September 19, 2014
How is it possible?
Unlike traditional marketing, social media advertising has made it easier for business managers to sell their products, services, or content to online users with less effort and money. No need to turn on your TV or grab your local newspaper to see advertisements in the morning — just check your Facebook or Twitter on your mobile phone. With just a few scrolls, there it is: advertising.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular social media platforms and see how advertising works and why your business should go digital.
Facebook: Like and Share
There’s no denying Facebook is the most popular thing on the Internet with its limitless sharing and connectivity to about 1.23 billion people worldwide, 945 million of which access through their mobile phones. Brands active on Facebook don’t only enjoy online exposure but can also update their followers on what’s new, promote special deals, and occasionally hold online contests. They also create focused ad campaigns that target a carefully selected audience.
The “Like” and “Share” buttons are viewed more than 22 billion times a day, not only on the network itself but across more than 7.5 million websites worldwide. In fact, Facebook even created Like and Share buttons side-by-side “to drive Facebook referral traffic to your website.” Additionally, brands that use the retargeted ads in Facebook users’ news feeds report 49 times more clicks than right-hand sidebar ads.
How do I begin? Your best bet is to create a Facebook Page (not personal profile or group page) where it’s a free avenue for everyone to peruse on your content, whether they become a follower or not. Next, come up with a plan: your target audience, the number of posts you will write a day, when to post, what material to use, and your tone. Make sure you follow other pages to gain more followers, too.
Twitter: “On the GO” Network
Twitter is notorious for its no-nonsense 140-character tweet limit that makes content direct to the point. But don’t get discouraged: while Twitter enables visual tweets (photos, videos) in its turf, it seems that its 650 million users worldwide prefer textual tweets more. Plus, a BostInno survey found that 49 percent of respondents would rather interact with brands in 140-characters or less, beating Facebook.
Twitter updates real-time with 9,100 tweets every second, amounting to around 58 million new tweets daily. Since many Twitter users use their mobile phones to tweet, this might just be perfect for business managers to target people on-the-go. Twitter also offers three different kinds of paid advertising: promoted accounts, tweets, and trends.
How do I begin? An official account, of course. Then acquaint yourself with hashtags (#), retweets, mentions (@), and direct messages. Aside from the brevity of your content, you need to sustain visibility by tweeting more often since every tweet has a very short expiration date. Don’t get too trigger happy now – you don’t want to spam or annoy your audience and lose followers.
The “Trends” pane on the left side lets you know the current buzz in the Twitterverse. Meanwhile, business managers can search for keywords related to their business and track people’s conversations, what piques their interest, and how to better improve marketing content. These can be monitored and responded to accordingly using dashboard tools like HootSuite, TweetDeck, or Commun.it.
Instagram: Photo Finish Marketing
This mobile-based network has hooked more young people than other sites with its limitless photo sharing spiked by image filters and enhancements. What makes this unique is that users share mostly original and creative content, mostly labeled with hashtags (#) so others can have access to their content.
Business Insider reported that 90 percent of 150 million Instagram users are under the age of 35, a demographic many brands could take advantage of: apparel, entertainment, and media. Since it’s a mobile app, people on-the-go are more likely to use it and hit “like” on posts. In fact, this Facebook-owned social media platform can turn into a mini-marketplace as entrepreneurs do a SFS (shoutout for shoutout) where they advertise their fellow entrepreneurs’ content and vice versa.
How do I begin? Interesting photos and creative content posted on a frequent basis. Like Twitter, Instagram operates on hashtags (#) and followers. But you have to use them cleverly, so you may as well acquaint yourself with the most popular hashtags. And do what entrepreneurs do – SFS.
Pinterest: Inspirations and DIYs
Pinterest is a good place to put your crafty hat on and get your creative juices flowing. Here, content is devoted to provide inspiration for various crafts, recipes, and DIY projects as 70 million users, mostly female, pin them to their Pinterest boards. In fact, Pew Research found that a third of American women are Pinterest users.
According to marketing firm Piqora, each “pin” attached by a user to her interest boards is worth an average of 78 cents in additional sales to the brand whose merchandise is featured, and reported that sales-per-pin is up 25 percent in nine months. Adobe also reported that site visits from Pinterest yield 55 cents a piece in revenue, up 150 percent year-over-year. A study by Shopify also found that orders driven by Pinterest are larger than those produced by Facebook or Twitter, at $80 per order, topping Google and Amazon.
How do I begin? Your selling point is a virtual album bedecked by high definition photos of your product, services, or even your crew. It also won’t hurt to follow the DIY path to lure more followers, but make sure to fortify it with photos, illustration, and other graphic content. Go snitch those pins, tiger.
Google+: The Plus Factor
Google+ rubbed us the wrong way but it’s starting to pick up speed now. If you want your content to make it to the search results, list and reach out 550 million users that are mostly students, tech-oriented professionals, bloggers, and photographers, then you might want to give Google+ a try and be active.
Unlike other social media platforms out there, Google+ calls for intelligent content — so you may want to make every word count. It’s like digital marketing at its best and Google thinking for you. Thus, you need to use relevant keywords and consider your search engine optimization (SEO).
How do I begin? As a brand, your best bet is a Company Page. As mentioned, you need to craft your content cleverly and weave relevant keywords through it for your SEO. Communities are strong on Google+, so widen your network by interacting with communities related to your business and do so in a clever fashion. It’s like doing business with conscience: offer value to people and understand that participation in communities is mostly about giving. Hard selling and spamming simply don’t work here.
There are many ways to advertise and reach out to various demographics via social media, depending on what your business is about. But all of this would be for naught if you have no metric telling you what these numbers meant or if they translate to profit at all. Avinash Kaushik’s social media metrics are good yardsticks for social media effectiveness.
Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer trends. She uses the information to create viral and useful content as part of the new media strategy. She's interested with technology, market behavior, new media, environment, sustainability, futuristic scenarios and businesses. Follow her on Twitter.