When you're a small business, every dollar you spend on any type of advertising needs to show some return on investment (ROI). Companies of all sizes focus on the ROI when it comes to paid ads - both display and text pay per click (PPC). ROI becomes even more ambiguous to track in social media communities, especially when your ads are not directing people back to your own website where your analytics can show you how the ads are performing.
What's the Value of a "Like"?
If you put up an ad on Facebook and are encouraging Facebook users to "like" your fan page, the first thing you should know is what the value of that "like" is to your company. To only be able to say "we have X number of fans who 'like' us" without being able to understand how valuable those fans are doesn't help you understand how successful your campaign is. Most of the time when companies run the "Like us" campaigns just to gain fans, that is all that happens - Facebook users "like" the page and do nothing more.
Social media ad campaigns need to think beyond just putting up the ad and getting people to hit the "like" button to find value. To find the actual value of your efforts, you have to integrate true social media engagement with your paid ad strategy - whether it's Facebook, Google (YouTube, Google+, etc.), or Twitter - not just ask them to be your fan, friend, or follower. Ask yourself, what do your fans do once they "like" you? If all they do is hit the "like," "+1," or "Follow" buttons and there's no engagement, have you just wasted your ad spend?
Why Should They "Like" You?
Social media users are becoming wise to gimmicks, just like search users have when they see ads when they search in Google or Bing. As with anything you do online these days, you have to provide some sort of value to the people you want to attract - especially in social media communities. Just saying, "Like XXX? Like Us" doesn't really work; the user is left asking the question "Why should I do that?"
Duracell ran a campaign a few months ago where it targeted fans of the musician Daughtry, wherein it proclaimed in its ad copy, "Like Daughtry? Like Duracell!" Two examples of the ad are below. I wrote about this Duracell campaign in a bit more depth, however, even looking at these two ads, you can see how money was likely wasted until Duracell actually changed the copy and put a value proposition statement in with the copy.
Make Sure All Channels Work Together
The problem with the Duracell/Daughtry campaign is one any small business can learn from. If you're combining efforts, whether it's within your own company (PR department, online marketing, event producers) or you're working with your vendors, making sure that everyone is in sync is important. With this Duracell campaign, the Daughtry team wasn't on the same page. When Facebook users looked at Daughtry's stream, no mention of Duracell was to be found. Without that correlation, the trust needed to form a relationship wasn't there; essentially it was viewed as a gimmick.
Integrating your paid ad campaign in social media takes a bit more effort than paid campaigns in search engines. When users utilize a search engine there's no expectation of engagement, they just search and are presented with results. In social media communities, users are there to engage with their network of friends. If you're part of their network - in other words, they "liked" you - then they're expecting engagement with you and want value from you. That's why it's essential to integrate social media engagement and calls to action, and understand the value of your fans to get the complete picture of your success.
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Liana "Li" Evans is the author of the award winning social media marketing book, "Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media" and she is the president and CEO of Da Li Social, as well as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University's Mini MBA Program. Liana has also been featured in the books "Online Marketing Heroes" and "Video Marketing An Hour a Day." As an established online marketing industry veteran with over 15 years of experience she's focused her unique skillset to specialize in integrated marketing and how companies can successfully strategize integrating all online marketing channels as well as offline traditional media. Her deep technical combined with a public relations background enables her to partner with clients for establishing successful online marketing campaigns that combine cross-channel tactics cohesively.
Li was the search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing architect for such companies as QVC and Comcast (Fancast) and has consulted with several other different sized companies such as AOL MovieFone. Her wealth of knowledge in dealing with large e-commerce and content sites allows her a wider perspective into what it takes to launch successful marketing campaigns in the online space.
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