It’s no secret that social media marketing is disrupting the marketing world. In as little as ten years Facebook managed to connect 1 in every six people on the planet.
In this guide, I’m going to explain to you exactly what social media marketing is all about and how you can utilise it to help you take your business to a whole new level.
But, let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is social media marketing?
What is social media marketing?
In a nutshell, social media marketing is any form of marketing that happens on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many others.
This kind of marketing can be both in the form of free or paid advertising. Before we start, allow me to share some stats with you.
Some interesting social media stats and facts:
- According to The Drum, back in 2015, 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook marketing and lead to an offline or online purchase. This percentage was up 36% from 2014.
- According to Facebook, there are roughly over 50 million small businesses on its platform, and 4 million of those businesses are utilising paid advertising.
- According to Zephoria, over 300 million photos are being uploaded to Facebook every single day.
- The average time spent on Facebook is roughly 20 minutes per user.
- 80% of Instagram users are outside of the U.S. according to Wordstream.
- Six in every ten adults have an Instagram account
- There are over 8 million registered business on Instagram
- 60% of Instagram users say that they have learned more about a product or service from a business while being on the platform.
- 300 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute according to Fortunelords.
- Over 5 billion videos are watched on the platform every day.
- Six out of ten people say they prefer online video platforms to traditional T.V.
- 80% of all YouTube views occur outside of the U.S.
- 9% of U.S small business use YouTube to help promote their products or service.
Advertising is all about getting your message across to customers, and to do that; you need to know where your customers are spending their time.
The above stats indicate what customers are doing when they have free time, and by looking at the numbers, the perfect place to target customers would be social media platforms.
Which social media platforms are the most popular?
Facebook is in first place by far. According to Newsroom.com, Facebook brags with over 1.3 billion daily users, and 2 billion monthly users.
And according to Web Africa, 13 million South Africans are on Facebook.
YouTube is in second place with over 1 billion monthly active users, while 2 million videos get viewed every second.
YouTube has over 8.28 million South Africans using the platform.
According to Tech Crunch Instagram is currently the world’s third most popular platform with over 700 million daily active users, and over 1 million active advertisers.
When it comes to South Africa, approx. 3 million users are using the platform.
This means that Facebook is more than 4x more popular than Instagram under South Africans.
Twitter used to be more popular, however, in the last couple months the platform has shown no to little user growth. Twitter currently has over 320 million active users of which 157 are using the platform daily.
Even though the platform might be stagnating it’s interesting to know that 7.4 million South Africans are on the platform.
Snapchat and Twitter are neck and neck when it comes to fourth place. According to Expanded Ramblings, the platform has over 301 million active users a month.
However, when it comes to daily active users, Snapchat smiles back at Twitter with 166 million users compared to Twitters 157 million.
These are the top 5 social media platforms South Africans, and the world, spend their time on.
Don’t make a mistake thinking that there are only a few platforms out there!
According to Wikipedia, there are over 200 different social networks in the world.
With that said, platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn might not have made the top 5, but these platforms still show tremendous potential for advertisers.
By looking at the stats above, we can see that these platforms offer a great opportunity for brands and businesses to engage with customers.
And that is exactly what social media marketing is all about.
How can you use these social media platforms to market your business?
In this guide, I’m going to mainly focus on Facebook, only because it’s by far the biggest and most common platform in the world, not to mention the most attractive to market one’s business.
Here are a few simple ways to market your business on Facebook for free:
Start a Facebook Page
The best way to engage with customers on Facebook would be in the form of a Facebook page.
This allows you to talk to potential customers and clients on behalf of your business as opposed to your personal profile where people can also find your family photos and more.
Why you need a Facebook Page for your business:
There are numerous reasons to start a Facebook page today. If you are still on the fence, then maybe these benefits can help change your mind:
1A Facebook page can teach you more about your target audience
Once you start a Facebook page, you will gain access to Facebook insights. Facebook insights allow you to learn more about your followers and their interactions; this can help you streamline and improve your marketing efforts.
2Facebook pages help boost your SEO
In Part 2 of our Beginners Guide to Digital Marketing in South Africa, I broke down what SEO is all about and how it can help you grow your business.
Having a Facebook page can help boost your organic reach in search engines which means free traffic and higher ROI.
3Allows you to advertise on the platform
Later in this guide, I will breakdown how to utilize Facebook’s paid services, but for now, know that having a Facebook page allows you to advertise on the platform.
Without a page, you won’t be able to advertise to potential customers.
4Connect with more customers
A Facebook page allows customers to find and connect with your business.
This opens the door to a conversion or sale which I’m sure no business would want to turn down.
What can you do with a Facebook Page?
You can call your Facebook page whatever you want. However, best practice would be to give it the same name as your business.
This will make it easier for people to connect and build a relationship with the correct entity.
You can store your company’s information on the page which will make it easy for potential customers and clients to reach out to you.
Make sure you add an email, contact number, physical address, a link to your website and some of your biggest accomplishments as well.
This will help increase the authority of your business.
SHOWCASE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Using Facebook, you can showcase your primary services and products. This will help customers understand your business while providing them with more information on what you do.
BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
As the admin of the Facebook page, you can invite others to like your page. Once someone has clicked ‘like’ it tells Facebook that this person is interested in following your business and its updates on the platform.
Facebook will then show your updates to the individual via their news feeds. However, before you get too excited, Facebook has an algorithm called EDGE Rank, and this determines whether your update will make it into your audience’s news feed or not.
STATUS UPDATES AND OTHER POSTS
Facebook is designed with the purpose to share information.
As your business, you can share whatever you want with your audience, and you can do it at any given time, whether it’s latest news or updates about your company, a new product, more information on how you make your goods and/or even just something to get customers smiling; Facebook’s updates are the best way to engage with your potential clients and customers.
Did I mention that you can also share offers and discounts? Make sure you look into it the next time you are running a special.
SEND AND RECEIVE MESSAGES
You can engage with customers in the form of messages using Messenger, the Facebook messaging platform.
If customers have specific inquiries about your business, they can ‘inbox’ you which provides you with the opportunity to make a personal connection and to provide them with the necessary information needed which can hopefully assist in making a sale.
GET CUSTOMERS TO REVIEW YOUR SERVICE
Customers who have experienced your services can review their experience and inform the public about it.
This provides future customers with an idea of what to expect. If you have an excellent rating, it can help convert more customers as it will automatically help increase creditability of your brand.
Start a Facebook Group
What’s the difference between a Facebook Page and A Facebook group?
A Facebook page allows you to advertise on the platform where a Facebook group won’t.
A Facebook page can help customers identify your offerings, location, company details, and achievements.
With a Facebook page, a customer can see what others think about your business while allowing them to message and reach out to you directly.
A Facebook group, on the other hand, puts more focus on community.
What I mean by this is that a page it’s more of a one-way conversation, where a group is more of a two-way conversation due to the fact that groups allow customers to share their thoughts with you and other in the group.
If you run the kind of business where you prefer to connect with clients in a personal manner, then Facebook groups might not be a bad idea.
What can you do with a Facebook Group?
A Facebook groups are all about sharing. You or anyone in the group can share updates at any time in the group’s newsfeed (in the form of a status update, video, photo and more.)
This is the two-way conversation we talked about, and this is great to connect with customers on a personal level.
Allowing people or customers in the group to connect with each other also helps build a stronger and more loyal following.
Facebook groups work well for the following businesses:
- Small to medium-sized businesses
- A business in a small town
- Software companies who want to ensure their customers have a platform to ask questions and learn more about how to utilize its products
- Universities and colleges etc.
An overview of advertising on Facebook
Having a Facebook group or page doesn’t cost you anything, it’s free. As I mentioned before, you can only advertise on Facebook if you have a Facebook page, having a group only won’t allow you to tap into Facebook’s paid services.
With that said, let’s have a look at what you can do with Facebook’s advertising abilities.
TARGET SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS
Most of the popular social media platforms allow you to advertise your business and products on its network.
Facebook, in my opinion, is the best at targeting customers, and I will explain why.
Facebook (because it’s the biggest social network on the planet) gathers the most amount of data on its users.
For the users, it’s probably not always a good thing, but for us as marketers, it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Let’s say you’re an online golf equipment retailer looking to grow sales by utilizing Facebook marketing. Where do you start? Who do you target?
Well, you’d be happy to know that Facebook allows you to narrow down your target audience, so you can ensure you show your ads to individuals who are most likely to engage with your sponsored content.
With Facebook ads, you can target 45 – 50-year-old golf enthusiasts in the Johannesburg area, who play golf regularly.
But that is not all; you can narrow your audience even further by targeting regular golf players who have a habit of making online purchases.
That’s right, that is how targeted you can be.
GROW YOUR FAN BASE
I mentioned before that you could invite people to like your Facebook page, however, keep in mind the people you invite might not all be interested in what you have to offer.
So, how do you get more relevant customers to follow your business?
Well, you can pay Facebook to advertise your page.
The same way that you targeted customers to buy your golf equipment, you can target customers to follow and like your page so that they can be notified about regular updates.
What are some of the best ways to advertise on Facebook?
Below are some of the best ways you can market your business on Facebook.
- FACEBOOK BRAND AWARENESS ADS
If you’re the new kid on the block and looking to get the name of your company out there, then this objective might be for you.
However, if you have a small marketing budget and need to ensure every cent goes to something that can lead to an ROI, then this is not ideal.
Even though Facebook allows you to show your ad to individuals who will most likely recall your ad, this won’t necessarily mean they are the perfect fit or will engage or make a purchase.
- FACEBOOK REACH ADS
This is objective here is essentially just to get your ad in as front as many people as possible.
It’s very similar to brand awareness ads. However, they do not have the backing of Facebook’s algorithm which allows your ad to be seen by people that might recall your ad.
The primary objective here is just to get people to see it. Your cost per mile or cost per 1000 impressions (people that saw your ad) might be lower, but there is a good chance none of them will remember it.
- FACEBOOK TRAFFIC ADS
If you have a website and want to drive people to a particular page or product on the site, then this is the ideal objective!
When it comes to Facebook traffic ads, one can target your audience according to location, age, gender, interests, etc.
The beautiful thing here is that you are reaching people most likely to click-through to your website.
- FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT ADS
Engagement in Facebook slang mainly means people that are more likely to comment, like, and share. This doesn’t mean they are going to install your app, download your e-book, or make a purchase on your site though.
This might be a good idea to help drive a particular action. I’ve experimented with engagement ads, and sometimes they work just as well as brand awareness ads.
The reason for this is because if people engage with something, they are more likely to remember it. They also have a better chance of going viral because people might end up sharing it with their friends.
- FACEBOOK APP INSTALL ADS
If you’re a software or app development company or recently launched your own app, then this is perfect for you!
This objective allows your ad to be seen by people who have a higher probability of downloading your app based on their previous behaviors around ads. The moment you click the ad you will be taken to the specific app store associated with your device.
- FACEBOOK VIDEO VIEW ADS
If you have a video explaining how your product or service works then this is the solution for you. By choosing the video view objective, Facebook will assist in showing your ads to individuals who are more prone to watching your video based on their behavior on the site.
If you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, you will most probably see that half of the posts, if not more, are videos. Video marketing is currently growing at a rapid pace, and most marketers believe that video will drive 75% of traffic by 2020.
- FACEBOOK LEAD GENERATION ADS
I feel so strongly about lead generation ads that I want to approve it even before I explain why.
Facebook lead generation ads allow you to advertise and collect important data from potential customers while growing your database and mailing list.
Any marketer would tell you that an email and contact number is gold so with that in mind, the moment you collect that data, you have a direct line of communication with your new potential customer and now it’s just up to you to make the sale.
Social media marketing is for everyone, no matter what the size of your company, and no matter whether you are online or offline based.
Facebook makes it easy for you to target exactly who you want to target, and by putting your ad in front of the right people, you can ensure a higher ROI.
When it comes to Facebook marketing keep in mind that you can either set up a Facebook page or a Facebook group. Ideally, I suggest you have both.
If you want to spend money on Facebook advertising to start marketing your brand and products, then it’s essential that you start by setting up a Facebook page.
There are numerous ways to advertise your business on Facebook. However, it’s up to you to determine what your main objective is before starting your first campaign.
5 Steps In Adwords Competitor Analysis: A Practical Case Study
In the second part of this article, we’ll be getting practical. What steps to take and what to do in each step.
In PART ONE of this article on the importance of competitor analysis in an Adwords campaign, we demonstrated to you the value that can be uncovered by performing a proper analysis of what your foe is up to on Adwords and how they can actually help you do better.
In the second part of this article, we’ll be getting practical. What steps to take and what to do in each step.
Pens sharpened? Batteries charged? Lets go!
As a case study of a local Adwords campaign, we’ll be taking a look at one of the main spenders on PPC in South Africa, booking.com, and see what information can be gathered about their competition in paid search results.
Step 1. Find out who your client’s true competitors in paid search are
First of all, let’s get on the same page, by stating that your organic and paid search competition is not the same thing. If you know who you share the SERPs with, it doesn’t mean that you’ll share the paid ads section with the same set of companies.
Booking.com knows what we’re talking about.
Here’s the organic part of the SERP for ‘book a hotel’. Booking.com shares it with Trivago, hotels.com and Agoda.
They could have thought: Okay, so these are my competitors, I know what they’re up to, I’ll look into their strategies and I’ll be fine in both organic and paid search. But wait, what is happening there at the top of the SERPs? Who is this dark horse?
It’s Expedia! In organic search it stands further down from booking.com than the rest of the domains from the first page, yet in paid results Booking and Expedia are the closest rivals.
But that is just one keyword. There are many other keywords for which the companies want to advertise in Google, so to know whether you’re actually competing with them, you need to evaluate your competition level.
It’s a simple process of comparing the number of keywords you have in common versus the number that are unique with that competitor.
By estimating this value, you can distinguish your true competitors from big generic brands, niche competition and temporary distractions in the paid search.
Jokes aside, Booking and Expedia share a relatively similar online presence and are, of course, familiar with each other’s PPC strategy. That said, if you’re not a huge domain and know your usual competitors, it is even more frustrating to miss an audacious market newcomer or an organic outsider trying to cut the line and get to the top of the SERPs with an aggressive PPC campaign. So, the analysis of your true competition should be performed regularly. For the agencies that we support, we usually revise the competitors list once every quarter.
Step 2. Estimate your competition PPC budgets
Now that you know who you are rubbing elbows with in paid search, try figuring out how much they spend on PPC. There’s no way to know exactly what their budgets are (except for corporate espionage, but we don’t recommend that), but you can still make use of an estimation.
For that, you need to know how many keywords they target in paid search, what their cost-per-click values are, as well as their estimated search volumes. That is practically impossible to reveal manually, but the competitor analysis tool in SEMrush for example provides you with an estimation of the company’s PPC budget based on the data from their keyword database. Similar tools should be found in whatever quality software you’ve opted for.
Here’s the info we could gather about Booking.com by solely analysing the keywords for which it was showing up in paid search and the CPC values of those keywords.
Though it is a rough estimation, this info is helpful in planning your PPC campaigns in a way that meets with market trends.
Step 3. Find out your competitor’s unique keywords
What’s even better about competitor analysis is that it will help you save time by not needing to do the tough jobs yourself by letting you (legally) steal the best ideas from your competition and dwell on them. Remember, if you’re doing it to them, they’re probably doing it to you as well! All’s fair in love, war and paid advertising!
What’s the practical value of this? Well, your competitor’s unique keywords can be your missed opportunity.
By comparing the keywords that Booking and Expedia are bidding on, we see that there are a lot of keywords related to means of travelling and travelling companies in Expedia’s portfolio, but they are missing in the Booking.com set. It is obviously just another tactic for such a big brand, but for a smaller company, this comparison list could be a golden goose of new ideas.
Step 4. Research your competitor’s ads and banners
If you have ever been online, you know that the SERPs are crowded. The served results in both organic and paid search have to constantly overcome the viewer’s lack of attention, so the message in your ads should be short, clear, and actionable.
Your competitor’s copy can be a great source of information.
Comparing your ads to your competitor’s allows you to see the context and the standards of messaging in your niche and adjust your voice to or diversify from the usual tone.
Also, sometimes you need to develop multiple ad copies with similar content. Whenever creativity abandons you, you can look into your competitor’s copy and borrow a few ideas from them.
Step 5. Check your competitor’s target URLs
Imagine running an online retail business. Summer sales are coming, and you want to promote your goods with an AdWords campaign. Apart from the keywords that you want to bid on and creating appealing ad copy, you also need to think about the page which your ads are going to take your leads to.
Is it common in your client’s niche to have a specific landing page for a promo like this? Or is it enough to have banners on the home page? Take a look at your client’s competitor’s target pages and find out.
The Value Of Competitor Analysis On A South African Adwords Campaign
If you have doubts about the efficiency of an AdWords campaign being run in South Africa, here are some stats about the South African market to convince you.
Running a successful AdWords campaign can sometimes be like trying to understand the maths that Elon Musk is using to put a human being on Mars: you’re pretty sure it will work, but trying to figure how and why burns too many brain cells.
Well, help is at hand! In this TWO PART article, we’re going to demonstrate to you the value of performing a competitor analysis on an Adwords campaign, and show you just how and what you should be looking for.
As a digital marketer of any kind, you’ve probably had a crack at running and managing an AdWords campaign. Let me guess:
- Predicting the results and outcomes was impossible;
- You outsourced to an agency this one time. It cost you a fortune and they kept asking questions you couldn’t possibly have answers to;
- Setting the budget was more complicated than understanding the nature and purpose of Snapchat;
- And speaking of budget…it’s NEVER enough and always runs out too quickly.
Nobody is arguing with the fact that AdWords is one of the most complicated digital marketing efforts that you can undertake on behalf of a client or yourself. However, if done right, it could also be one of the most rewarding, effective and business-altering activities you could do.
If you have doubts about the efficiency of an AdWords campaign being run in South Africa, here are some stats about the South African market to convince you:
South African PPC market in numbers
In 2017 the total spending on Google ads in South Africa across all industries reached $30 million. The market’s thriving!
And these websites were the most generous spenders on Google ads. If only your budgets could compete, right?
However, these were the industry’s spendaholics.
Generally, businesses are way more careful with their PPC budgets: only 3.8% of all the companies spend more than R50 000 monthly, and the majority of 34.1% is just indulging their curiosity with somewhere around 1000 bucks a month.
And if you worry about your ad copy, take a look at the most popular phrases and CTAs used in South African ads:
So, how do you enter that market AND, at the same time, save your money?
Well, that’s like eating an elephant — get help and do it in pieces.
If you thought that running and managing an AdWords campaign was complicated, try getting advice from the pros on best practices to net best results. Just like deciphering that Musk math again.
- Split test your copy
- Use different ad extensions… or all of them
- Try out different calls to action
- Manage and track your budget daily
- Get your targeting on point
But also don’t forget about the foundation of any marketing campaign, digital or not: research your competition.
As wholesalers of digital marketing services to South African digital agencies, by far one of the most important and most advised best practices we suggest to the agencies that we support when running an AdWords digital marketing campaign is to ensure that they practice comprehensive and thorough competitor analysis.
What is competitor analysis for your Adwords campaign and how do you streamline it?
Running a competitor analysis during an AdWords campaign is like having a video camera in your competitions training session. It’ll help you pull back the curtain, see what they’re up to and adjust your efforts accordingly to ensure optimum results from your AdWords campaigns.
In our experience, many companies do not perform PPC competitive research, or don’t do it as often as they should. However, not having the full picture about your PPC competition is risky and can result in running ineffective campaigns. That means wasting your or your client’s budget without netting tangible results or missing the opportunities available to your client by underinvesting.
But recognising the difference that competitor analysis can make in your AdWords campaigns is only the first step. The next step is to find the right tool to help you perform your competitor analysis on a regular basis. The stats and data provided in this article were pulled by our team using SEMrush. It’s a software that we have found invaluable in helping us to provide white label, wholesale digital marketing services to the South African and international digital agencies that we support.
That being said, there are a wealth of similarly effective and powerful digital marketing tracking tools on the market worth investigating. We encourage you to get out there and see what works best for you.
The data that you should drill out of your competitor analysis
On all the levels of digital marketing, there’s a constant rivalry between best practice and revolutionary ideas. The question of whether to follow a well-trodden path or to do things differently in an effort to distinguish the brand you’re working on is always on the table. Or desktop in the case of digital marketing.
However, to make an informed decision you need to know the niche you are playing in as well as its main players. These questions will help you gather that information:
- Who is your true competitor in paid search?
- How much do they spend on PPC?
- What are their most profitable keywords?
- What do their ads and banners look like?
- What URLs should your ads target?
Now you know WHAT to ask. But what do you do with the answers and how do you use them to improve your own Adwords performance.
In PART TWO of this blog, we’ll be diving into just that. CLICK HERE TO READ ON!
There Is No Silencing The ‘Chatter’ Bots
In a world governed by technological advances, it is no surprise that the business world has adopted technology of their own to better their processes.
There has been a strong movement in the business environment towards automated processes through the use of Chatbots, introduced in order to support business teams in their relations with customers.
Chatbots are essentially personal assistants developed to assist you. They are artificial intelligence systems that we can interact via text or even voice interface. In the business world the idea is to automate repetitive tasks in order to lighten the workload for employees, allowing them more time to concentrate on more important tasks at hand.
As futuristic as this all sounds, the reality is that this is something that businesses are already using and the benefits are definitely worth mentioning.
Chatbots in Business
The main aim of any business is to keep the customer happy – that’s where the money comes from after all. In such a fast-paced, technologically advanced world, customers are expecting so much more from businesses in terms of service delivery, so this is where Chatbots come in.
Unlike humans, Chatbots can work 24/7 without a break and without the added expense, two factors that will definitely benefit any business, never mind the improved customer satisfaction that comes with that.
Customers no longer have to wait to be put through to the next available operator; Chatbots are replacing live chat with other forms of contact such as text and emails, ensuring that customers are dealt with faster than was previously possible.
Chatbots can have conversations with thousands of people simultaneously, something that humans just can’t do.
Dealing with difficult customers is also a thing of the past. Chatbots are bound by rules and specific instructions so they will always deal with customers in a polite and professional manner, another positive for customer satisfaction.
In the travel and hospitality industry, dealing with customers that speak other languages is also a possibility with a Chatbot trained in different languages.
The Long-Term Cost Saving
There is major movement in all businesses to keep costs down, especially as the business grows. A major monthly expense for businesses is the paying of salaries. Although it isn’t possible to completely cut out this expense, Chatbots can help businesses reduce the amount of staff needed.
Chatbots can deal with simpler customer queries and only escalate more complex queries to agents. Chatbots can also lighten the workload of a sales team by engaging with customers and gathering information about what the customers want, supplying the sales team with valuable information to help in the sales process.
Chatbots are a one-time investment, and any company with a website can make use of them – simple and cost-effective in the long term.
There are so many benefits to using Chatbots, and as technology continues to advance, who knows what these bots will be capable of in the future.
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