When you want to reach an audience that was pretty much unreachable to your business before, you turn to social media advertising. When you exhaust your audience and want to get closer to new group of people for a minimum price, social media advertising is the answer.
Social media advertising is incredibly effective when infiltrating into new groups of people, spreading value and bringing your target audience closer to you with every step.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Not even at the beginning.
There’s a enourmous amount of social media advertising platforms with new ones emerging fast.
Which one should you really pick? Which one is the most effective? And which social media advertising platform is all about big words, but in reality you’re wasting money by using it?
You have the questions, I have the answers!
The big boys
Meet the big boys: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Chances are, you already met them. Maybe you even played with their advertising platform.
The big boys are where the majority of advertisers are. huge sums of money are poured into advertising on these platforms every day.
But where should you start first?
Usually, I would say you should start where the majority of your target audience is. Which is true, I stand by this advice.
But … it’s not that black and white when it comes to advertising.
Well first of all, if you’re not regularly present on social media network you’d like to advertise on, well … then you shouldn’t advertise there at all. You have to be one of them before you start investing your money into advertising.
And that’s not all.
People just don’t react well to ads on specific advertising platforms.
Your success depends on multiple things, such as:
- Are users of the social media you’re advertising on in the right mindset?
- Does your ad incorporate well into social media updates of the network you’re advertising on?
- Is your target audience on that social media network?
- How good is your ad?
Picking out a good advertising platform to start on isn’t as easy as looking at a crossroads sign and picking out a direction you’re going towards.
The right direction might be hidden somewhere else.
But even though making that kind of choice is complicated, we can simplify it from the beginning. You’re only starting out with advertising.
A practical and effective way to start is with …
Facebook is the biggest, baddest boy around here. In a good way.
Their advertising platform is simplified; it’s incredibly easy to create your first campaign and most importantly — there’s a 95% chance your target audience hangs out on Facebook.
Groups of all age, demographics and interests are represented on Facebook. In fact, I haven’t yet worked with a company without their target audience on Facebook.
If you’re not making any major mistakes, Facebook Advertising is one of the cheapest there is. So it’s pretty reasonable that my first go-to advertising channel is always Facebook.
And it should be yours too.
When you’re starting out, thinking about your first social media ads, turn to Facebook. It’s the easiest, cheapest, most efficient. And you’re probably already on there; you’re already actively establishing trust.
Now you can even create Instagram ads within the same platform where you set up your Facebook ads.
Yeah, about that. What about Instagram Ads?
Here’s where it gets a tad more complicated.
While Facebook did buy Instagram, make no mistake — these are two entirely different social media platforms.
The demographic is completely different. Users have vastly different habits. They react to different posts. And these different triggers should result in different ads.
So when Facebook joined the advertising forces with Instagram and made possible to create Instagram ads within Facebook’s advertising tool, they did both, good and bad.
Good because creating Instagram ads has become as easy as pie.
Bad because creating Instagram ads has become as easy as pie.
Creating an Instagram ad goes like this: You create a Facebook ad and by default, that automatically includes an Instagram ad with the same copy and visual as your Facebook ad.
But here’s the thing — Instagram users are different. Different things make Instagram users tick. You can’t put them in the same basket with Facebook users and expect them to react to your ads.
Blending in is the key
It’s also worth noting that Instagram users weren’t happy when ads started appearing on their beloved platform. And by “not happy” I mean they went absolutely crazy. And that contributes to this advertising platform being so complicated and tough to crack.
Instagram is a unique platform. Blending in is harder if you’re using your typical Facebook ads. Instagram ads that directly promote a product in an almost forceful way crash and burn.
To achieve great success with Instagram ads, your products and visuals have to resonate with the audience. That’s the biggest piece of the puzzle.
Observe good Instagram content. How do the best-engaging photos look like? What are the colors? How’s the visual composed? Use that knowledge to create your unique Instagram campaign that catches the viewer’s eye and brings them closer.
Instagram ads work best for visually oriented businesses
Also — for ads to succeed, your business/brand has to be visually oriented. Fashion brands, design companies, lifestyle. Advertising works for companies like these.
But you might not fit into those or similar categories, but you still use Instagram for business purposes. You show your personality and humanize your brand with visual content. Which is perfectly fine. But you may have some trouble with creating an effective advertising strategy.
So play your cards right. Rethink your strategy. Is your audience on Instagram? If so — what content do they share? What photos do they like? How to approach them the right way?
If there is one advertising channel I would not recommend investing into, it would be Twitter.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a massive fan of Twitter personally. It’s my go to outreach channel for engaging with my audience and connecting with new people.
But while they’re a well-developed social media network, they’re incredibly behind when it comes to advertising. And that becomes increasingly evident when you compare your Twitter advertising results with the ones you got from Facebook Advertising.
But let’s start at the beginning.
From hype to disappointment
The advertisers went almost a little bit crazy from excitement when Twitter first introduced advertising. They were all hyped up by all the opportunities they can utilize.
But after that initial excitement, the hype quickly disappeared, leaving us with an audience uninterested, blind and maybe almost allergic to ads.
Why did that happen?
Firstly, because all ads were almost forcefully promotional. Brands didn’t put effort into establishing trust with a user they’re advertising to. They just wanted users to buy. And they hated it.
Establishing trust is vital, but hard
Twitter users, usually intellectuals, are a special bunch of people. Establishing trust is absolutely vital for your strategy, but it’s hard to do that in 140 characters and with limitations Twitter has.
On top of that fact, their advertising platform is not that well-developed when you compare it to Facebook for example. They lack some features Facebook has, and their interface is not as intuitive as Facebook’s.
My clients and I tried everything. From advertising valuable and free content to directly promoting a paid product. While we did get some results from our efforts, the cost per result was incredibly higher as opposed to Facebook.
All of those experiments led us to a conclusion that it’s better to invest into advertising on other social media channels.
The ROI is much better.
Pinterest is a social media channel largely underestimated by lifestyle companies and brands. And it’s not just the organic Pinterest presence that’s underestimated — advertising as well.
But before going all in and start advertising on Pinterest today, you have to know one thing.
Pinterest has a very specific group of users, which is largely represented by women. So if your target audience does not fit into the category, you can walk away from this pretty confidently. You’re not missing anything.
But if your target audience is women, preferably your moms, you’re missing out big time if you’re not on Pinterest already.
Pinterest ads are be effective if you target the right audience (majority — young moms)
Pinterest ads can be incredibly effective if the product you’re advertising resonates with the audience largely represented on Pinterest. With Rich Pins available, you now have an extremely great potential of really stepping up your Pinterest game.
And the philosophy behind Pinterest advertising is totally different as opposed to advertising on other social media channels.
Their users are in buying-mode when they’re actively using Pinterest. So there’s no need to establish trust before trying to promote your product. You can skip the first step and start with direct promotion as of day one.
Only US and UK
There’s one thing worth noting, though — their advertising platform is not that well developed comparing to Facebook, especially the targeting section. That said, this is not a deal-breaker. The audience is different, and their platform reflects that.
Pinterest advertising is currently only available only for the US and UK based companies, but they’re working fast on getting other countries involved as well.
So if you’re a lifestyle brand with a female audience, look no further. Take a few minutes to set up your Pinterest ads and leverage every option you have.
If you’d come to me today asking about the best platform to start advertising on social media, I would recommend Facebook. Hands down.
It’s easy to use. It’s cheap. You can target diverse groups of people. It’s effective.
It’s just the best way to start.
But your future advertising options really rely on your target audience and your products. By defining those two variables, you’ll know exactly what to try next.
If you’re a lifestyle company/brand with a target audience of late- or post-millennials, Instagram advertising is the way to go.
But if you have a product or service intended largely for women (preferably young moms), you should definitely look into Pinterest with more detail.
Do not forget
Advertising is exciting. You’re going to reach a new and untapped audience and that get’s you going.
But don’t be lured into that too quickly. Don’t go all in with advertising on all channels at once, from the start.
Start with Facebook Advertising. Experiment with it for a couple of months and really improve your results, step by step. And only when you have that figured out, move onto the next one.
Don’t spread too thin. Instead, be laser-focused and make the best out of each channel, progressively.
Have any specific questions that got your mind spinning around? Just leave a comment in the comment section below!