Over the past decade, social media has rooted itself in our daily lives. Whether you love it or hate it, if you’re a business owner you can’t ignore social media if you want to grow.
Facebook alone has over 2 billion active users every month, and they plan to keep increasing that number. Instagram sees 500 million daily active users, which rose from 200 million in just eight months in 2017. And LinkedIn now serves over half a billion users.
With numbers like these, there’s no hiding from the power and reach of social media. And the most effective way for you to reach their billions of users is using social ads.
Each social media platform offers the option of advertising to their users, giving you access to new customers. However, for the best results, you’ll need to use the right strategies to reach potential new customers.
Here are ten ways you can supercharge your social ads and gain access to a vast number of potential new clients.
First things first: Before you start creating an ad campaign on any social platform, you need to know what direct result you want from that ad.
Facebook, for example, gives you many different options.
You can see that there are lots of different goals an ad can have, and the best practice is to choose one goal for your ad.
If your goal is to boost traffic to a specific page on your website, you will choose a traffic ad. For engagement with your ad, including likes, comments and shares, you’d choose engagement. If you want your ad to generate leads, you will create a lead generation ad.
You get the picture.
The important point is if you know what you want your ad to achieve, it becomes much easier to measure the results and see if your ad has been successful. The platform you’re advertising on can then deliver the results based on your chosen ad goal.
On Facebook, a popular option would be a lead generation ad.
Lead ads work by gathering information from potential leads. The ad is comprised of the ad itself, and a custom contact form that users can click through to and provide their information. You can then download and use that information to contact them.
When creating your lead ad, you can choose what information you’d like to gather about each lead. It can be as little as just an email address, right up to full name, phone number, address, and so on. You can even create custom fields for different information.
Don’t try to collect any more information than will be necessary. If an email address or phone number will be enough, don’t ask for any more personal info.
Facebook makes filling out the form easier for users by pre-populating it with the information they already have. This tactic means less work for the user, and a higher chance that the form will be completed, landing you with a new lead.
And the great thing about Facebook ads is that you can choose for them to be pushed out on Instagram too, meaning you can cover two social platforms without any extra work.
Lead ads may seem very tempting, but they shouldn’t be your first port of call. More on this later.
Knowing who your customers are is one of the key ways you can grow your business. If you know who your customers are, this method will be straightforward.
In short, identifying your target audience means that all your marketing efforts will be more likely to succeed. This means going beyond a rough age range and location of your customers.
When you’ve got a defined audience, you can target them accurately on social media too. Facebook allows you to “filter” your target audience using things like age, gender, location, interests, job title, etc.
As you add more filters to your audience, the audience size will generally decrease. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it means your audience should be more qualified to be a match for your business.
Targeting a large audience with a generic ad isn’t likely to gain you much success. However, targeting your ad to a smaller, more defined audience will allow you to generate more leads. So having a smaller audience has its benefits.
For example, if you’re an Accountant in the Chelmsford area and you want to run a lead generation ad promoting your services, you could target people who live within 6km of Chelmsford and reach around 120,000 people. However, living in Chelmsford and needing accounting services are two different things.
Instead, you can target people in the Chelmsford area who list their employer as Self Employed. This brings the audience size down to 2,200 people, but you will know that every single one of those 2,200 people need to do their own taxes, and are much more likely to be interested in your accounting services.
LinkedIn also allows similar targeting capabilities. You can target by location, gender, job title, and so on. And as Facebook owns Instagram, any targeting you do on the former will also be possible on Instagram.
Facebook also allows you to create a thing called a lookalike audience. This handy feature allows you to access potential new customers that you may not otherwise have targeted.
A lookalike audience works by taking an audience you already have in your business manager audiences and finding other users on Facebook that are similar. From these similar users, Facebook creates a lookalike audience that you can then target with ads.
Lookalike audiences are best used at the top end of the funnel when you’re first making contact with potential customers. As they are similar to a list of customers you already have they should already be more qualified to target with an ad. However, remember that your business may still be new to these people, so hitting them straight with a sales ad won’t bring great results.
This step is simple but essential. You need to know what social media platforms your target audience are on so you know where to run your ads. There’s no point in spending money on LinkedIn if your customers are on Instagram.
You also need to think about which platform your brand is suited to. For example, clothing brands have success on Instagram as it’s a visual platform, whereas B2B companies tend to gravitate to LinkedIn.
It is a very general rule of thumb, and testing each platform’s success is a good practice. However, researching each platform’s general user base can help you decide where to start.
Think about where your customers are likely to spend their time, and you’ll be able to choose the best platforms to run your ads.
Before you can run an ad, you need to assign a budget to it. This budget can be large or small depending on the number of people you’re targeting. However, you need to be realistic and make sure your budget aligns with the ad’s goal.
On Facebook you can choose either a daily budget or a lifetime budget.
A daily budget will keep the average daily spend to the amount you specify for the duration of the ad. Some days the spend will be more, and some will be less, but the average will be the amount you set.
A lifetime budget is the total amount you want to spend over the duration of the ad.
Setting these parameters means that you can avoid overspending, and cut an ad short if it isn’t performing well without spending all of your ad budget.
You also have the option of spending your budget as quickly as possible, meaning your ad will be pushed out to as many people as possible in the amount of time it takes to spend your budget.
Facebook ads are charged per impression or click. Different goals will charge you for different things. Some only allow impressions, some only clicks, and some let you choose between the two.
Just make sure the budget you assign suits the ad and will allow you to see results.
The images used in your ads are just as important as the ad itself. This is because the image is what will likely catch the attention of your target audience before anything else.
As a general rule of thumb, images with faces in them receive the most engagement. This is because your audience can relate to and connect with a person’s face more than an object.
Advertisers also find success with images of babies and pets as they invoke an emotional response that captures the user.
You should also think about the colours used in your chosen images. Do they stand out on the platform you’re using? Thinking about some of the biggest platforms out there - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - notice that they’re all blue. If you use a blue image in an ad on a blue platform, there’s a high chance your audience will scroll straight past it. Why? Because they won’t even notice the image!
Instead, use contrasting colours like reds, oranges, yellows, and greens to stand out and grab attention. If your image has to be blue, add a different coloured border to the image.
Facebook is notoriously strict on text in images. Generally, if you have to use text, sticking to below 10% of the overall image is good practice. However, Facebook would prefer that you use no text at all in your ad images.
However, sometimes you may need to include text. In this case, you can use Facebook’s image checker tool to see if your image will be approved, penalised, or disapproved.
Sometimes Facebook will allow your image with text, but it will be penalised. This means that it will cost you more to use that image in your ads.
Facebook does have an exception to this rule when it comes to images of products, where the product has text on it. For example, a bag of cat food. Sometimes Facebook can recognise that the image is of a product, and therefore will have to have text on it. It doesn’t always work, and you can sometimes apply for a manual image check.
As Facebook owns Instagram, all of these image restrictions apply to Instagram as well.
Twitter and LinkedIn don’t have any listed restrictions on using text in ad images.
It’s very tempting to make all of your ads on social media sales ads. And for every small business owner, the end game is to get more customers. However, if these are the only kind of ads you run, you’ll end up spending a lot of money for a minimal success rate.
But why is this?
Quite simply, if you create an ad selling your product or service and push it out to a new audience, why would they buy from you? They’ve never heard of your brand before, and don’t know anything about you, so they’re not very likely to buy.
You’ve probably experienced this yourself while scrolling through Facebook. How many times do you see an ad from a company you’ve never heard of asking you to buy their product or service? And how many times do you go ahead and buy? I can guess that it’s not very often. Maybe even never.
So what should you do instead?
First, “introduce” your brand to the audience you want to target. This can be in the form of sharing some relevant content that can be found on your blog, sharing a client testimonial, or providing some information on the product or service you provide.
The key with this initial ad is not to try and sell anything. You want the audience to instead become familiar with your brand.
Facebook funnels are a brilliant way to go from these first introductions to sales ads.
The point of a funnel is to qualify your audience to people who are genuinely interested in purchasing from you.
A very simplified example would be:
The people who clicked through to both of your blog posts are expressing an interest in the initial content, then the more detailed content about your product. This means they will be more open and susceptible to a sales ad, and more likely to buy.
The funnel also dispels the people who aren’t interested, and therefore not worth targeting with a sales ad.
This follows on from what I previously said about funnels. You can retarget people who have interacted with your ads, and also visited your website.
These people are more likely to be customers as they already know your brand and who you are, so ads from your company won’t be out of the blue. And depending on the ad they’ve interacted with, or the page on your website they visited, they may be interested in purchasing from you.
A typical example is if you’ve visited a product page, but not bought. It’s likely that you will then see ads for that product for a while afterwards on Facebook and other websites. This is because you’ve shown interest in the product and the brand is retargeting you.
Retargeting can be done using the Facebook Pixel. This is a small piece of code installed on your website and allows Facebook to track who has visited any of your web pages. You can then create Facebook ads to target people who have visited specific pages, or performed certain actions on your website.
The Facebook Pixel is a powerful tool to retarget across Facebook and Instagram. LinkedIn also has its own version of the pixel so you can retarget on its platform as well.
As well as adding the human touch to your brand, you’ll want to add in client experiences and stories. Sharing these will give your audience something to relate to.
Testimonials are a great way to start as they are persuasive, and detail the level of service you provide from people with real experience of it. Testimonials can also ease any concerns an audience may have with purchasing from you. They build trust as your real fans are backing you.
Using testimonials as part of a social ads funnel is a great way to ease users into your brand. It’s a soft sell, planting the seed of your service or product, but isn’t in the face of the user.
There is an added level of power if you can put a name and face to the story. Like I’ve mentioned before, people connect with people, so providing images of the person giving the testimonial adds realism.
You can use photos of the customer with your product, or if you provide a service, a before and after. A company fitting kitchens can photograph their client in their brand new kitchen. Get creative with it!
Video has been on the up for the last few years. We know this because advertisers are set to increase their annual spend on digital video ads by an average of $10 million (£7.6 million). This is up a massive 53% from 2016.
But why would advertisers be willing to plug so much extra cash into video marketing? That’s because it works.
We’re used to seeing static images on social media, so in a world of stills, video stands out and grabs attention. Plus, people love watching videos.
When Instagram launched their video feature, users uploaded 5 million videos in the first 24 hours. It has since started Instagram Stories and Instagram TV. This all comes from a brand that was centred around stills for years.
What’s more, video has around double the selling power of text, so if you want to access new customers you can’t ignore video marketing.
If you want to use video to boost the power of your social ads, you’ll need to create some video first.
The videos you use don’t have to be complicated. It can be shots of your product, the process of your service, or even a video testimonial. Lots of brands rely on user-generated content because as discussed before, when it comes from your happy customers it has even more power and builds more trust.
Using these tools, you can up your social game and open up a whole new world of potential customers. The world is a big place, but social media is your direct line of communication and can introduce your brand to people who may have otherwise never heard of you.
If you are struggling to get results from your social media ads, or don’t know where to start, get in contact with us to find out the potential new customers you can unlock with social ads.