While the official deadline for submissions is Dec. 13, don't wait until the last minute to send in yours.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — If you want to sell and circulate your service, then you better learn to do what authors and actors do best: Tell stories and charm an audience.
The era of social media gives you ample opportunities to reach audiences in a less obvious way than the traditional sell-sell-sell approach that can turn off prospective clients.
Hundreds of operators from around the nation got a good grounding in those concepts on Jan. 22 from a presentation by Sally Hendrick, who spoke about social media marketing during the industry’s LABLive conference in Nashville that was co-sponsored with LCT Magazine.
With six years of social media experience, Hendrick founded Social Media Traffic School, which is a place to learn how to successfully market to social media audiences, such as the use of paid Facebook ads. She previously worked in insurance for 25 years, handling plenty of statistics and actuarial guessing. Hendrick now advises high powered clients in the athletic and corporate worlds.
Asked about the biggest misconception among unsuccessful users of Facebook ads, Hendrick mentioned failure to place a Facebook pixel on a website. “I know it's the techiest thing you'll ever run across, but if you don't have the tracking in place, you cannot measure anything you're doing,” Hendrick said.
Hendrick advised operators to avoid direct audience targeting since it’s more of a sales technique, and not one suited to social media. Businesses often try to sell too quickly. “Social media is about raising awareness about your brand, telling stories, and sharing educational facts. That's what ends up getting people into the sales mode. But you have to entertain them first.”
The first step is to show what's happening through video, which enables you to measure and build audiences. “It's a great tool and you want to show what is happening in the industry,” she said. “You want to show relaxed customers and people that are satisfied with what you're doing.”
With video you can develop audiences on Facebook who watched your videos up to a certain point. “When creating those audiences, you can re-market or get in front of those people again with new content and you know they've already seen your old content.” Audiences can be segmented based on how long or how often they viewed your video.
Other common mistakes include putting the wrong content in front of the wrong people. “If you're doing cold traffic, people who don't know who you are, you need introductory type stories. If you have already developed a relationship with them, meaning they've already watched your videos and visited your website or signed up on your email list for a coupon code, then those people are starting to get warm. They can get sales information.”
Hendrick advises doing seven to eight retargeting ads using different forms of content, including video and images, for users who engage on any level.
“I find when you're doing lead generation and trying to gather email addresses from people, images tend to work better. If you're doing just video news, people will watch the video and that's typically all they'll do. They tend to ignore the call to action.”
Developing conversions from calls to action takes recurrent targeting. “You have to get in front of people again and again,” Hendrick said. “As they say, it takes seven to 12 times or touches before people will do business with you.”
If you spend money on a Google or Facebook ad, you should back it up with retargeting, otherwise the money gets wasted. Otherwise, nothing happens and Facebook keeps your money. Hendrick advises doing separate campaigns for Facebook and Instagram.
“The stats just run differently for Instagram and the content needs to be in a different shape, such as square video. Instagram stories are longer, taller pieces of content.”
“People love stories. So why not tell stories on Insta Stories? You have to think about the fact it’s not just advertising; it’s telling stories and giving status updates. It’s talking about the environment around you.” For example, why not talk about the Super Bowl from the standpoint of a luxury transportation company?
She also advises using strong, attractive photos. “It's all about the visual. It's not as much about the text you put on there. In your profile, you need to put the link where you want people to go because the links are not clickable in the text on Instagram.”
The stories will be the videos and the updates in a casual format. The Instagram photos need to be much more professional.
Hendrick suggested a 20% rule that applies to posts, meaning no more than 20% of your content image should appear as text.
Hendrick described three phases that build toward a sales conversion, which involves aligning sales with marketing, or “smarketing.”
Brand awareness phase: Crafting the video stories that build up the largest possible audience as cheaply as possible.
Consideration phase: When the audience considers your brand and provides an opportunity for you to catch leads. Retarget information toward specific segments that offer more value.
Sales phase: Focus on overcoming objections and sharing testimonials by leveraging the strengths of social media. Hendrick, for example, typically will do a testimonial type ad, one centered on objections, and a “what our offer is” type of ad.
Once such campaigns are set up, the advertiser or marketer needs to look at analytics and figure out how to optimize, or position, the ads to reap the most clicks.
Hendrick looks for ways to optimize her ads several times a day. “I'm watching to see if certain click-through ratings are meeting certain standards,” she said. “I'm looking to see if your cost per impression is meeting certain standards. I'm looking at the cost per lead. What is the client expecting and what is coming out of the ad?”
Hednrick split tests different images and ad copy. That way you find out if one ad converts at $16 per lead and another at $3. “Of course, I will work to get everything down as low as possible.”
Operators who are not marketers by trade should look at a few key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the success of a social media marketing campaign, Hendrick advises.
1) Cost per impression: This tells you if your audience is right or not. That needs to fall below $37 for every 1,000 impressions.
2) Cost per click: (CPC) refers to the actual price you pay for each click in your pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns. The average cost per click in Google Ads is between $1 and $2 on the search network. The average CPC on the Display Network is under $1, according to Wordstream.com Blog.
3) Click-through rate: If your click-through rate is above 3%, then that means an image is working. If the click-through rate for link clicks is above 1%, then the copy is working. If any content falls below those rates, then you should test other images or rework the copy.
As to whether Facebook or Instagram ads are more effective, the outcome varies for each client. Hendrick recommends testing both. Also, be aware of the demographics of the social media platforms, such as Facebook which skews toward age 35+ generations and Instagram where mostly Millennials and Gen Z hang out.
That can also determine how you arrange your content and marketing messages. LinkedIn should not be used like Facebook. Photos of vehicles or operators with vehicles should go on Facebook and Instagram stories instead of LinkedIn.
Hendrick took the following audience question after her presentation, among others:
Q: What would be the optimal percentage of time for visitors to watch in order to retarget them?
“When you first start with brand awareness, you actually retarget at the 10-second level. And then, when you get later in your funnel, you want to build up audiences of people who watched 50% or more. It really depends on the stats you look at. If you see a huge drop off at 75%, then that 75% is really engaged. It really depends on your industry and what you're doing as to if you use that 75%.”
She added calls to action and retargeting should be spaced out based on how many seconds most of the audience spends with a video. Structuring content in increments is critical for retargeting.
Websites don’t make money unless there is a sales/marketing funnel behind it, Hedrick said. So find a funnel, optimize it, tweak it, and invest in the funnel if it works instead of rebuilding an entire website.
While the official deadline for submissions is Dec. 13, don't wait until the last minute to send in yours.
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