Tag Archives: social media

Written by Caroline Cox on Jun 15, 2022

Here’s the 411 on social media marketing, from LinkedIn to TikTok.

Here, you’ll find:

  • A breakdown of the main paid social platforms
  • How these social platforms compare
  • Best practices for audience targeting
  • Steps to building a successful paid social campaign

Whether you’re a constant Twitter feed refresher or barely remember to check your LinkedIn messages, social media’s influence on current culture can’t be denied. 

As a society, we’re more connected than ever through the internet. For better or worse, the share of U.S. adults who now report that they go online “almost constantly” has risen to 31%, up from 21% in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.

Social media platforms help us keep up with friends and family, stay informed about current events, foster professional connections, and offer glimpses into our real lives — filtered or not.

So it’s no surprise that paid social, also known as social media marketing, can be a huge boost for digital marketing programs — if you know how to do it right. For tips, best practices, expert advice, and more, read on.

What is paid social?

When we say “paid social,” we’re talking about ad campaigns via sponsored or promoted posts on social media platforms. These posts are a form of advertising that appear in a social media feed, timeline, or on a page. 

Brands often use paid social to expand their reach and target their audience in a way that’s both hyper-focused and seamless. 

Since most audience types already use at least one social media app, paid social posts can be a highly effective way to meet your ideal personas where they already are.

HawkSEM: Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

A paid social ad on Twitter (Image: Twitter)

The main players in paid social media marketing

The paid social platforms you choose to advertise on will depend on a few main factors: your product or service, the type of ad, and your audience. 

While the list isn’t stagnant or set in stone, the main players in this space include:

As with many other parts of creating a digital marketing strategy, knowing your target audience is key. 

If you don’t already have your ideal client persona mapped out, start with creating 1-3 profiles using resources like market research and the demographics of your current customers.

For a paid social ad campaign, you also want to know which platforms your audience gravitates toward. 

Generally, professionals favor LinkedIn. Gen X and Boomers tend to spend more time on Facebook than others. Pinterest is mostly visited by women. Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter all tend to skew more Millennial, while basically all generations (particularly Gen Z) use TikTok. 

Perhaps your audience overlaps multiple generations or other demographics. If so, you can always begin with the more affordable platforms, conduct a few A/B ad tests, see how your audience reacts, and iterate accordingly.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

A sponsored post above an organic post on HawkSEM’s Twitter feed (Image: Twitter)

How is paid social different from organic social media?

One benefit of paid social ads for the brands leveraging them is how seamlessly they fit into a user’s existing social feeds. 

These feeds are mostly populated with what’s called organic posts, which are free posts published by people you follow and brands whose pages you like or subscribe to.  

Basically, organic content is what you post on your business or personal page, whether directly or through a scheduling platform like Hootsuite

This content is seen by your followers and subscribers, though the exact percentage of followers who see this content varies by platform. These posts can also be shared by other individuals and spread further than just your following. 

With sponsored content (which can be a form of paid social), you’re paying the advertiser (the social media platform, in this case) to put your post or ad in front of people beyond your current following. You choose the audience you want and the platform places the ads accordingly, per the parameters you set. 

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

After you’ve determined the social media platform you’ll leverage for your campaign, you can start the work of actually building it. (Image: Unsplash)

Which paid social platforms should my company leverage?

As mentioned above, the social platform your company opts to advertise on will depend on your audience.

It’s good to have an understanding of what people use each platform for (we’ll get into that next). 

Once you understand your demo (age, gender, etc.), check out the breakdown of their profile or subscriber averages per platform. Sprout Social has data that breaks down demographics by platform. 

After deciding on the app, you’ve still got to determine which ad type you want to go with. Luckily, platforms like Facebook have ad managers that make it easier to decide which ad is right for you.

What are the paid social ad format options?

The ad types you can choose from will depend on the platform. The most common social media ad types include:

  • Text ads
  • Video ads
  • Multi-image carousel ads
  • Animated GIFs
  • Image ads
  • Product ads
  • Collection ads
  • Interactive ads
  • Lead form ads

Tips for creating a successful paid social campaign

After you’ve determined the social media platform you’ll leverage for your campaign, you can start the work of actually building it. The must-haves for a good social campaign include:

  • Determine your goals: There are a lot of options for the type of campaign you can run. Begin with deciding what you want from these efforts, whether it’s purchases, profile follows, subscribers, or something else.
  • Keep user intent in mind: What is the user’s purpose on these social channels? Keep this in mind when choosing the audience you want to target — and what you want from them. 
  • Content is the key: No surprise here: The content of your paid social ad is the most important factor in its success. Make sure the imagery is high-quality, the copy speaks directly to your target audience, and it links to a consistent landing page with a clear call to action (CTA).

Pro tip: Know the parameters of the social media platform you use. Some are more strict than others when it comes to image or video quality, for example. Different ads may require varying specs, text lengths, video length caps, and more. Check out the platform’s website to learn more about each and find the one that best fits your campaign creative.

Instagram ads 2022

The powerful targeting capability is one of the biggest benefits of leveraging paid social as part of your digital marketing strategy. (Image: Instagram)

What are the latest social media marketing stats ?

Social media stats change as frequently as the platforms themselves. Here’s a handful of recent paid social facts and figures.

  • Facebook is the most-used platform by marketers worldwide (93%).
  • Responses to TV ads are higher in terms of both engagement (+40%) and memorability (+28%) when Twitter is included in the experience.
  • Instagram crossed the 2 billion user mark In 2022.
  • 40% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads.
  • More than 50% of marketers plan on increasing their investments in Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok in 2022.
  • 39% of Gen Z consumers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced directly by what they see on TikTok.
  • Social media recently bested paid search as an advertising channel, growing 25% year over year and exceeding $137 billion (vs. paid search’s $135 billion).

What are the benefits of paid social campaigns?

The powerful targeting capability is one of the biggest benefits of leveraging paid social as part of your digital marketing strategy. 

You can reach people based on their interests, hobbies, past internet usage (cookies), demographics, locations, and more. You can also target those in different stages of the buying cycle.

Another paid social benefit is the robust analytics these platforms offer. Not only can you see who clicks your ad, but you’re also often privy to metrics like impressions, likes, shares, and other related, relevant actions.

Some of the more overlooked benefits, according to Sprout Social, include:

  • Uncovering industry trends in real-time
  • Comprehensive competitive analysis
  • Improved customer service
  • Humanizing your brand
  • Access to user-generated content (UGC) related to your brand

HubSpot reports that paid social campaigns are also great for:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating leads
  • Boosting conversions
  • Fostering customer relationships
  • Inspiring brand loyalty

While awareness may be seen as easier to achieve but less valuable than these other benefits, it’s the first step to turning a person into a prospect.

Pro tip: While most platforms have campaign tracking capabilities, it’s a good idea to independently track performance as well (you can use your host site’s tracking or a program like Google Tag Manager). This ensures your tracking is accurate and offers a true set of data once your program is fully ramped up.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

There’s no one-size-fits-all trick that’ll apply to ads across all social platforms. There are, however, best practices that do. (Image: Unsplash)

Audience segmentation options

Your options for audience segmentation will vary by platform. Let’s break it down.

LinkedIn – segment by:

  • Job experience & skills
  • Education & degrees
  • Age & gender
  • Company industry & size
  • Interests
  • Location & language
  • Job function, title & seniority
  • Years of experience

Facebook – segment by:

  • Core audience
  • Customer audience
  • Lookalike audience
  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Connections
  • Interests
  • Behavior

YouTube – segment by:

  • In-market audiences (interest or topic based)
  • Affinity audiences (interest or topic based)

Twitter – segment by:

  • Age or gender
  • Username
  • Interest (including TV targeting)
  • Conversation
  • Event
  • Tailored (from your website visitor and/or CRM data)

Instagram – segment by:

  • Location
  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Behaviors
  • Lookalikes
  • Automated
  • Custom (remarketing)

Pinterest – segment by:

  • Customer list
  • Previous site visitors
  • Previous pin engagements
  • Actalikes
  • Third-party data (U.S. only)

TikTok – segment by:

  • Lookalike
  • Custom
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Device
HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

YouTube’s Find My Audience tool gives you a selection of categories to target by interest or industry. (Image: Google)

Success secrets for each social media platform

Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all trick that’ll apply to ads across all social platforms. There are, however, best practices that do. These include:

  • Prioritizing your campaign’s creative components (copy and imagery/graphics)
  • Copy that is concise and easy to understand
  • A message that’s appropriate for the audience you’re targeting
  • The platform that’s appropriate for the audience you’re targeting
  • A clear CTA

On the back end, you also want to double-check that the destination link (the URL the ad links to) is correct and working. 

You also want to set up good tracking to ensure you’ve got accurate analytics from the beginning — most platforms have an in-house pixel you can place on the ad.

Pro tip: It can be tempting to hop on the bandwagon of every emerging social media app. While it’s good to snag your company’s username on new platforms, it’s often better to allocate your budget to more established ones. Keep an eye on what’s trending by subscribing to social media-focused newsletters to see what might be worth your ad dollars down the line.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

LinkedIn’s ads let you target different funnel stages as well as demographics. (Image: LinkedIn)

Should my company explore influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a company partners with an influential person or group (often for a certain industry) for a campaign to endorse, advocate, or amplify the brand.

These days, nearly all industries have influencers in their space — even the ones you may not think of as influencer-heavy, such as healthcare.

If you’re not sure whether influencer marketing is right for you, conduct some research to see if you can find influencers in your niche. It’s also wise to see if your competitors have leveraged them in the past.

Once you’ve decided to test out influencer marketing, set yourself up for success by:

  • Mapping out your campaign plan and goals
  • Identifying a few potential influencers
  • Determining the level of influencer you want (it ranges from nano to A-list celeb and will depend on your budget, obviously)
  • Nailing down the type of influencer content you’re looking for

How to test paid social ads

Just like you (hopefully) would with any other digital marketing campaign, testing and iterating should be baked into your process. Consider testing out varieties of copy, visuals, and mediums, such as an image vs. a short video.

It’s worth noting that some industries may naturally perform better than others, and some platforms are harder than others to achieve success. But there are things you can do to set yourself up for maximum return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Let’s talk about visuals. You don’t have to blow through your budget on movie-quality vids, but you may have to get creative.

Sometimes a stock photo — possibly overlaid in your brand’s colors — can be the perfect complement to get your point across. 

And, again, it’s about knowing the intent of each platform. LinkedIn may not be the place for a goofy video, and trying to get template or whitepaper downloads on Instagram might be a bust.

Lastly, if your business has a creative team in charge of ad design, make sure they have the proper specs for each platform you’re using. If you’re running a video ad, you should know how long it can be before it cuts off.

Budgeting and goal-setting for paid social ads

Remember what we said before about determining your goals?

You should have goals figured out before you create your campaign. Having the goals you want — whether that’s a certain number of purchases per month, a certain ROAS percentage, or something else — makes the process go much smoother. 

Some platforms, such as Facebook, optimize your campaign to your goal. Awareness campaigns, for example, are more broad and thus harder to track, so knowing that from the beginning helps you create realistic goals.

The bigger the platform and audience, the more homed in on your goal you’ll want to be. You don’t need to worry about being as targeted on a comparatively smaller platform like LinkedIn as you do on a larger, more globally used platform like Facebook.

When it comes to goal setting (also called the campaign’s objective), start small. We don’t suggest running a giant $2,000 a day campaign straight out of the gate.

You can also experiment with targeting different locations instead of trying to blanket the entire country — your budget will go much further this way.

Ready to take your paid social campaigns to the next level? Check out our list of tactical tips and tricks you can put into action today. 

Facebook’s ad objective breakdown for the Consideration stage

Facebook’s ad objective breakdown for the Consideration stage. (Image: Facebook)

Depending on your product or service, the platform may be able to guide you towards the ad type that’s best for your goal. Try out their recommendation, then you can better optimize from there as the data comes in.

When you’re building your campaign, most platforms have an “audience reached” metric on the back end that will tell you the approximate audience size for your chosen parameters, as well as what you can reach with your chosen budget.

The takeaway

With the popularity of social media growing exponentially by the year, it’s definitely worth exploring as part of any robust digital marketing program.

Those who find success with paid social do so by having a solid strategy laid out and an idea of the right platforms for their brand before they start building.

By recognizing that content is key, remembering each platform has different requirements, understanding your audience, targeting properly, and budgeting appropriately, you’ll find that social platforms can be a fun and creative way to connect with and grow your audience.

This article has been updated and was originally published in February 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Jun 8, 2022

Having a social media presence is table stakes for most brands. Audits ensure you’re making the most of these platforms.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What a social media audit is
  • How to conduct a social media audit
  • What insights you can glean
  • How often you should audit your social media strategy

In Q1 2021, marketers spent 60% more on Facebook and Instagram ads than the same quarter in 2020, according to Sprout Social.

Social media is one of the most affordable digital marketing tactics around. Through organic and paid social posts, you can expand your reach, grow awareness about your company, and target your audience in a seamless way.

Plus, if you’re active on these platforms yourself, chances are you follow at least one brand. Zooming out to analyze your overall social strategy’s performance is key to ensuring what you’re doing is likely to be successful. 

So, how do you gather this info? Through a social media audit.

hawksem: social media audit

Without auditing organic and paid social media accounts, there’s a chance you’re putting effort into strategies or platforms that miss the mark. (Image: Unsplash)

What is a social media audit?

At its core, a social media audit is a bird’s-eye view of your current social media strategy as a whole. It’s a time when you take a step back and evaluate your efforts: what’s working, what’s not, and what could be tweaked for greater success.

Without auditing organic and paid social media accounts, there’s a chance you’re putting effort into strategies or platforms that miss the mark. 

An audit can help you identify how well you’re speaking to your audience, the demographics of your audience, and which posts resonate most at which times.

Audit your social media in 9 steps

There’s no single right way to conduct a social media audit. After all, different brands will be more active on different platforms, post at different frequencies, and leverage their accounts in different ways. 

By following the nine steps below, however, you’ll have a solid framework. From there, you can modify as necessary when conducting your own social media audit.

1. Organize your accounts

As with content or PPC audits, it starts with getting organized. This means gathering all of your social media assets and putting them in one place, like a Google Sheet. 

Assets can include:

  • Social media handles for each platform you use
  • Passwords for each account
  • The person responsible for managing each account
  • How often you publish on each platform per week
  • Your paid social campaigns

Depending on factors like the size of your company or how long you’ve been in your role, there may be social media accounts for your business floating around on the internet that you don’t even know about. 

Luckily, you can use tools like Namechk or Knowem to track them down.

2. Check for cohesion, completion, and consistency

Now that you’ve got all of your social media account information in one place, it’s time to analyze each account. 

Are all of the applicable fields filled out on each? Is your logo consistent and current across all platforms? Is your company information, team size, and mission consistent and up to date? 

If you don’t already have a short “About Us” paragraph or mission statement, now’s a great time to create one! You can even create a short and a longer version. 

For example, you have less room on your Twitter and Instagram profiles “about” sections than you do on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. It should be thorough enough to explain your company but short enough not to exceed each platform’s character limit.

Pro tip: Keeping UTM tracking parameters consistent for paid and organic social media posts will make tracking easier. Google Analytics doesn’t automatically pull in data from social channels, so it’s up to you to set that up.

3. Analyze your performance metrics

Here comes the tricky part. 

Gathering the metrics for each platform can give you helpful insight into how your audience is responding to your social media content. You can see which posts and ads perform best so you can know what to post more of on your respective timelines. 

Depending on how your accounts are set up, it’s likely that you’ll need to go into each individual platform to access that data. You can opt for metrics from the last three months, six months, or a year, depending on how long the accounts have been active.

How far back you can source data also varies by social media platform. For example: On Instagram, you can only go back 90 days.

Pro tip: Scheduling and posting your social media content through a management tool like HubSpot or Sprout Social can save you some time when it comes to seeing how many posts you’ve published during a certain time frame, and how much engagement (comments, likes, clicks, and shares) those posts garnered.

4. Deep dive into your audience

A great feature most major social media platforms offer when it comes to analytics is the audience insights. For example, comparing follower counts can tell you which platforms are seeing more success. 

You should also look at how fast each of your accounts is growing, then drill down further into why that might be. Maybe you’re interacting or posting more on some platforms than others.

Demographic insights can show you things like your followers’ age range, gender breakdown, what regions they reside in, and more. Try to keep an open mind when it comes to this data. You may think you know your target audiences, but user behavior on social media can surprise you.

Pro tip: Look at engagement metrics to see how your audience is interacting with your brand. Are they sharing your posts? What post and ad types see the most engagement? What other patterns do you notice?

hawksem: paid social audit

Most of these main platforms include an analytics section where you can determine your most popular posts for a given time period. (Image: Unsplash)

5. Examine your publishing strategy

There are a few ways you can determine how often you post on each platform

If you use a scheduling tool, you can count up or download a spreadsheet showing all of your social posts for the specified time period, then divide by number of days. Alternatively, you can manually count them on each platform, then divide by the number of days.

Once you’ve got your figures, see how they compare. When it comes to the platform you see the most engagement on, are you posting more or less than on others? Some scheduling tools can even tell you the best average times to post each week.

6. Revisit your content

This is the point when you want to dig into your actual posts. Most of these main platforms include an analytics section where you can determine your most popular posts for a given time period. 

What do you think it is about these posts or ads that resonated? It could be a question that sparked an interesting conversation, a unique piece of data, a visually appealing carousel, or something more.

This is also when you want to make sure the content aligns with your brand mission and goals. Are your voice and tone speaking to your audience consistently? Do all of your posts follow the same content guidelines? 

Once you figure out these answers, you can focus on creating more posts similar to the ones that are seeing the most success.

Need help taking your paid social campaigns to the next level? Let’s talk.

7. See how you stack up against competitors

In almost all areas of business, it’s a mistake to keep blinders on when it comes to your competition. Working in a silo just makes it easier for your competitors to leapfrog over you — so don’t give them the opportunity.

Check out what your competition is doing in terms of social:

  • What platforms they’re on
  • How often they post
  • The ad types they leverage
  • What kinds of posts they publish
  • What multimedia they use, if any
  • Which of their posts are most popular

Compare their actions to your brand’s. Are they asking more questions? Do they use more GIFs or graphics? Are they posting during a time you generally aren’t? 

You don’t want to simply mimic other businesses in your space, but there’s value in knowing how they’re using these platforms.

Pro tip: There are tons of settings you want to be aware of, especially when it comes to targeting, during a paid social campaign setup. Facebook makes it easier now to spend your money efficiently with Automated Placements and Dynamic Ad formats, but pay attention to who you’re showing your ads to as well. 

hawksem: social media audit

Conducting quarterly audits for your social media marketing is often a good place to start, if you have the bandwidth. (Image: Unsplash)

8. Make a plan for next steps

Once your social media audit is complete, it’s time to take stock of your findings. Schedule a time to chat with your team to discuss the audit results. You can highlight key takeaways, then create action items to implement from there.

This is also when you can discuss any new tactics or platforms you all may want to try. If others in your field are hopping on the TikTok train, for example, it could be worth trying out.

Pro tip: Once you’ve audited your social program, you can start optimizing for efficiency. It’s easy to spend a lot and have nothing to show for it. Learn from that, then start building back up from the areas that did perform well and conducting A/B tests to continue optimizing your paid social campaigns.

9. Create a schedule for regular social media audits

Much like campaign creation, metrics analysis, and strategizing, a social media audit isn’t a one-and-done process. Rather, it’s something you want to carve out time to do on a regular basis. 

The frequency will depend on factors like your team, goals, and company size. Conducting quarterly audits for your social media marketing is often a good place to start, if you have the bandwidth.

We get it: Audits are time-consuming. It’s easy to let these tasks like a social media audit fall to the bottom of your to-do list. 

But creating a recurring reminder and blocking off some time on your team’s calendar each month to review results will help everyone stay on the same page. It can also foster more transparency around social media efforts and results. 

The takeaway

It’s nearly impossible for every one of your followers to see every post you publish on social media. Add that to the millions of people and companies on these platforms, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

By conducting a social media audit, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what posts are speaking to your audience, which platforms are bringing you the most success, and what adjustments you can make to ensure your posts, pictures, and tweets are top notch.

This article has been updated and was originally published in May 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Apr 13, 2022

Your leads could be browsing on Pinterest — here’s how to get their attention on the popular platform.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What Pinterest Ads are
  • Steps to create a business Pinterest Ads account
  • Best practices for creating paid social ads on Pinterest
  • This social platform’s latest business features

More than any other social media platform, Pinterest is where people go to be inspired. 

With 400 million people reportedly active on Pinterest each month, a reported 89% of Pinners in the U.S. use the site on their path to making a purchase. 

Anyone can publish content on Pinterest by uploading images or videos.

As a brand, you can connect a product feed that’ll turn every product into a Pin, or publish from your site by linking your RSS feed to have Pinterest automatically create new Pins. 

With all that purchasing intent, it stands to reason that Pinterest Ads are worth exploring.

pinterest ad manager

A look at creating an ad from an existing Pin on Pinterest

Using Pinterest Ads Manager to promote your content

Pinterest has made it pretty easy to get up and running on their ads platform. 

Once you create a business account, you go to the Ads dropdown menu on ads.pinterest.com and select “Create ad.” Then you’ll choose a campaign goal based on the action you want people to take from your ad.

Next, you’ll enter your ad group details and make selections for things like your budget, targeting, and the run dates of your campaign. After that, you’ll select the dates for your campaign, add your budget, and set a maximum bid. 

From there, you’ll decide which Pin you want to promote in your campaign (make sure the Pin’s name is accurate and that it links to the proper URL). Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your ad. 

Pro tip: All ads are reviewed by the Pinterest team to ensure advertising guidelines are being followed. This process can take up to 24 hours, so don’t panic if it takes a day for your ad to be live.

pinterest feed with promoted pins

An example of how ads look when browsing the Pinterest site (Image: Pinterest)

1. Prioritize the visuals

Much like Instagram, Pinterest is all about the visuals. If your image isn’t high quality and engaging, you risk getting lost in the shuffle. 

It’s wise to keep images simple and vertically aligned so they’re easy to see on mobile. Experts recommend an aspect ratio of 9:16, with a minimum size of 1080×1920.

For Pin titles, you can enter up to 100 characters, with the first 40 actually showing in feeds, depending on device. (It’s wise, of course, to use keywords in your title.) 

For description, you get up to 500 characters, but know that “descriptions do not appear when viewing the Pin in the home feed or search feed,” according to Pinterest. “Additionally, descriptions do not appear for ads when viewed up close.”

The platform explains that descriptions are used by its own algorithm to determine relevance.

Pro tip: With the limited amount of characters in mind, some brands add text to the image itself to maximize the amount of words you can pair with your visual.

2. Determine the right format for your goal

There are five main Pinterest ad formats. The one or ones you opt to use will depend on your overall goals. These formats are:

  • Static – A basic ad that allows you to showcase your products and content via a vertical or square image format
  • Video – Use a looping video clip to grab viewers’ attention and tell a story (these ads come in standard and max width options)
  • Shopping – Easily convert Pins of your products into their own ads that can be clicked on to take the user right to the purchase page
  • Carousel – Showcase multiple images in a single ad that viewers can swipe through
  • Collections – A stylish way to mix individual products images with a larger image showing the items in context (like a living room image above individual photos of a lamp, couch, and coffee table)

Depending on your offering, you can play around with various ad types to see which ones resonate most with your audience. 

Fun fact: In March 2022, Pinterest announced the addition of $1.2 million to its Creator Fund specifically set aside for people from traditionally underrepresented groups: people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

pinterest ads budget

How it looks to manage your Pinterest ad budget (Image: Pinterest)

3. Figure out your budget

When it comes to pricing, Pinterest makes setting your budget pretty simple. 

You can determine how much you want to spend daily, the duration of your campaign, and which audience action you want to pay for. These actions could be views, engagement, or clickthroughs. 

Plus, it’s easy to turn your ad off anytime if you’re worried about blowing through your budget too quickly. As a reminder, your ad groups are where you determine things like targeting, your schedule, and your budget.

Pro tip: New to terms like “flexercise,” “pearlcore,” “barkitecture,” and “nailscapes”? Pinterest’s 2022 trend forecasting report will loop you in.

4. Take advantage of the targeting options

Speaking of targeting, you can choose one or multiple segments from the following targeting options:

  • Audiences – Combine your own data with Pinterest’s to reach those who have previously made a purchase on your site or have engaged with your Pinterest content in the past 
  • Actalike audience – New people who have similar habits or interests to one of your existing audience segments
  • Demographics – Allow you to reach users by specific location, device, gender, age, or language
  • Interests – Targets users who have created boards, engaged with Pins, or have shown interest in a relevant topic
  • Keywords – Allow you to reach people who are searching for a specific topic on Pinterest 
  • Placements – Choose if you want your ads shown in Pinterest search results, while users browse, or both
  • Expanded – Pinterest populates additional interests and keywords based on the ones you’ve already chosen along with your ad content and audience

All of the ad decisions you make should take your target audience into account, from the language in your copy to the visuals you choose. Once you’ve nailed down your ideal client persona, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine what’s bound to appeal to them most.

Need a bit more help to get going on Pinterest Ads? You’ve come to the right place. 

pinterest promoted pins

How to add existing Pins to an ad group (Image: Pinterest)

5. Keep an eye on performance

You may be surprised by how much success you find through Pinterest ads. 

Alternatively, you may find that the platform simply isn’t used by enough of your target audience. The only way to know how successful your ads are is to track their performance.

Pinterest encourages brands to promote Pins they’ve created that are already popular, since it’ll be easier to get these Pins more exposure. From there, you can check out the Analytics section in your account to gauge performance. 

And, of course, you should test a few different strategies and ad elements to ensure your campaigns are optimized. 

E-commerce brands with active accounts can take things a step further by enrolling in the verified merchant program, which adds a verification check symbol to your account and allows you to have a “Shop” tab on your profile page. 

Pro tip: Pinterest offers two ways to create ads: one is more automated, while the other is more manual and customized. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the advanced tool settings that let you build and edit campaigns, ad groups and custom targeting in Ads Manager.

create pin

Pinterest offers tools to create the most effective Pins for your audience. (Image: Pinterest)

The takeaway

Pinterest is where people go to find inspiration — whether it’s for their home, career, wardrobe, or next meal. Take advantage of this visual-centric platform to target those who are browsing or searching the site for something that aligns with your product or service.

By being mindful about your content, targeting your audience, setting the right budget, and leveraging the proper ad format, you could gain access to a whole new segment of future customers. 

For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for Twitter, InstagramFacebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

This article has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 15, 2021

From social selling to geo-targeting, these are the social media trends poised to take 2022 by storm.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What new and time-tested social platforms have to offer marketers
  • How social media content is evolving
  • Why social shopping has grown in popularity
  • Ways to take advantage of the latest social media trends

Few things make me feel more ancient than having to Google a meme or social media trend because I simply don’t “get it.” 

It makes me, a humble millennial, feel like this:

how-do-you-do-fellow-kids-steve-buscemi

Such is the nature of social media trends, which crop up and fizzle out like dying stars seemingly every day. 

With social media apps as popular as ever, social media marketing (SMM) is a must-have tool in every marketer’s bag of tricks. Staying up to date with top social media trends can help companies maintain a competitive edge.

The world of social media is changing faster than you can say, “TikTok made me buy it.” Thankfully, the approach to social media marketing stays mostly the same. Let’s take a look at the top social media trends predicted for 2022 and how they can affect your paid social campaigns.

man livestreaming

In 2022, we’ll likely still see live social media content regularly used by influencers, brands, and notable people. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Live feeds help connect you with your audience

Amid the rollercoaster pivots in the last 18 months or so, virtual events became the norm. But not everyone opted to hop on Zoom to host their digital gatherings. Rather, many leveraged live social media instead.

Livestreaming on platforms like Facebook and Instagram allows viewers to interact with the video host in real-time. Attendees can often submit reactions (such as a heart emoji). 

They can also add comments or questions that can be answered live. In 2022, we’ll likely still see live social media content regularly used by influencers, brands, and notable people.

Pro tip: Launching a new product or service? Go live on one of your social platforms (ideally the one with the most followers). You can tease the new offering and answer any questions viewers have about it.

2. Short video content reigns supreme

From TikToks to Reels to paid social ads, videos are taking over social media platforms. The white-hot popularity of TikTok likely (or definitely) inspired Instagram to launch its own version in the form of Reels back in 2020.

But now, even apps like Facebook and Pinterest are getting on board with their own video features.

Social Media Today reports that as much as 82% of online content will consist of videos by 2022. Luckily, you don’t need a huge budget or Oscar-worthy resources to create your own video content. 

Here’s a high-level look at how to make video marketing work at your brand:

  • Build your plan
  • Leverage free or budget-friendly software and tools
  • Determine the goals of your content
  • Create a video strategy
  • Analyze the video metrics

3. Social selling continues to rise in popularity

In the past few years, the omnichannel marketing approach has led to social media platforms doubling as shopping channels, or “social selling.” Customers no longer need to click a button to get to the e-commerce website and make a purchase. These days, they can buy straight from the app.

Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have been refining and enhancing their shopping features in the last several months. And since social media reportedly influences 71% of buying decisions, platforms making shopping more convenient just makes sense.

TikTok’s collaboration with Shopify allowed merchants to create their paid social campaigns directly from their Shopify dashboard. 

Today, social commerce is becoming more central on TikTok than it is on Facebook and Instagram, with influencers creating sponsored videos and users leveraging tags like #tiktokmademebuyit. (The tag has, no joke, more than 6.3 billion views — and counting.)

pins on a map

Marketers are going further by adding tags of popular locations to their posts in order to garner readers’ attention. (Image via Rawpixel)

4. Purpose-driven campaigns are here to stay

According to a Twitter survey, 74% of respondents expect brands to demonstrate acts of kindness.

Since audiences want brands to take action and show thought leadership on important issues, don’t be afraid to take a company-wide stand on something meaningful. When in doubt, marketing with empathy can get you far while also helping you build brand trust.

Many social media apps make aligning yourself with causes a breeze. For example, you can set up a fundraiser in just a few quick steps on Instagram.

Pro tip: Google recently announced it’s working on deals with Instagram and TikTok to index video content in search results, offering even more visibility. 

5. Geo-targeting can help steal market share

Social media platforms are making it easier for marketers to target local audiences. As such, brands are taking advantage of geo-targeting to reach people based on their location.

Since social media profiles often contain precise information about the person’s location, local targeting is quite effective. By adding a certain location to social media content, you automatically draw the local audience in and provide a more eye-catching, personalized message.

6. Micro-influencers are gaining traction

Micro-influencers (those with 10,000 or fewer followers) tend to generate higher engagement than macro-influencers with larger audiences do. They also often cost less while providing access to smaller segments of your target audience. 

Along with friends and family, most people trust the opinions of influencers they follow. And they also appreciate the transparency of knowing when an influencer is posting an ad vs. when a paid partnership isn’t clearly stated.

In 2022, many brands are discovering the effectiveness of these partnerships on social media to grow their audiences and foster brand loyalty. Micro-influencers are becoming more effective since they are more accessible to both the audience and the marketer.

The takeaway

As consumers continue to spend a significant part of their days on social media, platforms are catering to their demands through new features, convenient tools, and more ways to post. 

By taking advantage of the newest developments, technologies, and trends, it’s possible to stay ahead of the competition without hurting your budget.

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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Written by Charlotte Soto on Oct 1, 2021

Gen Z has arrived — here’s how to get their attention.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How Generation Z feels about ads
  • Why social is so key for this demographic
  • Stats around this generation
  • Best practices for creating Gen Z-focused campaigns

As ultra-tech-savvy digital natives, members of Generation Z are leaving their parents’ homes, graduating college, and entering the workforce.

With over 67 million people born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is rapidly becoming the largest U.S. consumer group. Their 40% of the market wields an incredible $143 billion in spending power.

Reaching Gen Z has never been more critical for a brand’s success. Here are some effective social media marketing strategies to help brands connect with a Gen Z audience.

Group shot of best friends, summer in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Although Gen Z is aware of paid social, they aren’t afraid to be influenced. (Image via Rawpixel)

Understand what Gen Z wants and needs

A McKinsey & Company study found most Gen Zers have an “undefined” identity, meaning they don’t see themselves through the lens of one or two stereotypes. 

Instead, they experiment with different ways of expression and allow their identities to develop over time. This makes unisex messaging and products very appealing to them. 

The same study found that Gen Z is more racially diverse and inclusive than any other generation before them. 

Tap into where Gen Z gets their information

There’s no better place to reach Gen Z than social media. According to a recent study, most feel driven to socialize and stay informed via social media platforms.

They spend an average of three hours every day on their favorite social apps, making them the largest group of mobile commerce (or m-commerce) consumers. Generally, the most popular platforms for Gen Z are Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Pinterest. 

Although Gen Z is aware of paid social, they aren’t afraid to be influenced. For example, the super-trendy #tiktokmademebuyit videos have a staggering 5.2 billion views. 

Produce creative, eye-catching visual content

If brands want to stand out on social media feeds, they need to customize content to Gen Z’s tastes. 

Studies have shown they prefer bite-sized, jam-packed multimedia messages and videos over static images. Posting short-form videos stuffed with stylish visuals is a guaranteed way to catch Gen Z’s attention.

Leverage gamification and interactive experiences

Gen Zers are serious gamers. A staggering 94% of this generation play games on various devices. They enjoy engaging with social media content by thinking, swiping, and tapping.

Including gamification elements into posts is an excellent way for brands to provide users with fun escapism while boosting their brand’s image. 

These elements include trivia quizzes, polls, rewards for user engagement, and social media scavenger hunts. Gamifying content is a surefire way to attract new customers and stay connected with existing ones. 

Understand the importance of influencers

A short video posted by a famous Instagram influencer can trigger hundreds of thousands of followers to buy everything from the sweater they wore to the chair they sat on. 

Gen Z considers social media influencers as more reliable than traditional celebrities. Not only are they dependent on these influencers for fashion and lifestyle inspiration, but they also trust their opinions. 

Purchasing a product vouched for by an influencer has never been easier. Personalized Amazon pages and Instagram closet accounts can be stocked with influencer favorites. 

Followers can now easily emulate their style with just a couple of taps. Partnering with influencers is a great way for businesses to reach a targeted section of this demographic.

lavender cake with Gen Z on top

Gen Z trusts word-of-mouth marketing more than previous generations. (Image via Pexels)

Showcase your brand’s beliefs and values

No other generation before Gen Z has shown such strong interest in consumer culture. Generation Zers are twice as likely as different generations to care about equality issues and three times as likely to believe a brand should serve their community and society. 

How eco-conscious and sustainable a company is truly matters to Gen Z and plays a big role in whether or not they will purchase from them. 

Around 50% of Gen Z have reported that helping the environment is important, while 61% are willing to pay more for ethically produced products. Brands shouldn’t be afraid to show off their sustainability efforts and any positive work they’ve done within their communities. 

Want to reach more Gen Z consumers? Let’s build an effective social media marketing campaign today.

Repurpose customer testimonials

Gen Z trusts word-of-mouth marketing more than previous generations. Because WOM is a significant factor in their decision-making, it can be super helpful for brands to promote positive customer testimonials. 

Not only will this build their brand’s rep, but it also provides social proof that strengthens their credibility with Gen Z.

Gen Zers want to feel heard. Always responding to positive and negative feedback is an excellent way for businesses to show their willingness to accept and listen to criticism. 

Develop a strong brand personality

To be unique is to be remembered. Gen Zers appreciate humanized brands they can talk to, joke around with, and build an emotional bond over time. 

Brands should aim to create a 3-D personality that fully aligns with this generation’s beliefs and values. 

Posting funny memes and sending out witty responses is a great way to catch Gen Z’s attention. However, staying on top of trends is crucial, as recycling outdated memes or posting out-of-touch content can seriously turn them off.

Make the shopping experience a breeze

As the first truly digital generation, Gen Z has high expectations for seamless m-commerce transactions. Being redirected out of an app or having to input financial information is disruptive to them. 

Businesses should invest in ways to make moving through the funnel as easy and distraction-free as possible. 

Offering third-party payment options, such as PayPal and pay-it-later services, allow shoppers to side-step entering their financial info, increasing the chance they’ll complete a purchase.

The takeaway

Now that Gen Z makes up a massive portion of the market, it’s never been more critical for businesses to reach them.

Connecting with Gen Z consumers comes down to understanding who they are, what they want, and how to grab their attention on social media. 

It may seem like a daunting task, but they’re far more open to trying new brands on social media than the generations before them. By leveraging the right social media marketing strategies, it’s easy to tap into this generation and its mighty e-commerce spending power.

Charlotte Soto

Charlotte Soto

    Charlotte is a lead digital strategist at HawkSEM. Through SEO, email, content, and managing website redesigns, she has helped drive digital strategy for several brands including Fortune 500 companies. In her free time, she enjoys binge-watching Netflix, spending time with family, and traveling.

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    Written by Caroline Cox on Jul 30, 2021

    Instead of window displays, we’ve got e-commerce ads.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • How to determine the best e-commerce ad platforms for your brand
    • Display ads vs. PPC ads for e-commerce
    • What elements make up a successful e-commerce ad
    • Pro tips to give you an edge over competitors

    Remember the mall? We barely do too. 

    Depending on what you’re in the market for, perusing through physical aisles and racks to make a purchase isn’t the hyper-common process it once was.

    These days, the bulk of shopping happens online. In June 2020, global retail e-commerce traffic hit a record 22 billion monthly visits, “with demand being exceptionally high for everyday items such as groceries, clothing, but also retail tech items,” according to Statista.

    If you’re an e-commerce brand looking to stay in the game, online ads are a great way to do it. Search, social, and display ads allow you to target your audience, boost your clickthrough rate (CTR), increase sales, and more. For best practices, agency tips, and expert advice when it comes to e-commerce ad platforms, keep reading. 

    hawksem: e-commerce ad platforms

    Before you go all in on one ad platform, you need a solid understanding of where your audience regularly shops. (Image via Unsplash)

    1. Work with cohesive vendors

    It’ll benefit you to work with vendors that can easily integrate with the other programs your company already uses, especially as your e-commerce business grows. When you’re launching digital ads, it’ll be a more streamlined process when you’re using hosting options (like Shopify or Nexcess) that integrate well with search engines and social media platforms.

    If your e-commerce biz doesn’t use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like HubSpot or has a custom site, you may have to jump through a few hoops to make sure everything for your ads is synced and reporting properly. 

    It’s also important to find a web hosting solution that makes mobile-first optimizations simple. It’s likely that most of your traffic will come from mobile, so mobile-first conversion rate optimization is key.

    If you’re just starting out on the paid ads route, you can set yourself up for success by integrating with a CRM, keeping your site simple to navigate, and making sure you can easily integrate with search engines and social platforms where you’d potentially want to show your ads.

    2. Understand paid search vs. display ads for e-commerce

    Once you’ve decided to invest in digital ads, the next step is deciding which ad type to leverage. E-commerce brands can certainly find success with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC), particularly through dynamic search ads. 

    These ads use content and keywords from your site to help better target your ads to the right people (all the more reason to have a strong e-commerce SEO strategy). Simply add a thought-out description, and let the search engine take care of the rest. 

    paid search herbal dynamics beauty

    An example of paid search e-commerce ads from Herbal Dynamics Beauty on the SERP.

    If you want to opt for display ads, e-commerce brands can try their luck with dynamic remarketing (also called retargeting). These ads populate for people who have already visited one of your product pages vs. those who have clicked an ad. Just know that recent Apple iOS updates have made remarketing more challenging. Luckily, there’s plenty of opportunity to reach new potential audiences via display.

    These ads are a good money-saving option — you don’t have to have any other forms of advertising for them to work. You can run these on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. Display ads don’t offer as much control over bidding as more traditional campaigns do, but they can be effective when paired with proper bidding strategies and as long as you’re using daily budgets.

    Shopping ads can be a highly effective (and lucrative) channel for your e-commerce strategy with proper feed management. 

    Pro tip: Google recently started serving shopping ads in organic search results, so if you’re already optimizing your ads and have a product feed set up through Google Merchant Center, you get additional opportunities to garner not only PPC traffic but even free traffic, too.

    3. Determine where your audience is already shopping

    Before you go all in on e-commerce ad platforms, you’ll want to have a solid understanding of where your audience regularly shops. The easier you make it for them to purchase your product or service, the higher ROI you’re likely to see.

    Creating PPC ads for Google is a great place for an e-commerce brand to start. If more of your buyers are on Amazon or Instagram, then those could be good options as well. Just make sure you’re not competing against yourself. Running Amazon ads may cause you to outrank your own Google Shopping items, and you don’t want that. 

    Knowing your audiences can guide you toward the right platforms. For example:

    • Bing could be more successful than Google with audiences 50 and older
    • Instagram is probably better than Facebook for audiences in their 20s and 30s
    • If they’re middle age, Facebook is likely better than Instagram
    • If your audience is mostly male, Reddit ads may be worth exploring

    The Facebook algorithm works best the more time it has to optimize your ads with their audience pool. It typically needs about 50 conversions to “understand” who to best serve the ads to. 

    And because it uses a 7-day attribution window, you can’t really get a full picture of ad performance until the 7-day window is up. Best practice: Facebook ads should run a minimum of 5 days, but 7 is optimal to properly understand how it performs.

    The same can be said for certain types of Google ads. There are bidding strategies that won’t perform well if the campaigns aren’t driving a minimum of 50 conversions per month, so understanding the nuances of the bid strategies is important for success there as well.

    person online shopping with credit card

    Social ads are a particularly great option when you’re working with a limited budget but want a decent-size reach. (Image via Unsplash)

    4. Know what makes an e-commerce ad successful

    When it comes to what e-commerce ads resonate best, feel free to be your own test subject! Search for a common item like “blue t-shirt” on Google or Amazon, then check out the results. Which images and ad copy blurbs stand out most to you?

    The elements of a successful e-commerce ad will vary by product, industry, and audience. But there are few good rules of thumb that are likely to benefit brands across categories. 

    Clear, high-quality images without cluttered backgrounds are a good place to start. From there, be sure your products are easy to view on smartphones as mobile commerce or m-commerce continues to rise in popularity.

    An example of a promoted tweet for monthly wine club Bright Cellars on Twitter.

    An example of a promoted tweet for monthly wine club Bright Cellars on Twitter.

    Social ads are a particularly great option when you’re working with a limited budget but want a decent-size reach. For these e-commerce ad platforms, think about how you can make your ad seamlessly fit in with organic posts on that specific platform. 

    Depending on which site your ad will appear on, consider elements like emoji, GIFs or videos, hashtags, and platform-relevant verbiage like “retweet” on Twitter. And, of course, don’t forget about that strong call to action (CTA).

    Pro tip: Got a brick-and-mortar location? Make sure your Google My Business (GMB) page is set up correctly with tags in place and the most up-to-date info. 

    5. Don’t forget about seller ratings

    Especially for highly competitive markets, having seller ratings on your ads can be a game-changer for your CTR. As we’ve mentioned, peer recommendations, research, and product reviews are some of the most influential factors that affect purchasing decisions. 

    If you’ve ever compared an item with 3 out of 5 stars to one with 5 out of 5 (these ratings can be integrated with shopping ads), then gone with the latter, you know what we mean.

    As with any ad, think about what sets you apart from your competitors. Something like free shipping may not be as appealing if most of the brands similar to yours are offering that as well. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Is your product the softest, fastest, the first of its kind, or something else? Use that angle in your copy to help the item shine. 

    6. Perform tests to keep ads optimized

    Predicting is one thing — analyzing the data is, of course, another. Once you decide which e-commerce ad platforms you want to experiment with, keep in mind that continued A/B testing will be one of the most effective ways to understand your target audience and what resonates with them. 

    Eliminate variables and change one thing at a time to properly measure. Do they prefer free two-day shipping or a coupon code? Do they click more on white backgrounds or real-life images? Consistent testing and measuring will help you answer these questions.

    hawksem: e-commerce ad platforms

    With so much shopping taking place online these days, having ads for your e-commerce brand just makes sense. (Image via Unsplash)

    Pro tip: Before beginning, determine the goals of your paid ad strategy. Especially if you’re working with an agency, it’s crucial that everyone is aligned on budget, KPIs, and what success looks like. Even if you’re just starting out, look at your spend and product costs to determine what numbers would mean a campaign was successful.

    7. Plan for seasonality

    Of course, shopping seasons ebb and flow depending on things like holidays and the time of year. That’s why it’s important to plan budgets and ad spend according to the way your brand historically drives sales throughout the year. 

    For example, an e-commerce brand probably shouldn’t plan on spending the same amount of money on ads during June that they might spend over Black Friday or Cyber Monday, unless there’s a reason they drive huge sales during that time. 

    If there are other reasons certain seasons impact their sales (i.e. if you sell winter boots or swimsuits), it’s a good idea to allocate greater portions of your budget to support greater sales during those impactful times of the year. During the slow months, pull back a bit to support your annual return on ad spend (ROAS) and overall profitability.

    The takeaway

    With so much shopping taking place online these days, having ads for your e-commerce brand just makes sense. It’s a great way to expand your reach, boost your sales, and beat out your competition.

    By following best practices — like having goals in mind, determining where your audience likes to shop, and making sure you’re putting your business’s best face forward online — you can leverage e-commerce ad platforms and be on the right path to getting the ROI you seek.

    This post has been updated and was originally published in March 2020.

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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    Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 28, 2021

    Digital marketing can get you in front of potential customers — the right strategy can get them to convert.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • How search results affect customer acquisition
    • Organic ways to acquire new leads
    • Effective paid marketing strategies
    • How to set your website up for optimal acquisition

    Marketing pros who aren’t new to the game likely know all about the customer journey. It comprises the stages we base our content, campaigns, and plans on: awareness, consideration, and decision. (With delight as the bonus step.) And the customer journey is a crucial element when it comes to acquisition.

    Customer acquisition is the process of converting a generated lead into a customer. It’s basically the whole funnel (or journey) combined. At the end of the day, marketing is about attracting new customers, and keeping customer acquisition top of mind is how marketers can make that happen.

    While there’s no one way to pinpoint and acquire qualified leads that are sure to become customers, there are a handful of digital marketing strategies you can implement with customer acquisition in mind. Here, we’ve mapped out six of our favorites.

    line of people outside from aerial view

    Companies that use paid search for successful customer acquisition know it’s not only about the ad. (Image via Unsplash)

    1. Paid search

    Also known as pay per click (PPC), paid search is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies when it comes to customer acquisition. That’s because it allows companies to target their specific audience with the right keywords at the right time.

    Paid search ads appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) on sites like Google and Bing. If someone’s searching for “women’s black cycling shoes,” for example, and you’re an e-commerce brand selling cycling products (including women’s black cycling shoes), you want your targeted ad to be the one they see. The same goes for brands selling other products and services.

    The companies that use paid search for successful customer acquisition know it’s not only about the ad, though. Rather, it’s crucial to pair eye-catching, appealing ad copy with an optimized landing page that boasts consistent verbiage, clean design, and a clear call to action (CTA).

    2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

    Along with a paid search strategy, having a solid SEO strategy helps search engines more easily recognize your website. This helps improve your rankings and, ideally, grow your reach for better customer acquisition.

    Proper SEO on your site means having elements including:

    • Unique title tags on your pages
    • High-quality content 
    • Internal links and external links (to authoritative sites)
    • A sitemap
    • Meta descriptions
    • Images with alt tags

    Ensuring your site is optimized for search engines won’t guarantee that you’ll get in the first position (or even on the first page) of the SERPs. The search algorithm that determines the best content for each search query is constantly changing, and the details about how search engines determine the best content to show searchers isn’t always clear.

    However, by keeping your site up to date, easy to navigate, and educational for prospects and clients, you can position your brand as a thought leader and your site as a valuable source of information.

    3. Social media

    When it comes to social media, you’ve got the option to leverage both organic and paid avenues. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that each path can be leveraged in the same way or achieve the same results.

    Let’s start with organic social media. The practice of regularly creating social media posts can help spread the word about new business offerings or updates, increase your exposure, and even help you go viral (in a good way, ideally).

    While organic social posts likely won’t directly result in customer acquisition, they can aid in brand awareness, content sharing, and allow you to highlight the fun side of your brand.

    Paid social, on the other hand, can be a powerful tool if wielded properly. When choosing which platforms to advertise on, you should first consider your target audience and the platforms they use most.

    From there, you can take advantage of the audience targeting tools most of these platforms have in place to get your content delivered straight to those who need to see it most. 

    group of millennials on their laptops laughing

    When done right, remarketing one of the best and most cost-effective ways to get past visitors back to your site. (Image via Unsplash)

    4. Remarketing

    As we’ve touched on before, remarketing can benefit your business in numerous ways. Not only does it keep you top of mind when someone takes an action like visiting your site, or requesting a consultation or demo, but it allows you to hyper-focus your ads and ups your chances of turning a lead into a conversion.

    Remarketing (also called retargeting) works by leveraging display ads to connect your business with people who have already visited your site or mobile app. When done right, it’s one of the best and most cost-effective ways to get past visitors back to your site. 

    Of course, the most successful retargeting campaigns aren’t one size fits all. A brand-new site visitor shouldn’t be remarketed the same way as a returning visitor. 

    Data transparency changes and the eventual demise of third-party cookies are going to force some changes in digital marketing, particularly for remarketing ads. But there’s no need to panic: Marketers have adapted to massive changes for decades. And while more solutions will become apparent as the process unfolds, focusing on attracting new prospects is one way to keep your lead pipeline flowing.

    Looking for more ways to increase your customer acquisition? Let’s talk.

    5. Content marketing

    When people hear the phrase “content marketing,” they may automatically think of blogs. And while blogging is a great medium for businesses when it comes to customer acquisition, content can encompass much more.

    Examples of valuable content include:

    • Blog posts
    • Videos and webinars
    • Guides and e-books
    • Infographics
    • Checklists
    • Downloadable templates
    • Product descriptions
    • Case studies

    No matter the content you create, you want to make sure it’s accurate, helpful, and targeted. The more deliverables you create, the more industry topics you can cover, and the more likely you are to be found in organic search results by those seeking what you have to offer.

    Pro tip: You can take things a step further by partnering with another brand (with a similar audience but not a competitor) on something like an infographic, webinar, or guest blog. This expands your reach, helps build your professional network, and boosts your brand’s credibility.

    two people meeting at a coffeeshop

    Include social share links as well as forwarding options in your email newsletter to make sharing a breeze. (Image via Unsplash)

    6. Email newsletters

    Email newsletters can be a powerful acquisition channel if you follow a few key strategies. As Campaign Monitor reports, you’re six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than from a tweet. 

    The most successful newsletters:

    • Include one main CTA
    • Offer a tactical takeaway (like a pro tip, discount, or statistic)
    • Feature an attention-grabbing subject line
    • Have an easy-to-read template
    • Are optimized for mobile

    When you’re looking to build your non-client subscriber list, get creative! You can add exit-intent pop-ups to your site, or include a subscription box in your site’s footer. Offline, you can give people the option to sign up if your brand is posted up in a booth at an industry conference or networking event — a particularly effective strategy if it’s part of a giveaway or contest.

    Pro tip: Let your readers help you spread the word! Include social share links as well as forwarding options in your email newsletter to make sharing a breeze. Due to the psychology of social proof, peer-recommended content is more likely to be trusted.

    The takeaway

    Customers are the bread and butter of any business, and digital marketing is one of the most direct ways to connect with your desired prospects.

    By knowing your audience, meeting them where they are, and analyzing the data behind your campaigns, you’ll have the tools you need to not only attract more customers, but keep them loyal and happy as well.

    This post has been updated and was originally published in December 2019.

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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    Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 8, 2021

    From the various ad types to costs, the latest tips, and more, here’s the 411 on creating YouTube ads in 2021.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • A breakdown of YouTube ad types
    • Average costs for YouTube ads
    • Expert tips for successful YouTube advertising
    • The latest video ad tools worth exploring

    From the first “Evolution of Dance” viral video to vloggers-turned-bonafide celebrities, few websites have seen as much rousing success as YouTube. 

    So it’s no surprise that YouTube is a fertile ground for advertising. With 81% of adults in the U.S. using the platform — up 8% from 2019 — and more than 2 billion unique monthly viewers, it’s likely where members of your target audience can be found.

    Not only that, but YouTube saw the most significant growth of any social media app among American users during the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

    YouTube ads are an excellent way to reach out to potential clients. After all, when it comes to social media marketing, YouTube is the only online platform that matches Facebook’s reach. Here’s how to make it work for you.

    HawkSEM: youtube ads blog

    YouTube Ads don’t require a minimum spend. That means you can start as low as you wish and then tweak the budget according to the campaign’s results. (Image via Unsplash)

    Types of YouTube Ads  

    In 2021, there are six types of YouTube ads to choose from. The type you choose will depend on factors like your niche, budget, and marketing goals.

    • Discovery (display) ads: These appear among organic results and suggestions on the YouTube search page, homepage, and suggestions list with a thumbnail image and a bit of text. YouTube’s TrueView ads only count a view after it’s been watched for at least ten seconds.  
    • Overlay ads: This banner ad appears in the lower part of the video. The ad can contain text or images. It’s clickable and available only to desktop viewers. A user has a choice to close the ad at any time.
    • In-stream skippable ads: This ad appears in the beginning, middle, or end of the video. It runs for several seconds before giving the viewer a choice to close it. These ads can appear on all devices, including TVs and game consoles.
    • In-stream nonskippable ads: These ads appear the same way as their skippable partners, but they don’t allow skipping. The maximum running time for these ads is 15 seconds.
    • Bumpers: Bumpers are non-skippable ads that appear while the video is running. They can’t be longer than six seconds.
    • Sponsored cards: These clickable ads are similar to overlay ads. They offer content relevant to the video the user is watching (such as products shown in the video). The teaser appears on the right side of the video for a few seconds and then turns into a card icon.

    The cost of YouTube advertising in 2021

    The cost of YouTube advertising depends on the type of ads you use.

    • In-stream ads, sponsored cards, and overlay ads: These ads are between $0.10 and $0.30 per engagement (view or click). Skippable ads are generally less expensive than non-skippable ads.
    • Discovery ads: These cost about $0.30 per click.
    • Bumper ads: These ads are charged by CPM (you pay each time the ad gets 1,000 impressions) — between $1 and $4 per 1,000.

    Overall, the average cost of YouTube ads in 2021 is $200 per 1,000 views. It can range from between $0.05 and $0.30 per view, which is about $50 to $300 per 1,000. Remember, you only pay per view if the user watches the video for 30 seconds. (If the ad is shorter, they have to watch the entire video.)

    YouTube Ads don’t require a minimum spend. That means you can start as low as you wish and then tweak the budget according to the campaign’s results. Many companies start with a $10 daily budget and go from there.

    Pro tip: As of June 2021, YouTube has started showing ads on non-monetized videos. This means that if you’re not part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), YouTube still reserves the right to run ads on your videos, as Search Engine Land reports. 

    Now, let’s dive into some tried-and-true tips for successful YouTube advertising in 2021.

    Explore masthead ads

    Masthead ads can be a costly ad format, but they’re also known to be effective. They can produce a massive audience reach and achieve a huge boost in brand awareness. These ads appear in the YouTube home feed across all devices. They autoplay on mute for 30 seconds or longer.

    The payment for these ads is based on cost-per-day or cost-per-impression. You can only take advantage of mastheads after making a reservation through a Google sales rep. They’ll give you an estimate during a consultation.

    Overall, masthead ads provide the highest reach in the shortest period.

    Pro tip: As of July 2021, YouTube masthead ads are no longer available for advertisers of prescription drugs, alcohol, gambling, and political content.    

    HawkSEM blog: YouTube ads

    To make in-stream ads appealing to your target audience, focus on attention-grabbing, hyper-targeted content. (Image via Unsplash)

    Invest in remarketing

    YouTube offers powerful remarketing campaign options. This can be a beneficial ad option since people who have viewed your videos, ads, or channel in the past have a higher conversion potential than brand-new leads. After linking your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account, you can create such remarketing lists as:

    • Viewed videos or ad from a channel
    • Directly viewed a particular video or ad
    • Visited a channel page
    • Liked, added, or shared a video from a channel

    You can’t, however, create remarketing lists from views of the bumper and non-skippable ads.

    You can also connect your website and YouTube advertising efforts. If someone visits your website and views a certain product, the remarketing feature can advertise the product the next time the visitor watches a YouTube video.

    Pro tip: Looking to start a successful YouTube channel for your business? Check out this helpful guide from Shopify.

    Optimize your in-stream ads

    Sure, in-stream ads are a bit more intrusive to the video viewer, but it’s also true that they often bring about impressive results.

    These ads have lower conversion rates than other formats but have been shown to aid tremendously in brand awareness. To make in-stream ads appealing to your target audience, focus on attention-grabbing, hyper-targeted content.

    Pro tip: The first five seconds are the most important part of the in-stream ad, so prioritize grabbing the viewer’s attention during that time.

    You can ensure your in-stream ad is as effective as possible by: 

    • Showing some motion in the first three seconds of the video to hook the audience’s attention
    • Creating curiosity by asking a question but leaving the answer on the other side of the five-second gap
    • Showing your brand name and logo in the first five seconds so that, even if the viewer skips the ad, you achieve brand exposure
    • Keeping ads shorter than 45 seconds
    • Using soft CTAs to lead potential clients to other videos or channels

    For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

    Use the YouTube Video Builder

    In 2020, YouTube launched the beta version of its Video Builder. This tool lets you animate static content like text, logos, and images with music and transitions to create six to 15-second videos for further use as YouTube ads.

    This is an excellent opportunity for companies with a low marketing budget to create an impressive multimedia experience for target audiences. Established brands can also use this tool for testing new content.

    The Video Builder can help freshen up your existing assets to keep the target audience’s interest piqued without substantial expenses.

    Embrace the person-to-person connection

    A recent HubSpot article warned businesses not to forget the human element when it comes to YouTube marketing. Often, we’ve seen brands too focused on themselves and what they’re selling and not enough on helping their audience. 

    After all, people don’t engage with brands to help the brands. They engage because of the ways the brand can help them. Always put that value front and center for your audience.

    Additionally, it’s important that your message doesn’t feel cold and robotic. If your content feels like an interaction with a digital assistant, people won’t as easily connect or engage with it. 

    Remind your audience that there are human beings behind your brand. One great way to do this is by responding to comments and engaging with the people who interact with your content, on YouTube and elsewhere.

    The takeaway

    YouTube is a highly engaging platform that opens up numerous possibilities for companies across all industries. In fact, 54% of YouTube users visit the platform daily and 36% do so several times per day. 

    By looking into all the ad types on offer, determining what might catch your target audience’s attention, and ensuring the content is top notch, you can build a successful YouTube ads campaign, even without a huge budget. 

    This post has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar

    Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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    Written by Caroline Cox on Jun 3, 2021

    From tweets to TikTok, here’s how to pick the right paid social platform for your business.

    Here, you’ll find:

    • A breakdown of the main paid social platforms
    • Pro tips for paid social success
    • How these platforms compare to one another
    • Which industries see the most success on certain platforms

    The aim of social media is to help us connect with people — and the world — around us. That could mean following an influencer whose style you envy, a travel writer who always finds a city’s best hidden gems, or a vlogger with killer recipes. 

    So, when your company is looking into ads on a paid social platform, it’s helpful to keep in mind why people are on them in the first place. It’s all part of understanding your target audience, their goals, and how you can meet them where they already are. 

    smartphone with social media platform apps

    When it comes to members, you just can’t beat Facebook — the platform boasts 2.85 billion monthly users worldwide. (Image via Unsplash)

    Once you explore your audience and assess your resources (like images, videos, or brand even ambassadors), it can be a challenge to know where to begin. But don’t fear! Let’s dig into all the main paid social platforms and how you can make them work for your business.

    LinkedIn

    If other platforms are like happy hour, LinkedIn is the networking event. Sure, you can be quippy and share fun thoughts or links, but at the end of the day, it’s all about professionals. By its own estimations, LinkedIn has a whopping 756 million members in 200 countries and regions across the globe. 

    According to Sprout Social, 65% of B2B companies have used LinkedIn paid ads to acquire new customers, and the platform is reportedly 277% more effective than Facebook in generating leads. 

    Because of its business-centric purpose, LinkedIn can be a great paid social platform for ads relating to software, services, and anything else that could be used in a professional setting or to improve workday processes.

    Other industries that tend to do well with LinkedIn paid social ads include:

    • High-end retail
    • Wine and spirits
    • Aerospace
    • Automotive
    • Professional businesses (such as performing arts, banking, pharma, and international affairs)

    While LinkedIn has a lot of opportunity, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager has a few minimum requirements that can be costly for small businesses to leverage. They also have limited targeting, as well as more expensive CPC and conversions compared to other platforms. 

    Pro tip: Since users view LinkedIn as a professional place, it’s a good idea to have your ads follow suit — and don’t forget to maintain the correct ad specs!

    Facebook

    When it comes to members, you just can’t beat Facebook. That’s because the social media platform boasts 2.85 billion monthly users worldwide.

    But while that number is impressive, it’s worth noting that younger generations aren’t as active as older ones, and visibility for both organic and paid posts can be hard to come by. (For example, a Facebook page with more than 1 million likes only averages an organic engagement rate of less than 2.5%.)

    Regardless of the drawbacks, marketers love Facebook because it’s affordable and generally results in high engagement. When it comes to paid social ads on Facebook, retail really shines. Think: items like clothes, accessories, beauty products, and the like. The visual format ad options make it easy to showcase your products and grab people’s attention.

    Industries that tend to find success with Facebook (in terms of engagement and sharing) include:

    • Automotive
    • E-commerce 
    • Travel
    • Non-profit organizations

    Industries like software may do as well as the above when it comes to Facebook ads. However, if the audience isn’t right and the industry isn’t a fit, ads can really flop.

    Pro tip: Facebook’s updated Ads Manager lets you duplicate ads and campaigns, edit any settings, view your metrics, customize your graphs, and more.

    girl by pool looking at social media

    Because of the visual nature of Instagram ads, any photos, videos, or graphics used should be high-quality and high-resolution. (Image via Unsplash)

    Instagram

    Instagram is owned by Facebook. Because of this, there are plenty of similarities between the two platforms in terms of ad offerings. Additionally, the industries that tend to do well on Facebook also perform rather well on Instagram.

    While the platforms fall under the same umbrella, they’re also different in many ways. Though Instagram trails a bit behind Facebook in terms of members, its visibility and cultural relevance is significant.

    After all, Instagram is basically the reason why “influencers” exist in the way they do today. And studies show ad recall from sponsored ads on Instagram is often much higher than the typical norms for online advertising.

    Instagram ads also see decent engagement rates compared to other platforms. This is likely due to the visual nature of the app, and how seamlessly ads show up in Instagram Stories (temporary posts users create) and regular feeds. It could also be because the majority of Instagram users are part of younger, tech-savvy generations. 

    You can manage your Instagram ads inside Facebook’s Ads Manager. This allows you to create Facebook and Instagram ads simultaneously, complete with a robust variety of targeting options to leverage.

    Because of the visual nature of Instagram ads, any photos, videos, or graphics used should be high-quality and high-resolution (nothing fuzzy or grainy). And while the maximum caption length is 2,200 characters, experts say 125 characters is ideal.

    Pro tip: For e-commerce brands, Instagram’s shopping capabilities allow you to add multiple hyperlinks to an ad, leverage in-app checkout, and complete sales within the app. They also recently added a dedicated “Shop” section to the home screen and launched Instagram Live Shopping. 

    Twitter

    Twitter has around 192 million daily active users, according to Hootsuite. That’s a lot of potential for advertisers. Not only that, but Twitter itself also reports that people spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than on other leading platforms.

    Similar to Instagram, Twitter ads fit subtly into members’ existing feeds and are relatively cost-effective. This platform is all about getting visibility, engagement, and spreading the word to grow awareness about your brand. Conversions can be a bit trickier here, though you can try generating quick leads with Twitter Cards or Trend Takeovers.

    The platform describes promoted Trend Takeovers as “a 24-hour high-impact takeover of the Trends list on Twitter,” ideally to launch something new or weigh in on a trend. 

    According to Social Media Today, industries that perform best on Twitter include:

    • Music
    • Entertainment
    • Games
    • Aerospace
    • Retail & e-commerce

    Pro tip: Twitter users can “like,” respond to, and share your paid ad tweets in the same way they interact with organic ones, thus boosting your reach without costing you more. This is why it’s crucial to make your ad stand out — so you can go viral for all the right reasons.

    man looking at youtube on tablet

    Along with TrueView ads, YouTube offers non-skippable video ads and bumper ads. (Image via Unplash)

    YouTube

    Owned by Google, YouTube lets you create video or image ads that play before and interstitially between videos on the platform. Much like Instagram, it’s huge with younger generations: 77% of 15 to 35 year-olds in the U.S. use the platform.

    Don’t have a video to promote? No problem. YouTube’s creative directory network connects you with pros who can help you with everything from motion graphics to voiceover, animation, and more. As far as payment for skippable ads, “YouTube charges you whenever a viewer clicks on your CTA, watches for at least 30 seconds, or views your ad all the way through (if it’s shorter than 30 seconds),” according to Mailchimp.

    Along with TrueView in-stream ads (which “run on videos served on YouTube or on a collection of sites and apps in the Google Display Network,” as Google explains), the platform offers non-skippable video ads and bumper ads. Non-skippable ads are ads that appear before a video, and mid-roll ads appear at the midpoint of videos that are at least 10 minutes long. Bumper ads, on the other hand, are 6 seconds max and are paid for on a CPM basis.

    Want more insight into paid social success secrets? You’re in the right place. 

    Pinterest, TikTok, and other platforms

    While the platforms above are arguably the most popular paid social platforms, there are other players in the space that offer their own unique benefits. Apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest all have ad options. While their reach may not be as wide as the Big Four, depending on your industry and target audience, they could still be worth your time and budget. 

    TikTok is the fastest-growing platform in terms of popularity, particularly with Gen Z. It offers interactive ads in more than 20 global markets. Snapchat lets you target your ads based on users’ interests, behaviors, location, and more. 

    Pinterest gives you the option to choose to pay for either engagement or visits to your site, and pins often have a longer lifespan than a lot of other paid social ads. As Search Engine Land reports, “for visually-driven businesses, such as wedding gown shops, food blogs, visitors’ bureaus, and clothing and accessories, the visual search engine is a way to get your products and ideas out there to an audience that is likely to click through to your site.”

    girl standing and looking at phone

    How you measure paid social success will depend on your goals, whether that’s purchases, engagement, followers, or CTR. (Image via Unsplash)

    Leveraging multiple platforms

    Because each paid social platform has its own unique benefits and users, you may want to experiment with multiple platforms at once. Of course, it’s good to have variety, and testing out a few platforms can help you determine which ones have better ROI for your company. 

    Just make sure you go into any testing with a game plan for the KPIs you’ll be monitoring, and how long you want to experiment before revisiting your strategy. 

    The takeaway

    How you measure paid social success will depend on your goals, whether that’s purchases, engagement, followers, click-through rate (CTR), or something more.

    If you’re looking for ad options that are affordable, visual-forward, and have the potential to reach far and wide, finding the right paid social platform may be just the solution you need.

    This article has been updated and was originally published in April 2020.

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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    Written by Caroline Cox on Apr 23, 2021

    Want to get more likes, comments and follows? When it comes to your social media, keep SEO tactics in mind. 

    Here, you’ll find:

    • How SEO translates to better social media profiles
    • Expert tips for optimizing your brand’s social media
    • How keywords play a part in organic social posts
    • Why analyzing your social content is key

    As social media becomes more sophisticated (and popular), new features are added to help improve discoverability. For brands and organizations, these add-ons are particularly beneficial.

    Whether you post a few times a month or multiple times a day, you want your social profiles to serve as a way to spread the word about your brand, grow your reach, and connect with your target audience. Employing a few common search engine optimization (SEO) principles can help you do just that.

    Read on for a few social media SEO principles worth applying to your accounts to grow your reach and improve engagement.

    1. Keep keywords in mind

    While reports show that social media rarely impacts brand visibility in search engines directly, it’s still a good idea to leverage keywords when you can. Adding certain keywords to your posts can be a game changer when it comes to your discoverability on these platforms.

    Instagram recently added their own keyword search tool which, according to Social Media Today, allows you to search posts that use certain words or phrases even if they’re not hashtagged. You can do this through Twitter’s search function as well.

    girl outside smiling at phone

    There are no end-all be-all rules for how often you should post on each platform. (Image via Unsplash)

    2. Make sure all profiles are consistent

    If possible, it’s a good idea to have the exact same handle across all of your profiles. This makes your brand look professional and makes it easy for people to find you. If your business name is a common term or the handle is already taken, you can consider adding your business type or city to the end (like @HawkSEMagency or @HawkSEMLosAngeles). 

    From there, try to have your profiles follow a similar look and feel, ideally one that also matches your website. Any logos, URLs, addresses, and contact info should be consistent and up to date as well. 

    3. Create a social content plan

    Don’t have a full-time social media manager? Fear not! You don’t have to build out a super intense social media plan. However, it’s a good idea to at least create a high-level outline for how you plan to post on a regular basis, whether that’s daily, weekly, or a different frequency. As mentioned above, consistency is key.

    This can be especially helpful if you’re running multiple social media accounts, as most brands do. There are no end-all be-all rules for how often you should post on each platform. It’ll likely depend on your industry, audience, and bandwidth. However, experts generally suggest posting the most frequently on Twitter (a few times a day, if you can swing it), followed by Facebook (one or two times a day), and then LinkedIn (once every day or two). 

    Again, find what works best for you and your team, then keep an eye on engagement rates to see how your audience responds. The last thing you want is to overdo it by posting too much, which can lead to unfollows.

    Need more help with your social media or SEO? Let’s make it happen.

    4. Leverage tags on social posts when possible

    Just like keywords and tagging your content help people and search engines alike understand what your posts are about before reading them, social media tags serve a similar purpose.

    While you don’t want to go overboard on the hashtags, they’re a useful tool when people are searching for a certain topic or phrase on all the major social media platforms. When you add a hashtag, either to the post itself or in the comments, it becomes hyperlinked and searchable, which is an easy way to boost your post’s reach. 

    5. Optimize your profiles

    As we’ve mentioned before, one of the most important things you can do as a business on social media is to fully fill out your profile. The more information you provide, the more context your followers get about what you offer, and the more likely you’ll be found by the right people. 

    Take advantage of options like the ability to add a brief bio, URL, and a cover photo. From there, you may be able to optimize further, depending on the platform. For example, Instagram gives users the option to add alt text to their posts. Not only is this a solid SEO tactic, but it makes your post more inclusive to those who are visually impaired. 

    casual guy working on social media SEO on computer

    Knowing how you’re tracking will help you reach your social media goals faster. (Image via Unsplash)

    6. Analyze your social media performance

    Don’t waste your time tweeting and hashtagging into the void. Just like with content and other SEO principles, the best way to make use of your profiles (and your social media manager’s time) is by analyzing your posts’ performance. 

    Whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly, take the time to visit the analytics section of your profiles. If you use a third-party posting service like HubSpot, you can see a certain amount of data, but you’ll get the clearest picture by going into each profile directly. From there, you can see how quickly you’re gaining followers, which posts are resonating most, and which platforms are seeing the most engagement.

    This is a great opportunity to pivot your strategy. Do you need to pay more attention to your Facebook audience? Interact more in your Twitter replies? Boost a well-performing Instagram photo to get it even more exposure? Knowing how you’re tracking will help you reach your social media goals faster. 

    The takeaway

    SEO is an integral part of modern digital marketing programs. Social media, it could be argued, is integral as well. 

    By being mindful of social media SEO best practices that can translate from your website to your profiles, you can continue to grow your reach, create better posts, keep up with industry trends, and stay ahead of the competition. 

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline Cox

    Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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