How do you decide where to spend advertising dollars? Do you do a 50/50 split with online and offline? Do you put more money into online ads to extend your ad budget? The answers on what to do vary as vastly as the advertising opportunities themselves, but the question you should really ask yourself is: “Is this channel frequented by my target audience?”
Social media advertising opportunities – such as Facebook ads, Facebook promoted posts, and Twitter advertising – face the same skepticism that online advertising received 5-10 years ago. However, there is a time and a place for all advertising channels, and social media opportunities are no different. If your company is active on Facebook, setting aside a monthly budget for event promotion as well as promoting posts on your wall is now a must – as only around 10% of your current fans will see your posts without a financial boost. Should you promote your post? Easy answer: Why post anything if you don’t care if anyone sees it?
What is Standard Facebook Advertising?
• They are targeted ads shown down the right-hand side of Facebook.
• They include a headline, text, and image.
• Ad budgets can be set to daily limits or overall campaign budgets, and can be set to CPC or CPM, or can be optimized for page likes.
• Ads can send users to your Facebook wall, a Facebook event, or highlight your latest post. They can also drive users directly to an external website.
• Ads can be targeted to your desired audience by location, education, age, sex, keyword, or general interest (e.g. If you are hosting a UFC fight, you can target people in your area over 19 who like UFC/GSP/MMA etc.)
• There is no minimum spend and no minimum ad period – you can do an ad for two days or two months leading up to an event.
Pros: They offer a very reasonable price point and great reach.
Cons: You must take the time to choose targeting/keywords wisely; a blanket approach will not be effective.
What is a Facebook “Promoted Post”?
• This is a small on-page ad spend made to boost a wall post (text, image and text, poll, or offer).
• You can choose the number of people you would like to reach with your post (half or all of your fanbase, your fans and their friends, or the general public).
• Promoted post costs vary according to the size of your fanbase. A typical spend can be anywhere from $10 to $75+ if you want to reach the general public.
• Images must be kept within Facebook’s guidelines (20% limit for text/logos).
Pros: These offer a reasonable price point and great reach.
Cons: They cannot target by keyword, however, they can target by city. Facebook’s text-on-photo rules can be frustrating.
What is Twitter Advertising?
• The no minimum spend self-serve ad dashboard option is relatively new to Canada.
• You can promote specific tweets, latest tweets, or promote your account.
• Targeting can be done by keyword, or by targeting followers of specific accounts.
Pros: It’s a great way to raise awareness of your brand to online influencers.
Cons: Targeting on the ad dashboard is clunky. You need to request an invitation to use the ads dashboard. Twitter is still not as widely used as Facebook.
When considering Facebook or Twitter ads that drive traffic to social media channels, it is important to ensure that the channels you are driving them to reflect your brand, are updated regularly, and are interesting to your target audience. (Facebook ads can drive to external websites; however, you will lose a fan acquisition opportunity.)
Before you start using social media ads, you should develop the content on your social media channels and ensure your staff is empowered to use the channels to build your brand’s online voice. At its core, social media is about storytelling. What are you sharing with your target audience? How and why are you communicating your story? Take a page out of Journalism 101 and employ the Five Ws and one H of storytelling: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. By using these tactics, you will keep your content informative, concise, and targeted.
There are other ways you can share content and tell your story. Use Facebook’s “Questions” feature to do a poll to engage and learn more about your audience. For example, you could create a poll asking fans which new appetizer they’d like to see on your menu. List a few examples and watch what feedback you get. Facebook polls can be promoted in order to reach a larger audience and drive new fans to your page. By doing a promoted poll, you’ll encourage engagement of your Facebook page and gain insight into what your customers want.
Don’t forget that social media is a visual medium – by sharing photos on Facebook’s newsfeed your business will get the most traction. These images can (and should) be promoted if they fall within Facebook’s image guidelines (text/logos overlaid on the image must be less than 20% of the total image). Tell a story with your cover photo – such as a unique menu item or loyal customers in the venue – and switch it out periodically to keep it fresh. Keep track of the types of posts or images that resonate with your fans, and try to focus your efforts on producing similar content.
In order to build a fanbase and followers on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, include appropriate hashtags in your tweets, photos, and posts. Hashtags are a tool to aggregate the conversation surrounding a topic, theme, or event. They’re created by combining a # with a word, acronym, or phrase (#word). Research whether there is a broader discussion going on about a specific topic online, and search various hashtags that tie into your story, service, products, and goals. For example, #WineWednesday and #BCWine are two top hashtags relating to wine. If you have a wine promotion or wine tasting, use these hashtags in your tweets, posts, and photos. You’ll reach and connect with the broader audience that is using and searching these terms.
Who to Follow and Why
A key step in engaging on social media is following other folks. Think of it as a virtual handshake, and the first step in creating long-lasting relationships and fans for life. Consider who your target audiences are, and start looking for them online. Begin by following local media, nearby businesses and associations, liquor brands, and sports teams. Use geo-location searches to find people tweeting and mentioning your city.
For pubs, liquor stores and restaurants, the online “foodie” community is a major target audience and opportunity. Take some time to do a bit of research to identify influencers in the food and beverage community and follow them. By building these valuable relationships, you’ll create brand awareness, find new customers, and potential new brand champions over time.
Patio Social was recently invited to write an article for The Publican’s Fall 2013 issue. The following is available to read in the digital issue here.