By Scott Gerber
As social media and digital marketing evolve, so should your company’s advertising strategies. Don’t be afraid to experiment with platforms like Snapchat to communicate with current and potential clients on a more personal level.
Of course, being successful on these newer platforms is contingent on understanding how to maximize your investment. With that in mind, I asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what newer social and digital advertising strategies they have found to be successful. Their answers are below.
1. WeChat marketing
WeChat is the Chinese version of Twitter and Facebook, combined. It has more than 650 million users, and it’s a new enough platform that companies beginning to market on it are not swimming in a crowded ocean. If you are interested in the East Asian market, WeChat is essential. A mixture of affiliate and content marketing on the platform is likely the most effective strategy.
3. Pinterest advertisements
We’re investing heavily in Pinterest in 2016. We’ve found that we have a good ROI with customers when we produce content specifically for Pinterest. Having been in the e-commerce space where each click was worth a dollar (and getting clicks for significantly less than that), it was a win-win situation for our business. Now in a different business, I’m getting similar results. Though click costs have gone up a bit, we’re still more than breaking even in our initial testing. This has allowed our company to scale even further and go after a new demographic that is starting to really love and resonate with our product.
5. Facebook to Instagram integration
Now you can easily push your metric-driven Facebook ad campaign to Instagram by linking your accounts. Instagram ads were at first only available to major corporate players, but now you can use the images you already know have solid engagement on Facebook directly on Instagram for your small- and medium-sized business.
7. Native advertising
The tides are changing and we are seeing big shifts towards native advertising to increase performance through relevant messaging. As brands start to act more like publishers, content is becoming the future of advertising. Native advertising allows brands the opportunity to create high-quality authentic content that is optimized for engagement when possible.
9. AdWords call-only advertisements
We are launching several call-only pay-per-click campaigns this quarter in an effort to drive phone calls. Online leads and newsletter subscribers are great, but there is nothing better than a hot prospect on the phone. People fill out multiple forms, request quotes and join several newsletters. They eventually lose track of what information they have requested and fall off. AdWords call-only ads give the person one option — to call. Granted this is just for mobile traffic, but everyone is searching on his or her mobile device these days, so I’m not too concerned with the call quality. Even if they are just looking for information, it’s a way for them to connect with a real person, which greatly increases the chance of a follow-up conversation.
11. Instagram ads
EVENTup is such a visual company, so it makes sense to focus on an advertising platform with a similar model. Because people are renting spaces based on their photos, Instagram is a natural fit. This will benefit us by bringing in more clients to visit our venue pages and give our venues themselves more visibility.
2. Snapchat geofilters
In 2015, Snapchat launched geofilters for advertisers like McDonald’s and they are said to be extending this capability to more businesses in 2016. Snapchat is one of the biggest mobile social platforms in the world today, and especially important for the millennial audience. Looking at advertising solutions on this platform will be exciting for brands in the coming year. Rather than a direct-response campaign like a lot of online advertising, Snapchat geofilters are mostly useful as brand-building, brand awareness and brand engagement experiences with consumers.
4. Psychographic targeting
Limited tests have shown that video ads on YouTube and Facebook can yield very strong ROI. One of our goals in 2016 is to streamline the creation of videos built specifically for advertising purposes, and then promote them using different audiences and targeting opportunities available through YouTube and Facebook. This offers an opportunity to capitalize on auto-play videos and grow video audiences across the web. People want content that is fun, easy to digest and entertaining. Deliver this while taking advantage of improved psychographic targeting, and the opportunities for growth are endless.
6. Video content
In Q1 2016, SOCi is focusing on video. Implementing a video strategy will hugely increase the consumption of our content, which, subsequently, will increase our brand awareness and expertise while driving traffic to our website.
8. External content marketing
Instead of starting a blog for my business, I’ve decided to generate content to be syndicated on other publications. My business relies on a network of users sharing ideas. These users want to self-promote, I need to market my business and the publications need content. It’s a win for all three parties involved and the advertising doesn’t cost a dime.
10. Influencer advertising
We’ve been seeing diminishing returns on traditional banner advertising over the last year and are exploring options related to influencer advertising. As a gaming company, we already get a significant portion of our customers through small influencers (think friends and family talking about the games), so more structured campaigns through influencers on various social platforms holds the promise of taking this to scale.