More and more we are seeing that social media advertising is becoming a necessary part of the social media strategy of many businesses. So I thought I’d get some questions answered for the small business owner with my go-to social media advertising pro and good friend, Mandy Edwards of ME Marketing Services.
How important is social media advertising to the average small business owner? Or is it?
If you are a small business owner and are using social media, then it’s very important. Through the various targeting options, you can reach the precise customer you want to reach. More and more people are using social media for peer recommendations, connecting in general and for an outlet. Your audience is there, so obviously that is why you’re using it. Why not invest a few dollars/day to attract more members for your community.
Should social media advertising be part of your social media marketing strategy? Why?
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.
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?
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…
Sometimes I see ads in the newsfeed and sometimes they’re in the sidebar. What’s the difference?
Those are two different positioning options Facebook gives you. Ads run in the newsfeed typically run on both desktop and mobile feeds, while the sidebar are only on the desktop. Sidebar Facebook ads are making a comeback because the graphics are bigger now. However, I’m still seeing better returns on newsfeed ads because most ads I’m running for clients are getting the majority of their traction from the mobile newsfeed.
Do you recommend that someone starting with ads consult with a social media professional or are there Ad consultants provided through Facebook, Twitter, etc;.
There are forums and FAQ’s from both Facebook and Twitter to help you get started. Honestly, the best and free option it to read those and Google what you want to know. I’d love to say “hire a pro” but sometimes that is not feasible for a small business. Start with the free options, then if you’re stuck, do a consulting session with a social media pro (be very careful when you select one) to work through it. There are sites offering classes and such on this, but honestly, you really don’t need those.
What makes a great Facebook ad?
The message and headline are the 2 most important parts of any ad. My background is print advertising and a lot of what I learned and did during that time has parlayed over into what I’m doing now. You have to have something catchy, like I mentioned above. The best Facebook ads are ones that resonate emotionally with the audience. Try to make that connection in the 96 characters Facebook gives you. It is possible. Another component is the targeting. The more specific you target, the better results you’ll get as well.
How much should a small business expect to spend to see good results?
With both Facebook and Twitter, the more you pay, the more the ads will be seen. On average, my clients pay $2/day. You’re talking $60 or $62 per month. A quarter page newspaper ad here costs around $400 – and that’s just one time. I’ve seen awesome results on $2 or even $3/day. If you are doing something short-term, I would look at bumping that up, but if you are just starting, go with the $2/day.
Do you think promoted posts/boost posts are effective?
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 do you think is best to use? A daily or lifetime budget, CPM or CPC?
It really depends on your goal and what you’re advertising. I’ll put in a lifetime budget – but it’s usually the daily rate times the number of days it’s running. Those are interchangeable to me. I always pick the option for Facebook to optimize my advertising goal, whether it be for impressions or clicks. The automated usually does a better job than setting a CPM or CPC bid. So, speaking of CPM or CPC, both are good for different things. If you are promoting something in general, for example a sale, CPM is the best option since you want eyeballs on the ad. If you are promoting event sign-ups or something to download or a coupon code, then you want CPC because you are wanting clicks. Again, use the automatic optimize for either of those options. It will save you headache and they actually work better that way.
What are some best practices for ad creation?
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.
Mandy has a great blog filled with lots of useful information on social media marketing for small business owners. You can check out her blog here.
Are you using Facebook or Twitter ads to drive traffic to your website or get more eyes on your content? What has your experience been like? Please share in the comments below.