Among digital marketing essentials, such as SEO, email marketing, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising and content marketing, social media “perceived as the best marketing tool to advertise as it is cost effective, time efficient and it directly appeals the people present in any specific community.” (Tribulant, 2018)
A recent research by Hootsuite shows that the average time spent on the Internet using any device was almost 7 hrs per day in 2019. (Hootsuite, 2019)
Figure 1 This screenshot showcases how drastically Internet usage has grown over the years from 2014 to 2019. The average time people spend on the Internet is around 7 hrs in the previous year. While in 2014 Internet users spent 6 hours 22 minutes per day, by 2019 this increased by 23 minutes. (Hootsuite, 2019)
In 2019 people (16-64-years) spent 2 and a half hours using social media platform daily. (Hootsuite, 2019)
Figure 2 Time spent on social media platforms is growing each year. While in 2014 the average amount of time spent on social media was 1 hour 44 minutes, by 2019 this number almost doubled. (Hootsuite, 2019)
Consumers of all age group, location and interest spend a great amount of time using social media every day. Having a strong social media presence is essential for any organisations in the digital era we are living in. Using social media platforms organisations can reach potential customers as well as nurture existing customers. Advertising on social media is time and cost effective as well as perfect to acquire new customers. (Tribulant, 2018)
The Most Popular Social Media Platforms
Pew Research and Hootsuite agree that Facebook and YouTube are the two most popular social media platforms, followed by Instagram and Twitter and other platforms such as Snapchat and LinkedIn.
Figure 3 Pew Research from 2019 shows that Facebook is far the most popular social media platform among Americans. (Pew Research, 2019)
Figure 4 Hootsuite recent research found that Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. (Hootsuite, 2019)
How to Use Social Media for Advertising
According to Forbes Magazine: a well-executed social campaign can a be powerful addition to the overall digital marketing arsenal. (Robinson, R., 2019)
Social media is where consumers spend their time, seek information before purchasing a product and consume online content. Thanks to smart social media ad algorithms, businesses
can segment and target their customer base according to age, gender, location, interest etc. Micro targeting is another great way to reach a specific group of people.
Advantages of using paid social media as part of the marketing strategy
1. Extended Reach
To ensure we are targeting the right audience, paid social ads allows us to reach a chosen audience. We can segment audience by age, gender, location, interest, martial status etc. and then we can tailor our message to fit to our audience group. (Dobson, C., 2019)
Sometimes a business wants to target a small specific group on social media. If this is the case, social media platforms, such as Facebook gives the opportunity to do so.
When using micro targeting (or detailed targeting) we can add criteria such as “include people” or “exclude people.” For example, if we want to generate leads on our Facebook page but want to reach only those people who have not liked our Facebook page yet and exclude those who have already liked it.
We can further narrow our audience by using “and” or “or” when specifying our target group.
An example target group can be the following:
- working professionals
- like movies
- frequent travellers
Our specifications could be as follows: 1. working professionals who like movies OR frequent travellers. 2. Working professionals who like movies AND frequent travellers.
In the second case we further narrowed our target audience as we are targeting those working professionals who fulfil both criteria: like movies and frequent travellers. If one of the criteria is not fulfilled – for example, like movies but not frequent travellers – they are not part of our target audience. (Facebook, n/a)
3. Beat Competitors
Being active on social media can help a business to stay up to date with current trends and better understand their target audience as well as their competitors. Understanding competitors and monitoring their behaviour on social media can help a business to beat their competitors and find those gaps their competitors might miss. (Tribulant, 2018)
Being in the front line and knowing what a business’ target audience is talking about give a chance the business to deliver key messages to the right audience at the right time, influence what happens and effectively manage brand reputation. (Gurd, J., 2019)
4. Increase Sales
Social media advertising allows potential customers to learn more about a business and their products and services. Understanding the target audience behaviour and preferences allow a business to create creative contents fit to their target audience, generate leads and convert them into paying customers. (Tribulant, 2018)
Figure 5 According to Hootsuite 27% of global Internet users discover new brands on social media by social media ads while 23% by recommendations or comments on social media.
Figure 6 Global Web Index research shows that more than half of social media users have used social media to search products. (Beer, C., 2018)
Figure 7 Statista’s recent research shows the average ad spending per internet user of the selected market (market segment, region) for each year. We can see that social media advertising is the second most popular digital advertising method after search advertising and predicted to continue growing. (Statista, 2020)
5. Reaching Potential Customers at the Right Time
A well-timed post or advert on social media can generate more clicks, likes, comments and shares. Social media ads can help businesses to reach their target audience at the right time. In 2019 Hootsuite published their research results on what is the best time to post on different social media platforms. (Tien, S. and Aynsley, M., 2019)
Figure 8 Knowing the best day and time to post on Facebook and other social media channels gives businesses the opportunity to reach their target audience at the right time at the right place. For example, according to Hootsuite, the best days to post on Facebook for B2C brands are Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday around 12pm. (Tien, S. and Aynsley, M., 2019)
6. Increase Brand Awareness and Trust
Social media ads and boosts are excellent way to increase brand awareness and trust. Utilizing eye-catchy image or video along with short compelling text can help a business to boost engagement and keep the business’ products or services in mind. (Dobson, C., 2019)
A business can build trust if collaborating with influencers. Researches show that almost half of social media users depend on influencer recommendations and 40% of them have purchased something after seeing it on social media. (Digital Marketing Institute, n/a)
7. Customised Budget
Most of the social media platforms allow businesses PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns which means the business only pays when a user does a required action, for example, clicked the link in the ad or liked the social media page. This is a cost-effective way to promote a business if it has a well-targeted audience. (Dobson, C., 2019)
Beer, C. (2018) Global Web Index “Social Browsers Engage with Brands” [Online] Available at: https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-day/social-browsers-brand/ [Accessed 22 April 2020]
Digital Marketing Institute (n/a) “20 Influencer Marketing Statistics that Will Surprise You” [Online] Available at: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-gb/blog/20-influencer-marketing-statistics-that-will-surprise-you [Accessed 22 April 2020]
Dobson, C. (2019) Marketing Bitz “Why Should Paid Social Media Play a Role in Your Digital Marketing Strategy?” [Online] Available at: https://marketingbitz.com/why-should-paid-social-media-play-a-role-in-your-digital-marketing-strategy/ [Accessed 21 April 2020]
Facebook (n/a) “Best Practices for Detailed Targeting” [Online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/905095143159925?id=176276233019487&locale=en_GB [Accessed 21 April 2020]
Gurd, J. (2019) Smart Insight “6 reasons why you need a social media strategy” [Online] Available at: https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/social-media-strategy-planning-essentials-6-reasons-need-social-media-strategy/ [Accessed 22 April 2020]
Hootsuite (2019) “Digital 2020 Global Digital Overview (January 2020)” [Online] Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/DataReportal/digital-2020-global-digital-overview-january-2020-v01-226017535 [Accessed 18 April 2020]
Pew Research (2019) “Social Media Fact Sheet” [Online] Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/#who-uses-social-media [Accessed 20 April 2020]
Robinson. R. (2019) Forbes “How To Use Social Media To Supercharge Your Inbound Marketing Strategy” [Online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanrobinson/2019/09/18/social-media-marketing-strategy/#684fdd281ff3 [Accessed 20 April 2020]
Statista (2020) “Digital Advertising – Worldwide” [Online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/outlook/216/100/digital-advertising/worldwide#market-arpu [Accessed 21 April 2020]
Tien, S. and Aynsley, M. (2019) Hootsuite “The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn” [Online] Available at: https://blog.hootsuite.com/best-time-to-post-on-facebook-twitter-instagram/ [Accessed 22 April 2020]
Tribulant (2018) “The Role of Social Media in Your Digital Marketing Strategy” [Online] Available at: https://tribulant.com/blog/wordpress/role-social-media-digital-marketing-strategy/ [Accessed 18 April 2020]