Social media is king of the ring when it comes to advertising. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get through 30 seconds of Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter without being bombarded with sponsored ads. If you feel like your senses have been dulled by the constant barrage of adverts, we all share your pain. Here’s an example of the kind of adverts I mean:
At first glance it may seem like I’m being targeted because I’m a gambling, zombie killer who needs to do a spot of search advertising – in reality, I’m two out of three on these things – but I’ll never admit which ones. When different people target us on social platforms, they focus on different behavioural and demographic aspects of our social media profiles. A demographic is essentially a measure of someone’s behaviour on social media and online. This can either be as a result of their job title, their age, location or general interests. In this case, the following has been targeted:
• Ad 1 – I follow a popular betting site. They may have used the companies “followers” and targeted them directly.
• Ad 2 – I once looked at a dressing gown from a well-known video game so have been targeted based on my IP history.
• Ad 3 – job related (finally, something relevant!)
None of these ads are in any way similar – however they are all linked to me. So how important is choosing the right platform in reaching the optimum audience? To answer this we first need to look at who is on what platform.
A report by Ofcom in 2014 revealed that 96% of UK adults are, or have been on Facebook. Included in the report was the age ranges which showed almost 98% of all under 34’s are on Facebook. With this in mind, Facebook definitely packs a punch when it comes to advertising. As long as you provide the right products at the right place – Facebook will have the audience that you need.
LinkedIn is, by nature, a Business-to-Business networking site where professionals can communicate through their shared love of being on social networks when working (I see you avoiding those reports). LinkedIn is the direct opposite of Facebook when it comes to demographics as it carries 79% of the total population that are over 35. Of this 79%, many are the key decision makers of a company. We’re talking Chief Executive Officers, General Managers, Managing Directors and so forth. If you have a business proposition – LinkedIn has the contacts for you.
Twitter is the place where most celebrities tweet pictures of fast cars, small dogs and occasionally argue with each other – I’m looking at you Piers and Lord Sugar. However, it is also the potential source of advertising that you’ve been craving. 37% of people on Twitter are 18-29, with only 10% of them being over 60.
Now that we know who is where, how can we use this to our advantage?
Finding Your Demographic
We all know what we sell, but we don’t necessarily know who to sell it to. When choosing a platform it’s very easy to look at the volume of people on a site. If we all listened to volume, Facebook would win hands down – with 27 million users every month. This far exceeds other platforms, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, as these generate 19 million and 15 million respectively.
Choosing the right platform can be daunting. So here’s our 4-step user guide to help with that decision.
1. Choose Who Will Buy Your Product
If you’re selling an 18-25 alcohol-fuelled holiday experience then, chances are, you aren’t going to focus on LinkedIn as your source of traffic. You’re probably going to need to target the platform most relevant for this demographic – Facebook. Take a look at who you think would buy your product and then pick the platform that’s best for you.
2. Dip Your Toe In
There is no harm in testing out a platform to see how you get on. Most marketing firms will test out various platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, before making a decision. Place a small daily budget on each campaign and monitor its success. If one is seeing more traffic, or another gets more signups you can increase or decrease budget on the fly – allowing close monitoring of each platform.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Make Changes
It’s hard to find a marketing campaign that hasn’t had its pitfalls. Take a look at your campaign and make changes where you need to. Change the content, the landing page and the type of advert you use before getting drastic and throwing in the towel. Marketing a product or brand is about seeing what works and adapting to changes.
4. Move With The Times
You might implement a plan and it works spectacularly well. In which case – congratulations. This might work for the lifetime of your business, which is ideal. However most businesses will eventually come unstuck and will need to move with the times. Look at trends, look at the product and keep an eye on your platforms.
Social media is constantly changing. There isn’t always going to be a massive rise and fall, but we thought that about MySpace. We can’t predict where each platform will go, but we can adapt to it when it happens.