By Polly Winograd Ikonen
As a communications and marketing professional, you obviously know that having your company or client on social media platforms is critical. But simply creating organic posts is no longer enough to generate the engagement you seek.
The term ‘social media marketing’ can be used to describe all kinds of promotional activities on these platforms. In this blog, I’m going to address specific tips you can apply to paid advertising in social media platforms.
It is now well-documented that organic reach on Facebook is on the decline (just north of 5%!), so while organic posts are still a necessary part of your social media presence, paid advertising is something you’re going to have to engage in to get the most out of social media as an active marketing channel.
The good news is that there are many fantastic resources available to guide you, and we’re happy to offer these 5 tips for improving your social media marketing game:
- Stay on top of trends. Social media is a dynamic space, and the algorithms and best practices keep evolving. Several social media service leaders publish regular blogs that provide tons of helpful intel. And, yes, they’re hoping you’ll sign up for one of their platforms – not a bad idea to access their robust analytics and tools that run across platforms. But even if you don’t use one, their blogs offer lots of insight – for free! A couple of recent examples of useful posts:
- How the Facebook algorithm works in 2021 and how to make it work for you from Hootsuite*
- The most important social media trends to know for 2021 from Sprout Social*
(*Note: LCI does not have a promotional relationship with either of these platforms. There are many strong service providers in this area.)
- Tailor your ads to the platform. Just as you wouldn’t use the same post on every platform, you also don’t want to run the same ad across every platform. LinkedIn has a very different vibe from Instagram, so your ads should reflect that in both the copy and in the visuals. You also don’t have to be on every platform: match your platforms to your audience and business goals.
- Have a clear call-to-action. In a social media ad, you have about 3 seconds to make your brand known. So, keep the words to a minimum and keep your visuals strong. And don’t include hashtags or @ tags in your ads. You want viewers to click through to your landing page or other website destination. Don’t give them other clicking choices.
- Experiment. Because social media is such a dynamic environment – and offers an immediate feedback loop to marketers – you should constantly be iterating on your campaigns. Run A/B tests with different copy, images, calls to action, time of day or week to see what generates the greatest engagement. But don’t change everything at once – be methodical. Every platform has pretty robust analytics built in, so use them to learn and evolve your campaigns.
- Engage, engage, engage. Interactivity is critical on social media, so try asking a question or creating game-ified graphics that compel a click. Something as simple as having a ‘buy’ button in your ad increases the likelihood of purchase. (That may sound like a big “duh,” but take a look at the ads you see and consider how often you see one.)
Ultimately, social media marketing is a full-time commitment. You can’t just “set it and forget it.” Whether it’s with organic posts, boosts or ads, to optimize your reach and engagement – and your budget – you’ll need to monitor your analytics, iterate your creative and evolve your strategy in one ongoing feedback loop.
What are your biggest social media marketing challenges? What have been your biggest successes? We’d love to hear your tips!
Got a comment? Comment below or email Polly at: [email protected].
How to leverage 14 social media marketing trends in 2021 (from Forbes Communications Council, Jan 25, 2021)