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Social Advertising 101: What it is and Why You Need it

Taylor Landis
October 3, 2019

Social ads are everywhere. You can find them while you’re scrolling on Facebook, reading an article on your favorite news site, and even when you’re watching your friend’s Instagram story. They’re everywhere because they’re effective. So effective that marketers said they expect spending on social media to increase by 89% by 2022, according to this CMO survey. So, what is social advertising, and why do you need it? 

How finding new business used to be done

Before social advertising, buying leads was the norm.

However, as many people could probably tell you, purchased leads are notoriously risky. Why? There’s no guarantee that:

  • the list hasn’t already been sold to
  • the leads are qualified and ready to buy
  • you’ll make your money back

Buying a lead list and expecting it to pay for itself is like buying scratch-off lottery tickets. Sometimes you make back what you paid for the tickets, and sometimes you’re just out the cash spent. In short, your budget can be put to better use.

Acquiring leads was a fairly common way to reach out to people that may be potential clients or customers. Then along came social media! This free and easy way to connect with people and share pictures, information, and life updates. But as we’ve all seen over the years, social media has gotten much bigger and more complicated than when it was first introduced.

While social media started off initially as a way for friends and family to communicate, it quickly turned into a lucrative way for businesses to grow.

A Facebook page is not social advertising

With the widespread adoption of social media, having a presence there is a given for all businesses. At the bare minimum, a Facebook business page should exist because it’s where your customers are. As a matter of fact, 70% of U.S. adults are on Facebook. What’s more, 75% of those adults visit Facebook once per day. That’s a lot of eyes looking in one place every day.

In theory, social media followers will be seeing your content regularly. The tricky part is that even though people are frequently checking Facebook, they still only see a fraction of posted content. That’s because Facebook has evolved its news feed algorithm to deprioritize organic business posts. Another hurdle in the race to get a share of your audience’s attention.

In short, this means that for your content to be seen, you can no longer rely on all your followers to be updated. Paid posts on Facebook have become essential.

Having your content seen and consumed is what helps keep your name and business in front of your customers and potential customers. Which brings us to our next point: brand awareness.

Brand awareness is key

Consumers now spend more than five hours a day on their smartphones.

Because of that, advertising on social media platforms is crucial to growing your business. Some stats to consider:

  • Two-thirds of consumers can recall a specific brand they have seen advertised on mobile in the last week. 
  • 60% of consumers click on mobile ads at least weekly.
  • It takes 5 to 7 impressions before someone will remember your brand.

In short, consumers remember brands they’ve recently seen and will click on the ads, but repetition is required to remember you. While they’re spending all that time on their phones, they’re being exposed to social advertising. Make sure your name is in one of those ads that they see. 

The power of social advertising

When buyers and sellers know your name, you’re able to get ahead of the competition. Here’s a scenario. Say you’re shopping at a grocery store that isn’t your usual spot, and you need ketchup. Are you going to buy the brand name ketchup, or go out on a limb and try one you’ve never heard of? Chance are you’re going to reach for the one you’re familiar with.

Just like spending money at the grocery store, trust makes it easier to turn leads into clients into repeat business and then into referrals. Wouldn’t it be nice to start every conversation with your prospects trusting you more than the competition?

Essentially, the more often a prospect is exposed to your brand and message, the more they’ll instinctively trust you. This is the power of brand awareness at work.

Social advertising sounds great, right? Meeting customers where they are, increasing brand awareness and seeing ad engagement are all benefits for business. We wish it were that easy, but there are pros and cons to social advertising.

The pros and cons of social advertising

The good news

You can reach people and generate awareness on social media by running hyper-targeted ads. Both Facebook and Instagram allow you to narrow down your audience to specific demographics and locations so your name is in front of the exact people you want to see it.

Want to reach potential first-time buyers between the ages of 25 and 30 who live in your neighborhood? You can do that. How about targeting people in the 45-to-50 range who have a specific job title? No problem.

To target an audience, you need to learn the backend tools to able to apply these parameters to your ads. It sounds like an easy next step, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

The not so great news

Social advertising is not super easy. Creating great ad copy and eye-catching design is just the beginning. You’ll also need to understand how to use Facebook’s rather complicated ad platform to target the right people and measure performance. On top of that, you have to consistently optimize and test your ads to make sure you’re getting the best results.

All of this work takes both time and expertise. It’s a job best left to a social media marketing specialist who can stay on top of trends and updates, which is often why companies hire whole teams or pay expensive agencies to do this for them. Unfortunately, many small businesses and independent workers like insurance agents don’t have that kind of budget.

How to extend your reach now

With OutboundEngine, you get the best of both worlds: all the benefits of professional, managed Facebook and Instagram advertising, with none of the headaches, at a fraction of the cost of an agency or employee.

As consumers get savvier and markets get more competitive, it’s harder for businesses to stand out. This challenge is especially difficult for small businesses, half of which fail within five years.

OutboundEngine’s Social Ads product is leveling the playing field for small businesses, making precise, targeted social media advertising cost-effective. Learn more about OutboundEngine social ads and how they can help you reach new audiences and grow your business.

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