Advertising is becoming increasingly social across all mediums, including television, billboards, banner ads, print, and new web formats. There are numerous examples of high-profile social advertising efforts that use cutting-edge digital technology alongside mechanics like Facebook Connect to take this to the next level.
However, social advertising is available to all advertisers, regardless of budget. By creating a community that you can communicate to again and again, you can get more bang for your buck and make your one hit of an ad endure longer by developing a smart ad strategy that integrates your activities with social media.
Here are some great tips for building an offline and online social ad campaign.
1. Use the proper platform
Most people think of Facebook when they hear the term “social advertising.” While this is a great platform for operating a social ad campaign, it isn’t necessarily the best place to concentrate your advertising efforts. Facebook advertising is becoming more expensive as more firms use it to sell their products and gain fans to their page.
However, it is not the only venue for executing a social ad campaign. LinkedIn made its site available to advertisers last year through a self-serve ad platform that allows you to target people based on a variety of criteria.
If you are primarily interested in B2B, this is a wonderful way to reach out to people, but the benefits don’t stop there. Consider arranging your LinkedIn campaign in the same way you would to a Facebook campaign.
Instead of trying to divert users away from LinkedIn and toward your website, you might achieve greater results by running advertisements to your LinkedIn group, where you can build members and develop a longer-term relationship with your target clients.
You can also look to developing social networks and tools for more cost-effective advertising, where you can benefit from cheaper prices and increased user visibility. There are also excellent examples of this on platforms such as Foursquare, which was slower to capture brand attention but has since become the subject of several successful marketing campaigns, particularly in the United States.
The History Channel launched a promotion for there business via a branded channel that provided customers with tips when they checked into historical locations:
They gained over 200,000 followers on their Facebook page as a result of this campaign, as well as good brand association. The beauty of a campaign like this is that it doesn’t require much in the way of technical or creative ability to run well; all you need is a decent understanding of social media marketing and new platforms that people are experimenting with.
You can achieve even more targeted results by focusing on specialty platforms, such as sponsorship of topic-specific forums or mobile apps, where you may not receive the same reach as you would on Facebook, but you are continually getting in front of the proper individuals.
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2. Make it social with a purpose
It’s impossible to find an advertisement on TV or in print these days that doesn’t have a blue ‘f’ or ‘t’ running along the bottom. The advertiser here wants to alert visitors about the brand’s social media presence and use some spare space to throw in more social. However, the effect on the viewer is limited. What are we supposed to do with these logos? The benefit of these social logos is negligible because there is no call to action or even URL provided.
The most effective advertisements that integrate social media do it for a reason. It’s either the only focus of the ad, or it pushes a next step of doing something on Facebook, Twitter, etc. in exchange for a reward such as extra content or an offer. Again, this does not have to be about inventing new technology or digital forms; instead, making good use of current social technologies can go a long way.
This included a genuine call to action as well as a very obvious rationale for connecting via social media. You knew what you were going to get out of it, and it also added to the ad’s overall experience. The message was not lost just by walking past the billboard, but the user experience persisted.
3. Combine the media
A social advertising campaign does not have to begin online; it may be conducted across a variety of ad mediums, both online and offline. Social advertising works best when it is integrated into a larger advertising and marketing strategy rather than standing alone. So, if you really want to increase the number of followers on your Facebook Page, you don’t have to limit yourself to Facebook ads alone.
If you take the ad campaign off of social media and make it part of a constant marketing campaign, you will see a higher cut through rate. You must make a critical decision here. If you try to direct them to both your website and your social media presence, you risk confusing them. Determine the best platform for the specific product or campaign and target it with the ad.
4. Use video
If you’re serious about launching a social advertising strategy, I believe video should be a key component. Online video consumption is booming, and it represents a terrific opportunity to bring your ad to life. Make no mistake: static advertising is extinct. People want advertisements that are alive, offering entertainment and exciting content to our daily web surfing. The figures speak for themselves. According to official data from a video measurement tool, 26.9 million people in the UK streamed video in April, either at home or at work.
While these video viewing stats do not entirely focus on sponsored video, they do demonstrate how video viewing is quickly becoming one of the most popular internet activities.
This is both an opportunity and a challenge for brands. The problem is that you will not be the first brand to launch an internet video ad — advertisers have been doing this for years. The opportunity, though, resides in the fact that brands must now act as entertainers. It’s time to have some fun, laugh at yourself, and find methods to surprise your audience.
However, good content alone will not bring your video to life online. Don’t underestimate the amount of effort required for distribution and seeding, such as with video-specific ad campaigns running on YouTube.
5. You should not expect it to be free.
Although social media advertising is now incredibly cost-effective due to the capacity to target people precisely and the lack of competition from other advertisers, many firms anticipate that it will soon be nearly free. If you truly want your social ad campaign to function and provide results, you must commit both money and time.
Your social ad budget can perform extremely well for you if you are willing to set it up in the first place, which gives it a chance to flourish. Far too frequently, brands dabble in social media, discover they don’t receive the reach they would with a newspaper ad, and decide to abandon it.
To truly construct a powerful social ad campaign, make sure it is prioritized high enough in the ad plan to obtain the desired results. By investing heavily in social advertising, you may also collect data that will allow you to optimize your current campaign and improve future ones. With a modest test budget, you won’t be able to truly see how the ad will work and the real outcomes you will be able to get.