In many ways, social media advertising has been in its infancy… but there are strong signs that it’s finally getting ready to grow up!
There’s even a new agency in place to handle the growth and demand: The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and they have set some measurable standards.
Mainstream companies have sprung up around it and almost all of the major social networks not only have it, but have made a series of rapid changes to conform to it within the last couple of years.
And while Twitter is still trying to figure out how to make millions through advertising, Bebo and Flixster have hired New York ad megafirm Lotame to administer their platform.
And of course, since social media advertising is now starting to ‘mature’… there’s a lot of opinion and data flying about as people debate whether or not social advertising really works.
Predicting The Future Of Social Media Patterns
Parties on both sides have brought forth persuasive and often equally valid arguments: Noticing the shift to where ad money is going will give you the ultimate clue.
And yes, spending on social media advertising has been increasing so rapidly over the last few years that last year eMarketer moved all its former predictions on social advertising’s future forward a full year!
And not too long ago Facebook hit 1 billion users and they literally knocked MySpace out of the water!
It doesn’t take a physicist or a psychic to predict that social media advertising will have a huge impact on local business too, thanks to the geographically targeted ads it’s possible to create on some media and most notably Facebook.
I mean the system has its flaws… like it’s not available in many countries.
And on Facebook if you live outside the US, you can target only by country, which may render that option less viable.
But knowing Facebook it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict their developers are working on that as we speak.
Some Things Never Change…
So while it’s important to keep up with the news and watching the trends change in social advertising, there are 6 tips that will always remain the same.
Tip # 1: It’s Worth It In The Long Run
Social media advertising is worth it, even if the percentage of engaged viewers is still small because for every one active social media viewer you have, there will be anywhere from 6-14 brought into the fold by that single person.
Think of that exponential increase factor – targeted viewers or readers brought in for you by members of your own market.
Tip # 2: When In Doubt Lean Towards Women
If you are unsure whether the user base is more male than female, or if you know both sexes are represented equally then always market to the women.
Not only do women nowadays have 80% of the buying power, according to countless net sources, men will usually be influenced or guided by the significant females in their lives.
A man will often walk into the store and buy the same soap he’s bought for the last 7 years; the woman is the one who will try something new – especially if she makes a personal connection with your ad or brand.
Tip # 3: Keep Up With The Stats
Tracking, of course, is still king!
Check whatever social network you’re considering using to see what their tracking provisions and choices are.
If none exist then set them in place yourself, hire someone to handle it for you or else move on to another network.
Tip # 4: Get Social And Multiply
Don’t forget the double-edged sword of word-to-mouth recommendations in social advertising.
Make sure you deliver what you promise and if you somehow blow it: publicly acknowledge it and then fix the mistake as quickly as possible.
You can turn disasters into an advertising opportunity, as Maple Leaf and Toyota recently did last year.
Tip # 5: Keep It Simple
Remember that the one critical factor your ads all need is a social context.
Make sure they are preceded by and linked to social network pages, videos, groups, content.
Give your fans a place to congregate, vent and enthuse.
Hold contests and polls, ask for feedback, and offer virtual gifts. Engage.
Otherwise, your ads are guaranteed to be seen as annoying banners everyone should just totally ignore.
Tip # 6: Remember To Keep The Party Going
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater… meaning don’t neglect all your other advertising venues: email, offline flyers, website banner ads, or AdWords.
Just track all of them and tweak them accordingly.
In most cases, social media advertising is best used to compliment these other campaign components.
Follow these 6 tips, and you’ll ride out the storms while others are still waiting to decide which social networks to use.
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Success & Blessings!