TopRank Marketing Editor

5 Tips on Social Media Advertising

TopRank Marketing Editor     Online Marketing, Social Media

In the wonderful world of social media marketing there are many ways to reach and engage customers. As with search marketing, there is both an “organic” and an advertising component to online marketing with social networks, news and media sharing sites.

As social media usage increases month over month, marketers have found a way to use these popular sites as channels for promotion. Anyone can join the PINK Victoria’s Secret group on Facebook and receive messages of a new sale or a new product line hitting the shelves in the upcoming weeks. Companies have been using MySpace for years to create custom pages for their promotion and making friends with current and potential customers in and around their target demographic.

Now that a savvy online marketer can build a profile, continuously grow a network and strategically contact said network with updates about the company and products themselves, it is time to bring in the advertising. Here are 5 things to know about social media advertising.

Understand your targeted social media channel – By knowing who is using which social media site, advertisers can promote their products to their targeted audience on the appropriate social site. Facebook users represent an older, more mature crowd than MySpace users, so advertisements about refinancing a home mortgage might not be the most appropriate content on MySpace.

Target the correct users with your message – Advertisements targeting users on social media channels are becoming more prevalent. There has been a lot of controversy about this content targeting on Facebook with their Social Ads. Here an ad is placed with related user actions and placed in the newsfeed for the users’ friends to see. If I were to change my status to say “Dana just bought a rockin’ pair of red high heels” a company selling shoes might be targeting “red high heels” and place their ad next to my status update. The company’s hope would then be that my friends were jealous of my new shoes and need an easy place to buy themselves a pair.

Ensure the advertisements are supplementing the present content on the social site – Having Google-powered PPC ads next to related lenses on Squidoo, using Yahoo to integrate advertisements with similarly tagged images on Flickr and using the Facebook social ads are placing the company directly in the path of those already seeking similar information. But now the advertisements are just offering one more way for the users to fulfill their need. Targeting pages, images and profiles that have content about shoes or fashion with the Red High Heels advertisement doesn’t seem out of place, and the user can identify with the advertised product.

Have a social networking presence – Integrating social media advertisements with social media usage is quite similar to placing PPC ads on a SERP next to an organically ranking website: two impressions are better than one. And because searchers seeing a brand name and PPC ad are likely to then click on the organic results for the same company, social media users could see the advertisements and search for the same company as a user on Facebook, Flickr or

In addition, seeing a company successfully networking with the opinionated and persnickety social media community can really boost their reputation as being a caring company that is just “one of the guys.” Many people respect companies that are more down to earth and that interact with their customer base.

The time to get on board the social media train is now – Just like with social media networking, the early bird gets the worm. Being one of the first to successfully use social media as an advertising vehicle shows innovation and understanding who will respond best to the advertisement’s messaging. Once the Red High Heels company has penetrated the social media channel, positively showcasing their social networking/social advertising acumen, all others in the future will pale in comparison.

Incorporating social media advertisements with social media networking practices can give more impressions to the companies’ targeted users as well as a channel for users to connect with the company they trust. And give users the chance to wear great new shoes.

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  1. Avatar Jacob Morgan says

    Hi Dana,

    I think it’s important to note that marketing and advertising through social media should not be the end result goal of any company. Social media’s primary focus is to build quality relationships with people. The reason that Squidoo can show ads on their lenses is because the revenue gets split with the users.

    Does facebook give me money when I see one of their ads? No, and neither do many of the other companies. Look at myspace, that company has become a virtual spam haven because people keep recommending myspace as an advertising tool. Advertising on Social media platforms is not the right attitude to have in my opinion. If you are brand looking to engage in social media simply to shovel ads at people then please do us all a favor and don’t even bother joining.

  2. It is important to market your site, you may have the best site in the world and not have any visitors. There are many ways to promote a website.

    Good luck and excellent post

  3. I have to agree with Jacob. I feel his post hits the nail on the head so to say. Myspace for one has turned into a spam haven where nothing but advertisements are posted daily. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a sense of exposure, but I think your sense of marketing should be diversified rather than just rely on sites like myspace.

  4. Myspace certainly is past it’s social marketing prime. It truly is a spam haven like said up there but it doesn’t mean other sites aren’t great alternatives and every day there’s a new idea to uniquely create brand awareness through these mediums without spamming and beginning to create real conversations.

  5. Hey everyone,

    Thanks for commenting. I agree that MySpace is a bit of a spam haven featuring advertisements for Zwinkys and whatnot, but this just goes back to understanding the channels you want to advertise on, and if your messaging would be appropriate for that target audience.

    Staying on top of the new and emerging ways to promote and advertise your brand is always important too, as is listening to the conversations your messaging generates.

    As marketers and advertisers, we just need to locate the channels where our messaging will be most appropriate and achieve the best results, whatever those may be.

  6. yeah i agree, social media networking is like advertising your site more and gain readers 🙂

  7. Here’s an excellent post by Dave McClure on business models for social networks that looks into some behavioral considerations that may affect whether companies find social media advertising a viable option. Or not.

  8. I read some weeks ago an interesting research about exposure/conversion of advertising on social media websites (specifically TripAdvisor)…the results were: great generic traffic increase…0% conversion.

    What’s your take, Dana?

    Cheers from Italy

  9. Hi Alessio,

    Fantastic comment.

    I think that if there were no conversions from this advertising, the advertising may not have been being exposed to the correct audience. Again, it has a lot to do with placing your message in the face – so to speak – of those who are most likely to convert.

    And this isn’t to say that those who were exposed to the social media advertisement didn’t convert later on, whether by searching online for the brand name or product later, or by visiting the website directly. Ad impressions do have impact that aren’t directly related to the ad itself.

    That’s just my take on that. Are there any other opinions on this study cited above?

  10. Dana, I believe that you’ve got a mistake in your post regarding Facebook’s ads:
    “Here an ad is placed with related user actions and placed in the newsfeed for the users’ friends to see. If I were to change my status to say “Dana just bought a rockin’ pair of red high heels” a company selling shoes might be targeting “red high heels” and place their ad next to my status update. The company’s hope would then be that my friends were jealous of my new shoes and need an easy place to buy themselves a pair.”

    That refers to the Beacon system, which was eliminated.

  11. A very important point is to build an appearance on the network before starting your advertisement campaign. And once you lunched, don’t forget to maintain it! The direct and unfiltered feedback you might receive from the users is one of the most important benefits from marketing on social networks.

  12. Avatar Indonesia Articles Online says

    Great Tips for newbies. TQ Henny

  13. You’ve really got to get to know your customer, do what they want.. Follow up, and do to.

  14. Dana,
    well done. They call it ‘viral marketing’ as well.

  15. I love your 5 tips for social media advertising. I’m doing a blogging project for school on direct marketing, and in many of my searches for news I have found new information about marketing through social networks. Relating to your reference to the PINK Facebook group, I recently read a blog on American Eagle Aerie creating their own “Kissing Booth” Facebook group. Facebook groups like this seem like such a great way to promote a brand because through Facebook AE is able to target the correct users, high school and college age people.