Organic Social Media Fundamentals & Paid Advertising
The fundamental building blocks of Social Media & Advertising
Welcome to Marketing 101. Whether you are starting fresh or even looking to begin, it’s necessary to have a strategy in place. First things first, let’s take a deep breath and go for a walk. Starting new can be stressful, so it’s essential to approach it with a clear head. Whew, now that our heads are on straight, let’s do this. Fundamentals of marketing are going to be first base. Let us look at the fundamentals so we have a general idea of where we can start. In this article, we will discuss the value of organic social media and paid placement. Of course, there are many other areas of marketing, such as press releases and the basics of brand voice but for right now, let’s look at areas of operation in which we can begin today. I will write on some of the other tools in a later article.
Organic Social Media
Organic social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Therefore, encouraging organic engagement and growing a local following will pay off in the short term while you’re playing the long game. So what does an effective social media strategy look like, you might ask? To answer this, we need to look at whats worked in the past. Becoming relevant locally means consistency. In this day and age, the game is content, content, content. That’s not to say just any content will suffice; no, we need content that will be informative, beneficial, or entertaining. That being mentioned, using tools like LATER, HOOTSUITE, or SPROUT SOCIAL can make your life ten times easier. Being able to schedule organic posts means you will never meet a beat. This allows you to consistently capitalize on the windows of highest activity throughout the week. Another benefit of scheduling platforms is the ability to preview your grid layout before you post. We hear it a lot, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Choosing an adequately structured gid design that complements your brand’s theme will help create a professional first impression for your company.
Social media provides another powerful tool, interaction. Interactions are not something to be glazed over but instead used to their maximum potential. There are many ways to use social media to engage, but a few essentials are:
- Joining Facebook groups.
- Replying to comments.
- Following real people within your area of interest.
- Commenting on other’s posts.
The idea of interactions is to put a face or personality to your business. Unfortunately, companies are often not viewed as having people behind them. Instead, they are seen as an automated machine designed to lure them into handing over their money. The truth is your car. You have a solution to some people’s problems, and you offer the answer. The idea isn’t to shove marketing down their throats but to make yourself known, available, and even reachable. You want the world to see what you offer, so when they need you, you are the first place they turn to. When you like, comment and follow others, it shows you are active and engaging with their content. When you comment, it shouldn’t be about you either. Showing up to their content speaks volumes; it says, “I see you, and I appreciate what you had to share.”
The last thing I would like to touch on concerning organic social media is tags and hashtags. They are everywhere we look. Hashtags are powerful if used right. However, if you don’t use them correctly, they render themselves completely ineffective. Hashtags essentially act as keywords because everyone wants to be ranked at the top of a hashtag with a high search volume. For example, everyone wants to be the number one post on #ootd or #graphicdesign. However, it can be challenging to do so if your post is suppressed due to sheer volume. Especially if you are local, a more strategic approach would be to include local hashtags with a lower volume of competing posts. Gather your performance metrics for each hashtag and adjust your arsenal of hashtags. A mix of hashtags with low, medium, and high competition volume partnered with local and national hashtags would be an ideal approach. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.
Let’s finish the organic social media segment by touching on tags quickly. Tagging your post can come off in two different ways. Overusing tags on your post can come off as spam. On the other hand, if you tag 3-5 businesses or people you want to reach, you can potentially avoid being written off as another attention-desperate account. This tactic is beneficial when you are a local business looking for exposure within your community.
Paid Google Placement
Let’s talk about paid placement, the meat and potatoes of advertising. For this segment, we are specifically going to focus on Google’s PPC option. PPC is keyword or search query-driven, meaning you will be bidding on keywords or phrases you want your ad to appear for various search queries. The catch is that you are going to be paying per click. Depending on the keyword, primarily due to volume, the word you are bidding on can get quite pricy. When you bid on a keyword, you tell google I’m willing to pay X amount per click. If you “win” the bidding for that word, your ad will appear on the first page of Google. Let us look at an example.
If we bid on the word “athletic shoes,” our ad is likely to show up in search queries such as “athletic shoes for women” or ‘athletic shoes for kids” and so on. This example also depends on the match type you are using. We will get to match types in a bit.
Now the point I would like to bring up concerning the example is price. The term “athletic shoes” is an expensive keyword to win. At first glance, Nike, Addidas, and JCPenny all land on Google’s first page for that search query. To beat them out and take their place on first page, one would have to outbid those companies for that word. That being said, there are ways you can still be seen for similar search quires. However, there is a balance to consider. The best approach is to utilize what’s called “long-tailed keywords.” The idea is that you will reduce the number of times your ad gains an impression while increasing the quality of your ad’s engagements. This means you’re bidding on a more specific search query in hopes the person searching will be looking for EXACTLY what you are offering. Let’s look at an example of a long-tailed keyword.
Long-tailed keyword: "Long sleeve thermal pullover."
When we bid on a long-tailed keyword as an exact match, we ask Google only to show our ad when someone searches explicitly “Long sleeve thermal pullover.” You can see now how this approach would effectively reduce the number of clicks while increasing the potential acquisition. The John Doe searching “Long sleeve thermal pullover.” is looking exclusively for a result that your listing will provide.
I mentioned previously something called an “exact match.” Using exact search query match to reduce uninterested engagements is a great way to reduce the reserve and get the most out of your tight marketing budget. However, it would be best if you always were looking to gain more valuable ad engagements. To do this, one should be AB testing ad sets and discovering what keyphrases or long-tail phrases yield the most outstanding CPA (cost per acquisition) results. To do this, one should exercise a discovery campaign. There are three Keyword match types.
Broad match: Asking Google to display your ad whenever a search query contains one of your keywords. Let us pretend we are optimizing an ad for the keyphrase “shoe.” A broad match campaign for this condition would trigger your ad for queries such as “kids shoes,” “women’s running shoes,” and so on.
Phrase match: Phrase match narrows down what queries will trigger your ad. Let’s use the previous example with a long tail, “athletic shoes.” Google will only show your ad when a query is submitted for which contains your phrase anywhere. For example, “athletic shoes for men,” “Athletic shoes for outdoors,” would trigger your ad in this case.
Exact match: Exact matches are the most specific. This match type, in theory, will yield the highest CPA but the lowest number of impressions compared to the other two match types. Only quires which contain word for word the keyphrase you are optimizing for will trigger your ad.
There is so much more to paid placement. We bearly scratched the surface of this topic. I highly suggest that you spend additional time researching the subject if you are interested in learning more. There is seemingly unlimited information on paid placement advertising. I plan on diving deeper into A/B testing and ad sets in a later article. If you have suggestions you would like to learn about, leave those requests in the comments section. I hope this was beneficial and that you enjoyed this article.