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!