Just like the audiences you’re hoping to target on Facebook and Twitter, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing. The strategies and techniques at your disposal are almost as varied and diverse as the types of people to whom you can market your goods and services, and while getting started with social media marketing is relatively straightforward, knowing how to launch, run, and optimize your campaigns from the outset is critical.
Whether you’re launching a brand-new social media marketing campaign this year or optimizing an ongoing initiative, we’re here to help. In today’s post, we’ll be revisiting our best social media marketing tips, including Facebook marketing ideas, Twitter engagement tips, tips for increading the ROI of social advertising and more, from the past several years. From identifying and targeting the right audiences to expanding your reach across several different social media sites, there’s something for everyone.
Social Media Marketing Tip #13: Bypass ‘Leaky’ Landing Pages Altogether
Call them what you will – flows, pipelines, journeys – but most marketers are obsessed with “the funnel.” However, leads often take a hike just at the point when you're trying to get them to convert. Luckily, certain PPC and social media advertising formats allow marketers to bypass the leakiest part of the funnel – landing pages – entirely.
Our first social media marketing tip is to eliminate the possibility of losing potential leads at the landing page stage. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using Facebook “Call” buttons in your Facebook ads. This powerful feature allows mobile users (which Facebook users overwhelmingly are, in many cases exclusively so) to call your business directly simply by clicking your Facebook ad – no landing pages, no load times, no vast, gaping chasm into which potential leads disappear forever.
Learn more about Facebook call buttons and other social media marketing hacks in Larry’s post covering his top 10 paid social media hacks of all time.
Social Media Marketing Tip #12: Leverage the Power of ‘Life Events’
Targeting the right people with your social media marketing is important. Going after the right people at the right time is incredibly effective – and remarkably simple. Our next tip is to leverage the events in people’s lives to create timely, relevant advertising that targets people during periods of major change with Facebook’s “Life Events” parameter.
We’ve all seen what these “life events” look like on Facebook. Your arch nemesis from high school lands your dream job, your ex-crush gets married to that guy, the high school prom king and queen who’ve been together forever finally have the impossibly cute kid they’ve been threatening to have for years – you know, all the stuff that makes us feel really good about ourselves. Well, you can use these life events as the basis for a marketing campaign.
Aside from being able to target audiences based on such events, such as getting married or having a child, you can even specify how soon after these events take place that your ads begin to appear to these audiences. Wedding venues, for example, could set their ads to appear to newly-engaged couples after a period of, say, two or three months, while baby clothing retailers could set their ads to appear to couples shortly after announcing their pregnancy.
Check out more on Facebook Life Events targeting and other crazy-effective targeting options in Larry’s post about ridiculously powerful Facebook ad targeting strategies.
Social Media Marketing Tip #11: Provide a Seamless, Cohesive Visual Experience
Social media has done far more than change the way consumers shop; it has changed the way consumers view the Web in general. This most definitely applies to how your ads – and their accompanying landing pages – look.
Check out this example of a well-designed Facebook ad:
Here’s the landing page users were taken to from this ad – note that we’re primary concerned with the aesthetics of the page, not necessarily whether the landing page adheres to accepted best practices:
Offering users a smooth, cohesive visual experience is almost (if not equally) as important as the messaging of your ads themselves. Think about it. If a user sees a well-designed, aesthetically appealing ad then clicks through to a godawful-looking landing page, it’s going to be a major turn-off that could potentially result in a lost lead or sale. For this reason, it’s crucial that your ad creative is both well-designed and seamless from beginning to end. This means that landing pages should match their ads perfectly, in both appearance and messaging.
For more information on the importance of visual continuity and how to achieve it in your campaigns, check out my post on Facebook landing pages.
Social Media Marketing Tip #10: Build Communities Around Actionable Hashtags
Despite what some experts would have us believe, hashtags are alive and well on social media. However, hashtags are far more useful than serving as a means of helping users find relevant content – they can also be used to foster and build communities of loyal fans and brand advocates.
This technique’s greatest strength isn’t just the ease with which this can be implemented, but the fact that the same hashtag can be used across several social media platforms. This allows you to cross-pollinate your messaging throughout various social campaigns, offering users a cohesive experience regardless of where they interact with your brand.
The world’s leading brands know how to use this technique exceptionally well, as Margot highlighted in an example focusing on Nike’s #chooseyourwinter and #runfree hashtags in 2014. Nike managed to effortlessly build an online social community of Nike consumers by using these hashtags, both of which proved extraordinarily popular and resulted in widespread social sharing – all with minimal expenditure on Nike’s part.
To read more on this technique and other powerful social strategies, check out Margot’s post on 10 ways to use Instagram marketing to build your brand.
Social Media Marketing Tip #9: Structure Social Campaigns Around Your Business Objectives
Similarly to paid search, account structure is often treated as an afterthought by many social advertisers. In their eagerness to launch a campaign, they give little thought to how to best structure their account, which can not only result in a messy, disorganized account that’s much more difficult to optimize, but also greatly diminished performance. For this reason, our ninth social media marketing tip is to structure your campaigns based on their objective.
For Facebook advertising campaigns, many of the objectives are clear, such as “Promote your Page” or “Reach people near your business.” However you choose to structure your campaign and its objectives, be sure to pay close attention to these details before launching a campaign – you’ll be glad you did later.
To learn more about how to structure your Facebook ad campaigns and leverage the power of Facebook to increase conversions, check out Brett’s comprehensive guide to Facebook for lead generation.
Social Media Marketing Tip #8: Use Twitter To Test Out Content Ideas
Most marketers use Twitter heavily as a promotional tool for their content marketing initiatives, but far fewer bother to harness Twitter’s power to tap into potentially hot topics before they sit down to produce their content.
Twitter can serve as a powerfully effective “content lab” in which you can test how well-received a piece of content is likely to be, or gauge interest in subject areas that deviate considerably from your usual editorial focus.
For example, Larry came across an infographic he thought was particularly interesting and tweeted it, as you can see in the figure above. He then used Twitter Analytics to evaluate the performance of that tweet from an engagement perspective, only to discover that the tweet had an engagement rate of 8% - significantly higher than his average engagement rate. As a result of this free experiment, Larry went on to produce a write-up of the infographic for his column at Inc., a post that performed extraordinarily well.
Learn more about this technique and other ways you can use the power of data to refine your social media marketing strategies in Larry’s post about how to use Twitter Analytics like a pro, and check out this post about content advertising to learn more about promoting content via paid social and PPC.
Social Media Marketing Tip #7: Use Your Best-Converting Ad Copy in Your Social Campaigns
Just as the placement of AdWords and Bing Ads advertisements on the SERP relies heavily on Quality Score, the prominence of your social ads is greatly dependent on a similar metric. For Facebook advertisers, this metric is known as Relevance Score, and for Twitter advertisers, it’s known as Quality Adjusted Bids.
For every 1-point increase in the engagement rates of your ads, you can expect to see a 5% decrease in cost-per-engagement
One of the most effective ways to increase your Relevance Score or Quality Adjusted Bid – and therefore the visibility and potential CTR of your ads – is by using the best-converting ad copy from your PPC ads in your social campaigns. This not only allows you to save time by repurposing strong ad copy you’ve already created, but also results in similar messaging across paid search and paid social campaigns. If a campaign performed strongly in PPC, the chances are pretty decent it’ll do well on social, too.
Check out more on how to become a “VIP socializer” and other techniques in Margot’s post on how to leverage PPC data in your ads on Facebook.
Social Media Marketing Tip #6: Narrow Your Targeting to Boost Engagement and Reduce Costs
We just got done talking about how important Twitter’s Quality Adjusted Bids are, but how do you actually go about improving it? The trick is to focus on increasing engagement by narrowing your focus.
The wider you cast your proverbial net, the less likely you are to achieve higher engagement rates with your tweets. The lower your engagement rate, the more you’ll pay for poorly-performing ads, a vicious cycle that will continue until something changes – namely, your engagement rate improves. One way to accomplish this is by narrowing the focus of your targeting.
A great example of this is how Larry refined the audience targeting of a tweet promoting an event at which he was speaking. Sure, he could have paid to promote this tweet to 1 million people, but doing so would have tanked his engagement rate and resulted in higher costs. Instead, Larry used Twitter’s powerful geotargeting functionality to restrict display of the tweet to targeted users who lived or worked in the vicinity of the event – in this case, southern Florida.
To learn more how to boost engagement on Twitter and raise your Quality Adjusted Bids, check out Larry’s post on mastering Twitter Quality Score.
Social Media Marketing Tip #5: Layer Your Targeting Options
In the past, advertisers had to content themselves with incredibly broad targeting options with their advertising. Today, however, the possibilities for advertising targeting are virtually limitless – to the point that it’s actually a little creepy. However, for advertisers, this granularity is amazingly powerful, and even more so if you layer your targeting options.
This technique can be extraordinarily effective is used strategically. Most companies are sufficiently impressed by the ability to target prospective customers of a certain age range, household income, and level of educational attainment. However, by layering these already-powerful targeting options with additional data – say, by incorporating purchasing behavior on top of demographic data – you can leverage these combinations to create timely, relevant campaigns.
For example, you could not only target new parents between the ages of 28 and 32 with Bachelor’s degrees and a household income of more than $65,000 per year, but also those whose child is sickly or has a specific condition, such as colic. This targeting data is collected from purchasing behavior of these individuals (say, if they bought baby medication), allowing you to create incredibly targeted ads for increasingly narrow – and relevant – audiences. This secondary purchasing data is accessed through what are known as in-market segments, which we’ll talk about in more depth shortly.
However, the secondary layer of targeting data isn’t limited to just purchasing behavior (though it’s certainly among the most useful, as we’ll see in tip #2). It could also include Life Events (see tip #13), places visited, hobbies and interests, or virtually any other targeting demographic. Think of this technique as mix-and-match – you can combine various data sets and targeting options to create highly customized, laser-focused custom audiences.
This technique is another of Larry’s incredibly powerful Facebook ad targeting strategies – check out the rest in this post.
Social Media Advertising Tip #4: Don’t Be TOO Granular with Social Audiences
Both Facebook and Twitter’s targeting options are incredibly granular. However, the specificity with which you can target prospective customers on social is a double-edged sword. Target audiences too broadly and you risk reducing engagement rates and paying more for poorer-performing ads. However, targeting too specifically can also have a detrimental impact on your campaign performance.
Facebook even allows you to target users with homes of a specific size in square feet – wow.
For advertisers new to paid social or those coming from a PPC background, the targeting options offered by paid social can be literally unbelievable. This often results in advertisers being too enthusiastic with their targeting parameters. As their targeting becomes more specific, their audience reach shrinks – sometimes, to the point of only displaying ads to a tiny handful of individuals. We recommend using audience targeting on social strategically (as in the example above), but exercise a little restraint when it comes to your targeting – it’s all about balance.
For an example of how granular you can target with your Facebook campaigns, check out Margot’s post about 11 unbelievably specific Facebook audiences you can target – and the potential damage this can do to the reach of your campaigns if you’re not careful.
Social Media Advertising Tip #3: Monitor Ad Performance Closely to Keep Campaigns Fresh
Things move fast in the world of social media – really fast. We’ve always said that a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach is a bad move in paid search, and the same principle most definitely applies to paid social – especially on Twitter.
The older a Promoted Tweet becomes, the less effective it will be. This means that the longer you wait between refreshing ad creative or another element, the lower your overall ROI will be. Take a look at this example from Larry’s Twitter Analytics data:
See how the impression volume decreases steadily as time goes on?
If you’re running campaigns on Twitter, you need to plan for and execute a strategy that accounts for multiple variations of the same ad so that you can keep your campaign content fresh. The fresher your ads, the more impressions you’re likely to receive, and hopefully, the greater your engagement rates will be.
Social Media Marketing Tip #2: Use In-Market Segments to Leverage Strong Commercial Intent
PPC marketers will be familiar with the concept of high-commercial intent keywords, but some advertisers mistakenly assume that this concept does not translate to paid social. Fortunately for you, it most definitely does, and you can take advantage of it through the use of in-market segments.
This is data gathered by third-parties known as data brokers, such as Datalogix and Epsilon, that records information about what consumers purchase. These in-market segments can contain a wealth of data that’s invaluable to advertisers, such as what things someone bought, where they bought them, and other juicy information. Facebook partners with several data brokers to provide advertisers access to this (anonymized) data, allowing advertisers to target users exhibiting high commercial intent.
Larry used in-market segments in a campaign advertising WordStream Advisor. In the screenshot below, you can see that he targeted Facebook users who had expressed an interest in, or outright bought, relevant products – in this case, “items related to business marketing.” Even without combining this data with any demographic information, this represents a potential audience of more than 6 million people!
Read more on in-market segments in Larry’s post on how to maximize the ROI of your paid social media campaigns.
Social Media Marketing Tip #1: Start Remarketing on Social
Regular readers probably saw this one coming, but our top social media marketing tip is to use remarketing in your paid social campaigns.
Think of the last time you were browsing your News Feed on Facebook. You saw an ad, clicked through immediately, and bought or signed up for whatever the site was offering. Remember? No, neither do I, because unlike the perfect world in which marketers wished we live, people very rarely behave this way online. By failing to remarket to potential customers on social media, you’re literally putting all your time, money, and effort into a single opportunity to convert your prospects, which is every bit as crazy as it sounds when you put it like that.
Remarketing is one of the most powerfully effective techniques at your disposal – and it becomes even more so on Facebook. By remarketing to prospective customers on social, you’re vastly increasing the chances that a customer will go the distance and convert. Even if they don’t, the additional brand exposure is still worth the investment alone, so it’s crucial that you start remarketing on Facebook.
To get started, check out Margot’s thoroughly comprehensive guide to Facebook remarketing.