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The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2018

Social media marketing is an indispensable component of your overall marketing strategy. Usage increases every year and the average person now spends more than 2 hours per day on their favorite social media channels. If you read the Wpromote blog, chances are that you are consciously striving to up your marketing game. For burgeoning startups and bona fide businesses alike, social media is an area that can no longer be overlooked.

We’ve compiled the essential social media marketing tips that will allow you to build stronger connections with your audiences, develop measurable and actionable social media marketing strategies, and raise conversions across platforms in 2018 and beyond.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

The essence of social media marketing is simple: generate traffic and raise awareness of your offerings via social media channels in order to sell more products and services. Social media marketing creates buzz and excitement around your brand while also pushing viewers toward your sales funnel in an effort to affect a purchase.

Any social media channel where users are sharing content with one another is prime for social marketing, including mainstays like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. The primary goal is to make social content shareable (gaining traction through shares, likes, and comments) to influence the audience to purchase what you’re selling.

Social media marketing requires a social media specialist or expert to stay on top of the ever-changing trends, platforms, skills, and best practices within the space. Sometimes entire platforms come and go – in 2016 Twitter discontinued the popular video-looping platform Vine, which it had recently acquired, after laying off 9% of its workforce. Social media marketing requires risk and a willingness to adapt to this dynamic, complex digital landscape.

Here are some of the top reasons why companies invest in social media marketing:

  • Control Your Reputation- When potential customers first want to investigate your brand, they’ll often conduct a quick search online. Your own social media profiles will likely rank at the top of Google, so a customer has a high likelihood of landing on a profile you have complete control over to learn more about who you are and what you do. In this way you can introduce them to your brand and shape their understanding of your mission and products.
  • Engage Your Audience - Maintaining audience engagement over time not only increases your likelihood of repeat purchases but also increases the potential for peer referrals. If customers lose awareness of your brand after the initial purchase, you will lose future sales. Reengaging your past and current audiences as well as tapping into new audience networks creates a dynamic, valuable social ecosystem surrounding your brand.
  • Boost Your Other Channels - Social media marketing directly impacts your other marketing channels, including SEO, email marketing, and PPC/SEM. Engagement on social media can also be a contributing factor Google considers when ranking organic search results.
  • Instill Brand Loyalty - Investing in social media marketing creates a constant online presence for your brand that customers can visit whenever they have the urge. By sharing news, content, and product information in a transparent manner, you can provide value for those who enjoy your brand and increase loyalty. Customers tend to engage more with brands on social media that understand the value of humor and make an effort to really humanize their voice.
  • Research Your Competitors - Social media marketing allows you to monitor the progress and successes of your top competitors across platforms and reconfigure your strategy, as well as identify opportunities for competitive conquesting and creative inspiration. Remember: you’re likely speaking to the same audiences, so the messages that resonate with their audiences are likely to resonate with yours. Measure the engagement rates of your top 5 competitors to answer important questions like: is it roughly even, or is there a standout? What are they doing differently?
  • Share Your Updates - Gone are the days of rushing to a printer anytime you want to share new information. Social media serves as the ultimate distribution network by democratizing the digital media landscape, making it easier than ever for you to share news, updates, and compelling content to a wider audience.

Organic vs. Paid Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Let’s break down the two main types of social media marketing:

  • Organic social: This is social media without a paid budget, mostly leveraging free in-platform tools to build new online communities, engage your audience, and share captivating and valuable content.
  • Paid social: This is social media content that is distributed using paid budgets to reach specific audiences and encourage them to take a specific action, be it brand engagement, site interaction, or sales. Your company pays for the ad to appear in the news feeds of users based on specific targeting parameters who would likely not see your message through organic or unpaid means.

When you are promoting a paid social display ad (sometimes called a “sponsored message” depending on the platform), you can target certain user profiles according to demographics to yield a higher return. The demographics available differ from platform to platform, so read more about each social media platform below to become acquainted with each one.

For example, Facebook allows for very specific targeting on its powerful ad platform. Demographics available to advertisers on Facebook include (but are not limited to):

  • Gender - You can select Men, Women, or All
  • Age - You can adjust the minimum and maximum age to target a specific range
  • Location - This includes urban, suburban, rural, and specific locations
  • Education Level - You can choose multiple categories including high school degree or less, college degree, graduate degree, and more
  • Relationship Status - Target users that are single, married, engaged, in a relationship, and more; also target users based on whether they are interested in men, women, or both
  • Income - You can adjust the income level of targeted users (like $30,000 or more than $100,000) to match your brand clientele
 

The cost of your paid post will be determined by many factors, including what type of ad you choose. Popular payment options for ads include:

    • Cost-per-click (CPC)
    • Impressions (CPM)
    • Cost-per-action, also called cost-per-conversion (CPA)

How to Get Started on Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Whether you run a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) operation, you should always determine your target audience before making any key decisions about your social media campaign. Your tone, voice, and strategy will become more obvious when you create a buyer persona and choose certain demographics to target.

A buyer persona is simply a fictional personality, or persona, that represents your ideal customer. You can build your buyer persona based on insights from your customers or your own idea of who buys your products, but back up those ideas with hard data.

Google Analytics can assist you by providing information on the traffic you receive. Create popular keyword categories and determine what types of people are searching for those keywords and navigating to your website or social media profiles.

When writing copy, think critically about the consumers of that content and spend time understanding how and why certain messages resonate with them. Pay attention to how people within the audience speak to one another and reflect that in your own tone, voice, and readability. Do a quick reading level analysis of your copy to ensure your wording is not too complex and can be quickly and accurately understood by your audience. Many word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, allow you to access the Flesch-Kincaid readability score of your copy, which may be worth considering before distribution.

B2B marketing, for example, should strive for a higher reading level across marketing efforts. One of the most effective ways to establish authority and expertise is to elevate the language of your copy, but strive for comprehension over complexity. Flowery language may impress some, but if clarity of gets lost in the process, the ad’s effectiveness is also lost.

Your next step is to determine your specific goals for this social media marketing campaign. Social media should never be done just for the sake of having an online presence - your ads should be crafted to produce a tangible result. Your goal could be:

  • Increase direct sales on a product
  • Boost your brand loyalty
  • Generate conversions on your website
  • Bolster your SEO
  • Build awareness for your brand and products
  • Create new leads
  • Compete for keywords
 

Each goal requires a different strategy when it comes to social media.

Different Types of Social Media Campaigns: An Overview

The campaign you choose to conduct should service your goal, and should also target customers who are in a certain stage of the conversion process. You wouldn’t run the same ad to reach people unfamiliar with your brand as you would to promo a lower-funnel conversion. Here are the main types of social campaigns:

  • Prospecting - In this case you’re not searching for gold; you’re searching for customers. A prospecting campaign seeks to reach new customers who have no previous touch point with your brand.

    Prospecting campaigns are mostly educational - you want to create informational content that will pique the interest of someone in your target demographic as they’re idly scrolling through their feed and provide genuine value to them in that moment. You’ll read a lot about how social prospecting is really just listening or hearing, but doing research and collecting data is only the first step of the process.

     

    The ideal response from a prospecting campaign is to elicit a “me, too” reaction. If you create an effective prospecting campaign, new customers will want to join the community you’ve created or get in on the services you provide.

    Research what keywords are associated with your target demographics. In order to do this, look at multiple demographics (such as age, gender, field of work, education level, and relationship status) and what pages they like. What do they respond to on social media? Follow these pages and examine the language and keywords used.

    Examine all of these factors and use the data collected from your prospecting campaigns to hone your marketing process and convert more customers with future campaigns. As you learn more about your audience, you can cater the message specifically to them and maximize creative resonance.

  • Consideration - Once you’ve caught the attention of a potential customer, they will dig deeper to determine what your brand has to offer. At this point of the acquisition process they are “considering” your brand.

    In this stage, your social campaigns should demonstrate your unique selling proposition (USP). This is the element that sets your offerings apart from other brands. It can be as simple as the lowest price or the most reliable customer support. On social media, your USP will often be your brand voice: do you post funny, entertaining videos? Is your content compelling? The key is to provide genuine value.

    Videos and images are the best bet to set yourself apart in a consideration campaign. Social media metrics prove that videos are a great investment, especially on platforms like Facebook.

  • Retargeting - Sometimes people will engage with your brand but fall short of your desired action. A retargeting social campaign often utilizes cookies to track and target users that have taken specific actions beforehand. Retargeting ads have a 10-times higher clickthrough rate than a standard display ad.

    However, cookies are relatively ineffective or unavailable on mobile devices, and since more than half of all traffic is now mobile-generated, some marketers have shifted to the term “identity measurement” as a more holistic measure to tracking a user’s web actions.

A retargeting campaign can target users who:

      • Have visited your site in the past
      • Have clicked on links from previous ads
      • Have added an item to the shopping cart on your website, and then abandoned it
      • Have become a fan of your page on social media
      • Have subscribed to your marketing emails

Retargeting campaigns are doing more than generating leads - you will be marketing to a customer who has already demonstrated an interest in your brand through past actions. The hard sell isn’t the way to go here: a gentler touch will be needed to (re)connect with the customer.

A social retargeting ad isn’t trying to pressure a user into a sale with a general pitch. Instead, these campaigns should reinforce positive opinions the user has about your brand so they become more likely to take a desired action.

Your content should be timely and relevant. Using the data you have, appeal to the needs of the customer that your brand alone can address. This method also allows marketers to craft retargeting campaigns in creative ways.

For example, if a potential customer leaves items in their shopping cart without completing the purchase, you can serve them a message specific to that stage in the sales funnel. A simple reminder to finish the transaction is proven to be one of the most effective ways for marketers to drive revenue that may have been lost.

    • Conversion/Loyalty - Your ultimate marketing goal is to lead prospective users to take an action and “convert” them into a paying customer. Of course, not all conversions are purchases or online orders. Other important conversions include:
      • Downloading a white paper
      • Joining your email list
      • Completing a form or survey
       

      Other forms of conversion include phone calls and foot traffic in a store, but these offline conversions are more difficult to track and are not typically part of your immediate social media attribution models.

      When measuring your conversion rate, you can tie your data to your call to action: what did you want the customer to do? This action counts as a conversion.

      After the conversion stage, customers have already purchased a product from you or have otherwise completed an important action. Your social media strategy should then be to promote customer loyalty. After all, selling to an existing customer is 50% easier than selling to a new customer.

      Even with this information, only 18% of companies prioritize customer retention. Focus on your conversions to get an advantage over your competitors. Targeting past conversions will often prove to be your most successful social media marketing strategies in terms of clickthroughs and your return.

      Speaking of your return, once a user has progressed through your sales funnel and completed the buying journey, you should calculate your Return On Advertising Spending (ROAS). To determine your return on a per-customer basis, simply divide the revenue generated from the ad source the user clicked by the amount spent on the advertising source. For example: $25,000 Revenue/$20,000 Cost = 1.25 (or a 1.25 to 1 ROAS).

      Loyalty campaigns are long-term, ongoing efforts to connect with customers and build trust. The resources you’ll need to conduct these campaigns include:

      • An expert copywriter to create engaging, humorous, relevant content
      • A manager to monitor and plan posts for multiple social media channels
      • “First responders,” otherwise known as a dedicated social team who can respond quickly to inquiries and complaints
       

      Of course, for best results in a loyalty-focused social media campaign, you should have an in-depth understanding of your customer base. What demographics are loyal to your brand? What type of content do they connect with?

      Social media has become a go-to platform for customers to voice concerns, give praise, and reach out for support, making it a critical component of any effective reputation management strategy. For many social media users, Twitter is used exclusively for engaging with customer support teams, which means there needs to be someone ready to respond. Southwest Airlines, for example, has a dedicated team to monitor replies 24/7 and resolves issues ranging from flight delays to lost baggage to emergency crises. Act quickly and professionally, address concerns directly, and ensure all social stakeholders are on the same page in terms of workflow and voice. While you may not need a full social reputation management team, it is critical to have processes in place to mitigate potential PR problems.

      Use all information at your disposal to choose what kinds of posts to share and what social media platform will service your brand best. Which brings us to our next big decision: how do you choose the best platforms to match your unique needs?

The Major Social Media Platforms for Marketing in 2018

The top social media platforms where you should concentrate your efforts include:

Facebook

The most dominant social media platform around is Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, an industry giant. It is the fourth-largest company by market capitalization traded publicly on the U.S. stock exchange. Founded in February of 2004, Facebook has origins so unique and compelling that its founding became the subject of 2010 Oscar-nominated film “The Social Network.”

Facebook is the third most-visited site on the internet, behind only Google and YouTube. The pool of potential customers is staggering - there are over 2 billion active users on Facebook. That means over one-third of the world’s population could potentially view your ads.

A Pew Research Center study from last year revealed that 68% of Americans use Facebook, and three-fourths of those users visit at least once a day. Knowing how integrated this platform is with daily life, Facebook is an indispensable marketing tool for companies looking to extend their digital reach.

From a user perspective, Facebook is an online destination used to connect with friends and family and learn what’s going on in loved ones’ lives and around the world. Since its inception, the median age of Facebook users has steadily increased. Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 comprise 61% of the user base, making this social media platform ideal for targeting a slightly older demographic.

The tools and targeting options available to marketers who promote their brand on Facebook are unmatched. Facebook offers extremely comprehensive data targeting capabilities for advertisers to leverage, including key demographics like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geographic Location
  • Household Income
 

In addition, you can target based on valuable insights including the user’s:

  • Past Purchase Behavior and Habits
  • Device and Platform Usage
  • Online Activity
  • Relevant Interests
 

And much more!

CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks often about Facebook’s adaptation over the years. He maintains a clear-eyed view of who his users are and what they want. Moving forward, videos will likely become the central offering of the platform, especially for marketers and brands.

Facebook has embraced live video streaming as a way to connect with audiences. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm favors live video broadcasts and will place them higher in people’s News Feeds. Augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) will also play key roles in keeping the social media platform on top in the years to come.

Instagram

Instagram is a highly visual social media platform that was acquired by Facebook just two years after its founding in 2010. Initially the app only allowed users to edit and share single images at a time, but its offerings have expanded while under the ownership of Facebook.

Instagram now allows users to:

  • Upload videos
  • Stream live videos
  • Send direct messages to other users
  • Upload multiple photos at a time in collections
  • Post temporary “stories” on their profile
 

Features like “Stories” allow Instagram to directly compete with platforms like Snapchat while continuing to grow. Instagram added 200 million daily users in the year since the Stories feature launched. For advertisers, the platform has an impressive reach: over 500 million users check Instagram daily, and about 800 million users are “monthly users,” checking in throughout the month.

The majority of Instagram’s users are women. A study from 2014 calculated that 58% of Instagram users are women. Instagram users are looking to explore the world through images to gain inspiration or showcase art and lifestyle trends.

Brands that do well on Instagram generate aesthetically pleasing visual content. This isn’t to say that only highly visual offerings, such as beauty and travel, can effectively leverage the platform. The key is in the aesthetics of the creative, not the product or service. For example, a cloud-based storage company can use engaging animations and personal customer story videos to compensate for a lack of direct product photos. Keep in mind that there is less room for informational content on Instagram, so the artistry of your posts takes precedence.

Instagram is a key component of Facebook’s advertising services. When choosing platforms for your social media campaigns, keep in mind that Instagram ads are more expensive than those on other platforms. However, with a masterfully orchestrated campaign your ROI may be higher. When making your marketing decisions, consider that targeting millennial women will prove easier than targeting an older male demographic on Instagram.

Pinterest

On the surface, Pinterest has much in common with Instagram: the platform is photo-heavy and skews female in its user demographics. Pinterest is designed to emulate a cork board where you keep important information and inspiration. The posts (again, mostly photos) are represented as “pins” and are arranged on grids called “boards.” Common types of Pins on Pinterest include:

  • Interior design inspiration
  • Travel ideas
  • DIY crafts and projects
  • Recipes
  • Lifestyle tips

Deciding whether to invest your marketing in Pinterest is easier than for most platforms. Nearly all “pins” can be classified within the interests of home decor, fashion, food, and art, so if your products fall in one of those categories then Pinterest is an essential platform.

Pinterest is invested in the process of visual search of the future to find relevant or similar posts that users will like. Pinterest introduced a new visual search feature called Lens that allows users to take photos of objects in the real world and use those images to find related content. Pinterest envisions a future wherein users take photos of products they like and are served ads based on these images.

This technology has the potential to change the way users shop. But how does Pinterest perform for a brand today? Fairly well: users that discover your brand on Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy than visitors from other social media platforms. Customers that convert from Pinterest spend 70% more time on-site than customers that reached your website from non-social channels.

Pinterest is a powerful marketing platform for Ecommerce brands that should not be ignored.

YouTube

YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world, and the second most-visited website on the web behind Google (which acquired YouTube in 2006). More than half of the billions of video views on the internet were searched for on YouTube, making it the second most popular search engine online. The service has revolutionized the way we find and learn new information. YouTube has a massive cultural influence worldwide, reshaping entire industries with its free flow of ideas. YouTube has even changed how electoral campaigns are run in the United States and abroad.

While YouTube continues to grow and online videos attract more and more viewers, television is simultaneously in decline. Advertisers are spending more on YouTube and less on television ads in order to reach audiences who have shifted their focus to more immediate mediums.

Two years ago, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki put the marketing power of YouTube into perspective: YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable or broadcast network. During primetime, the top 10 TV shows combined reach fewer people in that demographic than YouTube does.

Many tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg believe that video is the future of all social media, and YouTube is the power contender in this category. However, for all of its reach, YouTube does come with some limitations for marketers.

The platform relies on programmatic advertising, meaning all of YouTube’s ad placements are determined by an algorithm. Advertisers still have complete control over targeting and placements, though, and are able to leverage the most or all of same parameters as other leading social advertising platforms.

In addition to placing YouTube ads, you should create a YouTube channel for your brand that serves as a destination for users. Minimum best practices for a successful YouTube channel include:

  • Choose a name and meta description with strong keywords
  • Compose a compelling but concise channel description
  • Focus on the visual branding elements - your channel should be pleasing to the eye
  • Keep your videos to two minutes or less, if possible
  • Upload content consistently, and ensure it’s always available
  • Fill your page with calls to action to convert customers
 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking service that connects thought leaders, workers, and employers across industries. Owned by Microsoft and launched in 2003, LinkedIn currently has more than 500 million users.

If you run a B2B company and are seeking qualified professionals to view your content, investing in LinkedIn marketing is essential. LinkedIn has one of the most sophisticated ad platforms available, allowing marketers to target users based on:

  • Education level
  • Industry
  • Specific company
  • Years of experience
  • Geography

Many of these categories are similar to those in Facebook’s ad platform, but the LinkedIn user data is more likely to be up-to-date and accurate. This is due to LinkedIn’s mission: as a networking service for industry professionals, LinkedIn creates an atmosphere where precise professional representation enables users to find work and network effectively.

Marketing on LinkedIn should aim to boost your brand’s credibility. LinkedIn allows you to get your content in front of decision makers and industry influencers who aren’t within your regular network.

With an excellent content writer you can push your content marketing on LinkedIn to become an industry thought leader and stand out from the competition.

Snapchat

In sharp contrast to professional networking platform LinkedIn is the novel disappearing-message platform Snapchat. Snapchat has by far the youngest user base when compared to other social media platforms: the majority of its users fall in the 16-to-24 demographic.

Snapchat debuted with a highly original concept: messages sent through Snapchat would disappear after only a few seconds. This put emphasis on frivolity and created an outlet wholly different than those with permanence like Facebook.

However, after refusing an acquisition offer from Facebook, Snapchat has endured stiff competition from Facebook-owned Instagram. Many of the best features on Snapchat have been repackaged and made available on Instagram, boosting Instagram’s user base while slowing the growth of Snapchat.

For example, the “stories” feature on Instagram essentially copied the same feature on Snapchat. Once Instagram users could use the application like Snapchat, 200 million users joined within five months. Snapchat, on the other hand, took 5 years to reach 160 million users.

However, Snapchat has several advantages over Instagram. The Bitmoji feature on Snapchat (personal avatars that function as digital stickers) keep its user base coming back regularly. Also, Snapchat is the platform of choice among young millennials, with 60% of its users being 24 or younger.

Snapchat has expanded its video content offerings in recent years. Snapchat Discover allows users to browse the latest news stories and celebrity interviews in a highly interactive interface.

Investing in Snapchat advertising makes more sense for large brands. The tracking and conversion monitoring on Snapchat’s advertising platform leaves much to be desired. Big advertising campaigns on Snapchat are mostly undertaken by brands that aren’t relying on the platform to drive conversion. Instead, focus on creating compelling content to drive awareness.

Twitter

Twitter invented the hashtag, propelling it into the advertising and marketing ubiquity of today. Twitter was best known for its 140-character limit, keeping posts short and sweet. This has recently been expanded to 280 characters, opening new opportunities for advertisers to convey richer messages, and initial tests indicate users are embracing the change. According to Business Insider, longer tweets were retweeted almost twice as often as short ones and fostered much higher engagement.

Twitter is a celebrity hub. Many politicians, journalists, and movie stars post updates for fans and the general public on Twitter, where news is instantaneous. A blue check next to the user handle indicates a “verified” account of a celebrity, influencer, or major brand.

The user base is gender-balanced, and the platform is most popular among people aged 18-29 who have attended college. However, its user data leaves much to be desired. According to a Pew Research Center study, only 21% of adults in the U.S. use Twitter, making it the least popular among the major social media platforms.

There is an advertising platform in place on Twitter, but it has trouble holding up against more complex and marketer-friendly platforms like Facebook and Google, where users typically have one profile comprised of first-party, non-anonymous data. Twitter, particularly due to the blend of brand and personal profiles, has a weakened ability to guarantee the exact identity of the targeted audience.  It relies on context clues generated by conversations, profiles followed, and by targeting users based on keywords inside their own posts.

Twitter is best utilized as a platform to foster brand loyalty and reputation management. Your organic reach on Twitter will be hard to beat, and you can put your best copywriter to work to develop a charming and authentic brand voice. Also, when users want immediate reactions they’ll turn to Twitter. Like Southwest Airlines, Nationwide has set itself apart on the platform with its compassionate and responsive support team.

Less popular social media platforms that are still worth looking at include:

Reddit

Reddit is the most-visited forum-hosting website online, and the fourth most-visited website in the United States. Reddit allows users to generate and share news links. Coined “the front page of the internet,” Reddit boasts over 500 million monthly visitors. What’s even more impressive is the company had less than 200 employees until this year.

One of the most popular features of Reddit is its “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) format, in which public figures ranging from Barack Obama to Snoop Dogg answer questions live as asked by Reddit users, called “Redditors.”

Reddit largely skews male and young. 71% of Reddit users are male, and 59% of users fall between the ages of 18 and 29. Reddit users are also very present online, with 47% reporting being online the majority of the day.

Though it has a large user base, Reddit is a very difficult platform for advertisers. The primary advertising options on the site are promoted links and Google Adsense. However, if you have an understanding of Reddit etiquette and culture you can gain exposure.

Reddit users are especially hostile to tones that come across as “salesy,” and your posts will swiftly lose visibility after being “downvoted” by users unless you use a light touch in your copy. Many niche audiences exist in the form of subreddits, so if you target the right audience you can reach customers that would have missed your marketing on other platforms.

Quora

Quora is a unique Q&A-formatted platform, offering in-depth answers composed by its more than 200 million users in response to a variety of questions. The answers are more authoritative and helpful than the random answers often found on services like Yahoo! Answers. In the words of founder Adam D’Angelo, Quora is optimized for quality information, the same way LinkedIn is optimized for professionalism.

Users are required to register with their real names, and answers of higher quality are moved to the top of the responses. Occupation and educational background are listed next to each answerer for context and authority.

Quora’s self-serve advertising platform just launched a few months ago and is still being tweaked. The visibility for ads is relatively low, but the conversion rate is impressive. The user base of Quora consists largely of well-educated individuals in coastal metropolitan areas. Currently, users can be targeted by location, topic of question, and device.

7 Social Media Metrics You Have to Track

In order to accurately measure how effective your social media strategy is faring, keep track of these 7 social media metrics:

  1. Spending - Before you look at impressions, clickthrough rate, or leads generated, first analyze how much money you’re spending on each campaign. Your primary goal should always have the largest investment. Don’t be afraid to shake up your budget to create more conversions. Always leave a section of the budget open so you can further invest in campaigns that resonate so your strategy can be reactive.
  2. Impressions (CPM) - Impressions are a basic metric that you should always measure. To calculate your cost-per-thousand impressions, or CPM, divide your number of impressions by 1000, and then divide your ad cost by the result. Why 1000? Generally, you should have a minimum of 1,000 impressions before making any important decisions.
  3. Frequency - It’s important to be mindful of oversaturation, which can quickly lead to drop offs in engagement and wasted ad spend. To calculate your ad frequency divide your number of impressions by your overall reach. Is your target audience seeing your ad too often? As campaign managers, it is critical to keep an eye on this balancing act; too little frequency may not make a strong enough impact to move the needle, but too high and engagement can quickly trend downward. Creative refreshes, audience expansions, and frequency caps can all help quell concerns and ensure ad spend is being utilized most effectively.
  4. CPC - One of the most basic metrics is your cost-per-click (CPC), or how much you’re spending for each click through on one of your ads. This cost will vary by platform: on Facebook, the average CPC is around 28 cents in the United States. However, in order to make informed decisions regarding your CPC you should consider it in conjunction with:
  5. Website Traffic Behavior - The path of your customers doesn’t end once they click on your social media ad. Evaluate a customer’s actions and intentions once they arrive on your website. Are they adding items to their cart? Do they go through with purchases? Do they sign up for your mailing list? Your tolerance for a high CPC should rise with conversion-heavy traffic.
  6. CPA - You should decide beforehand what you are willing to spend to acquire a new customer. This metric will fluctuate considerably based on your industry and how much the average consumer spends on your product - your CPA should be lower if you sell toothpaste than if you sell corporate cloud storage.
  7. ROAS - The bottom line of marketing is always: are you breaking even on your investment? If your Return on Advertising Spending (ROAS) is not substantial you should rethink your social media marketing strategy.

2 Important Social Media Tests to Try

Social media is always growing and evolving, and social media marketing follows suit. Never settle into one strategy for best results – even if you’re getting a good return you should always be testing your social media ads to drive more conversions and cut out the competition.

First, test your audience regularly. You likely have a customer profile that you use to set your target audience, but many factors affect why people click on ads and ultimately convert. You don’t know who will respond to your ad unless they are targeted. For your next campaign, target users outside of your typical demographic for a set amount of time and track your results.

Second, test new ad units as they are introduced. Learning how to do social media marketing is challenging, and while you may be tempted to stick to ad units you know, strive to test new formats whenever possible.

Algorithms for platforms like Facebook and Instagram favor certain ad units, especially video. New ad units (like the canvas ad for Facebook that was unveiled last year) will get more eyeballs on your message, especially in the months after they are first introduced. Take risks with promotions on Facebook Live by hosting a Q&A or finding another innovative way of raising brand awareness.

Tips for B2C vs. B2B Social Media Campaigns

Targeting the right audience is key to success on social media. Your social media strategy will be determined by your type of business: are your targeting consumers or other businesses? Here are the primary ways your campaigns will differ based on audience.

  • Platforms - The social media platforms where you choose to concentrate your marketing efforts will change if you are a B2B or B2C business. B2C businesses should focus on the major platforms that feel personal and relaxed. The top three marketing platforms for B2C businesses are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. One survey indicates that 96% of B2C companies advertise on Facebook.

    B2B companies need to generate leads and build relationships with a more niche audience. LinkedIn is the top platform for B2B companies, though Facebook is right behind. The Discussion Groups on LinkedIn are paramount for increasing engagement as well as disseminating content among your target audience. Twitter is also a preferred medium for linking to long-form blogs and articles.

  • Type of Content - When choosing your content and ad types for B2C marketing, remember that consumers want to feel an emotional connection to your content and they want to be entertained. Compelling video content on Facebook and YouTube will help propel your brand visibility and appeal to users’ emotions. If your products are aesthetically pleasing and visual, invest in advertising regularly on Instagram.

    B2B marketing has some overlap with B2C marketing, especially with blogging. However, the goal for content writing as a B2B brand should always be to establish authority and demonstrate value instead of to entertain.

    B2B marketers should create white papers and case studies in order to drive lead generation. There is a lot of research involved, but potential customers are willing to give their personal information for helpful industry insight. Infographics also establish your authority and are highly shareable.

  • Voice - B2B marketing tactics should strive to increase lead generation, and common practice is to write content with an informative, helpful tone that demonstrates area expertise. However, B2B marketing should not sound stuffy or dry. Through showcasing company values and cultures you have more flexibility to establish a brand voice and stand out from competitors.

    B2C marketers should strive to increase audience engagement, and the primary way to achieve this is through a consistent voice that is humorous, human, and self-aware. It’s perfectly fine to take risks with your voice, as long as you remain consistent. A funny Twitter presence will get you noticed by consumers and media alike.

Influencer Marketing

Commerce has evolved hand-in-hand with the growth of the internet and the way consumers receive information. Thanks to the transparency of the web, consumers are increasingly less likely to be influenced on traditional ads. Purchasing decisions are largely based on endorsements from:

  • Fellow consumers (friends, family)
  • Social influencers with large followings on social media

Social influencers have large followings on channels like Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Snapchat. A social influencer can be:

  • An expert in their industry
  • A celebrity sharing their opinions on products and services
  • Users that have leveraged social media to gain a massive following
 

Influencer marketing operates in a similar fashion to native advertising, guided by the understanding that users on channels like YouTube and Instagram do not want ads to interrupt their experience. Consumers are much more responsive to ads placed organically within the content they’re viewing. In fact, research shows that word-of-mouth advertising among peers generates two times the sales of paid advertising channels.

Influencer marketing is a burgeoning marketing trend with extreme industry buzz. Google classified “influencer marketing” as a breakout keyword, meaning it has experienced growth greater than 5,000 percent.

Currently there are large volumes of influencers on social media with enormous followings, but few brands are investing in influencer marketing campaigns. The ROI for brands investing in influencer promotions is likely to be high.

How Social Media Ties into Your Overall Digital Marketing Campaign

Each tier of your digital marketing campaign can improve the effectiveness of others. Marketing through social media will tie into your other channels in multiple ways:

  • SEO - Your social media channels, if optimized, will be among the top results when a user searches your brand name through Google. Active social media accounts with effective messaging drive steady traffic to your website.
  • PPC - Within Google AdWords, you can add extensions to your social media account in your PPC ads with enticing calls to action like “Shop Facebook” or “Shop Instagram.” What you learn from these advertisements can help you develop targeted keywords for future campaigns.
  • Email - Paid social can serve as a power lead generation tool, able to capture valuable information like names and email addresses from within the native platforms and by driving traffic to external lead captures on a website or landing page. This information can easily be leveraged for email marketing campaigns. List building is a critical component to most all digital advertising and the comprehensive targeting capabilities of paid social act as a pre-qualifier for leads and can guarantee list quality.
  • Content Marketing - Your revenue per conversion can increase by an average of 68% when you integrate your content marketing with your social media marketing.

A cross-channel approach will reap more rewards than tackling channels in isolation.

Tools of the Trade

What tools should a social media marketing agency use for streamlined performance and optimal brand visibility? Different agencies have different needs, but here’s what works for us at Wpromote:

  • Campaign Management - We prefer to leverage native platform tools for maximum control, accuracy, and streamlined workflows. For example, we use Facebook’s Power Editor as our primary Facebook and Instagram day-to-day management platform and avoid third-party tools.
  • Reports - We built our own internal reporting system that compiles data from various social media platforms so we can create thorough aggregate-level reports for our clients. To digitize reports, we’re fans of Data Studio, one of Google’s many intuitive tools.
  • Creative Projects - While this will vary depending on the medium, we use Adobe Premiere Pro CC for video-editing, Adobe Photoshop CC for image creation and enhancement, and Canva for all of our graphic design needs.
  • Facebook Tools - Other than Power Editor, our primary Facebook tools include Creative Hub for digitizing ads, Audience Insights for developing a richer understanding of our existing customers, and Campaign Planner for prospecting and finding new audiences.
  • Additional Social Tools - Our dedicated social team at Wpromote have a few favorite tools for daily operations. These tools include Stackla to create giveaways and Woobox to incentivize audiences with sweepstakes and coupons.

The Future of Social Media Marketing

As smartphones and tablets became increasingly commonplace Facebook capitalized on this shift. Facebook prioritized the mobile experience and optimized their services to cater to users on mobile devices rather than desktops. This foresight paid off, as mobile ad revenue surpassed desktop ad revenue in 2014.

While mobile accounts for just over 50% of web browsing, this percentage is much higher on social media. 80% of Facebook’s revenue is now via mobile devices. As we push into the future, all companies that exist in the digital space must concentrate on the mobile experience or be edged out entirely.

Optimizing your website and social media ads for mobile devices is only one part of the equation. New technologies are changing how users view content on social media and how they spend their time. The technologies marketers should be focused on are video, augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

  • Video - Video is the trend that marketers should be capitalizing on right now. Many tech companies (and even Ecommerce giants like Amazon) are investing in high quality video content following the success of services like Netflix and Hulu.

    Anticipating this demand for video content, Google purchased YouTube in 2006 and recently launched YouTube TV. As we discussed above, Facebook announced it will be a “video first” platform and will prioritize video content on feeds.

    After Amazon’s success with Prime Video, they doubled down with their aggressive content creation strategy at production company Amazon Studios. Regardless of your industry, focus on creating compelling video content to connect with audiences, now and in the future.

    Newer forms of video are also growing in popularity, such as 360-video and live streaming, and are expected to play a bigger role in many advertisers creative efforts in the very near future.

  • Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) - What is augmented reality? This form of technology overlays computer-generated images atop real life photos or videos. Prominent examples include the Pokemon Go app that made waves summer of 2016 and the signature selfie filters, called “lenses,” on Snapchat.

    Virtual reality, on the other hand, creates a virtual self-contained environment that users can interact with. Both forms of technology offer exciting possibilities for advertisers as they become easier to design and harness.

    One example of augmented reality advertising is branded Snapchat filters. For example, to promote new film “It,” Warner Bros. Pictures partnered with Snapchat to create geo-filters with imagery from the movie.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) - This is an umbrella term for technologies including machine learning and deep learning. Artificial intelligence represents one of the most exciting developments of the 21st century. It has the power to change our lives, as seen in technologies like self-driving cars and current tools like Siri.

    One of the most actionable uses of AI in social is through messenger bots and chat automation. The tools used to leverage these opportunities have become much more accessible and easy to create. Facebook is leading this AI wave in a major way with recent developments to its Messenger platform, where many brands are now using bots to guide customers through everything from simple triage to more complex Ecommerce transactions.

How to Land a Job in Social Media Marketing

Interested in pursuing a career in social media marketing? These days, simply having a strong presence in and familiarity with social media isn’t enough to land a dream job. An ideal candidate for a social media marketing position would be just as comfortable calculating ad spend from a campaign as they would writing clever copy.

The Wpromote social team reflects this flexibility in its educational diversity. While many team members studied traditional fields like marketing and business, we also have proud English, journalism, film, and psychology majors among us. There’s no set path to a career in social media marketing.

As an agency, we love to see agency experience on a resume. This communicates that you have more than cursory training, you enjoy working with clients, and you’d prefer using Power Editor to simply clicking “Boost Post.”

Want to work with us? Explore the training and certification programs offered by Google and Facebook. Google Analytics and Facebook Blueprint certifications communicate that you have a handle on digital marketing models of advertising and attribution.

Social media marketers must demonstrate competence with data analysis tools. Much of our day-to-day work occurs in Microsoft Excel and in Google’s office suite, so brush up on your pivot table and your keyboard shortcuts.

Other attributes we look for in social media marketers include:

  • The adaptability to change alongside key platforms
  • An appetite for new information and data
  • The practicality to handle constructive criticism
  • An attitude that says, “I have much to contribute and even more to learn”
 

Check out our careers page to apply for your dream social media marketing job. We’re always hiring, so loop back often for the latest job postings.

How to Evaluate a Social Media Marketing Agency If You Need the Help

A worthwhile social media marketing agency should, first and foremost, value measurement and transparency. If you’re looking to hire a social media marketing agency, how do you evaluate agencies before agreeing to work with them?

In terms of measurement, Wpromote uses a combination of Facebook attribution and a client’s preferred model, such as Google Analytics, with a blended model of our own design. And, because transparency is one of our core values, we have provided a helpful list of questions you should ask any social media marketing agency before collaborating with them on your social campaigns.

Do they have dedicated support for Google and Facebook?

We do! Wpromote is an exclusive insider with both Google and Facebook. In addition to being a Google Premier Partner, Wpromote is one of a few select agencies to be an invited member of:

  • The Google Client Forum
  • Google’s Search Marketing Council
  • Google’s Performance Marketing Council
  • Google’s Social Agency Council
 

Our special Facebook Partnership gives us preliminary access to beta opportunities and conferences. This insider status us deliver real results to clients and stay ahead of the curve.

Are they being proactive, challenging the status quo not just in social media but in overall business strategy?

We are! Personalization is the hallmark of our agency, and we are renowned for our attention to detail. We don’t just set a campaign and forget about it - or automate it. At Wpromote, we segment our audiences to maximize learnings and offer clients the ability to scale. After all, with too many components in your ad set, it will be impossible to determine what is driving or hindering support, limiting your ability to optimize.

Are they thought leaders in the digital and social spaces, contributing insightful conversations on forums, blogs, e-marketing journals, and conferences?

We are! Our CEO speaks at well-known industry conferences and is a regular contributor at Inc. Magazine. Our employees are regularly sought out to provide their insight and technical knowledge at industry forums. Our blog is chock-full of articles produced by our team.

Have questions? We aren’t afraid to go in-depth explaining tactics and best practices that tie into your overall campaign strategy.

Do they have experience in multiple verticals?

Yes! While some agencies may have several clients in one industry, at Wpromote we greatly appreciate the privilege of serving clients in multiple verticals. Working within Ecommerce and retail and spaces ranging from health and apartment living, our clients allow us to continually think creatively and strategically about the unique needs and challenges of each industry.

Do they manage paid and organic social campaigns?

We do! And there’s a huge difference between the two. Managing paid social campaigns requires extensive expertise in media bidding and a different language to speak to your ideal customer base.

Who will be corresponding with you, the client?

At Wpromote you don’t have to field important questions or discuss strategy with a middleman. Our social media managers communicate directly with each client. In this way we can ensure full understanding of the account, build trust, and promote transparency.

How many accounts does each manager oversee?

This is one of the most common queries we receive from potential clients. At Wpromote, we assign clients to social media managers based on overall best fit, which sets us apart from other agencies. We consider a manager’s vertical experience, subject interest, and previous client experience to find the perfect match between client and manager.

Ready to change the game and revamp your social media marketing strategy? Get in touch with us today to see what Wpromote can do for you.

written by: Wpromote

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