Social media advertising is a critical business marketing strategy for every B2B campaign.
The key to success is creating a social media sales funnel that is designed to turn social media prospects from prospects into leads into customers. Here are 10 top social media advertising strategies, beginning with the obvious, and ending with some that you may not have considered.
1. LinkedIn Ads
Don’t let LinkedIn’s small advertising market share fool you – size isn’t everything, it’s the quality that counts. And LinkedIn happens to be the world’s largest “social” network for professionals.
What makes LinkedIn different is that you can target based on business-specific criteria, such as job title, job skills, company name, and so forth. This extreme level of precision lets you advertise to very specific, select groups of people.
2. Facebook Promotional Posts
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and gives advertisers the ability to use very specific demographic data to target the right audience. Since most people don’t actually care about posts belonging to businesses, you’ll need to purchase display ads and promoted page posts.
The expense is well worth it, however. Facebook Pages, when utilized correctly, offer a great way to interact with the right audience, build awareness, and create interest in your business.
3. Twitter’s Lead Generation Card
Twitter is a prime target for business marketing, since so many tech-savvy marketers and businesses use the platform. The social network’s Lead Generation Card is an additional tool that can be attached to any promoted offer.
This app automatically fills out the user’s Twitter credentials, bypassing the form-filling stage, which decreases your total barriers to conversion.
4. “Discovery” Platforms
StumbleUpon, the social discovery network that presents random websites based on users’ interests, also offers a “paid discovery” option. If you have the right business and the right content, this can be a useful promotional method.
As with other advertising systems, this network optimizes ads based on user feedback, so ensure that your website grabs the attention, adds value, and gets “thumbs ups” from users.
The important difference between sites like StumpleUpon or Reddit and content discovery networks, like Digg, are that these sites are social. That is, they are user-driven. Smaller advertising budgets can use creativity and viral marketing to their advantage to potentially gain more exposure than other networks would offer.
5. Targeted Social Networks
Business marketers should be taking advantage of industry-specific social networks in order to build their own networks and presence. Many of them also offer ads, which of course means that your ads will be even more targeted than your typical social network.
Labroots, for instance, a social network for science professionals, offers banner ads, email ads, and more.
6. Instagram Sponsored Photos
Instagram is quickly taking its place as one of the most important social networks, especially among teens. This photo and video sharing site allows advertisers to purchase sponsored photos or videos of their own.
And, as with other sites like StumbleUpon, users can provide feedback or hide sponsored videos. While this certainly helps users keep out ads they aren’t interested in, it also helps advertisers figure out which ads are working and how they can improve their campaigns. Early responses have been positive.
7. Pinterest Promoted Pins
The network’s early advertising attempts were somewhat “sneaky,” in that many ads weren’t clearly marked as ads. However, the network’s recent advertising efforts have been more open.
The Promoted Pins that rolled out in September of 2013 caused less of a reaction, and this network continues to stay on users’ good sides, so if this network matches your company’s audience and needs, this is a good option.
8. Google+ and +Post
Google+ has rolled out +Post ads, which are available to AdWords advertisers with a “significant” number of followers. If you’ve got the numbers and your audience spends time on Google’s social network, then you can turn your posts into ads that run across the web. As with other posts, users can comment, follow your brand, and even join a Hangout directly from the ad.
9. YouTube Ads
YouTube’s pre-roll video ads show up just before a video starts. As with most social network ads, you can target users based on gender, age, interest, and location. You only have to pay when people choose to watch your ad, so you don’t end up spending money on users who aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
10. Snapchat Ads
Got a younger audience? Snapchat recently rolled out ads that will show up in the Recent Updates section of the app, where users find Stories. The ads are opt-in, so people don’t have to view them if they don’t want to.
Snapchat appears to be taking cues from other user-driven ads, such as the user-ranked StumbleUpon sites or YouTube videos that users can skip. This provides a better user experience and gives advertisers a better feel for their audience’s needs.
Every business marketer should know their industry’s social presence. You should be taking advantage of social media advertising strategies and incorporate it into your larger advertising strategy.