Tricks of the marketing trade

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Targeting is vital for effective social media marketing

Much of what goes on when conceptualising social media campaigns is geared towards quality data acquisition, such as customer preferences, email addresses and even telephone numbers. And what’s best avoided when seeking quality? Fluff. White noise. Distraction.

Put simply, our clients are less likely to see a long term benefit if the data we provide is populated, in part, by those who have no real interest in the client. Numbers are good, but should only be seen as one metric in a long line of metrics that define success.If half of the original figure we achieved falls away after the first, second, or even third post-campaign email you have to question the quality of the work being delivered, no matter how impressive the scale. I’d rather revel in the security of 10,000 quality leads than 20,000 disinterested prize-craving social media voyeurs. Though it’s worth noting that quality and quantity aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

Taking Facebook as an example, achieving a good CTR with a healthy budget and mouth-watering prize isn’t difficult. The entries will likely come pouring in. But without that element of targeting, that boundary between your work and entrants unknown, the quality of your data is equally anonymous.

Even if your end goal is wide exposure, it’s important to question whether blindly paying for impressions represents good value for money. Perhaps predictably, we’ve found the case - invariably - to be a resounding ‘no’. Though intuitive and powerful, let’s look beyond the basics of the proprietary targeting options offered by social media advertising. Instead, here are a few ways you can further target an audience more receptive to what you - and your client - has to say:

Advanced Facebook ads targeting

When you create a Facebook ad, you’re faced with a number of relatively simple, easy to grasp targeting options; location, age, gender, language, interests, behaviour, connections. These are all vital when targeting on Facebook, but sometimes using these options in isolation can leave you with a sense of uncertainty. That’s where custom audiences and - more importantly - lookalike audiences come in.

Using data from email databases, entrants, previous entrants and even website users, you can use custom audiences to target very specific Facebook users. You can then create a ‘lookalike audience’, enabling you to reach a wider segment of users similar to that customer list.

A balanced barrier to entry

Generally speaking, a low barrier to entry for anything has always been the preferred approach; competitions, contact forms… You name it. But is it the correct approach?

From a best practice perspective, it’s better to balance your barrier to entry. Too high and you’ll put almost everyone off; too low and you’ll get everyone and their mother and family pet entering.

Make your data collection about more than a name and an email address. Ask prospective entrants some questions about themselves, request an address to send a brochure to, make sure they leave their telephone number.

These aren’t difficult questions designed to put the interested off, but every additional piece of information will further deplete the catalogue of those with zero purchasing/engagement intent.

Different strokes for different folks

This one may seem a little basic, but it’s such a simple approach to targeting that many don’t put as much thought into it as they should.

You’ve gone through all the different technical targeting options for your campaign or advertising, but there’s no way to be 100 per cent certain that your audience is perfect in every way. In fact, it won’t be.

What you need to do now is make sure that your message, wording, imagery and user experience is aligned with your target demographics. The user journey you offer should be different for a campaign targeting older entrants than one designed to engage a younger audience.

Nick Livermore is marketing manager of Digital Visitor.

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