“Online advertising doesn’t have to be a “wild west.” – Benjamin Edelman, Harvard Business School
For good or for worst, social media today takes a special place in marketing, an important one! Some of the reasons for this is that social media channels are cheap, popular and it is really easy to target an audience. That last part, accurate targeting, is key.
Back in the Mad Man days, there were only mass media, so marketers were targeting everyone. Creating an interesting and persuasive advertisement was pretty much the goal in their marketing strategy. They did not care where their product would be shown, because there were just a few channels on TV and a handful of newspapers, magazines and radio stations. Everyone was reading the same newspapers and watching the same TV channels, where all the advertisements were taking place too.
(marketing platforms before digital media and internet)
These days are gone now. Not only there are infinite numbers of TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines, but there is this whole new digital world as well. A big part of it is, of course, the social network platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram and many more that I am missing and also many more to be created I’m sure, are a whole new play-field for marketers.
This new playground comes with a new game with its own rules. This game is also much harder to play. There are much more people who can get involved too, not just the selected few who were allowed to Madison Avenue. This means that anybody can become a marketer, and I mean anybody! Even if you are a broke ass Eastern European waiter and student in Ireland, if you have the will, you can become a marketer. Well, with that will, you will also need a computer and an Internet connection, but that is pretty much it.
This is possible because of social networks. They are the TV channels of the Mad Man times, except much cheaper. Some are even free. Of course, if you want to get your “ad” on “prime time” so it will reach more people, you will need to spend some money. Not much money, but some investment is needed to help you to get to some other social circles, not just yours.
What do I mean by that? If you are new on the market and your social channels are only created, it is almost certain that the people who will fallow these channels are going to be your friends and family. This might be helpful and slightly encouraging. It is always nice when my mother likes my articles even though she does not speak English. After a while though, your friends and family are getting tired of your posts, because it is not their thing. It is not interesting for them. Their interests lie somewhere else and suddenly you are left with nobody liking, sharing or commenting on your post.
To get out of this friend zone you will need to get your content to parts of the social media channels, where people share the same interests as you do. Fortunately, Facebook, Twitter (I will focus on these two social platforms, as they are the two leaders in the area) and most of the big social networks have a solution to this problem. Unfortunately, these solutions are not free! They are not really expensive either, but not free.
Is it worth investing in social media ads to promote your product or service?
This is, unfortunately, a question with no straight answer. You will see a lot of different opinions around the Web. Some are saying invest and some are saying do not invest. What I have seen from my research, the people that are not investing money in social media advertisement are already popular on their chosen social networks. That means organic clicks are more than enough for them to get their content to their target audience. The people who are saying that it is really helpful are the ones who are not popular and organic searches are not enough to get their product to the right people.
I am taking the side of the latter because I am a novice marketeer and I need to spread my content to new social circles. Facebook and Twitter are allowing you to target the exact group of people that you are looking for as little or as much as you wish to invest.
To be continued…