By adaptive - October 21st, 2014

Social advertising can be the most powerful weapon in your corporation's marketing arsenal

In the first part of this series we examined how social media has continued to evolve and adapt to fit the mercurial needs of the market it serves, and how it can potentially be harnessed to support your corporation’s brand. In this second installment, we are looking at what factors your corporation must consider when building a rich social media advertising campaign and some examples of how this has worked successfully.
“The world of social media advertising can be and overwhelming place for non-savvy owners and marketers,” says Col Skinner of Profoundry. “So many targeting options, cost models and campaign structures can make setting up the ideal campaign difficult.”
Some of the primary elements of a social media marketing campaign include:
  • Budget
  • Platform
  • Audience 
  • Content
“The first building block is to identify what you are selling and who you are selling it to,” says Euan McTear, Marketing Manager at Davidson Asset Management. “The big selling point of social advertising is the opportunity to target your ads to the exact people you want to sell to, so spend some time on properly identifying your target market, as this is the most important step when building a campaign, even more important than the ad’s content itself.”
Skinner adds: “It is important to figure out what type of audience you want to target as that will help you match up the correct platform, and this is one of the most important stages of the process. The networks want to get you hooked, so they regularly offer free trials, advertising credit and tasters. Use these to explore options, set up campaigns and make mistakes early on.”
Recruit Packs provide packs for new recruits to the British Army, RAF and Royal Navy, among others. They have utilised social advertising exclusively on Facebook to reach their target audience, as they are not convinced that the algorithms used on the other platforms are good enough to ensure that their message will reach their customers.
Recruit Packs Facebook Page
“In recent years, Facebook has revolutionised the way in which businesses can target particular demographics, which is why we are comfortable spending money in that arena,” says Rich Brady, Operations Manager at Recruit Packs. 
“When we first launched Recruit Packs we were very aware that our target market (16-24 year olds) spent a large amount of time on Facebook so we ran a series of ad campaigns promoting certain products and used Facebook ads to get those products in front of users that liked certain Pages. These Pages had interests that were aligned perfectly with the products and services we provide.”
Over the past few months, the company has changed its tactics, no longer running adverts targeting people with particular interests. 
“Now that we have a following, we now ‘boost’ posts that Facebook already thinks are good content as the posts we create get good engagement and great reach,” says Brady. “It is these posts we spend money on and we don’t target strangers either. We look to ‘Friends of Fans’ so that when the user sees the advert and the Recruit Pack page link, they’ll be shown a list of their friends who already like us. Peer endorsement is everything!”
Thirteen months ago, Recruit Packs didn’t exist. Today the online retailer has grown to supply 3% of the British Army intake through advertising exclusively on Facebook. 
“We’ve spent less than £1000 in that time,” concludes Brady. “Social media advertising works, but only well when you have great content and an awesome product or service.”

The cost factor

The infographic below was created to show how a fake brand used social advertising to launch a new flavour into the market. It does use the creator’s own product as the preferred solution in the example; however, it also illustrates the value of knowing what the opportunities are, what platforms to use, and the costs.
Inside a large social marketing campaign
Social advertising isn’t a minefield littered with acronyms and vague ideas, but it does need your corporation to pay attention to Who, What, Where, When and How before it spends Money. We’ve already established the Who – your audience, and the What is your product, so what about the Where? What do the platforms bring to the party?
According to Facebook, their reach through online advertising is 89%, and according to a release from Twitter in July, their advertising revenue reached $277 million in the second quarter of 2014 – a growth of 129%. 
Facebook and Google both dominated ad spend in 2013, but that is now shifting across platforms as strategies become more focused and personalised. Let’s not forget YouTube which has a monthly viewership that’s been compared to around 10 Super Bowl audiences – that’s a huge number and the cost of advertising to, and reaching, these audiences is far less expensive than that sporting event.
“If you’re a smaller business, play around with your budget on different channels,” says Tegan Denwood, Social Media Specialist at GNT Media. “If you find that more people are clicking on your ad on Facebook than on Pinterest, that could be a sign to save your money for the most effective and lucrative platform for your business. Trialling and testing is key.”
Walmart is a crazy success story for social advertising. The company revealed in October 2013 that they were getting a return on investment of 10x the original value. On Black Friday 2013 the company was receiving comments at a rate of 42 a minute reaching a total of 62, 000 in one day. Now that’s engagement. 
On Instagram, brands such as Levis, Ben & Jerry’s and Taco Bell have seen impressive results thanks to the arrival of adverts on this platform. Ben & Jerry’s generated 50, 000 new fans in under two months and Levis’ campaign had an impressive reach of 7.4 million people in the US alone.
There is enormous potential with social media based advertising campaigns if they are done well. Your corporation needs to ensure that it follows a cohesive strategy that’s in line with the brand identity and current campaigns. That it is targeted correctly and that it uses the right platforms for the audience and the strategy. Think about the end incentive, not just the process, and ensure that you know your budget right from the start so you can create a campaign that fits within your achievable parameters.
“Social advertising has proven incredibly effective for us when setting out to raise awareness for a particular campaign, especially in instances where the brands are relatively new and still in the process of growing their online audience,” says Denwood. “A concise strategy involves identifying the goal of the ad campaign first, then assessing our target demographic and identifying the networks we believe have the potential to reach them. We believe that paid advertising works best when paired with a strong organic strategy and ensuring that your site and content are rich enough to engage visitors when they arrive.”
In the final part of this series we will be asking the experts how they think these platforms will develop in order to deliver the levels of conversion that corporations need. 
The Corporate Social Media Summit Europe

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