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The Basics of Social Media Advertising

While high-quality organic social media content is valuable for building your brand and communicating on behalf of your organization, paid social media with a well-crafted targeting strategy will ensure that content reaches the right people. Even with a small budget of just $10 a day, you can significantly amplify your posts within an existing audience or reach new viewers altogether.  

Facebook and Instagram 

Most people allocate a significant portion of their social media advertising dollars to Facebook and Instagram, which can be accessed through Facebook’s Ad Manager. This is a logical decision because it is the largest social media platform in the world, with 2.6 billion users, and much has been written about changes in its algorithms that inhibit the reach of organic content from Facebook Pages. For both the myriad targeting options it offers advertisers, and the broad audiences it allows advertisers to reach, it is an excellent advertising platform to start with. 

Facebook also offers advertisers the ability to create “lookalike” audiences. Once you have identified a “source audience” from a customer list matched with Facebook users, or people who presently follow your Facebook page, Facebook can create an audience for an ad campaign that is similar to the source audience, tailor it by size and geography (by country), and begin delivering your ad campaign to that audience of people who have a similar profile to those you know have an interest in your product or service. 

While the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League have spearheaded an advertising boycott against Facebook for what they consider to be Facebook’s inadequate response to hate speech on their platform, Facebook has responded by partnering with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. to offer free digital training classes, business advice and panel discussions for Black-owned businesses across the country through the month of August. 

However, if your organization is committed to the ongoing #StopHateForProfit movement, there are still plenty of other platforms to consider.  

Twitter 

Twitter may not offer the nuanced targeting options available on Facebook but there are a few mechanisms in Twitter’s advertising platform that make it incredibly useful. 

  • Keyword advertising: Interest and topic targeting on Twitter is much less nuanced than on Facebook. However, Twitter makes up for that by offering the option of targeting by keyword, reaching people who have used a specific word or hashtag in their Twitter post, or people who have interacted with tweets containing those words in the last seven days.  

For example, downtown Jacksonville’s Business Improvement District has made the hashtag #dtjax popular – if you are an advertiser interested in reaching people who have an interest in downtown Jacksonville because they live or work there, select dtjax as your keyword for an easy way to reach that audience. 

  • Follower lookalikesThis option allows you to target people with interests similar to another account’s followers. You may wish to target competitors, brands that complement yours, or media and news outlets that report on your industry, to name just a few examples. 
  • EventsTwitter maintains a list of prominent upcoming events that you can select from when building your advertising campaign, reaching audiences that are interested in events related to your campaign. Review Twitter’s 2020 Marketing Calendar here. 

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn bills itself as “the largest global community of professionals” and for that reason it is by far the strongest B2B advertising option on social media.  

It offers you the option to target audiences by individual characteristics – alma maters, fields of study, job title, function, seniority, skills — as well as by company characteristics – name, industry, size, connections, etc. 

LinkedIn also offers two ad formats that are unmatched by the other platforms listed here.  

  • Dynamic ads are tailored to your advertising campaign’s objectives, while gleaning data from individual profiles to create customized ads for each viewer. 
  • Sponsored messages place tailored content in LinkedIn inboxes along with other organic messages. 

One final benefit: their website tag, a simple piece of code that is easy to install in any content manager, allows you to track what companies are visiting your website, whether to identify competitors or follow up on prospective clients, and retarget visitors with subsequent advertising campaigns. 

Contact Tucker/Hall to discuss how a well-designed social media advertising plan could benefit your company or organization. 

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