Want to Use Social Media Ads- Read this first.

Want to Use Social Media Ads? Read this first.

I’m going to lay some truth on you… in order for your content to be seen on social media you are going to have to pony up some money and use social media ads.

Ah yes, pay to play. That’s what I’m talking about. Calm down, it’s not that bad – trust me. It’s actually a wonderful thing. You have the ability to reach the EXACT person/group you want to. Isn’t that awesome? Seriously, it is.

In this day and age of digital marketing, the options are nearly endless of what you can do for your business in terms of social media ads. Most businesses have taken advantage of social media, using Facebook and Twitter to get their message out to the masses. Now that requires using social media ads.

Yes, businesses can pay to play on social media and the ones that do it have gotten quite good at it.

Paying to play is pretty much the norm on Facebook. Everyone and their brother knows about Facebook’s upcoming decline in the amount of people who see your posts. Because of that simple truth & what to expect this coming year, businesses are devoting advertising dollars to that platform to make sure their content reaches their market.  Let me say though, you can do this on Twitter and LinkedIn as well – it’s not just limited to Facebook. Instagram and Pinterest advertising options coming to an account near you.

If you are going to use social media ads, here are some basic best practices to make sure you getting the most bang for your buck…

Know why you are doing it.

Simple enough, right?  Not really. I see businesses promoting Facebook posts and tweets that are honestly a waste of money and it’s obvious they did it just to do it. Like in using social media, you have to have intent in every.single.thing you do. It’s your money (or your boss’). Play it wise.

Know who you are targeting.

You may be having an event that interests only a portion of your market, so when you pay to advertise it, target only that group. That’s the sheer beauty of social advertising – targeting. You can target so specifically that you know your market is going to see it. Want to target people who live in multi-million dollar homes? Now you can. Stay-at-home moms? You betcha!

Have a budget.

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to lose track of your money on social advertising. Yes, you may only be spending $2 per day, but if you have that plus $15 on a promoted post plus $10 per day on Twitter, it adds up quick. Keep a spreadsheet of what you are advertising, how long it’s running and how much you are planning to spend and stick to that.  Trust me, it will save you many accounting headaches later.

Don’t promote every post on Facebook.

This is a hard truth, but not everything you post is worth paying to promote. I’m not saying your content isn’t awesome (because I’m sure it is), but when you promote a post it shows up more in your fans’ news feeds and the more they see it, the more likely they are to hide/unlike/report your page for spam. A good rule of thumb is that unless it’s a contest, event or sale/special, don’t promote it. Blog posts are sometimes okay to post, but only if it’s one that is getting a ton of response or it’s something you really want people to read. I saw a social media “professional” promote a post asking people is they were ‘making their day great’. Seriously. You can’t make some of this stuff up. Talk about a waste of money and one less fan – me.

Those seem easy enough, right? These are just some basic things to keep in mind when using social media ads this year.

Do you have any best practices you use when you advertise online?

4 Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Never Make

4 Holiday Marketing Mistakes You Should Never Make

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a really hard time believing the holidays are nearly upon us again. 2014 is almost over and I was just starting to get comfortable with it. I guess the expression, “time flies when you’re having fun,” is quite true.

Luckily, there are still several weeks remaining in 2014. As a small business owner or marketer, you have probably been consumed with holiday marketing and planning for a while now. However, if you still have yet to prepare for the holiday marketing push, then you still have some time – but not much. Black Friday is on November 28th, Small Business Saturday on November 29th, and Cyber Monday is on December 1st. Yes, those days are coming up quickly.

Don’t panic! Instead, take the time you need as early as possible so you can make sure your marketing efforts are effective and productive. Rushing often results in mistakes which could end up costing you more in the long run.

Rieva Lesonsky makes an excellent point about why small businesses should focus on smart holiday marketing in her article for The U.S. Small Business Administration:

Whether you own a store, restaurant, service provider or even a B2B company, smart marketing can boost your holiday sales, too.

Avoid these 4 common mistakes for better results from your holiday marketing efforts, regardless of your business type or industry:

1) Neglecting or ignoring social media during the holiday season

Social media is a proven game-changer for many small businesses. In some ways, holiday marketing on social media can be considered a year-round activity. If you’re absent before and during the holiday season though, people may forget all about you. Out of sight, out of mind. Being available for your audience helps build trust and name recognition, which may help your business when it’s time for them to make their purchasing decisions.

There are several good ways to let your audience know that you’re feeling festive and ready for the holiday season. For example, you can spruce up your Facebook and Twitter headers and cover photos with holiday graphics and themes. This spreads the holiday cheer and helps your audience get into the holiday spirit as well.

2) Not budgeting or spending enough for advertising before the holidays

The holiday season is one of your last business’ final opportunities to meet your organization’s sales revenue goals before the year ends. As such, it’s not the time of year to scrimp on advertising. Be smart with your efforts though by focusing your advertisements in the place(s) where your audience can best find them. Examples include direct mail/printed ads, opt-in emails, social media ads, and search engine ads. Holiday marketing through smart, targeted advertising will help boost your brand’s exposure.

3) Making poor choices when sending holiday marketing emails

Email marketing can be a small business owner’s best friend any time of the year. It’s a popular and often effective choice for reaching your audience, especially during the holidays. However, you’ll definitely want to avoid making email mistakes such as the following, especially during the holiday season. Otherwise, you may risk losing potential clients down the road:

  • Spamming
  • Being overly promotional in your subject line
  • Using incorrect or broken links to your website in your email
  • Being an “unidentified” sender
  • Including too much unrelated or useless content within the body of your email

4) Failing to remember your loyal customers during the holiday season

While you’re making plans to boost your business’ sales during the holidays, make sure you reach out to your current clients, too. You may already be regularly contacting them, and handling any of their questions and/or issues, throughout the year. The holidays make a perfect time to show them how much you appreciate them for doing business with you. Failing to remember them may result in their leaving you for another organization who will show them the appreciation they deserve.

 

Are you ready for the holiday season? I’d love to hear your suggestions for holiday marketing mistakes we should all be avoiding. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Why Should I Use Promoted Tweets

Ask Mandy Q&A: Why Should I Use Promoted Tweets?

I love Twitter, though the fast-paced short conversations are not for everyone. Whether you’re jazzed about marketing in 140 characters or not, if your market includes active Twitter users, you might want to check out Twitter’s promoted tweets.

This week’s Q&A question is,

What are and why should I use Promoted Tweets?

Promoted tweets are simply tweets that have been purchased by businesses who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark extra engagement from existing followers. Promoted tweets are labeled as “promoted” when they are activated. Even with the label, the promoted tweet acts just like a regular tweet and can be retweeted, replied to, favorited and more.

I love the possibilities available with promoted tweets. Here are six reasons you should use them –

1. You have four different routes to choose from:

  • Promote Tweet using keywords – Reach people based on keywords they interact with.
  • Promote Tweet based on interests and followers – Reach people with specific interests or who follow a certain person or brand.
  • Promote Tweet based on Television programming – Reach people who engage with specific TV shows.
  • Promote Tweet based on tailored audience – Reach people based on your own data

2. Promote a Tweet to show up in the feeds of people watching a certain TV show.

This option is only available in the US and the UK right now. There are plans to add other countries. If your target audience loves Dr. Sheldon Cooper and watches Big Bang Theory, you can select “Big Bang Theory” and your tweet would only show up for those who tweet about or interact with the show. This option has SO much potential.

3. Your promoted tweet is always near the top of the person’s Twitter Feed.

According to Twitter, “Any promoted tweet people see in their timeline will appear just once, at or near the top of their timeline. Then, the Promoted Tweet will scroll through the timeline like any other tweet.”

4. You can promote a tweet to your email list.

With the “Tailored Audience” option, you can upload your email list and the promoted tweet will show up for those on your list.

5. You can put a promoted tweet in front of those users who follow your competitor(s).

With the “Interests & Followers” option, you can target Twitter users who follow your competitor(s). This is a great option if you are just starting out or know people have been unhappy with that business and you want to let them you are in business.

6. There are TONS of targeting options.

Not only can you go with one of the four routes above, you can also target your tweet to:

  • Show up in the user’s Twitter feed and/or in search results
  • Show up only on iOS devices or Android
  • Desktop and/or mobile users
  • Blackberrys (yes, that is an option!)
  • Geographic location

As with any other social advertising, you get a full analytics report showing how many people saw, clicked, retweeted, etc., so you know how the promoted tweet performed.

Have you tried promoted Tweets ? If so, how did it go?

Ask Mandy Q&A: All About Social Advertising

Ask Mandy Q&A: All About Social Advertising

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.

I love advertising. It was the one Maymester class I took in college, partly because if I was going to sit in a class for 3 hours everyday for one month, it had to be a fun, interesting one. I spent 5 years in print advertising before moving into more full-service marketing duties. I learned A LOT in those 5 years and to think, it was all before social media!

Now that I work with clients on their social accounts, I’ve dived into social advertising on every platform it’s available. I’ve found it’s not that much different than print advertising, other than the fact it’s online and you can actually measure it.

Recently, my friend Sara Nickelberry with Social with Sara interviewed me about social advertising. In this week’s Q&A post, I wanted to share some excerpts from that interview and hopefully answer some of the questions you’ve had.

Should social media advertising be part of your social media marketing strategy? Why?

Mandy:
Social advertising should definitely be a part of your strategy – in fact, it’s a ‘requirement’, more like extremely strongly suggested, for my clients. No other advertising option out there can tell you how many people clicked on your ad or how many conversions you received. Social advertising is the only form of advertising that can give you a true measurement of ROI. Broadcast media and print can guesstimate how many people saw it based on subscribers or Nielsen ratings. Social advertising can get you a specific number. Try asking your TV or newspaper sales rep for that on your traditional ad :)

How effective are ads on Facebook and Twitter?

Mandy:
If used and targeted correctly, they can be effective. If you do a Facebook ad for the heck of it and target all 1 billion+ users, it’s like throwing darts blindly at a target. If you put in your exact targeting and use the right message, you’ll be effective in your efforts. Crafting the right message is key – you want something that is going to hook them when they read it.

For example, “Sign up for our emails!” is not going to get as many clicks as “Want a FREE iPad? Sign Up and You Could Win!” It’s all about getting their attention. Another example would be instead of using “Social Media Help” as your headline or tweet, use “Can’t figure out why Facebook isn’t working?” or “Did you really just tweet that?” You get the idea…

Do you think promoted posts/boost posts are effective?

Mandy:
If used correctly, yes. The promoted posts cause the post to show up more in your fans’ newsfeeds. Promote posts too often and you’ll get unliked or hidden. I once saw a social media “expert” promote a post asking how everyone’s day was. Seriously. In my opinion, that was a waste of money and I unliked the page. As a rule of thumb I only use promoted posts for specials, events, important news or epic sales. I save these for something really special. If it’s the right message, they will be effective. Just don’t promote a post asking how someone’s day was. That post didn’t do so hot.

What are some best practices for ad creation?

Mandy:
I’ve mentioned a lot of them already – know who you want to target, have a catchy headline and use promoted posts on Facebook sparingly. Another best practice is to use multiple photos with your Facebook ads. Use this as a test to see what images get the best response. For example, an author client of mine ran the same ad in Canada and the US with the same 2 images – one of the book and the other of him talking with an elderly woman. In Canada, the book cover image was our winner… in the US it was the picture with the elderly woman. The targeting was the same for countries. Use this option to see what really resonates with the ones viewing your ad. A new option (and best practice) for Twitter is to use a Twitter card with your ad. They now allow you to attach a lead generation card to a tweet and people can click and enter their name and email and Twitter will send it to you. Talk about gold! This is an awesome new option that I’m seeing good results with.

To read the entire interview, please click here.


Do YOU have a question about social media for businesses? Simply click here to ask!

Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

Social Advertising Terminology 101

Social Advertising Terminology 101

Getting word out about your business on social media can be a little daunting. If you are starting off, you may not know where to begin; or if you have been around for a while you may have noticed the growth has plateaued. Social advertising is a great shot in the arm for a business actively using social media as a part of their overall marketing plan. Three of the four major platforms offer some sort of advertising (Google+ currently does not) your business can take advantage of.

Before diving in deep with all the different opportunities to advertise, you need to know the basics, aka the terminology. Without knowing what the different terms and abbreviations amidst the many types of advertising, you might get lost.

Social Advertising 101 Definition List

*Don’t worry – there is no test at the end and for all intents and purposes, when I refer to “ad”, it can mean any type of paid advertising.

Types of Social Advertising:

Facebook Ad – These are the ads that show up on the right-hand side of your news feed. These ads are highly targeted to a specific group of people.

Facebook Promoted Post – This is a status update from a Facebook page that is being paid to post frequently. Could be for an event or an opt-in.

Promoted Twitter Account – This is when your account shows up at the top of the “Who to Follow” box.

Promoted Tweet– This is a tweet that you have paid Twitter to tweet out frequently.

LinkedIn Ad – These are the ads that show up on the right-hand side on your LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn Sponsored Status Update – Similar to a Facebook sponsored post, this is a status update a person or business has paid to have show up more frequently.

Terminology:

CPM (cost per thousand) – This is the cost you pay per 1,000 people that see your ad/tweet/status update.

CPC (cost per click) – This is the cost you pay every time someone clicks on an ad.

Viral – The number of people who saw your ad because a friend of theirs took some sort of action, i.e. Facebook like or comment, Twitter retweet.

Organic – The number of people who saw your ad.

Paid – The number of people who saw your sponsored post/status update as a result of you paying to promote it.

Impressions – This is the number of people who saw your ad. Example: If 100 people saw your ad, you had 100 impressions. If 400 people saw your ad two times each, you had 800 impressions.

Click Thru Rate (CTR) –  This is the percentage of people who clicked on your ad out of the number of people you targeted. Example: If your ad targeted 100 people and only 5 clicked on it, your CTR would be 5%.

Engagement– On Twitter, this is measured when a user retweets, replies, favorites, follows, or clicks anywhere on your promoted tweet. On Facebook or LinkedIn, it means the interaction, or the overall activity of your fans, including comments & likes on an ad or sponsored post/status.

When undertaking social advertising for yourself or your clients, knowing if it’s working (or has already worked) is very important. Hard-earned money is spent in hope of promoting an event or sale or growing a community. Each platform that offers advertising has a reporting mechanism that allows you to see how your ad is performing. Of course, with those reports come a lot of terminology with which you may not be familiar. Consider this your basic social advertising reporting terminology lesson 😉

General Social Advertising Reporting Terminology

(in addition to the basic terms above)

Facebook:

Social Reach: Number of people who saw your ad with social information. For example, if three people see an ad two times each that says a friend likes your page, your social reach is three.

Actions: Actions are something that someone does as a result of seeing your ad. Actions include page likes, comments, conversions, event responses, etc. For example, if you get two page likes and two comments, they will be counted as four actions.

Frequency: Average number of times each person saw your ad.

For the full glossary of Facebook Advertising terms, click HERE.

Twitter:

Engagements: The total number of times someone has interacted with a promoted tweet. This includes all clicks anywhere on the tweet, including any hashtags, links, avatar, username, or tweet expansion; retweets; replies; follows; or favorites.

Engagement Rate: The number of clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favorites divided by the total number of impressions. This is very similar to the Facebook click-thru rate.

For the full list of Twitter Advertising Definitions, click HERE.

LinkedIn:

Leads: The number of people who requested that you contact them through the lead collection tool.

For more questions about LinkedIn Advertising, including terms, click HERE.

I hope this helped you to gain some understanding of the advertising terms used in many reports. Did I leave one out that you’re not sure about? Comment below & we will help sort out its meaning!

Wanna know a secret? This is a part of the new Social Advertising 101 white paper I’m working on!

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