For all businesses, it is absolutely essential to embrace the concept of marketing and advertising. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, it will be almost impossible to grow your business and see it become a success.
You have to spend as much time developing your company’s brand presence – both online and offline – as you do create the products that will ultimately bring in revenues. And, given that more and more people are living their lives online, and because advertising online is increasingly becoming a more viable option than traditional advertising forms such as television, radio and billboards, being able to effectively market your organisation on social channels such as Facebook and Instagram has never been more vital.
But why exactly are social media channels so popular both for users and advertisers alike?
The rise of social media channels
Simply put, social media has become absolutely integral to many people’s daily lives. It is how they keep up to date with their friends’ lives, how they find out about the latest news, and how they can learn more about topics of interest.
And, of course, it’s where they can be reached successfully by advertisers and marketers.
The meteoric rise of social media in the last decade and a half can be best seen when you consider the American market. In 2005 estimates stated that only around 5% of the American adult population regularly visited social media sites; in 2019, it is much closer to 70%.
Social media may have only been in our lives for a relatively short period of time, but it has become absolutely essential to millions – potentially billions – of people around the globe. In fact, conservative estimates suggest that by 2021, as many as 3.1 billion people will regularly use social media sites [https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/].
Ease of access
One of the key reasons why social media channels are so popular and accessible is because of the fact that smartphones are now all but ubiquitous. In the UK alone it is estimated that around 94% of the adult population uses either a mobile phone or smartphone on a regular basis, which means that nearly everybody over the age of 18 (and probably many millions of people under that age) have access to social media platforms wherever they are.
According to research carried out by OFCOM, 71% of people with a smartphone have the Facebook app on their device, 39% have Instagram and 37% have Twitter [https://www.tigermobiles.com/blog/mobile-phone-usage-statistics/]. Given that so many millions of people are in a position where they can use social media platforms 24/7, it makes sense that advertising via these channels should be regarded as a fantastic way of getting your brand in front of the people that you most want to reach.
How do you advertise via Facebook and Instagram?
Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising can give companies the ability to reach millions of people quickly and easily. And, because FB ads and IG ads can be targeted to specific people, it means you’ll be able to get your product or service in front of the people that will actually be interested in what you are offering.
There are a number of steps you need to take when it comes to advertising via social channels, so let’s break them down:
– Fully understand your advertising campaign’s objectives
– Choose the platforms that will best appeal to your target audience
– Acknowledge your audience’s primary challenges
– Try to blend your advertisements with organic content
– Figure out the next steps you want your customers to take after the advertisement
– Optimise the bidding process to attain the best results
– Refresh, test, and don’t rest on your laurels
Of course, the process of actually doing these things can be time-consuming and far from simple, and there’s where working with a consultant can help. Social media and digital marketing consultants understand the ins and outs of the advertising process and know how to get the best possible results from the smallest financial outlays.
What is the associated cost?
When advertising on Facebook and Instagram, there is no defined set cost. Depending on what you are advertising, who you are trying to reach and how fierce your competition is, the cost has the potential to fluctuate significantly. There are three key factors that tend to influence the overall cost of your advertising campaigns:
– The actual amount of money you are willing to spend
– How relevant Instagram and Facebook’s algorithms deem your advertisement is to the people you are trying to reach
– How likely Instagram and Facebook believe it is that people are going to click on your advert and make a purchase
A lot of your spend will be down to how well you manage your campaign, how attractive your product/service and advertisement is to your target audience, and how competitive your sector is. There are a number of hoops that need to be jumped through, and this is where working with an expert consultant who is well versed in the good, the bad and the ugly of all things related to digital and social media marketing can come in very handy.
The brands that are doing it well
There are any number of brands that have successfully managed to advertise their products or services via Instagram.
GAP, for example, has run a number of incredibly engaging campaigns to appeal to a younger audience through the use of pop culture references and interesting music. This helped the brand to reach millennials that would, otherwise, perhaps not have considered GAP as a choice when buying clothes.
Another brand doing particularly well on Instagram and Facebook is 2K Games. By showing short clips advertising the gameplay of its range of sports games, and by also having videos clips and images showing celebrities playing the games, it was able to reach a huge audience, largely on the back of shares and likes.
Why is it a good option for small and medium-sized business?
If you run a small or medium-sized business and you have a strong identity, understand exactly what you are trying to achieve through your advertising campaigns, and are able to set aside a budget that will allow you to reach the people that can truly make a difference to your company’s profit margins, you will certainly be able to benefit from Facebook and Instagram advertising.
Small businesses tend to have a very defined product or service range. They have built their business around solving a problem, and that means that the associated benefits are clear and obvious. The key is getting the company’s core messages across in a way that is at once attractive, appealing and unique. But these three aims are not always easy to marry.
By working with a consultant who fully understands the social media sector, you will be in the best possible position when it comes to advertising what you do, and attracting the customers that you need.
Dealing with controversy
Given that when you advertise on social media you are putting your brand in the spotlight, it makes sense to understand how to deal with controversy online should any negative feedback arise.
The first thing to point out is that it can be very difficult to predict what content will, and what won’t, end up creating a reaction. Sometimes things can be interpreted in the wrong way by audiences, and if this gains traction it can easily pick up pace and snowball. All you can do is do your very best to create copy and imagery that draws the eye and stands out while showcasing your primary messaging, and then be well prepared to react and respond accordingly.
Engaging with consumers – especially those that are already angry or upset – via your social channels is something that must be done with caution. The last thing you want to do is rile people up so that they become even more irate. Rather, you need to focus on educating them; if they are unaware of certain facts or have missed the point of your post entirely, try to educate them in a way that doesn’t come across as patronising.
Also, as an advertiser, you might find that you sometimes receive backlash from people complaining that your advert has popped up in their feed without their express permission. In most instances, the best option is to simply not respond; if someone doesn’t understand how advertising works or why certain products/services/companies land in their feed, then you probably have little to gain by trying to explain the nature of the situation to them.
The bottom line
Advertising via social media channels can be an incredibly cost-effective and efficient means of getting your brand and associated products seen by a large yet defined audience. However, it is not always a simple process, and that is why working with a consultant is very often the best option. By liaising with someone who understands the value of social media and knows how to make the most of your money, you’ll be able to bring in customers without having to break the bank.