimization is strategic social media use across several platforms to create or expand a business’ presence, product, or service online. Social media marketers can optimize their efforts in a variety of ways:

  • Awareness—This type of optimization typically uses social media to drive brand messaging or to announce a new product or service. This can be measured by impressions, views, shares, or clicks.
  • Lead Generation—This type of optimization uses social media to drive new conversions around a product or content offer. Targeting specific audience members based on location, interests, company, and more can help social media marketers optimize their lead generation efforts.
  • Community Development—Community is the foundation of social media, which is why businesses rely on social media as a channel of community support. Optimize for community by providing community-relevant content, monitoring mentions of your company, and responding to audience members. Even the not so nice ones.

Response no. 4) Meet your audience where it’s at.

Social media has created a way for people to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. This is a trap that many marketers fall into. Businesses who try to be on every social media platform often fail miserably at achieving results from their efforts. To keep things simple, you should only be on the social media platforms that your target audience is active on. If your demographic isn’t on Facebook, then don’t create a Facebook page. If your customer base prefers tweeting their thoughts at you instead of commenting on the latest post on your LinkedIn company page, then get active on Twitter and start tweeting back. You don’t have to be everywhere. Instead, meet your audience where they are at. This will help you concentrate your efforts so that you to do social media extremely well, in a way that works best for your audience.

Response no. 5) Tie your efforts back to ROI. 

Tracking your progress in between tweets and status updates is challenging for many social media marketers. In fact, only 42% of marketers are confident that they can accurately measure their social media results. This leaves room for improvement. To effectively measure the results of your social media efforts, start by setting smart goals; identify metrics and key performance indicators. Here are a few to go on:

  • How many visits from social would you like to reach next month?
  • How many conversions from social would you like to gain?
  • What engagement rate should your team strive to reach?

Once you have set goals, evaluate the resources you have invested or plan to invest:

  • How much time will / did creating and managing campaigns take?
  • Was there a cost associated with these campaigns? If so, how much?

Last, determine your results and if you hit your goals:

  • How many visitors came from social media compared to the goal?
  • How many conversions came from social media?
  • Did you maintain or exceed your engagement goal?
  • How could you improve these efforts?

These are just a few simple steps to help you assess the value of your social media efforts. Each month your goals and objectives may change. When this happens, take the time to think about ways to measure your strategy’s success. Modify and improve your strategy based on your previous results and never be afraid to try something new.

Master Social Media

Written by Markiesha Ollison

Markiesha is the social media and reporting professor for HubSpot Academy. She's an avid runner and enjoys cooking grain and dairy-free meals.

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