Leveraging Social Media to Grow Your Business

How Social Media Can Help Grow Your Business

Social media is an umbrella term for websites that connect people and involve user-generated content. The key difference between social media and traditional websites are the user-generated content and the interactivity that social media platforms provide. Right now, social media is a huge opportunity for businesses to reach larger audiences than ever before. With different types of media platforms, earned versus paid media, and other elements unique to social media, brands are able to target audiences in a way that was deemed impossible before.

The great thing about social media is that it is very user-friendly, making it possible for smaller businesses to run their own social pages. Instead of needing to see a specialist, some businesses opt to run their social media pages in-house. This makes it a perfect marketing tool for any small business or start-up. It is also very easy to track progress, since most social media sites offer “business” accounts where you can view your page’s analytics. This measurable quality makes it a great tool to track likes, follows, shares, and any other form of customer interaction.

The first recognizable social media site was created in the late 1990s, but in the past decade we have seen a significant jump in popularity of these platforms. Nowadays, it is rare to find someone who doesn’t have a social media presence. With all these people on social media, it makes advertising simple and readily-available to businesses.

This all being said, let’s look at a few popular social media sites, their advantages and disadvantages, and which platform is right for your business.

What Are the Benefits of Advertising Through Social Media?

For marketers and businesses, social media platforms have become more and more crucial to their success. Social media marketing is the fastest growing marketing trend with 90% of businesses using some sort of advertising on social media. Some of its benefits include:

  • Improved brand recognition. Advertising through social media is a great way to reinforce your brand’s image. Posting regular content allows customers and the business to interact with one another. This constant interaction creates brand familiarity; and once customers are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to recommend your brand to friends and family. While it is easy to get carried away with posting content, make sure your business isn’t overdoing it. Be subtle with your online presence, but make an impact.
  • Improved brand loyalty. For any company to succeed, it needs loyal customers. New customers are great, but loyal customers are better. One of the best types of earned advertising is word-of-mouth advertising. If a client loves your brand, they’re more likely to tell their family and friends about your brand. Social media creates a platform in which customers can openly express their views and feelings towards your services or products. By listening to customers, businesses can adapt certain elements of their products or service to better suit the needs of its clientele. The consumers will then be impressed by the brand’s ability to listen and adapt to what the customer needs.
  • Reduced marketing costs. Compared to traditional advertising, social media marketing is an inexpensive yet effective way to reach your audience. As online marketing develops, traditional marketing becomes less favourable. Using social media opens up the opportunity for earned media as well, which I’ll go into later.
  • Better search engine ranking. While social media advertising and search engine marketing are two different things, one can help the other. Having a popular social media platform will help increase your business’ chances of being on the first page of search engine results. Search engine optimization tools are another way to drive more traffic to your company’s website and social media platforms.

With its rise in popularity, social media has grown to be a favourite marketing option for many businesses globally. This is due to how simple and effective it is, all while reaching a much larger audience than traditional media. The results are almost always immediate, which allows companies to adjust marketing strategies in real time. It helps to increase sales, and reduce costs.

The Best and Most Popular Social Media Sites for Marketing

As social media platforms have grown in popularity and become a standard in socialization, they also have become a major area of influence. For businesses and marketers, they’ve become vital. There are so many sites for marketing your business, but which ones are worth investing in?

  1. Facebook Advertising

Facebook is one of the most widely used social platforms in the world. Although, currently, there seems to be a shift towards more older audiences on the platform, there are still always users creating new accounts. Almost 90% of all businesses use Facebook in one way or another.

As one of the largest platforms for marketing, Facebook offers important marketing and advertising opportunities for any business. It’s a great way to increase audience engagement, keep customers up to date on any company news, promote sales, collect reviews, advertise, and provide customer service via its messaging service. Facebook has one of the highest ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend – a marketing metric that measures how effective a marketing campaign is) amongst social media platforms.

The main types of advertising on Facebook include:

  • Carousel ads that feature two or more images or videos
  • Single image ads
  • Singe video ads
  • Slideshow ads that feature up to ten images
  • Collection ads that open into a full screen mobile view

Facebook offers marketers the ability to display ad types across the entire Facebook network, including Facebook messenger and Instagram.

In terms of cost, you as a marketer tell how much you want to spend on advertising. You can range from any amount of money, and Facebook will get you as many results as possible for that amount. There are two ways to define cost: the overall amount spent, and the cost of each result you get. You control your overall amount spent through your budget. You also can control your cost per result through your bid strategy. In addition, Facebook offers a campaign spending limit, where you set a maximum amount you’re willing to spend on a given campaign, and an account spending limit, where you set a maximum you’re willing to spend across all the campaigns you’re running. You can find out more on Facebook ad costs through their business help centre.

  1. Instagram Advertising

Instagram is a huge platform, especially for those under the age of 40. Its popularity is used to try and promote businesses across a wide audience. It’s important to note that Instagram is a part of the Facebook ad network. Anyone who creates an ad through Facebook will have the option to show the same ads through Instagram as well.

Instagram recently introduced shopping tags and the ability for business accounts to link their photos directly to their website, so users can quickly and easily find information about products.

Instagram has many different ad types that help make it one of the most popular sites for paid marketing, including:

  • Single photo ads
  • Single video ads up to 60 seconds long
  • Carousel ads that allow for multiple videos or photos in the same space
  • Stories ads that appear when people are viewing their friends’ stories

There is an increased opportunity for a business to gain earned media through Instagram. Since content is so readily available and easily shareable, it’s likely that people repost or interact with your brand. Additionally, people and social media influencers can link your page and tag items that bring an audience directly to your page. This method of earned media is most popular through Instagram.

Like Facebook, the cost of advertising changes based on what your business wants to spend. Instagram allows for all different kinds of budgets, and is considered one of the most highly customizable sites to advertise on. Since Facebook and Instagram both operate on a CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-impression) basis, this means the campaign cost with depend on how much you want to target high-value audiences.

  1. LinkedIn Advertising

As a social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn is a great place to advertise to other businesses. It’s perfect for B2B (business-to-business) advertising and is ranked the best social platform for B2B lead generations.

The advertising on LinkedIn includes:

  • Text ads that include a headline, text, and optional images
  • Sponsored InMail, which are messages sent to LinkedIn users’ mailboxes
  • Sponsored content that allows you to create an ad with an article, image, link, video, or image carousel
  • Dynamic ads that highlight job openings or your business itself to encourage people to follow your business’ LinkedIn page

The cost to advertise through LinkedIn depends on several factors, including target audience, campaign objective, and bid. On average, the cost is around $5.26 per click, $6.59 per 1000 impressions, and $0.80 per send.

  1. Twitter Advertising

Twitter is immensely popular and known for its 280-character-per-tweet limit, meaning that every word counts when advertising. Its popularity makes it a top choice for marketers to grab their audience’s attention quickly.

The following type of ads are offered:

  • Promoted tweets that look like regular tweets but allow you to share with users who don’t follow your account
  • Promoted accounts that encourage people to follow you through similar interests
  • Promoted trends that display at the “Trends for you” section of users’ “Explore” tabs

Since Twitter is one of the older, it hasn’t grown the same way Instagram or Facebook has. In terms of cost, a promoted tweet costs between $0.50 to $2.00, a promoted account costs between $2-$4 per follow, and a promoted trend costs around $200,000 per day.

  1. YouTube Advertising

YouTube is the top video sharing platform in the world. With a focus on video-only content, it allows for different types of ads to be displayed. It’s more engaging with audiences, as well.

The different types of video ads offered include:

  • TrueView Video Ads which are skippable ads that you only pay for when people watch or interact with your video
  • TrueView In-Stream Ads that are played before, during, or after YouTube videos
  • TrueView Discovery Ads that are displayed as thumbnails and can be placed in different spots, including the mobile homepage, search results, or next to related videos
  • Bumper Ads that are unskippable videos that play before, during, or after watching a video

On average, YouTube advertising costs between $0.10 to $0.30 per view or action, with an average daily budget of $10. A few factors influence how much YouTube ads cost, including your ad type, your bid, your bidding selection, and your targeting options.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Too many social media platforms can hurt your branding and your consumer loyalty. The power of social media is huge, but if you overstimulate your audience, it can be doing more harm than help. If you think you may be overdoing it with social media, consider asking yourself:

  • Are you able to dedicate enough time to each social platform?
  • Do all of your platforms have a large following?
  • Do you feel like you’re in control of every social media account and are able to reply to customers’ questions?
  • Do you feel as though your business has to be present on every new platform that comes out?

A lot of companies choose two or three larger platforms, and dedicate their time to making those platforms perfect. Try to consider which platforms will reflect your brand the best, and stick to making sure that you can handle that before starting too many social media pages. It’s advised to choose a smaller amount of platforms carefully, than just have multiple poorly-managed ones. All social channels are great for different reasons, so find one that will work for your brand and stick to making it a great representation of your brand.

Get to It!

There are a lot of factors to consider when starting out on social media. It’s a fantastic tool to reach a large audience with minimal effort, but there are some tips and tricks to choosing the best platform for you. Consider your target audience, your type of business, and what message you want to send before you start your online journey. Once you’ve considered all the options, you’re ready to begin. Make great content, engage with your audience, and get posting!