A guide to social media for business

Social media usage isn’t going anywhere and shows a steady increase year on year, with this being the go-to place when people are trying to fill time. The great thing for a business making use of social networks is that you are reaching users during their downtime, the time when they are able to digest content. With so much available space, even the smallest of company can utilise these platforms to serve content on any budget.

But which is the right platform for you? This guide can help you and your business to understand this and more.

Facebook

Facebook is by far the most cost efficient way of reaching users, and with the profiling options available, you can be sure you will reach the right people. With an unlimited catalogue of advertising space available to any budget and an ever expanding option of ad formats, you can be sure to run an advertising campaign that meets your goals.

Advertising on Facebook is relatively straightforward, almost like running a setup wizard when installing a piece of software; you are guided through every step. You choose your campaign objective from a list of available options, choose a budget and who you want to target, build your advert by completing a form and upload an image.

Facebook will suggest a bidding structure (what you will pay for), but there are additional options in the drop down list. You can either let Facebook bid for you or manually set how much an action is worth to you and you will only pay for the desired action a user takes when they are part of your target audience. If your ad gets shared, then any actions taken after this paid share are classed as organic, a little bonus exposure from Facebook.

Your campaign will go through an automatic approval process to ensure you are not in breach of any of their advertising policies and once your campaign starts delivering ads to your audience they review your ads again. Depending on the mood of the Facebook advert police on that day, you may get away with being a tad cheeky and bending the rules, or you might not, so always try to follow the guidelines.

Any image that you use in your campaign must not include more than 20% text. There is a Facebook grid tool that helps you check this, it is almost impossible to guess the limit without using this tool. Your ads will be disapproved at some stage if Facebook notice you have too much text.

However, if you need any help at any time with your Facebook adverts then good luck to you! Although Facebook have a help section on their site, this is pretty much a forum of disgruntled advertisers with the odd comment from a guy called Vu. If you happen to come across Facebook’s live web chat for help then expect them to send you off to a link to one of their help pages. You will struggle to get a straight answer directly from them unless you have been spending a lot of money with them.

YouTube

I don’t know about you, but I rarely pay attention to the video playing on YouTube. I do, however, listen to the sound. So there is one key to success; a great sound track, something that makes a user stop and pay attention. Say all you need to say in the first 5 seconds and repeat as you move through your video.

It is tough to drive traffic and conversions from YouTube, and without a huge budget for production there is little chance you will feature anywhere near the top of the lists. If you want to promote your video through paid advertising then there are a few things to be aware of. YouTube is owned by Google, so to set up advertising you need to use AdWords. Again, the setup is quite straight forward once you have mastered the account navigation. Google does produce a lot of help guides so find one that makes sense to you and follow the steps. However, YouTube terminology is full of jargon and even experienced digital marketers can’t fully understand what all of it means.

It is pretty much impossible to feature exactly where you want to as there is so much user generated content on this platform that you could end up with a pre-roll video ad supporting some really questionable content. Think hard before putting your brand into unknown territory, you don’t want to be seen to be aligned with something untoward.

Google are heavily investing into YouTube developments, and at the moment one of the best ways to drive conversions is through ‘shoppable’ overlays on your video. You need a Google merchant feed to use this. The pricing structure for these ads can be complicated, but essentially if a user skips your ad then you pay nothing, if a user watches your ad past the skip point then you pay for a view, and if a user clicks through to your website then you pay for the click and not the view.

Google+

This never really got off the ground; if you have limited time to manage your social platforms then don’t make this one of them.

Twitter

Twitter is a fast-paced social network. I once heard a rumour that the average tweet is visible for 7 seconds before it disappears below the fold. I don’t know if this is true and I have never found anything to back this up, but it is worth bearing in mind.

With 140 characters to make your statement, you need to make sure that you are actually making a statement.  

In terms of advertising on Twitter, they were the first to come up with custom audiences, but Twitter doesn’t seem to shout about their developments. You can do some pretty cool things with Twitter targeting and audiences but good luck finding it in your account. If you give Twitter a call (anyone can do this) and tell them your @handle then they can unlock features like reengagement and video ads. I couldn’t tell you the complete list of features as it seems every advertiser has a different list.

Twitter has a great analytics suite, giving you great insight into your followers right down to whether they buy biscuits or cheese. If you run Twitter advertising, you are able to see a profile of what your most engaged audience looks like, i.e. 50+ female who buys dairy products and is a home owner. This is the only social network that breaks down your results in this way.

They are now also offering reengagement ads. While they have been doing this for a while, they just didn’t tell anyone. You will have to have this feature enabled in your account. This option means you can target users who have previously engaged with your tweets to encourage them to take an action like making a purchase.

Twitter advertising does seem to be much more expensive than Facebook and there are much fewer options for keeping costs down. Typically mobile campaigns are much cheaper and more efficient to run but you need to make sure your funnel is mobile optimised and that your target audience use their mobile to access information before you rule out desktop completely.

LinkedIn

The professional social network. The only way to reach B2B customers? Well to be honest, I don’t rate it.

I train people in social advertising and one of the first questions I ask them when talking through LinkedIn is ‘have you ever clicked on a LinkedIn ad?’ About 95% say they have never seen an ad. When I point them out, they do recognise these but didn’t realise they were ads. This is great, your ad isn’t bothering anyone, but if it doesn’t stand out then is there any point?

LinkedIn offer a managed or a self-service package, but unless you have a spare five figures then you’re on your own. I have seen some really cool ads on LinkedIn but these are not part of the self-service, no minimum spend package. In the low level, self-service platform, you have the option to sponsor existing content from your page or to write a text ad with a 50x50 pixel image, a headline, a web address and a short sentence of copy.

There are great targeting options in LinkedIn and you are able to target industry, job title, seniority, skills and education to name a few, but the simple things like location are not so straight forward, and age and gender are not at all possible. I find LinkedIn to be very costly; typically you pay upwards of £2 per click.

Reporting wise, you are able to see click demographics, these tell you, based on the clicks through to your ad, what industry your clickers are from as a percentage. If you have had less than 100 clicks then not all the information will be shown to you.

I’m not really sure that people using LinkedIn are that receptive to advertising, I know I’m not. Before you commit to a campaign, maybe you should ask around the office and your friends to see if they would be interested in an ad on this platform.

Even if you decide that LinkedIn is not for you, you can request a pixel from them to add to your website that profiles your web traffic in exactly the same way as the click demographic report. They ask you to complete an application form and tell them why you want to know what the professional profile of your web traffic, obviously the answer is ‘to inform future LinkedIn campaigns’.

Instagram

Owned by Facebook, there isn’t much you can do in Facebook that you can’t do on Instagram and everyone seems to be using it, young and old. If you want to try Instagram then make sure you have strong images or you will just get lost in a sea of people's selfies and pictures of their dinner.

Advertising wise, Instagram has slightly fewer options than Facebook, currently just image and video ads. With even fewer characters than Twitter, again you need to make a statement with whatever you want to say to your prospect. Both Facebook and Instagram utilise the same advertising platform and all of the Facebook audience targeting options can be used on Instagram. Engagements do seem to be cheaper on Instagram but CPCs are higher. I have found that when you compare like for like ads across Facebook and Instagram, Instagram gets less traction but the converters are more valuable than those driven by Facebook. I feel Instagram is well worth a test, providing your audience are active here.

Pinterest

Pinterest is effectively an internet pin board of all kinds of interesting things. Realistically, this is going to take some setting up unless you put in the work over a period of time, collating bits as you go. It is a highly visual platform, so if you are going to try this one out then make sure you have good quality images to ‘pin’. In the long term, you will be able to push something called ‘buyable pins’ to showcase your items to prospective customers. This has not been rolled out to the masses yet.

If you aren’t currently active on Pinterest, I suggest you set up an account and start building your pin board; this will give you a feel for whether you think this is an appropriate forum for your business. If you think you can resource it then you should definitely sign up to the ecommerce side's waiting list, to have your account enabled once this is released.

If you are unsure which is the right approach for you and your business, contact JeMarketing now for a no obligation consultation  or book your social media training today.