Now more than ever, people are spending a significant part of their day on social media. According to Forbes, users are on Facebook and its related apps for an average of 50 minutes each day. And with over two new members per second signing up to join LinkedIn, it’s no wonder that advertising on these platforms has become a major point of interest. As users are already engaged in these websites, half the battle has already been won. That being said, the number of social media sites can make it difficult to assess which advertising methods are worth your budget.

Fortunately, determining where to allocate your social media budget isn’t too difficult once you start thinking of social platforms as separate entities, and not under one big social umbrella. It all starts with comparing data, and then looking separately at your advertising options for each network. You’ll find that this process is well worth your efforts.

First: Look at Your Social Media Insights

Before you review your social advertising options, you need three things: goals, an understanding of your audience, and knowledge of the competition in your industry on social media. All of this research will help make sure you have a solid foundation before jumping into any kind of advertising. These insights will help you determine how much of your budget should be allocated to each network. This is where splitting things up between networks can help you stay organized.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media site, with the highest number of users. According to Small Business Trends, there are over a million different businesses that advertise on Facebook, and the largest companies spend approximately $100 million on advertising every year. If you’re not taking advantage of the massive networking and advertising possibilities presented there, you may need to reconsider.

Facebook has even created its own advertising lingo, and the most common terms are defined below. All of these have the possibility to make your business—big or small—more successful.

1.     Sponsored Stories

  • These are paid promotions that stem from a user’s activity, broadcasting which advertisements they’ve interacted with to their network. 
  • The goal of these ads is to get users to take the same action as their friends.
  • According to Social Times, “Companies can also sponsor stories about when users share links from their domain. For example, when a user posts an Amazon link on Facebook, Amazon pays to show that story to more of a user’s friends, as seen to the right.”
  • Advertisers pay per click.

2.     Page Post Ads

  • These ads start as posts on a fan page but later get paid distribution through Facebook’s News Feed.
  • They can be shown to anyone on Facebook, unlike Sponsored Stories which require an existing connection.
  • Similarly to Sponsored Stories, advertisers pay per click for these ads.

3.     Promoted Posts

  • These posts are similar to page post ads, but they get paid distribution through the Promote button on Facebook.
  • Advertisers pay a flat rate to reach a certain number of people.
  • They are only shown to a page’s existing fans, with the option to also reach friends of those fans.

4.     Marketplace Ads

  • These are sidebar advertisements, as opposed to within the News Feed.
  • They include a call to action, such as a “use now” button.
  • When clicked on, they can connect users to another page on Facebook or to a third-party website.

An important reminder about advertising on Facebook is that users access the site on their mobile devices, and through the Facebook app, more than they use the website. This poses a problem for advertisers. In an attempt to de-clutter the small screen and keep users from turning away from the app, Facebook uses far fewer ads in the app than on the full website.

This goes back to understanding your Insights. If you find that mobile is where you want to be, then you may not need to advertise as much as you would if you were focusing on desktop.

Twitter

This site revolutionized social media by restricting posts to 140 characters or less. Once again, Small Business Trends states that “81 per cent of Twitter’s advertising revenue comes from mobile and there is a $200,000 cost estimated for a 24-Hour Promoted Trend on Twitter.” The following delves into different ways to advertise on Twitter so you can determine what is worthwhile for your business. All of this information is courtesy of Twitter’s Business section, which you should review if you are looking for more details on how to advertise via this social media platform.

5. Promoted Tweets

  • Promoted Tweets are purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider audience.
  • They are specifically labeled as “promoted” to a user, but are otherwise regarded as a regular tweet.
  • They include a call to action, such as offering coupons, promoting sales, and encouraging users to click on your best content.
  • They’re a great way to increase awareness for your business.

6.     Promoted Accounts

  • Promoted Accounts suggest specific Twitter accounts to users who may not normally click on or be aware of them, but who may be interested in them.
  • They increase web traffic, purchases, sign-ups, and brand awareness.
  • Promoted accounts help you connect with new users who in turn can share your business or product with their friends. Once you acquire these new followers, you can connect with them every day for free using your own content.
  • They are displayed throughout the Twitter platform and are labeled as “promoted,” just like promoted tweets.

7.     Promoted Trends

  • Promoted Trends are an extension of promoted tweets. They are also labeled as “promoted,” and appear at the top of the trending topics list.
  • When a user clicks on a promoted trend, they see the usual search results for that topic, with the bonus of a promoted tweet at the top.
  • They can appear on a user’s timeline and homepage.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn often gets overlooked in terms of advertising, but it shouldn’t. Although it doesn’t have as large of a following as Twitter or Facebook, many people use LinkedIn for networking and business connections. It has over 259 million members worldwide and allows users to target their advertising to specific job titles and profiles. LinkedIn users tend to have much more up-to-date business information on their profiles versus what people list on Facebook.

LinkedIn offers two basic pricing options: cost per click (CPC), and cost per impressions (CPM).  The CPC is a minimum of $2, which is higher than Facebook and Google, but it may be worth it depending on your goals for your business: CPC on LinkedIn has the possibility to attract a large return visit rate.

There are also two basic ad types: Sponsored Updates, and Text and Image Ads.

8.     Sponsored Updates

According to LinkedIn’s Business Section, Sponsored Updates can:

  • Allow you to target your audience based on your specific needs
  • Reach an audience on all available levels: desktops, tablets, and mobile devices
  • Allow you to create your own budget based on their two pricing models
  • Reach a new audience and attract more followers

9.     Text and Image Ads

These ads are created solely by the advertiser and can:

  • Target the audience you want to reach
  • Generate new leads
  • Bring the type of traffic you want to your website and business
  • Work with your budget using CPC and CPM

Other Platforms

10.  Focus on other social networks

The top three social networks are great places to start allocating your social media marketing budget when you’re still building your audience. You may find, however, as you grow, that other social networks are providing more engagement for you or have more opportunities.

If this is the case, almost all of the other social networks have similar advertising options as the ones mentioned above. Sponsored posts and promoted accounts are standard advertising options. See what works with the three social media networks mentioned above first, and then get started with Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and more.

A Study: How to Allocate Your Marketing Budget Across Various Channels

Now that you know where and how to advertise, it’s time to figure out how to determine what type of advertising your budget should be used for. A report written by Forrester Research and published by Web Strategies says your online marketing budget should have about six per cent set aside for social media investments.

That report was published in 2014, and the updated version suggests that in 2016, 30 per cent of your marketing budget should be spent online, with SEO and SEM requiring the largest share of this percentage. Online displays will necessitate the second largest share.

Naturally, these are just estimates and averages. Ultimately, your marketing budget should be allocated based on your goals for your business. Consider the amount of growth you have targeted for your business, as well as the competitiveness of your market, and then start testing your advertising on your chosen social networks.

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