Five tips to get your business started with social media advertising

Ben Harrington of BlueSocial looks at the rise in brands turning to platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach the right audience and outlines why and how you should be advertising your business on social media.

Paid social media advertising offers a level of targeting that traditional media cannot match. Advertising on social media not only allows precision targeting of different demographics, but in terms of engagement, you can test it very quickly and, for a relatively insignificant amount of money, you’re able to see what is working and what isn’t.

In short, if you’re advertising on social media, you’ll never be that far away from getting it right.

The ease and speed at which you can get your products in front of the right audience through platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is a powerful draw for advertisers. With a steady release of new features, social platforms have become crucial to every brands’ funnel.

Related: A guide to social media strategy for small business owners

In what is becoming a crowded channel, here are five tips on how to use social media to ensure you’re making the most of your efforts:

Know your customer

Profiling existing clients so you can identify potential customers. Look at where customers are likely to live, their age, gender, income, what kind of brands they like or associate with. Create a ‘persona’ – an identity for the perfect customer. Work out from this which social media they’re more likely to be using.

Once you’ve identified your perfect client and the channel, you can then start targeting similar individuals with relevant, targeted communications.

Remarketing to increase touch points

Remarketing involves using data about who visits your website and what they do there to create customer insights which mean you’ll be able to remarket and promote to them as individuals in the future.

Remember, not all customers are the same: segment your data, because behaviours and how people respond to marketing communications differ from group to group. For example, if someone has already bought a product from you, you’ll need to communicate with them differently to how you would talk to someone who hasn’t.

However, when remarketing, always remember that no matter how targeted your communications are, too many of them will annoy people!

Create audiences

It’s not just about people who visit your website, look at and buy your products; any data that people freely provide should be mined. What they do on your site – the newsletters they opt to receive, the products they buy, what content they view and which emails trigger responses – can be expanded with information on social media to create an audience to remarket to.

In my own case, I currently lease a car. That lease expires in three years. If I were advising the company I have a contract with on how to retain my business, then I’d tell them to keep an eye on my social media activity so that, six months before my contract expires, they can start remarketing to me with a series of communications which are highly targeted and personalised to me.

If they don’t, then I can assure you that some of their rivals – the other companies which I talked to when researching leasing a car – will be mining social media to try and win my business by showing they understand my likes and dislikes.

Content strategy

We’ve all met people at parties who just go on and on and on about themselves. We try and shake them off as soon as we can. The same goes for your content strategy – except it’s easier to leave your site than it is to shake the party bore!

Tell stories and engage people so they want to spend time with you, just as you would in a social situation. Be useful, be informative, be educational, be entertaining and be relevant.

One popular content marketing technique is Trendjacking, where you look at trending hashtags and see what can be linked to your product or service. It’s highly effective in spreading your brand message to a wider audience.

However, the most important element of any content marketing strategy must be consistency. Keep posting on a regular basis – if you stop, your views, shares and follows will drop off a cliff.

Measure and test

Return on Investment is crucial in all marketing – but the great advantage of social media is that it provides a massive opportunity for you to measure and test what you’re doing, almost instantly.

For example, you will be able to do ‘split testing’ or A/B testing – as the marketers reading this will know, this is where you run two different ads, A and B, and monitor which performs better.

Most social media platforms will offer tools to help you track how your communications are performing – use them.

What is working for your business? What’s not? Are the people you think are engaging with your brand the ones who are actually engaging?

These are all questions you should be asking – and by testing and measuring your online results, these are all questions that you’ll be able to answer.

Ben Harrington is managing director of BlueSocial

Further reading on social media advertising

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Freddie Halvorson

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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