Advertising on Social Media

There are nearly countless methods of social networking on the internet, with the numbers growing every day. Naturally, a few names standout as the top platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Small businesses likely cannot afford to choose more than one of these platforms, though the visibility is certainly worth the investment.

Where will you receive the best results?

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of advertising on the top social media platforms:


Pros: Facebook has the largest number of users (over 1.19 billion and of those at least 700 million users are active daily) and will give you immediate visibility with a wide range of audiences. It offers advanced targeting options so that small businesses can advertise to their specific clientele. Targeting options are: location, gender, likes/interests, workplace, relationship status, and education.

Cons: In comparison to other sites, Facebook’s provided metrics are very small. Additionally the expense for a small ad may not offer increased traffic enough to justify its cost.


Pros: The user base is made up of mainly business professionals, which gives the platform a high conversion rate. Categories like employee title, location, and demographics allow targeting to specific audiences. The platform is growing swiftly, particularly in markets such as India.

Cons: Click-through-rates are fairly low, though the ones that do click are usually invested. Compared to other platforms, advertisements are expensive. Additionally remarketing options are not available.


Pros: With its use of hashtags, Twitter allows targeting of users based on their current interests. Like Facebook, Twitter has a dedicated user base (over 320 million active users, with 1.3 billion total). Its ad format is much more straightforward via promoted tweets, which appear like any other user’s tweet. Promoted accounts and trends are additionally beneficial.

Cons: Apart from hashtags and keywords, Twitter’s selection of interests to choose from is fairly limited and makes it difficult to target by interest. Twitter keeps quiet about its ads’ success compared to other platforms. Also the cost can be unthinkable for small businesses, especially for “promoted trends.”


Pros: As a search engine itself, Google knows how to use SEO benefits. Its audience is more tech-driven (a pro for some companies and a con for others). The advertiser does not pay for their ad unless someone clicks on it and at that point, pays per click.

Cons: Google does qualify hovering over the ad for two seconds or more as a click. This platform does not receive as much traffic as the other sites mentioned, with a mere 300 million monthly users (although this includes use of Google’s other products like YouTube). Also targeting options are limited and promotion policies are restrictive.


Improve Customer Interaction on Social Media

Social media is an essential staple of customer interaction in today’s business world. No matter what your company’s focus is, social media is a tool you must take full advantage of. Here are a few steps toward improving your social media presence and engagement.

Facebook is your friend! The companies with the best customer-interaction strategies come up with new and unique ways to connect with their followers. It is important to present the company as a group of real people, with familiar faces, personalities, and an eagerness to connect as friends. Try highlighting your employees via your Facebook page. Emphasize their individual quirks and interests – try pairing current pictures with their baby photos or asking a weekly or biweekly question (“What are you listening to?” “What is the name of your pet?”).

Similarly try using Facebook to highlight your followers. This has the advantage of attracting interest and offering advantageous exposure to those you do feature. It helps make your viewers to feel part of the company and a fun, diverse community.

social mediaDon’t hesitate to get personal. Send shout-outs on Twitter to followers to compliment their achievements, record personalized video messages through Vine, thank someone for sharing your content, answer or ask questions. Similarly don’t avoid leaving a personal stamp on the Tweets. Some companies include the initials of the Tweeter inside the message or the Twitter handle of that person. It adds a very human touch and authenticates the interactions. Always respond to those who tweet toward your company to show that you appreciate the shout-out and value their input – whatever it might be.

If you have a LinkedIn Company Page, take advantage of their group functions which allows you up to three groups. Not only does this give your company more visibility, but it also gives you an additional opportunity to be involved in your industry’s discussions.

Pinterest also is a growing platform for customer interaction and sparking interest in your company. You can create company pins to promote your products, special offers, or announcements. Also you can collaborate with other users for that personal connection. Invite other users to pin to certain boards. Follow similar boards or users with similar interests. Comment on and repin other users’ pins. Make sure to use the platform for interaction as well as promotion.

Another place to maintain a presence is on Foursquare. Leaving tips and pieces of advice at your locations shows your investment in customer ease of action and connection. Try leaving a joke to emphasize your personable side. You can create lists as helpful resources for other people and promote visibility for your company.

The hashtag is a useful tool for encouraging interaction and offering customer promotion. Use Instagram’s personalized hashtags to stand out. Encourage your followers to utilize your hashtags and feature the best pictures on your page at the end of the week along with credit. At the end of the day, you will have a fun community, pleased customers, and increased traffic.

The only downside of having a variety of social media platforms is that maintaining the interaction and customer service is nearly a fulltime job. Expectations for response-time, personalized answers, and immediate solutions can be overwhelming. Be sure that you are prepared to handle these expectations and demands, as customers can be easily disappointed and emphasize the negative experiences. The best strategy is to select which platforms will give your business the best visibility and where your current and potential customers frequent. If you have the capability for a presence on a large variety of platforms, go for it! If you have any doubts about being able to keep up with the interaction, start small and add in additional platforms eventually.

What’s Better For Business: Facebook or Twitter?

When examining a social network, you should remember to use the network the way it was intended. Despite the fact that deploying a Facebook Page, multiple Twitter accounts or even a managed LinkedIn profile can help you establish a reputation or a brand online, you must cater to your audience.

Think of it this way: LinkedIn is like a Rolodex, Facebook is a little black book and Twitter is a cocktail party. In short: LinkedIn is for business connections, Facebook is for amicable connections, Twitter is for ad hoc connections. Users don’t use Facebook as their primary tool to search for real estate listings; they don’t use LinkedIn to find friends to go to happy hour with; they don’t use Twitter to shop for groceries. Each tool has an appropriate purpose and appropriate audience.

In the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world, we preach about having quality content, and how, without quality content, no SEO campaign can be successful. A similar approach applies when promoting your business through social media networks. What is your quality content?

If our focus was promoting a creative agency, market your services – such as your branding, design for print and film and media – it doesn’t have to be your best work, but it does have to be high quality. Before you start promoting your business, you must acknowledge that people will search for your company online. At some point they’ll have seen or heard enough about your company to try and find your website. If your services are your quality content, have your general info, track record and reputation established in the actual content on your website. Once your website is clear on what you do (what your service offering is), you can begin to target an audience on social networks to promote your business.

What is it you are really trying to accomplish? Generate leads? Establish a reputation or customer loyalty? Share relevant industry information and opinion with (anyone)?

If you want to generate leads, demonstrate your expertise on LinkedIn: answer questions in topics relevant to your service offering. Create a company profile page and encourage employees or consultants to be linked to your page. Reach out to existing or former clients requesting recommendations of you or your staff. Establish your brand and expertise through the professional network.

If you want to take a strong stance and establish a social reputation online, create a Facebook Page for your business. using Facebook applications, connect your blog, Twitter, videos, photos, (the whole nine) and encourage your existing or past clients to be fans of your business profile. Start discussions around your industry perspectives, tag your clients, friends, etc in your posts: tags allow users’ to see themselves (or their pages) be mentioned and encourages them to offer a recommendation, referrals or references for the work you do. If customers have a problem with your product or service, there’s a chance they will post content to their Facebook profile. Perform regular searches for your company name, abbreviations or products offered to be sure to address any client or prospect complaints that may be circulating. LinkedIn is assumed to be completely professional, while Facebook is assumed to be more fun and where actions seldom result in long-term consequence is. Both require a degree of tact to manage your brand online: reputation management, albeit reactive at times, can appear proactive if you address customer concerns, suggestions and comments quickly.

If you want to share relevant industry information, perspectives, random ‘whatever’ with anyone on the internet, use Twitter. The 140 character limit requires you to be concise and engaging. You can put links in Twitter content, while they take some of your character allotment, they can help drive traffic to (anything). Twitter, as mentioned before, is a cocktail party: you can choose to follow, pay attention, subscribe to any conversation at the party. Likewise, you can be the center of attention one minute and suddenly everyone has migrated away to someone or something more interesting. Like with anything else, quality content is key.

Blogging In a Nutshell – Part 1

There are two primary objectives for blog articles: make a point and encourage discussion among readers. For business, there is a third overarching objective: self-promotion. The key to any blog you probably already know: original solid content. With original content your blog will draw an audience; that audience will revisit your blog which will foster discussion around your content. Over the next few days we will briefly discuss in detail how to form original content, followed briefly by means to drive traffic and finally how to foster discussion around your blog articles.

As you are already aware the key to blogging is having original content, good content that your target audience will want to read. Users are able to find the information they want and able to dismiss irrelevant content faster; users bore easier: with tons of resources at their disposal, users will spend 30 to 60 seconds skimming through headlines and initial paragraphs before abandoning your site. For example, at this point in the article, if the content you were looking for is not outlined or easy to find, attention spans are lost. The challenge is in creating and frequently providing content that will keep the attention of your audience. The solution is in planning. There are three types of articles your blog content should be focused on: multi-part series, weekly industry-relevant single posts and ad hoc one-off content.

Forming Original Content

A multi-part series, much like this one, will involve a tutorial, how-to or extended analysis of a technique, software or event. The series should actually be written all at once and broken into smaller consumable pieces after the initial composition. Most blogging software allows users to post-date their articles, which lends itself to a multi-part series very well. The content is already completed and by staggering out the launch dates, what was one longer article is now 5 articles and consumed as regular content for readers.

Each week, post something about what’s going on in your universe or in your industry, something your readers will relate to and already be reading about elsewhere. Weekly industry-relevant single posts are simply reviews, recaps, predictions or brief analysis of a current event or software launch pertinent to your audience. These types of posts are not time-sensitive. For instance a piece of industry news, such as software launch from Google, can be posted a day or two after the actual event takes place. In this example, the author should appropriately evaluate the software, any supporting information from Google’s regular media channels and if possible other bloggers’ reactions to the release of said software; these steps to establish content will allow a higher likelihood of generating solid content. Try to avoid just posting a link with one or two lines of your opinion. For these weekly-posts, try to put some more thought and opinion into your content.

Ad hoc posts should focus on at least one of two things: an account of “here and now” events or brief snippets of information sharing. Micro-blogging, while a concept not covered in detail here, is the act of sharing a link or references to another piece of information – more notably seen and experienced through the deployment of Twitter. Ad hoc posts are similar to micro-blogging: there is an event, an article or some piece of content not featured (or perhaps relevant) to your regular content; talk about it, feature it along with up to five sentences of your own opinion/insight/content. For example, if your blog is about web-based software and you want to feature an announcement about Microsoft’s Sync system, while not directly relevant to your usual topic of discussion an appropriate ad hoc post would: (1) link to the announcement with (2) a few short sentences about why the article is interesting to your audience.

The first key thing to remember is that you are creating solid original content. Your content will entice viewership and greater viewership means more opportunity for discussion. The second key point is having a variety of content. By having three types of posts – regular, one-off and right-now – the content provided to users varies in format enough to be interesting. All three types are essential: regular content users to depend on and expect large-scale content in digestible segments; weekly content allows users to count on and expect relevant regular content; ad hoc posts are the backbone for fresh content in their frequency and tangential relevance.

Scheduling Blog Content

The final challenge when focused on writing a blog is scheduling: when do you write content and when do you post content? Many blogging platforms have the advantage of being able to set the date and time for content to post (similar to full-blown newswires). This works to post content at a previous date and time as well as scheduling when a post will go live in the future. (Briefly: the only reason I would justify launching content at a previous date is to establish credibility during the initial launch of a blog – allowing for simulated longevity of content upon the blog’s launch; however this would demand future posts link and reference the pre-dated posts.) The latter scheduling concept is more pertinent: create content that will be posted at some date in the future. Newspapers used to have multi-editions per day: early morning, mid-morning afternoon, late afternoon and evening, sometimes more; Associated Press often posts out a flurry of articles at 1:00am each morning. Creating content now and planning for a story launch is a perfectly acceptable means of communication through your blog.

Goals for your blog, while not covered in detail here, should include the frequency of your posts. Before you launch your blog, you must have content. You should be prepared to launch your blog with three weeks’ worth of content: one set of content for the week prior to launch date, one set of content for the week of your launch and a final set of content for the week following your launch. At a minimum, the regular articles (the multi-part series or weekly-industry content) should be scheduled and finalized a week ahead of their launch. This way, if your new content is delayed a day or two your users are not affected. By writing content at least a week ahead of time, you allow yourself the flexibility to accommodate your real life. Real life happens: car breaks down, mother-in-law comes to town, and your dog ate your blog. While your readers’ real lives may affect how often they are able to read your content they have no empathy or mercy if your real life got in the way of their content. Your blog lives and dies by its content, no content means no life.

Next we talk about driving traffic to your blog.