By Phil Laboon, serial entrepreneur and CEO & co-founder of Growth Stackers.
While Facebook and Instagram were once only considered branding platforms, they are quickly becoming the preferred marketing channels for many e-commerce startups that are looking for explosive growth on a limited budget. So why isn't everyone jumping on board with social advertising? It's simple: the barrier to entry.
Social is much more complex than most other forms of advertising and very foreign in nature to most advertisers who are used to a more numbers-driven analytical approach. Social advertising revolves around storytelling and enticing the prospect through a series of posts to take the next step in the buyer's journey.
Combine this with the fact that social platforms themselves are overhauling their platforms weekly, and you can see why many advertising professionals choose to remain in channels that have historically worked for them. A social funnel can get highly complex and involve multiple steps across multiple channels. Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to leverage your social media presence to generate more conversions:
Step 1: Build a Funnel
A social media funnel encompasses the journey a buyer goes through, starting with initial engagement and ending with a purchase. A successful funnel begins with an ad that engages the user and generates interest. Once interest is established, your next ad should educate the prospective customer about your product and turn their "want" into a "need." The final stage of an effective funnel is to develop ads that include relevant and easy-to-find CTAs (calls to action) to encourage the purchase; for example, "Click here to buy now."
Step 2: Add Authentic Content
What makes Facebook so uniquely different (and beneficial) than any other platform is the ability for quality content to gain free traffic through tags and shares. The reach of a quality ad goes far beyond its initial audience.
We highly recommend video content in particular, since it enables marketers to retarget prospects who showed interest (e.g. a user who watched part of the video but didn't engage with the post). Remember to keep your content authentic and not overly sales-oriented. Users will engage more with ads that bring value and education.
Step 3: Split Test Pages, Offers and Price Points
Landing page optimization is crucial when it comes to e-commerce, because the slightest variation of pricing, syntax and even design can cause substantial fluctuations in conversions. Use testing software to track multiple price points, calls to action and landing pages. Common variations include changes in shipping costs, limited time offers, flash sales and first-time buyer offers.
Step 4: Monitor Your Data
Facebook allows ad buyers to obtain large amounts of data (browsing behavior, likes, interests, etc.) on its users. When analyzed properly, this information can be extremely useful.
Heavily focus the first month of your campaign on data analysis. Do this at a minimum budget, and then slowly scale it based upon the highest performing ad demographics. Once you collect enough data, you can also build lookalike audiences based on your top-performing audiences. This enables you to reach millions of people who behave similarly to your ideal customer base.
Step 5: Add Humor
Last but not least, remember to have fun! Ads that incorporate humor are often the most memorable. So many Facebook campaigns fall flat due to boring and lackluster ad content. Funny ads are more likely to go viral, which generates a huge amount of free exposure. The beauty of social media advertising is that you have the capability of reaching Super Bowl-sized audiences -- without paying Super Bowl ad prices.
Phil Laboon is a serial entrepreneur and currently the CEO & co-founder of the fast growing performance marketing company Growth Stackers.