Why You Should Be Targeting Your Ads to Social Media Users

Digital marketing isn’t just about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram anymore. While it’s certainly true that a strong social media presence can be beneficial to your business, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. Many people believe that digital marketing strategies may very well be the future of marketing in general. The point is that with all of the various types of digital marketing available (social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, etc.), it can be difficult to know where to start.

Start by learning the differences between organic, paid, and owned channels

Organic search marketing, also known as SEO, is when you optimize your website for specific keywords and watch as it ranks higher in a search engine. Organic results are free, meaning there’s no cost involved. Paid search marketing involves paying Google every time someone clicks on one of your ads. Owned channels are sites and social media profiles that you control, such as websites or social media profiles.

Consider what a conversion means to you

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to determine your definition of conversion when targeting your ads. Although SEO experts might say that you should focus on getting users to click over and then make a purchase, many businesses see conversion as simply convincing someone who’s interested in their product or service to convert into an email subscriber or social media follower.

Get rid of your fears and misconceptions

Many people think social media marketing is solely about throwing money at Google or Facebook to secure a top position on their SERPs. While your ads are important, they’re not everything—especially if you’re trying to reach your audience. In reality, you should be targeting users via social media networks because that is where they spend their time. SEO might help increase traffic and visibility, but SEO does not guarantee engagement with your company’s products or services.

How will people find your business?

There are two ways for people to find your business: manually and passively. Manual (or active) discovery happens when people seek out businesses in your industry by going directly to their websites and then taking some sort of action (e.g., buying a product or reading content). In contrast, passive discovery occurs when a user’s online behavior and browsing habits lead them to one of your online ads, social media profiles, or other digital properties, where they might be exposed to information about your company or brand.

What are your goals?

Before you start sending your ads out, it’s important to be clear on what goals you have in mind. Different advertising goals require different tactics; whether you want more website visits, more social shares, or more brand awareness, this will help determine what type of ad copy and targeting approach is right for you. Let’s break down some of these options so that we’re all on the same page before we dive into some examples.

What type of audience do you want to reach?

There are no right or wrong choices when it comes to deciding your target audience, but there are a few questions you should ask yourself. Where does your customer spend most of their time? What devices do they use? Is your product easy enough for someone in another part of the world with a different background than yours to understand? These may sound like broad and vague questions, but they will help guide you through proper targeting.

Start with a set budget.

Set a spending limit that you’re comfortable with, and try not to exceed it. There are plenty of ways to target social media users for free, so set your budget low enough that you can afford it. (Source: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Get Big Results from Social Media Marketing, Forbes, March 15, 2013.)

Create ads that grab attention and pique interest.

Your social media ads must grab users’ attention, stand out in their feeds, and interest them in clicking on them. If you aren’t sure how to make great ads, don’t worry—that is exactly what we are going to show you here. Whether you are using Facebook or Instagram (or both), these tips will help get you started. Best of all? They work with any budget!

Research your demographic.

As I mentioned in Chapter 2, knowing who your target market is and how you plan on getting their attention is imperative for any successful marketing campaign. To help narrow down your efforts, use social media demographics as a starting point. For example, if you’re targeting Gen Y-ers (people aged 18–29), Facebook would be a good network to take into consideration. If you want to reach parents of small children, Pinterest might be better suited than Twitter.

Understand how often you’ll need to check in on your ads.

While you can get away with checking in every once in a while when setting up PPC campaigns, it’s important to understand how often you’ll need to check in on your social media ads. (A good rule of thumb: Check back at least once per week.) There are two ways you can go about monitoring your ads: Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. Both are free tools that offer a ton of great data, but both will require some legwork upfront.

Go for long-term value.

A popular way of getting a return on your social media efforts is by directly targeting users with ads, so long as they’re useful, relevant, and valuable—as opposed to purely focused on sales. That’s because, when someone clicks on an ad within Facebook or Twitter (for example), it’s called an organic click. This means that Facebook or Twitter thinks you might be interested in what you clicked on and will give you credit for bringing them a new customer.

Always optimize for conversions.

Targeting people who are on social media is a lot like targeting users on search engines. If you want them to take some sort of action, such as clicking an ad or visiting your website, you need to make sure that your ad will appear when they’re most likely to take that action. For example, if you run a travel business, it makes sense to target your ads during times when people are most likely traveling—think holidays and summer months.

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