As of 2017, 81 percent of all Americans have a social media profile, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or countless other platforms. Not long ago, it was easy for a startup to simply create social media profiles on Twitter and Facebook, and begin sharing information about its products or services. However, due to constantly changing algorithms, as well as some major business decisions by social media conglomerates, reaching potential customers via social media now oftentimes requires paid ads.
In short, it’s no longer viable to rely on organically reaching your potential customers across social media platforms. On Facebook, organic reach has decreased down to 2 percent for profiles over 1,000 users; Instagram continues to decrease closer and closer to zero percent; and on Twitter, with 500 million tweets published every day, your weekly post may slip through your users’ feeds.
It’s easy to dismiss the idea of these ads, especially since they cost money, and many startups might think they can reach their audience in other ways. However, with such a large percentage of Americans on social media and constantly evolving platform algorithms, it’s essential for your startup’s budget to include social media ads.
Compared to traditional advertising channels, social ads are relatively inexpensive, especially considering all the potential exposure that comes with them.
For around $1 to $5 a day, you can get your content in front of thousands of potential new customers. Facebook’s Ads Manager in particular allows advertisers to narrow down their audience based on demographics, geographic location, interests, shopping habits, estimated household income and more.
Think about it this way: If your main objective is to sell a house, and you spend $200 on a lead generating Facebook ad to reach one user who buys a $200,000 house, you’ve more than paid for your social strategy.
Additionally, since social media ads don’t require an excessive amount of content built from the ground up, the money ordinarily spent on content creation could be reallocated to your overall budget.
Facebook and Twitter are both optimized for video content, automatically increasing your organic reach, and with an extra $5 behind these posts, they are able to reach thousands of users you may have been missing.
When bra brand, ThirdLove, launched its business, it opted to reach its target audience with social ads on larger platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In fact, the company still runs these ads, despite experiencing exponential growth year after year since its inception in 2013.
Through Facebook carousel ads, the online lingerie brand was able to not only to increase brand awareness, but also to gain the trust of its targeted customer base through visual examples of issues that target users identify with during the bra shopping experience. By taking a quick glance at ThirdLove’s growth plan, it’s clear that they achieved what they set out to accomplish and then some.
Part of the reason ThirdLove found such great success with its social ads is because their content wasn’t showing up in the newsfeeds of middle-aged men. They targeted their ads directly into the feeds of women. Facebook Pixels offer the ability to view a user’s browsing habits, and create a Lookalike Audience based off every user who has been to your website in the past.
By using a mix of brand awareness ads, web traffic campaigns, and finally a lead-generating option, social media is able to narrow down the audience from all page followers to customers who perfectly fit within your buyer persona.
Since you can choose exactly who you want to target depending on your product or service, you get to decide exactly who will see your ad. Create multiple “ideal customers” and target specific ads around those personas for a targeted and strategic look at social advertising.
Traditional ads flatlining
With the advent of on-demand television providers and one-click news sources, fewer consumers are watching commercials on TV or reading a newspaper. We instantly throw out pamphlets and flyers we receive in the mail, and we don’t answer the door when someone rings the bell, especially if we don’t know them.
It’s becoming more difficult than ever to reach our intended audience — with the exception of social media. One of the best ways to market to people is where they already live, and that happens to be on their smartphones.
Above all, your startup should always include room in its budget for targeted social ads, because they work. You can also view analytics to see exactly what is working and what isn’t, so you can adjust your strategy at-will, helping you stay ahead of the marketing game. And, with a constantly changing landscape, who knows where social media might take us in the future?