16 Oct Reasons to Invest in Paid Social Media — at a Local Level
Paid social media is comprised of targeted ads that appear on social media sites and drive awareness.
They differ from Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC ads) in that PPC is based on intent signals from consumers.
Although paid social advertising is available across different platforms (including Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter), we are focusing here specifically on those platforms that are rich in targeting data, highly trackable, scaleable, and efficient. Facebook and Instagram, are the main social sites if you want to reach millions of prospects.
In a recent study of brand marketing trends, Gartner declared, “As organic reach on social platforms plummets to zero, and confidence in influencer marketing is challenged, paid media presents more pros than cons for CMOs.”
Social networks are still where consumers interact with their peers and the rise of local groups within those networks enable shoppers and diners to get Word of Mouth recommendations. Currently, 69 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook (74% of them daily) and 37 percent use Instagram.
Photos, reviews, and recommendations all add to the content mix and give potential customers a peer-rated source of information.
- Organic social media is comprised of comments and content that are contributed by either consumers or brands on social pages. It can be very powerful, especially when it’s hyper-local and consumers are able to engage directly with a brand. General organic posts only reach 2.6% of your Facebook community. But hyper-local content can create a substantial lift.
- Boosted posts are those Facebook posts that marketers can push out to a larger audience, but the options are very limited. Although easy to execute, they do not deliver the same precision and results detail as paid social advertising.
- Paid social advertising enables the brand to target very specific populations, at very specific times, with very specific messages. If done well, it can serve as both an awareness medium and a direct response vehicle. In addition, 71% of consumers prefer ads that are personalized to their needs and behaviors.
The key to ROI from paid social is utilizing it as a hyper-local and hyper-targeted channel to reach exactly those people who are likely to be interested in your message. Today’s consumer values proximity and convenience, so your brand must deliver what they want…near them…and speak to them at a local level.
Paid social advertising gives brands that medium.
Multi-location brands often invest in their corporate social media pages but struggle with keeping hundreds or even thousands of local social pages up-to-date. Local pages are essential. Not only do they feed search optimization, they give your locations a way to stay in touch with nearby buyers. Brands often miss a huge opportunity to connect with consumers every day — with messages and promotions that are most relevant to them.
Paid social also enables marketers to measure store visits, app downloads, purchases, and sales data, so they can connect spend directly to ROI at a regional or store level. In addition, delivering ads that are most relevant:
- Is a highly-efficient way to spend marketing dollars
- Generates higher click-through rates
- Results in more impressions than organic posts
In fact, when compared to brand social pages, local social media marketing has been proven to deliver:
Running an effective paid local social campaign involves:
- Creating local Facebook pages for each of your brand locations. Consumers are more likely to engage with those pages and you can include attributes about each location, including unique product/service offers. That ultimately leads to more relevance, lower media costs, and more effective ads.
- Creating distinct profiles of prospects that mirror those of your current customers and serve up ads just to that population. You have a huge range of very specific targeting options and you may find that different locations appeal to unique variables. Paid social advertising enables you to focus ads on very specific or very
- broad segments.
- You can also create custom lists and “lookalike audiences” (prospects who are identical to your current customers) and remarket to prospects who visited your website.
- Knowing what offers are most appealing locally, based on operator input and monitoring social media conversations and keywords.
- Targeting creative to specific segments and geographies (e.g., a hardware store chain may focus on snow shovels and emergency lanterns in the Northeast U.S. — especially right after a big snowstorm. And they may simultaneously promote pool floats in the balmy Southwest during a heat wave). The more relevant and timely you can make the ad to the viewer, the greater the likelihood of success.
- Utilizing powerful imagery (photos, videos, photo collections) to draw the reader to the ad. Instagram users tend to be highly visual, but all ads should have a minimal amount of powerful copy combined with compelling graphics. The more you can localize your message (e.g., $1 pizza slices today only at the Pleasantville store), the more immediate and relevant it will be to local prospects.
- Containing a strong value proposition and call-to-action.
- Testing and measuring and fine-tuning approaches — by segment and time period.
- Investing in a platform that enables your brand to target, run, change, and measure multiple ads — even giving some of the control to operators or franchisees — using creative that has been approved by your corporate keepers of the brand. Developing a powerful “library” of ads that locations can choose from makes them feel like they have some control over their marketing.
The ultimate key to succeeding with paid local social advertising is having a clear sense of your target, powerful creative/messaging, and the right automated dashboard that enables you to reach millions of people with highly local and relevant offers.