Do You Need Social Media Marketing or Social Media Advertising?
Should you be posting ads on social media or sharing organic content? Well, that all depends. But the short answer is "both" in 90% of cases.
The looming Facebook Zero update is going to change the game... again. This means you can throw out your social media playbook from a year ago, it's already time to audit your strategy.
Let's take a look at what your mix of social media marketing and social media advertising should look like moving forward.
What is Facebook Zero and How Will it Change Things?
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that in 2018 Facebook is going to shift their focus to giving users what they are asking for. That means more content from their family and friends, with less of a focus on business Pages.
This will arrive in the form of a change to their algorithm that has been called Facebook Zero.
What Does This Mean For Social Media Marketing?
In recent years we have seen Facebook make it more difficult to get organic content in front of your audience. It has really forced us to purchase ads to boost our content.
That made Facebook an almost exclusively pay-to-play advertising platform. Now you can pretty much call it 100% pay-to-play.
Of course, it is still going to be possible to get organic content and posts in front of your audience, but this content is going to have to be awesome.
It's not totally clear what will be in the new algorithm, but we can only assume there will be a focus on content that gets shared frequently among users earning the right to show up in more people's newsfeeds.
This means your organic content has to be legitimately valuable and shareable, instead of just a thinly veiled ad for your business.
Posting Ads on Social Media is Now a Must
Tempting as it may be, you can't simply write off Facebook as a marketing tool. You still need this to be a strong presence.
In fact, Shopify has reported that about 66% of all social media visits to Shopify stores come from Facebook. This means Facebook legitimately still drives sales and purchase decisions.
You also still need to use Facebook as a central hub and content aggregator. It still very much needs to be the face of your business... Pun regretted.
It also means you're going to have to get better at posting ads on social media. You need to learn to leverage Facebook's business tools and experiment with different types of ads, images, and copy to find something that resonates with your audience.
Can Instagram Fill the Void?
In the wake of Facebook zero, Instagram now is probably your best bet to share organic content for free. Instagram should've already been a major part of your social marketing strategy.
The engagement numbers for businesses on Instagram speak for themselves. You can build a strong following and really build your brand if you post on Instagram in a strategic way.
It offers you the opportunity to engage with new people by taking advantage of well-researched hashtags. Facebook doesn't allow you to do this.
If you're wondering if you should go all-in on Instagram or Snapchat, you should know that Instagram is currently devouring Snapchat. It's possible that Snapchat is a punchline for flash-in-the-pan jokes in the next couple years.
It saw a really rapid and aggressive growth. But the popularization of Instagram stories has pretty much made the SnapChat obsolete. Most businesses hadn't quite figured out how to leverage or monetize Snapchat anyway.
How to Write Better Social Media Ads
Facebook zero also means you're going to have to start making better ads. How do you do this? By focussing on better headline writing and image selection.
From the earliest days of advertising (when you were trying to fill a newspaper or magazine ad) the headline has always been the most important part. That's never been truer than it is now.
The key is writing a headline that strikes an emotional chord with your audience. You need to know what your audience pain point is, and what's keeping him up at night. Then you need to zero in on this emotion with your headline.
Remember, people don't make rational decisions. They make emotional decisions and then rationalize them.
Let's say you're a divorce lawyer posting ads on social media. You go with a headline like "Divorce is Stressful. We Can Help." That's obviously a pretty flat and uninspired headline.
That's not going to make much of an emotional connection with your audience and that ad will probably perform very poorly. A better headline would be, "Has Your Spouse Threatened to Take the Kids Away?"
That's tapping into a very real pain point and an emotion that your target audience feels. That headline would get you far more clicks, and more qualified leads.
And then there is your image selection, which is of equal importance. When people are scrolling through their newsfeed, you need to give them a reason to stop. That means no boring stock photography.
There is nothing easier in the entire world to ignore than stock photography. So if your ad has a bland image of two business people shaking hands, you can do better. You have to do better.
Of course, this is an art and a science. Experiment with different types of images to see which ones seem to connect best with your audience. But, always keep the focus away from boring stock images. Those are traffic poison.
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