Is Social Media A Dead End For Your Business? (And What To Do About It)

Implementing a paid advertising strategy is key to success on social media.

Implementing a paid advertising strategy is key to success on social media.
Marketing on social media used to be pretty easy.

Three or four years ago…

You created some posts, tossed them on Facebook, hit a huge segment of your customers, and watched the engagement roll in.

Piece of cake, right? Facebook even helped you by putting your page and posts in front of lots of likely customers — for free!

Crazy…

Now, Facebook has a tight leash around all your posts and you get minimal exposure.

Twitter’s hit a plateau and even though it’s still a great place to be for conversation, growing your brand is a major challenge unless you grabbed a following when the platform was booming.

If you’re like most companies, now you’re flocking to Instagram, because it’s actually generating some results today.

But that’s not a forever type of deal, is it? Just over the last 24 months, Instagram has become super competitive for brands and there have been massive engagement drops across the board.

It’s only a matter of time before Instagram gets buttoned up similar to Facebook, and becomes almost entirely a pay-to-play marketing channel.

When that inevitably happens, where are you taking your social media focus next?

The thing is, you have to stop relying solely on just posting to social media and expecting the platforms to do the hard work for you. Those days are gone.

As hard a pill it is to swallow, scaling your business from the typical day-to-day social media posting is a dead end for most brands. Instead, if you want to drive customers through social media, you need a paid social advertising strategy and you need to pull back the reins on your day-to-day content production, because it’s ineffective and inefficient.

Want Proof Organic Social Media Isn’t A Reliable Path?

Unilever owns some of the largest consumer brands on the planet — household names like Dove, Axe Body Spray, Lipton Tea, Dollar Shave Club, and plenty more.

Go skim the Dove Facebook page, paying attention to the dates they’ve made new posts. See how infrequent they are?

Or the Axe Facebook page. They haven’t posted anything since May 25!

We’re talking about a huge consumer brand with almost 4 million Facebook fans and a target audience of younger men — some of the heaviest users of Facebook.

The brand still doesn’t see the value of organic posting on social media; they’ve shifted the majority of their resources to paid social advertising and more significant content (like video) integrated with broader marketing campaigns.

You should too.

If diving into social advertising sounds like an overwhelming task, that’s because it is. Digital advertising can be a money sinkhole if you don’t ask the right questions up front and establish a working digital sales funnel.

Not only that, but there’s a lot of technical work on the back end to set up your landing pages, integrate them with your CRM or email management tool, create the ad campaigns and establish good targeting, and properly track campaigns for optimization.

The question is, are you going to fall behind the marketing curve or will you make that bold decision to put your business in a position for success?

5 Embarrassing Facebook Ads Mistakes You Should Avoid

Facebook Ads Mistakes

Facebook Ads Mistakes

Facebook ads seem like a sure-fire way to attract a host of new leads and give your sales figures a boost. Yet too many businesses sink hard-earned revenue into their advertising campaigns, only to find that their efforts have been wasted.

This can be tremendously disheartening, and even baffling in some cases. After all, your concept is great and your ads have been well-funded, carefully crafted, and you’re all over your retargeting strategy.

If this sounds familiar — all is not lost — and you may still be able to salvage your ad campaign if you pivot fast. Turn the ads off, regroup, and come back smarter.

The following mistakes are easy to make, but can seriously impact the success of your marketing. Find out if any of these apply to you, and what you can do to get the most out of your Facebook ads.

Recommended reading: Social Media Marketing 101 for Small Businesses

1. Poor Targeting & Segmentation

One of the first pitfalls facing many marketers on Facebook is that their target market is poorly defined. It may be ineffectively segmented, too diverse, or simply too large.

This makes it far more difficult to create content that really speaks to the individual, meaning that it’s difficult to sell the value of your online business to specific users.

Narrow down your audience by investigating which demographics are most likely to engage with your brand. From there, you can effectively segment your audience, targeting each sub-group with expertly tailored ad content, based on buyer personas you construct from your customer data.

While narrowing your field does mean you will lose some of your audience, the ones you retain will be those whom you have the greatest chance of converting.

Furthermore, the ability to focus your efforts means that you can create highly relevant, useful content, centered on the needs of the demographics that remain. This enables you to manage resources more efficiently, and increase the likelihood of conversion once customers reach your website.

Targeting also helps you pick up on any existing conversations, retarget cart abandoners, and just generally speak more directly to your customer community, all of which are vital to tools in the growth of your online business.

2. Not Using Split Testing

Split testing — also sometimes called an A/B test — could not be more important when it comes to effective Facebook advertising! Split testing means setting up two almost-identical ads, but changing one variable in the campaign to understand which ad has the most impact.

This could be:

  • Changing the headline copy
  • Using a different image
  • Altering your targeting
  • Slightly changing your landing page copy

The ultimate purpose of split testing is to isolate one variable and pinpoint exactly how much positive impact it has on your campaign goals, so you can replicate the results.

The beauty of split testing is that it enables you to run multiple variants of the same ad simultaneously, providing you with valuable comparison data that can inform your future design decisions.

Accurately measuring the success of any individual ad component is difficult, as there are so many factors that can influence traffic and engagement at any given time.

Make sure that you don’t vary your ads too much and that you keep your tests as clear as possible. Vary the copy, then the header image, then the CTA — one at a time. If you change too many variables at once, you have no way of knowing which change was responsible for the campaign outcome.

Split testing is also a great way to evaluate consumer leanings, and even to compare habits and preferences between marketing channels.

Facebook includes a built-in split testing feature, to make optimizing your content as straightforward as possible, so it is definitely worth taking the time to experiment with ways to improve your content.

3. Not Telling a Story

Brand narratives sell, and using your ads to tell a story is a brilliant way to inspire your audience and make them feel invested in your brand.

In a study conducted by Adaptly, it was found that audiences exposed to a sequenced ad campaign yielded:

Facebook Ads Traffic Statistic

Online commerce is a ferociously competitive business and it’s no longer enough to roll out hackneyed phrasing and empty sales copy, nor to do this through advertising alone. Millennial buyers especially want authenticity, and you must make your online business the reality that they seek.

This makes it of the highest importance that you have a website that allows you to write your story clearly and in as many ways as possible. There is nothing worse than going from a great Facebook ad to a poorly designed website.

Remember, ads do not only need to sell a particular product or service; they are selling your brand as a whole. Use the space to tell your audience a bit about who you are and what you do. By revealing the personality, values, and aspirations behind your brand, you invite your audience to become part of the story by engaging directly with your narrative.

4. Using Ads Without Exploring Other Channels

Sometimes the problem isn’t the ads themselves, but simply the fact that your efforts could be better spent elsewhere. After all, even the greatest Facebook ad campaign will get you nowhere if the bulk of your target audience is on Twitter.

Take the time to conduct research into where, when, and how your audience consumes content. You may find that Facebook is not the best channel for your content.

Once you know where to focus your efforts, you will be able to target your content far more effectively, and secure a greater ROI from your Facebook campaigns.

5. Neglecting Visuals and Video Content

There is significant opportunity for visual marketing when working with Facebook ads. Whether you simply upload product pictures or you boost your ad’s visibility by including a video, the use of visual marketing solutions is incredibly important for defining, adjusting and growing your online business.

Video content accounts for a significant percentage of all web traffic, with more than 50 percent of people claiming to watch online videos every day. This easy-to-consume, on-the-go content can boost engagement.

Tools such as PowToon allow you to create your own animated video content, while other services, such as Canva are great for generating custom infographics to spice up your adverts.

However, you don’t just have to create your own content. There are occasions when it’s right, proper, and just plain business savvy to use content curation. And if you do it right, then you can use it to create viral Facebook content and really get your brand’s name out there.

A picture isn’t always worth a 1000 words, but the right videos and visuals will have a huge impact on ad click-throughs and engagement levels. Go with bold, branded imagery that will stop people in their tracks while they’re busy scrolling down their feed.

Wrap Up

Not every ad will reach its full potential, and there will always be factors beyond your control that will influence the success of your marketing endeavors.

Nevertheless, if you take care to avoid the mistakes above, and pay close attention to what works well, and what doesn’t perform as expected, you will soon get to know what your audience is looking for.

Moreover, as time goes on, and you refine the style and content of your advertisements, you will develop a definitive formula and tone for your ad content. Not only will this make it easier to produce effective content in the future, but it will also help you to reaffirm your brand identity, as customers become familiar with your ads and learn to recognize your brand on sight.

Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about small-scale business. Visit the community for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

26 Awesome Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

26 Awesome Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

26 Awesome Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

Post submitted by Mandy Edwards.

“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” – Ryan Lilly

I came across the above quote and thought it to be a great illustration of how social media is becoming so deeply ingrained in marketing strategies across the board.

Of course, any effective social media strategy is founded in research, analytics, and statistics — consumer behaviors, interests, patterns, demographics, and so on.

Being a fan of data and statistics, I love finding different bits of information among the common data we social media marketing professionals regularly use.

Some bits are eye-opening, some are really odd.

Some make you sit and really evaluate what your actual usage behavior is, while some just make you laugh.

Below are 26 social media marketing statistics I’ve found while doing client research and putting together my weekly Marketing Fact Friday series (you can follow on Instagram) that will help advise your social media strategy.

Social Media Usage

  • Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media: almost 7 hours per week versus Millennials, who come in second, spending just over 6 hours per week. (Nielsen)
  • Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile. (MarketingLand)
  • Nearly half (43%) of weekly Facebook activity and a third (33%) of weekly Twitter activity occurred on Sundays. (Nielsen)
  • The number of active social media users worldwide is 2.78 billion, out of the world’s population of 7.47 billion. (We Are Social)
  • Smartphones accounted for 78% of adults, ages 18-34, total weekly social minutes. (Nielsen)
  • Adults ages 50+ spent 64% more time on social media in 2016 than in 2015. (Nielsen)
  • 85% of people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news. (Byte of Data)

Social Media + TV

  • There were 11.8 million TV-related interactions on Facebook from 5.9 million people on average each day this fall. (Nielsen)
  • On an average day, 42% of those interacting with TV on Facebook are Generation X, 40% are Millennials, and the remaining 18% are Baby Boomers. (Nielsen)
  • 81% of engagement with TV-related Tweets comes organically from the audience. (Nielsen)
  • 57% of people who used their tablet while watching television said they visited Facebook while doing so, compared with 24% who said they visited Twitter. On smartphones, those numbers were 58% and 20%, respectively. (Nielsen)

Social Media + Business

  • More than 2 million advertisers regularly use Facebook to market their business. (Hootsuite)
  • While 64 percent of marketers have a Snapchat account, only 67 percent of those accounts are active. (L2)
  • 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved. (Hootsuite)
  • 13% of heavy social media users clicked on an advertisement within the last 30 days. (Nielsen)
  • 30% of heavy social media users think it’s very or somewhat important to engage with social media in order to show support of their favorite companies or brands. (Nielsen)
  • 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases. (Pinterest)

Social Media Content

  • Tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (HubSpot)
  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Brain Rules)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Cisco)
  • 51% of all video plays are on mobile devices — this growth represents a 15% increase from 2015 and a 203% increase from 2014. (Facebook)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Cisco)
  • Videos under five minutes in length account for 55% of total video consumption time on smartphones. (Ooyala)
  • 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. (Digiday)

Wrap Up

Some of these statistics you may be able to use for your own business, or for a client. Having data to back up anything you propose or want to do yourself, is always key — it gives you and what you’re proposing more credibility (as long as the data is from a credible source).

What kind of data and statistics are used in your business’ marketing strategy? Share with us below!

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About The Author

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a social marketing and website design company located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, she has 15+ years marketing experience covering sales, event planning, local store marketing, advertising and social media.

Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes and Crain’s Chicago Business, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Influencer. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Jonathan Payne leads as the CEO of JP Digital with nearly a decade of digital marketing experience helping both small businesses and national brands like Old Forester, Early Times, KORBEL, and University of Louisville.

JP Digital exists to remove that feeling of being overwhelmed by digital marketing and replace it with confidence and optimism about the future of your business. Let’s chat if you’re ready to take charge of your digital marketing!