Effective Social Media Advertising


Lee Odden By: Lee Odden

As consumer use of and time spent on social media sites increases, the opportunities for effective advertising become more attractive to companies in search of customers to connect with.   We’ve given the advice that to grow a social network, a company should participate and engage with communities of interest.

That’s still great advice, just as it is to consider different advertising options within relevant social channels to create awareness, keep a brand top of mind or to suggest timely and relevant offers.   Advertising tools made available by social platforms are also useful research tools when collecting demographic information used with personas in organic social media marketing.

For marketers just getting started with advertising on social media sites, here’s a quick rundown on programs available through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon and Foursquare.  As with organic social media marketing, each is appropriate according to your own goals, the customers you’re trying to reach, resources, timeline and ability to measure.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook: We all know there are over 500 million active users on Facebook, but interestingly, 50% of active users log on in any given day. Each average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each month.

Facebook ad costs are pretty reasonable which allows companies of just about any size or budget to test them out. Facebook publishes a pretty thorough Guide to Facebook Ads and their Help Center answers most questions you might have. Ads appear on the right side of the page.

The best practices for Facebook ads are consistent with those you might find with PPC programs on the major search engines:

  • Set goals
  • Target your audience
  • Make the product/service stand out
  • Keep the ad simple
  • Have a strong call to action
  • Make sure ads point to relevant landing pages

Of course, in the case of Facebook, many times the landing page isn’t a page on the marketer’s website selling a product, but a Fan page within Facebook.   You might also want to check out @briancarter’s short, but effective presentation on Slideshare about Facebook Ad Tips and Dennis Yu’s article, “The Most Powerful Secret in Facebook Ads“.

You can get started creating Facebook Ads here.

YouTube Advertising

YouTube: As the second most popular search engine after Google and with online video advertising expected to hit 5.7 billion by 2014, YouTube presents a tremendous opportunity for exposure and engagement in a social context. Ads appear within videos or alongside them.

YouTube demographics: 18-55, with an equal mix of males and females. 51% of YouTube users visit weekly or more often, and 52% of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues.

Marketers that come to grips with the reality that “make me a viral video” isn’t something you can count on, but advertising and impressions are, may choose to leverage YouTube advertising as part of the mix for promoting video content. In fact, with YouTube you can promote your own video or advertise next to others’ videos. Direct advertising on YouTube is pretty spendy, but you can also advertise on YouTube using Google AdWords.

YouTube provides a robust array of video advertising resources for marketers including best practices, how to’s, specifications, analytics, tools, a Brand Channel How-To Guide and of course, if you spend enough you get an Ad Rep to take care of things.

YouTube Video Ad Best Practices Include:
  • Keep it short – The longer the message, the higher the possibility users will tune out. 60 seconds is a good benchmark.
  • Keep it engaging – Entertain, inform and be relevant. Users will view the majority of a video if they are interested and engaged.
  • Inspire, don’t just educate – Avoid focusing solely on being educational; two minutes of talking heads doesn’t work well.
  • Deliver key messages early – Plan for user tune-out near the end of the video and deliver your message early.
  • Include a call to action

In case you think online video is just for consumer marketing, you’re dead wrong. Check out this handy YouTube Guide on Best Practices for the B2B Marketer (ironic it’s a PDF and not video). Also check out Christa Toole’s Ten Tips for Those Who Still Aren’t Using YouTube.

Get started with YouTube Advertising here.

LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn: This is “the” B2B social network and with nearly 90 million members in over 200 countries, presents new territory for social network advertising. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are members according to the LinkedIn Facts page.

LinkedIn launched its own self-service ad network a few years ago, called DirectAds. There are also options for Display Ads and Sponsorships.  Get the FAQ on DirectAds to understand how it works as well as the Best Practices.  For beginners, there’s a step by step list of instructions on creating a DirectAd here.

DirectAds Best Practices Include:

  • Create effective ads (relevant, call to action, specific)
  • Create multiple ads for each campaign
  • Target the right audience
  • Set an appropriate daily budget (ad rates vary during the day according to site usage)
  • Understand how bidding works (Choose CPM or CPC)
  • Improve performance – monitor click through rates and experiment, refine

For a great beginner’s guide to LinkedIn DirectAds, check out this presentation on Slideshare and also check out this B2B Test on LinkedIn DirectAds conducted by Econsultancy.

To get started with LinkedIn DirectAds, click here. (You’ll need to be logged in to LinkedIn)

Be sure to watch for our next post on social media advertising which will cover ad & promotion options for opportunities on Twitter, Foursquare and Groupon.

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About The Author

Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and public relations firm in Minnesota that specializes in search, social and online PR consulting and training for companies worldwide. Odden has been cited for his internet marketing expertise over the past 10 years by the Economist, Forbes and U.S. News and contributed a chapter to the book, "Online Marketing Heroes" published by Wiley. For the past 5 years he has also been the editor of TopRank's Online Marketing Blog, a Technorati 100 favorite blog and one of the top marketing blogs according to Advertising Age.
















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