In marketing, social media is everywhere. The digital media landscape is full of social media platforms and their growth seems to be relatively unlimited.
For example, as of June 2012, Facebook alone boasts over 900 million users with almost 550 million active users per day. As of March 2012, Twitter boasted 340 million daily tweets from 140 million users. LinkedIn is active in more than 200 countries with over 150 million users as of February 2012, and those numbers continue to climb.
As a general rule in dealing with social platforms, if your customers are there, then you should be too. However, this isn’t always the case for some verticals, and depends on how targeted your marketing needs to be. After all, you don’t want to waste your time and money advertising to customers who will never need your product or service.
Listed below are some of the most popular social medial platforms with their advertising advantages and disadvantages, to help you decide if it’s practical and profitable to advertise with them.
Facebook has done a great job of encouraging businesses to use their advertising services and has step-by-step instructions on how to maximize your Facebook footprint. They encourage you to set up your business page and draw people to “like” your page, and even point out that “people who like your Page spend an average of 2 times more…than people who aren’t connected to you on Facebook.”
Facebook allows you to advertise to a very specific target market, down to geography, age, and interests, based on users’ profile information. Users are encouraged to enter a lot of detailed information about themselves, and Facebook can finely dissect that.
Plus, according to a February 2012 article on techland.time.com, a typical user spends an average of 405 minutes per month on Facebook, which is significantly longer than any other social media site.
Facebook also offers you the option of advertising by CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click). CPM is good if you just want to draw people to your page. Facebook will show your ad to your target market and you will pay one price for the thousand times your ad is shown. CPC is beneficial if you want customers to click to a site outside of Facebook, and you will only pay when the link on your ad is clicked.
While Facebook provides a lot of helpful information to those wishing to advertise, it’s conversion rate is often low, especially for CPC advertising. A typical Facebook user goes on to see what’s updated in their news feed, chat with friends, or play games. They aren’t necessarily thinking about making a purchase, so they aren’t focused on ads. Some Facebook users have also trained themselves to ignore the ads, since they are not always relevant.
Twitter has three different types of advertising strategies: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Tweets. Unfortunately, both the Trends and Tweets are in beta form and are not currently available to all advertisers, so we will focus only on Promoted Accounts.
Twitter states that Promoted Accounts can be used to “build a critical mass of loyal followers” by showing in the “Who to Follow” section on user’s profiles. Twitter will show your promoted account to those users who have similar interests to your account but are not currently following you. They are differentiated from other “Who to Follow” users with the heading “Promoted.”
Promoted Accounts can be targeted geographically, but only by country if they’re outside the U.S. Another disadvantage to advertising with Twitter is that information flows so quickly that often people will just glance over the tweets. This is demonstrated in that the average user only spends 36 minutes per month.
Linkedin is a social networking site for business professionals, so it is one of the best opportunities for B2B marketing. This is especially pertinent, since you can target your advertisements to reach the decision-makers of the company directly, such as the President or CEO. You can also target your ads by industry, geography, company size, etc. as well as Linkedin groups to which they may belong.
Because this is a business professional platform, used often for networking purposes, the average user time is quite low at only 17 minutes per month.
Like Facebook, Linkedin charges by either CPM or CPC, with a minimum cost per click of $2.00.
Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are just three of many social media outlets, and their advertising platforms all have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Having millions of users is not the best criteria in and of itself for advertising and it’s a good idea to do test advertising on different media sites before spending a lot of money on one or another. You will need to decide who your target market is and how high your conversion rate needs to be in order for it to be profitable.
Have you had success advertising on social media sites? Do share us your experience with us!