August 1, 2013
With limited advertising dollars set aside for your marketing budget, decisions must be made when it comes to how to best allocate those funds, including how much should be spent on traditional avenues versus new media. Clearly, dominance of traditional media such as newspapers and phone books has faded, as more businesses are now dedicating funds previously set aside for those methods to new opportunities online instead. However, weighing the odds when it comes to determining which platforms will work best for your business can sometimes be tricky.
For the majority of companies, establishing a presence in social media is a no-brainer. An active presence solidifies your business as an involved member of the community improves brand recognition, and with the repeat exposures these platforms offer, your chances of sales activity as a result is greater.
Taking the next step to up the ante by participating in paid advertising on social platforms is not yet a widely accepted practice for many small businesses. It's new, and for many, unproven. However, focusing your efforts there could very well make a difference in your business having an edge over the competition.
For example, with the standard Facebook business page, your posts are likely to be seen by only a small portion of your followers. Facebook actually limits the volume of posts users see from businesses and organizations in order to keep users' feeds "balanced" and "interesting". However, if you publish a post that is especially popular -- meaning it generates a lot of "likes" and comments -- that post is likely to get increased exposure. On top of that, if you chose to "promote" (on Facebook, "promote" is the term used to include a post in a paid campaign) a post that is already gaining momentum through multiple shares, etc. your odds of being seen will be incredibly higher. Promoted posts do not appear on the right side column, but right in the News Feed with other posts from friends. These posts show up high at the top of the feed, so users will naturally be more likely to see them. They are labeled as "Sponsored". Clearly, utilizing promoted posts allows you to reach a larger number of people, and when they interact with your post, their friends too.
There are other opportunities for social media advertising on Facebook -- including Facebook Sponsored Stories, Marketplace Ads and Page Posts Ads which display in users' feeds just like the usual posts, but are identified as "suggested post" because those who may see it are not necessarily fans. These options offer different approaches in reaching your audience, some of which may work better for your specific product or service area.
Beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also offer ways to spend your advertising dollars. And word is out that Pinterest will be likely be rolling out an ad business as well, as it is now tracking visitors.
One advantage of utilizing paid advertising on social platforms is that you can target users who fit into certain demographics. Rather than blindly throwing information out there to see what sticks, users who fall into specific age groups or live in particular regions where they may be more likely to have a need for your product or service can be targeted.
The viral nature of social media means that individuals who are exposed to your posts have the potential to trigger the spread of your information far beyond the reach of your existing fan base. Within a short period of time, you could easily extend your reach to far more prospects than originally targeted. Additionally, the possibility always exists that the exposure you get could attract attention from media outlets that may see your ad and take an interest. That kind of action and reaction can be difficult to measure.
Traditional SEA (search engine advertising) like Google Adwords may give you more immediate response for the money. The audience there is at a point when they are actively seeking out what you are offering. But it's important to keep in mind that although social media avenues may not offer the immediacy, it could very be well worthwhile to test the waters as a way to increase brand recognition and possibly spark a wildfire response.
All in all, companies are increasingly viewing and using paid social media advertising as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Utilized along with other methods of Internet Marketing, brand related objectives can be achieved. Brave River's business-oriented approach to online advertising ensures that your ads are driving future customers -- not just traffic -- to your website. Request a free consultation, to learn how Brave River Solutions can help.