“How do I integrate paid social media marketing as part of my digital presence?” I get this question A LOT.
U.S. businesses widely perceive social media as awareness and branding channels, so thinking of new ways to leverage it for additional lead generation and nurturing opportunities is a logical next step. I think the next wave of effective social media marketing will involve combining paid and organic social media as an ideal strategy to maximize the time and resources invested in social channels.
Starting with Facebook
I am going to use Facebook’s advertising offerings as examples. Other social channels have similar advertising products, so learning one can make it easier to learn others.
Facebook provides a myriad of advertising products, ranging from very simple ad setup to more complex campaigns driven by customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Advertisers can benefit from a captive and engaged audience, free training and a variety of ad formats. Small businesses can leverage these benefits without having to spend significant amounts of money on ads or invest in costly training.
In the context of advertising, Facebook has a valuable platform of conversations, content sharing and interactions across computers, phones, tablets and apps. It’s rich with a variety of audience demographics and heavy usage attractive to advertisers.
- Research from spring of 2016 showed nearly 8 in 10 US online Americans (79%) use Facebook, with 76% visiting daily
- As of January 2018, 58.3 million US Facebook users were between 25 and 34 years old
Let’s pair that audience size and engagement with a breakdown of how much time on average people spend on media each day:
- Digital media – 5 hours, 50 minutes
- Television – 4 hours, 4 minutes
- Radio – 1 hour, 26 minutes
- Print – :25 minutes
With respect to advertising on Facebook, you’re working with a captive, dedicated and diverse audience. This is an excellent environment in which to integrate paid social media marketing into your organic efforts.
Currently, Facebook offers a quick-hit way to turn an organic post into an ad to garner additional exposure. Its “Boost Post” button is an example of an easy setup that only requires a few clicks to get rolling and turn organic page posts into ads. While easy to implement, it’s not necessarily a sound strategy. Other Facebook options may better help you meet your business goals.
Take Advantage of Free Training
A few years ago, Facebook rolled out Facebook Blueprint, an online advertising training resource offering eLearning, certification and in-person programs.
Blueprint eLearning modules are free, quick, detailed and broken into specific topics, like:
- Getting started with Facebook ads
- Audience targeting
- Lead generation
- Facebook ad formats
Modules can take as few as 10 minutes to complete. With more than 90 eLearning courses to take advantage of, small business marketers can quickly focus on what they want to learn and customize their training accordingly and build a solid foundation for a strategic paid social campaign.
Facebook’s certification and in-person training programs are more involved, require considerable time and money and are best suited for “power advertisers,” such as larger corporations or agencies.
All of these educational opportunities will help inform smarter and more strategic paid social marketing decisions.
Ask Yourself Why and What
Before you get started building ads, ask yourself why you are doing this and what it is you want to gain from it. What is it you want your audience to do?
- Make a phone call?
- Schedule an appointment?
- Fill out a form?
If you’re like most loan officers and real estate professionals, you prefer leads to call you on your mobile. But consider this: It’s not how you want to be contacted that matters; it’s how your customer would prefer to contact you. Using a phone as a phone has quickly grown as an undesirable experience. In fact, research shows about 40% of smartphone owners could do without having a call function on their device. Texting and emailing have taken over as preferred contact methods, so setting up ads to drive phone calls could end up generating disappointing results.
The good news is, Facebook has ad options that allow you to engage with your audience through the channels they prefer:
- Facebook Lead Ads prepopulate customers’ information from their Facebook profile. They click your ad, see their information prepopulated in your ad form and then hit submit. That information is sent to you
- Messenger works in harmony with a Facebook Business Page and can quickly be set up to (essentially) share messages with a lead
Think of these as additional tools in your marketing mix. Test what may generate the most leads or responses from your audience.
Talk to the Right Audience
Audience targeting is critical to a successful paid social media marketing campaign. Facebook has developed one of the most comprehensive databases of advertising targeting available to marketers, ranging from general targeting (age, location, gender) to specific micro-options, for example, where a someone may be in the home-buying process.
You can even upload a customer list, like your CRM, and show ads only to your customers. Facebook Custom Audience takes your customer info (name, address, phone number, mail, etc.) and matches it to existing Facebook profiles (while never compromising personally identifying information). In my experience, the match rate is about 60% – much higher than many other advertising platforms. This is especially beneficial if you have a list of warm leads to nurture by engaging them with targeted ad messages.
Some advertisers just want visibility and exposure, while others want to generate leads or nurture existing leads. Identify your goals and determine which approach best supports them.
Measuring the success of a paid social media marketing campaign is critical to determining whether your advertising program is working.
- What is the most effective ad message and content to share with your audience? Is it homebuyer education? Understanding a credit score? Down payment options? Mortgage rates?
- Based on the content you share, think about the action you want your audience to take: Click to register for a seminar; email to schedule an appointment; or click to download an educational brochure
- Do you just want visibility and impressions to confirm people are seeing your content?
Based on your criteria, build your ad format to guide the appropriate behavior. For example, if your goal is to drive registrations to attend a home-buying seminar, a lead generation ad can make it easy for users to submit their information and register. If your goal is visibility, boosting an organic post is an easy way to achieve this.
Of course, Facebook is only one social channel with paid social media marketing offerings. Building familiarity with its advertising options can help lay a foundation for understanding additional social channels you may want to add into your marketing mix, like Twitter and LinkedIn.
If you’d like to learn more about how to build a paid social media marketing strategy, reach out to us through our Mortgage Speakers Bureau inquiry form to discuss possibilities.
Tags: Facebook, marketing, paid social media, Social Media