Most brands understand the need to be visible on the social media platforms most relevant for their business. Typically, the most relevant social media platforms for a business are those where the company's customers (and potential customers) are likely to be found. The challenge today is that the algorithms (programming formulas) that manage brand presence on most social media platforms, limit the 'free' exposure and visibility that brands are likely to receive today. This in turn forces brands to consider advertising on the platforms in order to maintain a connection with their audience.
Advertising is an imperative part of your social media marketing strategy. It is a great way to optimise your marketing efforts and to boost your exposure. As platforms evolve, businesses need to be aware of the trends, have a solid strategy in place and keep an eye out for which platforms suit their brand.
2020 is the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world, resulting in marketers pulling back on their social media budgets, despite lower prices for ads. Marketers need to keep in mind that many purchase decisions are made - sometimes entirely - online, so your advertising through social platforms is not to be overlooked.
Social Media Advertising Trends
- Video: Video content continues to dominate, hence this is a great way to engage your target audience for your campaigns through captivating storytelling. This extends to live streaming, which is a popular way to invite remote audiences to events, launches and tutorials in addition to your advertising campaigns.
- Direct Purchases: This year, there will be a concerted effort by social media platforms to enable direct purchases without having to link to your website. The most recent example of this is the Facebook Shop, This creates an added avenue for sales, predominantly for quick purchases.
- Stories: Ephemeral content is a great tool to exercise creativity and to keep your audience engaged overtime, especially due to its binge-worthy appeal. Include this content as part of your advertising campaign, as Instagram and Facebook viewers can be reminded of ongoing campaigns and directed towards them.
- Budget: Social media platforms make it possible for you to work with a range of budgets. When well-directed, even a relatively low ad spend can yield results. Test your advertising and increase the budget where possible, especially if organic reach is difficult to achieve. There is fierce competition in the marketing arena, especially with big budget businesses. You need to target your audience effectively to ensure your visibility.
- Integration: There is a move to becoming more direct with your audience on social media. An effective way to manage the direct messaging via Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp is to employ the use of chatbots to directly engage. This way, your audience can converse with a business to ask follow up questions and make bookings or purchases directly.
Top 7 Social Media Advertising Platforms
These are the top 7 social media platforms to consider for your ads and the kind of opportunities on each platform for your advertising to ensure that you have the best possible fit for your campaign.
- Facebook: There are a myriad of options when it comes to the format of your ad, from carousel imagery to video content. Facebook assists you in deciding the goal of your advertising, whether you’re looking to create awareness, consideration or conversion from your target audience.
- Instagram: There are various ad forms, all of which are highly visual. This includes Story content, ads on the ‘Explore’ section and IGTV for longer form videos.
- Twitter: Twitter users will primarily be following links or retweeting the content. Your ads on Twitter can be in the form of cards, videos and promo tweets.
- LinkedIn: This career networking platform continues to grow and become more social. It is the best social media platform for targeting people by job title or company. Ads on LinkedIn can be in the form of text, sponsored content, sponsored messaging or dynamic ads.
- TikTok: The new kid on the block, where marketers can find Gen Z. Here, you can have brand takeovers, in-feed videos, branded lenses and branded hashtag challenges.
- Snapchat: Snapchat ads are vertical and no longer than a few seconds. Your ads can either drive traffic to a page, involve watching a video, or installing an app.
- Pinterest: Pinterest advertising, though not available in all regions, can be effective for certain industries, especially those which are design-based. Promoted ads work on a cost-per-click basis.
Social Media Advertising Strategy
Once you have decided on which social media platforms to use, one needs to consider the following as part of a winning strategy:
- Campaigns: The budget and advertising plan needs to be derived from your marketing campaign. Decide which platforms suit your needs best and then work towards maximising the use of the selected platform(s). In order to make the most out of your ad spend, do not simply ‘boost’ your content - have a direction and purpose so that you can maximise the results and show the audience that you have a plan.
- Target audience: Social media platforms have improved their targeting capabilities, making it easy for you to reach people based on your needs. Set clear goals when it comes to your intentions for reaching your target audience and develop specific targeted audience profiles to incorporate into your strategies.
- Content creation: When it comes to the content you share and advertise, ensure that it is worthy of the budget you’re putting behind it. Carefully consider the text and visuals and worth with an agency who are able to produce high quality, unique content.
- Metrics: Once your campaign is up and running, be sure to follow through and check the metrics. There is a lot of data which can be derived and analysed to show your return on investment and ways to improve in future, for example.
- Testing: A/B testing is a method of comparing two versions of marketing assets and measuring the difference in performance as a means to improve future decision making. Be bold and test campaigns in order to see what works best for your business, in terms of content, audience and channels. Once you find the correct mix, look at increasing your marketing budget accordingly.
With a dedicated and considerable part of your marketing budget being allocated to social media advertising, these trends, strategy plans and platform specifications will inevitably have an effect on the results of your campaigns. To make the most of your advertising effects, ensure that these are well understood from the get go.
For a targeted social media strategy for your business, book a meeting with Nexa.