I recently returned from sunny San Diego, where I attended one of the largest meetings of social media minds—also known as Social Media Marketing World. What do you get when you put 5,000+ digital marketers from around the globe in one place? As much knowledge as there are smartphones, which, in case you’ve never been in a room of social media people, is a LOT.
One of the main reasons I wanted to attend this event was to brush up on my social media advertising knowledge so I can be sure we are always giving clients the best recommendations for what content to promote, and that we are maximizing advertising budgets and consistently delivering the best results.
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to social media advertising—but there are several ways to do it more effectively. As I am planning digital strategies, you can bet I’ll be keeping in mind the following five tips, fresh from some of the world’s best social media marketers.
- Boost unicorns, not donkeys. Don’t look at me like I have a horn—I’m talking about paying to promote only the best social media content (also, this may be my new favorite analogy—thanks to Wordstream’s Larry Kim). Instead of throwing money toward content or posts that aren’t performing well, see what content that is receiving high organic engagement (5 percent or higher on Facebook, says social media consultant Andrea Vahl). Then, invest in paid promotion for that top 1-2 percent of “unicorn” content, not the “donkey” content. To help spot a unicorn, check the relevancy score on Facebook. The higher the score, the lower the ad cost. When budgets are maximized, everything really is sunshine and rainbows.
- Use video to make Facebook’s algorithm work for you. Marketers love to hate Facebook’s algorithm. Ever since Facebook switched to be more pay-to-play, marketers have been on a constant quest to outsmart the beast. It may change, but, as of spring 2017, the best weapon may be live video and longer-form video. Facebook Live events rise to the top of the Newsfeed and are receiving high organic engagement—which generally has been dropping as Facebook continues to make it harder for pages to get their content seen. Facebook is also favoring longer videos.
- Target ads to Facebook users who have engaged with a page. Engagement retargeting may be the best gift Facebook has given marketers since it created lookalike audiences. It’s now possible to not only target just users who have visited a website with Facebook ads, but also now those who have engaged (liked a post, watched a video, commented, shared) with a page. When creating a new custom audience for a paid promotion, just select the new option for Page Engagement. You’re welcome.
- DO waste time on Pinterest. The best pins are sized 1100x735, have no more than four images and include text overlay to give pinners an idea of what’s behind the image, says Pinterest queen Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media. Right now, it’s only possible to advertise to Pinterest users based on what kinds of content they are pinning. This means marketers can: 1. Target based on keywords; 2. Target by Interest. When building an ad campaign, include 30-40 keywords. If any of the 376 Interests in Pinterest are relevant to a campaign, include those, too. Adding Interests may drive up the cost of the ad bid, but it also seems to lead to higher conversion rates, says Alisa Meredith, who actually wrote a book on Pinterest advertising that I am going to read. Not too long from now, Pinterest will allegedly grant us the ability to target users by what they are searching—i.e., make it possible for a promoted pin to show up when one (that one being me) searches “healthy chicken one pan dinners.” See you soon, every recipe combination of chicken, veggies and potatoes ever.
- Invite Google to the party. Track referrals from social media ads to landing pages or blog posts using Google UTM links. These are shortened links, similar those produced by bit.ly or HootSuite, but each link offers a little greater intelligence. Create links in Google URL Builder, then add them to Google Analytics to see how much traffic comes from each link and identify the source. If this all is starting to sound like a foreign language, check out this step-by-step guide from Social Media Examiner—with screenshots.
Social media advertising offers incredible opportunities to highly target key audiences with compelling, interesting content. Whether the goal is to raise awareness, increase website traffic, identify leads or make sales, consider investing in social media ads. Need metrics to prove ROI and track success? Done. It’s easy to pull comprehensive reports that include detailed analytics.
What’s the hottest social media platform right now, you ask? Instagram, says Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, is on fire.