Native social media advertising: six steps to get started

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It’s now fairly standard for brokerages to have a Facebook page and an occasionally updated Twitter account. Paying for advertising on social media is rarer and rarer still utilizing the new generation of “native” social media ads.

They’re the ads you see in your social media feed, and they can be far more effective, argues Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, writing in the Harvard Business Review. He claims Facebook in-feed ads are 49 times more likely to be clicked on then the traditional banner ads on the right-hand side of the page. He’s drawn up six steps for those thinking of using this type of advertising, and we’ve adapted them for mortgage professionals:

1. Test your adverts using free social media
You’re already sending out Facebook updates, tweets and possibly LinkedIn updates for free, so why not test their effectiveness first? Various free platforms, such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, can give you essential statistics on engagement rates, so you can make sure your message will do the trick, before paying a penny upfront.

2. Use targeting features
You’d be alarmed how much social media companies know about you, and by assessing other interests (i.e. wedding venues), they can send your ads to more receptive audiences (i.e. first home buyers). Being able to have your ads targeted at users from a certain region is essential for independent brokerages.

3. Rotate ads frequently
Holmes claims social media advertising is the opposite of TV advertising: the more you repeat the message the less engagement you’ll get. He advises changing adverts often, whilst rotating the same messages through different interest groups (first home buyers, refinancers, investors), to make the most out of them.

4. Test your adverts using small audiences
The near instantaneous feedback you get from social media also means you can do further testing of your ads before committing large sums to them. Holmes advises spending small amounts of money trying out several ads on the same small audience, before selecting the most effective and promoting it more extensively.

5. Understand pricing models
There are various ways advertisers are charged on different networks, Holmes explains. Twitter can charge per click on the ad’s link, while Facebook and LinkedIn will charge you just for appearing on a user’s feed. So that means you only want engaged potential customers to click on your link on Twitter – so no ‘click bait’ (cat videos etc) – and you’ll need a good ‘landing page’ on your website.

6. Don’t forget about smartphones
In a basic sense, mobile devices require shorter and more direct adverts, for users with more limited attention span. But Holmes is also a fan of ‘geofencing’ – where ads are targeted on the basis of the users’ current location. So if a potential home buyer is in town, why not tell them your office is just around the corner?

Read Holmes’ original article on the HBR’s website.
Related: Broker network announces social media partnership

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