This is a guest post from Dmytro Spilka at Solvid.
When it comes to digital marketing, very few strategies are as effective as social media campaigns in terms of boosting your traffic and attaining a strong ROI.
Today, SEO can account for much more than just locating and promoting specific keywords, and can help put you on course for the organic results you need online.
When it comes to social media marketing, your audience will be the key to a lot of the decisions you make. It’s vital that you know who your audience is, so you can actively look to appeal to them in an engaging way.
Fundamentally, social media marketing can bolster your SEO strategies and become a key player in driving conversions within your site.
There are plenty of platforms out there when it comes to social media, so which one is best at targeting audiences effectively?
Read on to see how LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook perform in terms of targeting features:
The value of social media targeting
Advertising takes on many more traditional forms and, when the topic is discussed, the first image conjured up is usually old-fashioned images of billboards or television commercials. When thinking of effective advertising, our minds are rarely cast onto the pages of social media.
However, it’s on the likes of Facebook and Twitter that advertising can really offer a fresh dynamic to marketers. Social profiles tend to offer a great opportunity for target marketing because of the wealth of information they provide marketers. Essentially, users can be targeted based on their interests, behavior, demographics, location, and even operating system for portable devices, among many other metrics.
Online advertising is a fast and cost-effective method of catering directly to your target audience. With almost three billion users, there’s plenty of audience to target online too.
There’s no better way of appealing directly to the audiences that you value the most than through advertising via social networks. Social media leverages specific filters that conform to market trends and target audience analysis, which significantly boosts the number of relevant clicks your campaign attracts, as well as sales.
In the case of platforms like Facebook, advertisers can target users based on their behavior on the network, as well as the groups they follow and their specified location. Advertisers can fine-tune the audiences they’re targeting with specific audience features, including targeting the company database or a decidedly similar audience.
Elsewhere, Twitter offers a large array of categories and allows marketers to select users and brand profiles for target marketing. Due to the platform’s follower-based framework, it’s much easier to see the likes and dislikes of active users, which can certainly be seen as a strength for some brands.
(Image: Marketing Charts)
The raw data shows that social networks are a leading source of inspiration among users looking to make a purchase online.
Behavior targeting, or interest-based advertising, operates by analyzing large swathes of users’ internet browsing patterns. As a result, marketers can build ads that cater to all users who behave similarly, on the educated assumption that they’ll be more receptive to the advertising material. This form of marketing is wholly transparent, safe, and even empowers internet users by delivering only the most useful and relevant content to them.
This form of marketing works by grouping users together based on their previous internet surfing actions and ads are delivered based on their shared interests. This action is also strong when it comes to retargeting users, and the collated date of audience members can be used to create look-alike audiences on Facebook ads manager too.
So, now that we’ve explored some of the key assets of social media targeting, let’s take a deeper look at what some of the world’s largest social networks have to offer, in terms of targeting features:
(Image: MarTech Today)
LinkedIn is certainly the most significant platform online today when it comes to giving marketers access to an audience of executives, decision-makers, and key personnel within a company.
Advertising on LinkedIn offers access to over 500 million users—80% of which are key members of their respective businesses. There’s around nine billion pieces of content published on the pages of LinkedIn each week, so targeting is essential. Luckily, this particular network offers a wide range of features to access audiences.
One of LinkedIn’s most successful targeting features comes in the form of Sponsored Content. These are the native ads that run in the LinkedIn feed across numerous devices.
Sponsored Content is the easiest way for engaging your target audience on linked in, and is particularly flexible in the type of ads it supports. Marketers can show off your company culture through the medium of videos, testimonials, text-based content, and more.
Creating sponsored content on LinkedIn is straightforward too. Simply make sure you have an account set up and click “create new ad” to set up a sponsored content campaign.
Another excellent LinkedIn targeting feature comes in the form of Sponsored InMail. The beauty of LinkedIn comes in the form of its excellent messaging platform, and Sponsored InMail helps marketers to make the most of this function and advertize strategically.
To set up Sponsored InMail, there are plenty of great options that help users to select the type of campaign that best suits them.
After this step, set up the sender of your ads and begin work in crafting your subject line and message content. LinkedIn even offers users the chance to add a personal address on each email sent to ensure that users will feel that much more valued. It’s even possible to set up a LinkedIn Lead Gen Form to collect quality leads from your ads.
Finally, LinkedIn Text Ads make for an excellent, more cost-effective and discreet way of targeting users. They appear on the right-hand side or top of a feed and allow marketers to use space to create a PPC or CPC campaign.
This can also be done with relative ease, as long as you have an accessible LinkedIn profile. Simply select “set up campaign” to begin crafting your Text Ads content.
While Facebook is primarily a social network-focused on community, and LinkedIn is heavily business oriented, Twitter truly is a global product. Users are free to interact (and, in many cases, argue) with somebody on the other side of the world with relative ease.
This makes Twitter’s Geotargeting feature particularly powerful for marketers. This means that local and international businesses alike can effectively advertise to the right people at the right time based on their nation, region, city, postal, or zip codes. Twitter’s wide array of different regions is helpfully broken down online too.
To set up Geotargeting, simply navigate to the “targeting” section of your Twitter Ads interface when creating or editing a campaign. Simply type in the area you’d like to target in the search bar. If you’re planning on targeting multiple areas, simply press the “Import Multiple Locations” button.
Twitter also has an excellent feature that lets marketers target users who’ve already interacted with their company online. This is particularly useful, as it indicates that they’ve already shown some form of direct or passive interest in the company.
Tweet Engager Targeting lets you choose whether you want to showcase your ads to people who’ve fully interacted in your brand or simply viewed previous tweets, and there’s a dropdown option to help users to decide which ads to display to targets too.
This can be actioned within the retargeting section of your Twitter Ads interface, and currently stands as a fairly unique feature across social media.
Finally, it’s worth acknowledging Twitter’s Tailored Audiences feature for targeting users. Because of the social network’s follower-based framework, it’s easy to categorize users based on their interests.
With Tailored Audiences, it’s possible to target users based on a mind-boggling array of metrics.
Arguably Facebook’s most exciting targeting feature comes in the form of Lookalike Audiences. This is a way of reaching new potential customers who are likely to be interested in your products because they’re similar to your best existing customers.
Lookalike audiences are built on users who have a significantly similar range of interests, demographics, and locations as your existing customers, meaning that they’re more likely to be interested in your company too—sociologically speaking.
To set up a Lookalike Audience campaign, you need to ensure that you’re the admin of the page or pixel you’re creating it from. Simply click on “Audiences” on your Ad account and then “Lookalike Audience” before selecting your source data.
Another significant Facebook feature comes from its strength in Demographic Targeting. With demographic targeting, you can set up precision-based campaigns that’ll save you money.
As you can see from the image above, Facebook even provides a useful gauge that can show approximately how broad or specific your campaign will be.
With Demographic Targeting, you can tap into the wealth of information Facebook has on its millions of users and build ads that focus on their age, language, gender, relationship status, level of education, type of work, device, location, interests, and plenty more metrics.
To perform Demographic Targeting, simply use your Facebook Manager account and press “+ Campaign.” After setting your marketing objectives, you’ll be asked to select your audience. Use the metrics on the right-hand side of the screen to help you fine-tune your potential audience and create a sample size that’s both affordable and effective.
As with any marketing campaign, the ultimate goal is to see which ones work and bring the desired conversions and identify those that are draining the budget.
WordStream and AdEspresso are helpful tools to manage and optimize your Facebook campaigns. Similarly to the aforementioned tools, WordStream can help track conversions and optimize the effectiveness of your campaigns.
It’s also important to set up Google Analytics goals to be able to see where conversions are coming from, be it trial signups, digital downloads, or direct purchases.
To do that, go to Conversions > Goals in your Google analytics dashboard.
Which is best for your business?
When it comes to deciding which social network is best to launch your targeted ads, it’s important to note that these platforms play to their strengths very well in terms of marketing.
LinkedIn’s professional outlook is palpable as Sponsored InMail helps to maintain a level of business-like formality to the act of advertising.
Whereas Facebook is well aware of its massive user base and lets marketers whittle down millions of audience members accordingly with huge metrics based on an array of variables.
Twitter, on the other hand, prioritizes its more global outlook with Geo-targeting functions that can place products and services under the noses of the audiences who matter most.
As a marketer, it’s important to take a look at the type of campaign you want to launch, and judge each social network on these merits. Remember that marketing often involves being in the right place at the right time, so take the time to make sure that place is the best social network for your campaign.
Dmytro Spilka is the Founder and CEO at Solvid, a creative content creation agency based in London. Dmytro is currently a contributor for Entrepreneur, SEW, ClickZ, TechRadar, Social Media Today, WooRank, SEMRush, and ITProPortal.