Effective advertising is all about reaching the right audience, at the right time, with the right message. If we were to start constructing an advertising strategy right now, we could use the above definition to guide our strategy (audience, time, message). Who are we speaking to? When are they likely to see adverts? What will the advert consist of? These questions, each requiring an answer if a strategy has any hope of working, can be answered in part using social media. Here’s how:
Types of advertising
Before we dive headlong into using social media to improve advertising campaigns, we need to understand that the era of traditional advertising is gone. You’ll see streetlamp posters and physical newspapers/magazines for a while still, but online is where people spend most of their free time these days. Digital advertising includes activities like direct marketing (email/SMS), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (Google Ads), online advertorials, and social media advertising.
Social media advertising
Take Facebook as an example. The social media platform allows you to design and schedule adverts in a variety of formats, giving the advertiser complete control over where the ads are being seen, who should be seeing them, how long the ads should stay active for, and how much money you want to spend on the undertaking (ad spend). Facebook also lets you “boost” posted adverts, where a larger percentage of your existing followers will see them. The greatest part about advertising on social media is that it gives you data to use in other areas of your advertising.
Four ways to improve advertising with social media
One of the points made in the beginning was that advertisers need to know WHO they’re advertising to. Social media tools, like Facebook’s Insights, let you see your followers in greater detail. You can see audience demographics like age, gender, general geographic location.
Testing and measuring
Social media platforms are the ideal spaces to test ad design concepts. Many brands use their social media followers to decide on new logos, colour schemes, and even ads. It includes the customer (whether existing or potential) in the inner-workings of the brand, which is a good thing.
The best advertising is that which includes elements of current social events. Leading up to and during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, countless brands included soccer balls and other soccer-related imagery on their ads. Nandos is also brilliant at using current affairs to entertain and win favour with their audiences.
Before we move one, know one thing: social media are not meant to be lead-generating platforms (at least not primarily). Brands that do nothing but advertise will drive followers away, but the subtle use of content marketing and occasional ads can add an extra lead generation avenue.
Advertising can be a daunting industry to get into for most people, but not for those who qualify themselves beforehand – gaining the skills and knowledge needed to thrive as advertising professionals.
See our National Certificate of Advertising and Digital Marketing for an ideal qualification intended to help anyone break into the exciting world of advertising.
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