Guide to advertising on social media sites

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Social media sites play a dominant part in our personal and professional lives. More than 30 million people in the UK are on Facebook and 4 million are on LinkedIn, and social media sites now rival search engines for visits. We’ve often told you before how important it is to have a presence on social media, but there is another way in which you can use them to reach potential customers – by advertising on them. In this article, we give you an overview of advertising on the most established social media advertising networks – Facebook and LinkedIn – and tell you how to get started. Facebook Ads Ads appear on the right hand side of the page when someone is logged into their Facebook account. They can be used to promote a Facebook business page, an event, an app or drive traffic to your own website. Benefits Facebook ads are highly targeted. You can choose which people you want to see your advert by choosing their geographical area (even down to a specific city), age, gender, birthday, relationship status and their likes and interests. So, for example, if you’re a florist in Bristol, you could target an advert for wedding flowers to women in the Bristol area whose relationship status is engaged. Your ads will only be seen by a relevant audience, so you won’t pay for irrelevant traffic. If you’re promoting your business page, you can even filter out the people who already ‘like’ you, so that you’re not paying for them to see the advert. Facebook will tell you straight away how many people your advert could potentially reach: You’re able to set a budget so you control how much you pay per click, allowing you to manage what you spend. Facebook advises you on a maximum cost-per-click amount, which is usually between 30p and 70p. For £80, this will get you roughly a minimum of 180 clicks through to your website or Facebook page. There is no guarantee that once the person is on your site they will buy something or ‘like’ you once on your page. Say 10% of those people buy something from you, you will pay £4.40 for each sale. You need to decide whether this cost is reasonable. Facebook’s Ad Manager and Page Insights allow you to monitor the return on your investment, so you can quickly see whether your campaign has been a success. Read more in the Facebook guide to advertising LinkedIn Direct Ads LinkedIn is the “professional” social network, so advertising here will appeal more to a B2B market. Benefits Again, this form of advertising is very targeted. Like Facebook, you can target your audience by geographical area, age and gender, but also company size, job title and seniority. If you want to promote a new book to senior marketing managers in businesses with more than 250 businesses, LinkedIn allows you to do this. LinkedIn allows you to test up to 15 variations of an advert, so you can try out various pictures, titles and calls to action and see which ones perform best. At any point in the campaign you can remove variations and keep going with the ads that get the most clicks. A nice little extra on LinkedIn ads is that you can turn on what is known as ‘lead collection’. This turns on a button that viewers can click to say they want to be contacted directly by you. The cost of advertising on LinkedIn is slightly higher than on Facebook, with the minimum cost-per-click set at $2 (£1.70). Find out more about LinkedIn Direct Ads or, to see how they work in practice, see Econsultancy’s test campaign. Tips for creating your ad You don’t have many characters to work with (135 for Facebook, 75 for LinkedIn), so you have to keep it simple and to the point. Don’t try to sum up everything your business does, but give the viewer a reason to click through to your page or website. Discounts and other incentives such as free reports can work particularly well in getting people to click through. Include a call to action – tell the reader exactly what you want them to do, i.e. visit our website, sign up today, claim your 10% discount. Always include an attractive and eye-catching image. The maximum size is 110 pixels wide by 80 pixels tall for Facebook and 50 by 50 pixels for LinkedIn, so it will need to work at this size. Avoid using text in images because it will be hard to read. If you’re directing traffic to your website, use a dedicated landing page where they can carry out the action you’re trying to prompt, i.e. a purchase, filling out a form, etc. If they have to search around your site to find what the advert promised them, they’ll soon leave frustrated and you’ll still have to pay for their click.
It’s important for business to have a presence on social media, but there is another way in which you can reach potential customers – through advertising on these sites.