Engage Audiences with Targeted Advertising on Social Media

As social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn become the daily haunts of millions of consumers; businesses are increasingly targeting visualadvertising on them to target audiences with specific demographics, social connections, interests and habits. According to Business Insider, “Social networks are an interesting advertising channel as they offer enormous user bases and deep databases. And they have high engagement and desirable demographics. Americans were spending an average of 12 hours per month on social networks as of July 2012, with 18-24 year olds averaging 20 hours.”

Here is how marketers can use these three top social media channels to effectively reach potential customers and improve their social media marketing ROI.

Use targeting tactics to reach prospects on Facebook

Companies tailor their Facebook marketing campaigns to match users’ interests and activities using data gleaned from their conversations, profiles and behavior. There are specific techniques that can be used to reach prospects on Facebook:

  • Precise interest targeting lets you define your ideal audience by what they are interested in, using terms people have used in their Facebook timelines. These may be drawn from their listed interests, activities, education and job titles, pages they like or groups to which they belong.
  • Broad category targeting allows you to more easily and accurately reach your intended audience. When you choose to target your ad or sponsored content using a broad category, it will be shown to people who’ve included information in their timelines relevant to that category.

Broad categories allow marketers to design extremely relevant ads with a new level of insight. Here are some broad categories that highlight the unique targeting opportunities available for Facebook advertisers:

  1. Currently Traveling
  2. Small Business Owners
  3. Engaged (6 months)
  4. Expecting Parents
  5. Long-Distance Relationship
  6. Parents (children 13 to 15 years old)
  7. Blackberry Mobile Users
  • Custom Audiences is another form of targeting on Facebook. It lets advertisers find their offline audiences among people who are on Facebook. Using email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs or app user IDs to find matches, Custom Audiences let you find the exact people you want to reach. For example, people share their email addresses when buying products from e-commerce websites. The websites can send these details to Facebook and ask the social network to find those people and target them anonymously with ads on their news-feed, using knowledge about their purchases to upsell or cross-sell products.
  • Action spec targeting allows marketers to target Facebook ads to users based on their app activity. This type of targeting is useful for any advertising campaign on Facebook. It leverages user actions to create highly-personalized advertising experiences, which is critical for maximizing user engagement. For example, with You can set up Facebook ads to trigger the specific actions you want from audiences.

Facebook targeted ads

Choose the page, place, app or event you want to promote and under ‘What would you like to do?’ you can:

  • Get more page likes: Reach people who aren’t connected to your Page yet. You’ll be asked to design your ad including headline, body text and image.
  • Promote page posts: Promote specific posts; giving you increased reach and increasing your chance of placement in news feeds.
  • Get new users: Get more app installs for your Facebook App. Your ads will show to people who are more likely to install your apps.
  • Increase attendance: Increase your Facebook Event responses. Your ads will appear to people more likely to join your events.
  • Advanced options: See all creative and bidding options in one place. You can toggle your bidding options between CPM and CPC.

After creating your Facebook ads, you can define the desired profiles that will get to see your ads. Facebook provides detailed targeting tips to better reach specific profiles.

Listen before advertising on Twitter

Previously, there was no way to share tailored tweets to a select group of people but now advertisers can target their account and tweets by:

  1. Keywords in timeline
  2. Interest
  3. Geography
  4. Gender
  5. Similarity to existing followers
  6. Device (e.g., mobile, desktop, etc.)
  7. Keyword search results

This functionality allows brands to reach specific audiences on Twitter without showing ads to all followers. For example, if a chain of stores plans different launch dates for several locations, then it can send tailored messages at various times, customized for the users. Mobile app providers who only want to reach customers on one device such as smartphones can do so without also sending the message to desktop users.

Twitter targeted tweet

Advertisers are also using various social listening tools to identify and group Twitter users commenting on particular subjects. Radian6 is one such tool that employs a Boolean formula (mathematical algorithm) for the keyword phrases chosen, which makes it easier to pull and quantify results later. You can customize your filtering preferences by language, media type, region and more.
Businesses can use Promoted Accounts to build active communities of followers who are advocates and influencers for their businesses. Promoted Tweets broaden the reach of their messages and help them engage with users who are not yet following them based on a variety of powerful targeting options.

If you can tweet, you can advertise on Twitter. All you need is a Twitter account and a credit card. You’re in control of your ads, the audience you want to reach and, of course, your budget. Best of all, you will only be charged when people follow your promoted account or retweet, reply, favorite or click on your promoted tweets.

Target professionals through LinkedIn

As a business networking site, LinkedIn has a unique ability to reach audiences by targeting their professional identities. This can be a big advantage for B2B marketers, especially because they can reach professionals quickly and programmatically. Along with targeting options for ads, the network also offers sponsored updates that allow companies to promote their content to specific audiences on LinkedIn in a similar manner as companies post sponsored tweets on Twitter and promote page posts on Facebook.

The targeting options offered by LinkedIn are detailed and specific. Brands can select audiences by companies, titles, job functions and seniority levels, in addition to the other geo-targeting options available on other platforms.

LinkedIn targeting

When showing targeted ads, LinkedIn places up to three ads in each slot on the website. Ads are placed on the:

  • Profile Pages: when members view the profile of other LinkedIn members.
  • Home Pages: the pages members see when they sign in to LinkedIn.
  • Inboxes: the pages where members see messages and invitations to connect.
  • Search Results Pages: the pages that result when members are searched for by name.
  • Groups: when members view pages in their group.

LinkedIn targeted ads

While creating ads, you can choose targeted member profiles based on their industries, job functions, seniority, geography, etc. You see an estimate of the audience size you’re able to reach. LinkedIn won’t show your ad to members who don’t meet the targeting criteria you specify.

Create ads with clear and compelling messages to get maximum clicks. LinkedIn ads are made up of headlines, descriptions, URLs and images.

  • Headline: Choose headlines that grab the attention of your target audiences. Think about their professional status, issues that they discuss in groups and their priorities to be able to connect immediately.
  • Description: Think about why your prospects would notice your ads. Provide offers that have strong appeal and highlight benefits, whitepapers and content, free trials or demos. Adding active call-to-action phrases like try, download, sign up or get a quote can help improve conversions.
  • Image: Include relevant images with bright colors to capture the attention of your audience. The maximum size of images is 50 pixels wide by 50 pixels high, so be sure that your images are clear at this size.

Beyond the information in this article, it is important to note that we need a balance in our marketing strategy. A healthy mix of advertising along with great content including videos, music, blogs, case studies and testimonials on social media is the best recipe for success. Along with spending dollars on targeted ad campaigns, marketers need to invest in sharing interesting stories that people want to watch/listen/share in their circles.

How do you plan to use social media to target your potential customers?

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

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