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8 “Rules” for Social Advertising

Last week, Eloqua published The Grande Guide to Social Advertising, a free 12-page guide written largely by author Leslie Poston. Nearly 3,500 views in 24 hours suggests that marketers are eager to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of running a social media advertisement on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Foursquare and Gowalla.

Following is arguably the central-most chapter of the guide. It’s the 8 “rules” for social advertising:

  1. Find Your Audience: Assuming you know which social networks your prospects prefer is a reliable way to mis-allocate your advertising budget. As part of a social media marketing plan, you need to spend time researching which networks your potential buyers frequent for community interaction and information. This step will save you money and improve performance later.

  2. Think: “Focus”: You don’t necessarily need to spend hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars on a social advertising campaign. In fact, in some cases, a few hundred dollars might be all that’s needed. Social advertisements more about targeting and efficiency than mass awareness. Think about the exact people you want to reach with your message: who they are, where they live, what they do for work and fun, their companies of interest, hobbies, etc. Fine tune your campaign to target them and only them. One word of caution for small businesses: some ongoing social advertising campaigns are charged to credit cards and it can be easy to forget that you’re incurring regular expenses.

  3. Keep It Short: If you thought mastering the 140 character tweet was easy, you’re in luck.  Folks have a short attention span, and you’ll need to use those 140 character “elevator pitch” skills you’ve been honing to catch their interest as quickly as possible, then use your content savvy to induce engagement. A clear call to action, hyper-personalization and a dash of intrigue or humor is an ideal formula.

  4. Maximize Keywords: One way to avoid wasting your money is to become a keyword surgeon.  Google’s free Keyword Tool is a great starting point, but there are many options out there for brands looking to see what words bring them the most traffic, what words their competitors use, and what people search for related to their industry.

  5. Tell Viewers What To Do: People are more likely to engage with your brand if you tell them what to do, then make it easy for them to do it. Whether you want them to click a button, complete a form, or retweet a post, making your request unambiguous will dramatically increase the frequency of a desired action. Remember, social advertising is all about engagement. Make interaction simple.

  6. Drive Customers “Home” (to your Website / microsite / landing page): In many cases the data provided on social platforms will be less “rich” than what you can collect on your own web properties. Your best bet for tracking metrics (and triggering conversions) is to route prospects to a microsite or a custom landing page designed specifically for the campaign. Also try to minimize the number of clicks required to complete the call to action and reduce the number of form fields to essentials-only. You can use progressive profiling to capture more data later.

  7. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Pick a couple of social advertising sites at a time. Trying to blast the entire Internet with your social advertisements is not only a waste of money, it’s also harder to track and fine tune. Less frequent, higher quality ad engagement in a more targeted and audience-appropriate manner is a preferable model on the social Web. Relevance is key.

  8. Engage and Entertain: Although “captive audience” marketing is long over, for many advertisers the urge to broadcast is like a phantom limb. Social customers choose which brands they listen to -- and attributes like human, entertaining and informative tend to be the qualities people find most connection-worthy. The seeds of loyalty are sewn well in advance of purchase.

If you enjoyed this chapter, be sure to check out the complete Grande Guide to Social Advertising. The free resource, which can be downloaded on our social advertising microsite, contains everything you need to know about running an effective social media advertisement.

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