This article is part of our blog series, Social Media for Landscapers, featuring tips on how you can take advantage of social media for your business.
As the influence of traditional print and television advertising continues to decline, advertising real estate on the web and social media are becoming as sought-after as a spot on a newspaper’s A1 or primetime television.
Over the last two years, social media advertising budgets in the United States have doubled from $7.5 billion in 2014 to $13.5 billion in 2016. That number is expected to increase to more than $17 billion by 2019.
Compared to a primetime TV spot or a visible space in a print publication, social media advertising costs pennies on the dollar.
Facebook’s ad platform charges are based on Costs Per Click (CPC) or Costs Per Mille (CPM), which means you choose to pay per click your ad receives or per 1,000 impressions or views your ad receives.
If you’re thinking about utilizing social media advertising to get the word out about your business, here are the basics you’ll need to know.
Getting started in social media advertising is simpler than it seems. First, decide which platform to advertise on. Consider whether Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, LinkedIn or some other social platform will get you the best results.
After you’ve decided which platform to use based on your following and potential success rate on that platform, take time to develop your social media advertising strategy.
Determine the right audience, the location you want to target, audience behavior (how they interact with social media) and what to advertise.
Choosing the right audience is one of the most important factors for a successful ad strategy. If you’re advertising your lawn care services or holiday lighting installations, targeting homeowners and local businesses will get you better results than targeting college students, for example. Most social advertising platforms have demographic targeting, so you can get as specific as possible.
Once you’ve decided on your audience, choose the location you want your ad to appear. If your business is based in Atlanta, Ga., you’ll want to target a 50-mile radius around the city.
Audience behavior signifies when people are on social media and how they interact with it. Is your target audience online in the morning? In the evening? Do some research to find out when your target audience is online and how they spend their time on social media to choose the right time to launch your ad.
Once you’ve mapped out your social advertising strategy, the next step is navigating any speed bumps you might run into.
Challenges and solutions
While social media marketing and advertising can act as digital word of mouth and help spread awareness about your business, there are some challenges associated with it.
1) Creating a robust marketing strategy. Start by mapping out three to six months worth of content. This can include display ads (a graphic with copy attached to it), videos, native advertising (paid content that matches the natural form and function of the website content) and more.
By planning months in advance, you can develop different types of advertisements and decide which platforms they are best suited for. But don’t get too ahead of yourself. Keep your content current, because audiences will respond better to fresh content.
2) Encouraging people to interact with your ads on social media. It doesn’t matter where you’re advertising, if your ads look like ads, they won’t be as successful.
In order to get the most out of your social media ads, make them as seamless as possible. Create ads that blend into your audiences’ social media feeds.
Successful ads that will preform better on social media are highly visual, informative and have a call to action, this is the text that tells the follower what you want them to do next.
Use the call to action, to promote engagement. This can be anything from click on the link to find out more, visit our website for more information, watch this video to call us for pricing or come into our office, etc.
3) Tracking your social ads’ return on investment (ROI). To calculate the return on social media, you first have to decide what you’re trying to achieve through social media.
If you’re working to achieve awareness, assess your ad’s metrics to see how many people viewed and/or clicked on it. This data is invaluable to understanding your audience. Your ad’s metrics can tell you when, where and who clicked on your ad.
With this, you can determine which ads were more successful and why based on audience behavior, demographics and location, which will help you create even more targeted ads.
If you’re looking for potential leads to turn into paying customers, take a look at the actions and action rates. Actions and action rates are the number of people who followed your ad’s call to action and the number of actions divided by the number of impressions (the number of times your ad was seen on social media feeds). This will give you deeper dive data that can help you better understand what type of ad content works well with your audience.
In today’s digital world, social media can be as affective as word of mouth. However, creating an advertising strategy that includes social media has the potential to grow your audience and customer base beyond just a few neighborhood blocks.
Keep an eye out for future tips on social media to promote your business. Have a question? Post it in the comments.