Social media marketing is almost a must these days.
The accessible audiences are huge. The opportunities to give value are plentiful. And you can benefit from social media without paying for it.
There’s just no reason not to use social media marketing.
However, many businesses try social media marketing, only to be disappointed by the results.
Some feel this is because social media marketing isn’t right for their particular product or service.
This is true sometimes. But it’s quite rare.
What’s more likely is that many businesses haven’t mastered social media marketing.
Social media marketing is a different beast than most other marketing channels.
However, one fundamental of marketing stands firm: targeting.
Proper ad targeting is actually more important on social media than it is on most other advertising channels.
So, if you’re struggling to get results from your social media marketing, you’re in the right place.
Here’s what you need to know about targeted social media marketing, starting with the basics.
How to use social media marketing
One misconception about social media marketing is that all you need to do is design and show paid ads to everyone.
But simply running paid ads without a target audience is a woefully underdeveloped social media marketing strategy.
Social media is about community. In order to really see returns on your social media ad spend, you need to be participating in the community and building your brand as a valuable member of that community.
Remember, people aren’t on social media to buy stuff.
Social media ads are kind of invasive in the social media space. So it’s important that you earn your spot on people’s feeds by providing value most of the time.
Ideally, your social media content should be 80% social media participation and 20% promotional content and ads.
So, don’t just post ads on social media, get out there and have fun with it too!
Your bottom line will thank you for it.
Choosing the Right Social Media Platform
A second big misconception about social media marketing is that the social media platform with the biggest user base is the best to advertise on.
This is only true if your target customers use that platform.
The social media landscape is becoming more diverse. Social media users have options these days.
Each social media platform attracts a certain type of user.
Facebook is obviously a huge player in most industries.
However, if you don’t advertise on Facebook, it’s not social media marketing suicide anymore.
The best thing to do is focus on the social media platform that attracts your ideal customers.
Then, once you’re successful on that platform, branch out to other platforms.
To help you determine where to start, here are some tidbits about the user base of each social media platform:
- Millenials and Gen X are the most likely to share content on Facebook.
- Over half of all teenagers say that Instagram is the best place to tell them about new products.
- 6 in 10 Pinterest users have children.
- One third of Twitter users make over 75K a year.
- LinkedIn is the most popular social network among Fortune 500 CEOs.
As you can see, each social network has it’s appeal to a certain customer demographic. If you want social media marketing results, it’s best to go where your ideal customers are.
So, once you choose the best social media network, what’s next?
How to Reach Your Ideal Customers with Social Media Marketing
There are a couple of ways to build your social media audience and reach the right people.
Use your organic reach
This may be the best option for you if you don’t already have a database of customers.
But don’t neglect your organic reach just because you have a database to work from. Remember that participating in the social media community makes your ads more effective.
The best way to start is by posting engaging content with your social media account. The content should be tailored for your ideal audience.
This way you can identify your customers by who engages with your content and your social media profile.
Then, it’s just a matter of providing value for them through your posts and with your paid ads.
Build a custom audience
If you have a database of customers, you can use it to build custom audiences for your ads.
This is just a list of specific people who will see your ads.
Custom audiences are great for remarketing and maintaining brand awareness.
The tricky part is making sure that you’ve got all the right people.
Unfortunately, you can’t really tell if you’ve got the right person when you search social media for a name alone.
Ideally, you want a phone number and an email address for each person on your list. If you have these two pieces of information, the chances of sending ads to the wrong people are slim to none.
Additionally, Facebook and other social media platforms require that you have a phone number and email address for each person you add to your audience.
This means that you’ll want to set up your opt-in offers to collect (and validate) emails and phone numbers. Or, use a reverse phone lookup service to append phone numbers to your email addresses.
Either way, if you purchase a list or have a list of legacy contacts with just a name and email address (many people either leave their phone number out of their social media profile, or make it unsearchable), you’ll need to complete this information before using it to build a custom audience for your social media marketing.
How to make sure you’ve got the right information for custom audiences
It’s possible to verify your list through an internet search or by checking a person’s social media profile to see if the picture matches.
It’s pretty time-consuming, though.
This is much easier using a data cleansing service. This will get you a list of phone numbers and emails that you can use for building custom social media audiences much faster.
With data cleansing, it’s possible to build a custom audience that matches your budget, no matter how large it may be.
Once you’ve built a custom audience, your paid social media ads will only be shown to people who’ve expressed interest in your product.
You can also expand your custom audience by adding people who follow you or engage with your content.
This keeps your ad spend costs down and drives better results.
And you’ll be happy with the performance of your social media marketing.
How to build a custom audience on Facebook
Facebook and Instagram both allow you to create custom audiences for your ads.
However, Instagram focuses on automating the process by targeting users who have engaged with your content.
Creating custom audiences on Facebook is a little more involved.
- Create a list of email addresses and phone numbers from your (clean) customer data.
- Export or download your list as a CSV or TXT file. Facebook does not support Excel files.
- Go to the Audiences Page in the Facebook Ads Manager.
- Select the Create a Custom Audience option.
- Choose Customer File.
- Select the option to add customers from your own file.
- Upload your CSV or TXT file.
- It takes Facebook about 30 minutes to compile and create your custom audience.
- Facebook will tell you how many entries you’ve uploaded once it’s done.
- Once your custom audience is ready, create an ad with the ad creator tool.
- Choose a advertising objective.
- Select your custom audience. You can also specify things like location, age, gender, and interests to improve your targeting.
- Boom! Now you’ve got ads that target your hottest leads!
Use lookalike audiences
If you put a conversion pixel on your thank you page, you can very quickly gather data about who’s actually buying your products and services.
Then, you can use this data on most social platforms.
The ad creation interface for most social platforms has an option to create what they call a “lookalike audience” which uses the data from your conversion pixel to create an audience that’s similar to the people who’ve already purchased from you.
This is another way to very rapidly create a very large, but very specific audience for your social media ads.
Rather than casting a very wide net, it’s like creating specific bait based on what your favorite fish like to bite.
One more thing:
If you’re using data collected with a conversion pixel, be sure to use good data management. Otherwise you could be creating a lookalike audience based on bad data.
Targeting ads on LinkedIn and Twitter
LinkedIn and Twitter use different methods for ad targeting than Facebook and Instagram.
LinkedIn and Twitter use keywords, user handles, hashtags, and conversations happening on the network.
So ad targeting for LinkedIn and Twitter looks and feels a lot like keyword research. Using a keyword planner will help you create more targeted ads on these platforms.
However, the best way to identify the keywords, hashtags, and handles that will reach the right customers is to stay very active on these social media platforms.
Join groups where your customers hang out. Follow your customers. In general, observe their behavior on the network, and create ads that directly respond to that behavior.
Social media marketing is all about targeting and community participation. With the right tools, you can target your best leads with your social media marketing very fast.
So try building a custom audience yourself. Then leave a comment and let us know how it worked for you!
Twitter is a powerful, often neglected, tool for growing email marketing lists. In fact, by using your business’s Twitter account in strategic ways, you can reach new customers and engage your regular customers in new ways. After all, almost half of all Twitter users follow businesses in addition to people they know and celebrities, and it would be a shame not to try to communicate with them.
First, include in your Twitter bio a direct link to the landing page where people can enter their personal information and join your marketing list. Next, resolve to tweet regularly, at least a couple times daily. You’ll lose followers if your Twitter profile is a virtual ghost town. Also, if you don’t have one already, get a Twitter app for your smartphone, as it makes tweeting throughout the day easier.
You can use tweets to guide people to any place on the web where you’ve posted content. For instance, if you’re offering a new coupon or you’ve added a new feature to your business’s website, tell your Twitter followers about it and include a link. Once they’re on your website, they might take the time to join your marketing list there. The same goes for your blog, for any new edition of your newsletter, and for your other social media pages. (A “Subscribe” button should be prominently on display at all these places.) In addition, all of your web, blog and other Internet pages should include easy-to-find “Click to Tweet” buttons, so that people who like what they’re seeing can share those pages with their own Twitter followers, and in the process provide you some free advertising!
The trick in all this is to give your followers high-quality tweets. Never spam. Instead, offer variety. Some of your tweets should be focused on your services, products and upcoming discounts, but other tweets should be about making your customers feel like they know you as a human being. To that end, adorable photos of your children, or fun photos of your employees playing basketball together after work, can make for compelling tweets. Funny quips are always appreciated, too. One trick is to write down the humorous and clever things which you or your employees happen to say during the day. Then, when you get a chance, turn those notes into tweets!
Even when your tweets are focused on matters of business, make them intriguing. Don’t just announce, for example, that you’ve written a new blog post. Rather, make that blog post sound exciting. Specify why someone should read it. Does it contain information that’s relevant to their lives? Does it offer a discount which isn’t available anywhere else? Your tweet might even include an especially provocative quote from that post.
Becoming a Twitter master takes time. So practice the art of the tweet. Obviously, each tweet is limited to 140 characters. At the same time, you must make all your tweets clear, easy to comprehend at first glimpse. That means you should avoid odd syntax, unusual abbreviations, nonstandard spellings and the like. You might take time, too, to type out a certain tweet on a word processor in different ways, and then select the version of that tweet that’s the easiest to understand, and/or the one that just seems the most appealing. And if, over time, you feel you’re just not that comfortable in the Twitterverse, assign an employee who’s especially adept at social media to do all your business’s tweeting.
Consider including promoted tweets in your advertising budget as well. These tweets will allow you to target your audience. For instance, you might choose to target college students living in the vicinity of your business. Those people will then see your tweets even if they don’t follow you, even if they’ve never heard of you! And if they’re interested in what you’re tweeting, in short order you very well may find their names on your marketing list.
Concentrate not just on promotion, but on establishing relationships with both potential customers and with your regulars. Retweet your followers’ tweets, especially praise from satisfied customers. Thank people who’ve been particularly loyal to your business over the years. Respond to comments, even negative comments, that people make about your brand. You might be surprised how often a simple, respectful follow-up can immediately turn a critic into a fan. And if you’re planning on introducing a new product or service, ask your Twitter followers their opinion on it. This will not only help spread awareness about your business, but will also demonstrate that you value what your customers think.
Just about everyone who has done it before can attest to how well it works. That is, sharing with others the things that you’ve found on the internet. It’s called sharing or “liking” in some places, but whichever thing it’s called by whatever group of people, the main idea that drives the concept is the fact that it’s social.
What does it mean to be social?
Being social is not limited in nature to smiling and exchanging small chit-chat at parties. That only applies to offline situations where that is the goal. But in terms of internet sharing and social situations, sharing involves anything where a person or groups of people are sharing information amongst each other that they’ve found online. That sharing can include a cool, new website that sells the latest cameras all the way to a social site where users can find out where the next campus frat party is going to be.
Social sharing is also done through search engines, which make it an unbelievably popular concept that seems to grow more each day. Search engine sharing simply means where users share search engines or search information within their circle of influence or gathering of people. This concept is especially big too with famous internet people or those individuals on the internet who may be well known. In other words, if popular person “A” recommends a site to his readers, it’s highly likely that the site will escalate in traffic from the surge of people who are going there to check out what the popular person suggests.
Social searches is also a method simply where readers are sharing amongst themselves different sites that they like, they hate, they’re offended by or ones that they want to use to make a profit. Search engine sharing can be a link, a website or a collection of either that’s shared with the users.
There are also some search sites that will take a compilation of user recommended searches and construct a database so that users can find all of the information that they need all in one tidy location. These are called search directories or web directories in some cases. But the premise that drives the idea is that most all of the information contained within the search directory is information that is derived from input from social results. However, in order for the information or results to be of any value, it has to be accurate, with the information having been verified first.
The fact that social searches work so well is generally because the users who either enter the information or those who use the information are doing so with genuine intents. Therefore, this makes the content and data ‘cleaner’ in terms of validity. If there are no other agendas attached to the information compilation, it’s more likely that the sources from which the information originated is more interested in sharing the information for the sake of sharing, rather than what they are going to get from having entered or for suggesting the data.
As the vast internet continues to grow and strengthen, the power of social searches and sharing is going to become even bigger. There are more sites being launched daily and weekly. There are also social networks that are increasing in numbers and growing quickly while attracting more users to their sites. In order for businesses and individuals to get the maximum usage from social searches, it’s a great idea to become a part of it by immersing in it and interacting with the social community. This not only establishes a trust, but it also establishes a long-term business and social relationship that’s sure to last for a long time.