With most of the world on stay-at-home orders, it’s no surprise time on social channels has dramatically increased over the last few months. mari smith social ad.jpg


Social media engagement has increased 61% over normal usage rates and overall Facebook usage has increased 37%, according to Kantar. Increased usage across all messaging platforms has been biggest in the 18-34 age group. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a 40%+ increase in usage from under-35-year-olds.


At the same, ad costs have tumbled. Socialbakers’ latest report states that ad costs in North America are down by as much as 50%. Plus, according to Statista.com, Facebook costs per click decreased from 11 cents a click in January to 9 cents a click in March 2020.


As a small business owner, now is the time to double down on your social ad campaigns. Yet it’s essential to be smart about how you present your brand and your offerings in any ad initiatives.


Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your social advertising dollars in the time of Coronavirus.


Who Should Advertise?


There are two primary categories of businesses that are ideal to take full advantage of advertising right now:


- Any product or service that directly enhances people’s wellbeing on all levels, from physical fitness and spiritual offerings to solutions for improving physical and emotional health. This includes fitness instructors giving mini-lessons, chefs and food-delivery services doing demos, as well as businesses offering products and services related to meditation, healthy lifestyle, and organization, for example.


- Any product or service that directly enhances people’s finances on all levels. With so many businesses in flux, people are focused on ways to make money, save money, strategically lower costs, generate revenue, invest money, and/or hire the right people to grow.


For example, my long-time friend and colleague Jeanine Blackwell teaches people how to turn their expertise into online courses. Jeanine and her team are masterful at optimizing ads across social media channels. They start with a video, an image, or gallery of photos. The ad then drives users to register for a free webinar with high-value content. Within the webinar, Jeanine makes an offer and monetizes.


Jeanine’s ads offer her audience of primarily entrepreneurs and experts a solution: a way to turn their expertise into income, which will both help them with their emotional and financial health.


The Hyer App, which connects contract workers with businesses that need to hire help, is another relevant business in current times. (Disclosure: Hyer App is a client of the author.)


It’s ideal for small business owners who need extra staff, but do not want to commit to adding employees and great for workers who need to earn extra money. Their current ads are on point and targeted to the geographic areas with job openings. For instance, their posts lead with:


- “Help Your Community & Earn Money on Your Terms.     Download the Hyer App to access Local Jobs.”


-  “Your local Meijer stores need help keeping shelves stocked. Download the Hyer App to access immediate, flexible job opportunities. Make Money & Make a Difference.   ❤️  ”


A good use of emojis can help catch attention, too, especially for a younger demographic that are so used to communicating in emojis.


Best Practices


Want to get the most bang for your advertising buck? Map out a simple customer journey - or funnel - for the audience you want to reach.


Start with the End in Mind. What do you want to accomplish with your ad? For most businesses the goal is to generate leads that turn into sales. However, one of the biggest mistakes that advertisers make with social media ads is going straight for a sale to a cold audience. People who have never heard of you are much less likely to sign up or make a purchase (unless it’s a low-cost, impulse buy). You need to build up that all-important “know, like, and trust” factor.


You’re likely striving to get new customers to make purchases. But, realize the process may require some extra steps. First:


Build Awareness. Use video content to build awareness with your cold and warm audiences. This initial content can be informative, educational, inspirational and perhaps entertaining. Use storytelling to engage new users and get them excited to learn more about your business.


Video is the most affordable and effective ‘top of funnel’ format. It’s very inexpensive to promote video content to build an audience of video views. Note: a video view is just 3 seconds on Facebook and Instagram.


Use the Video Views objective to grow your reach and views. Next:


Retarget with New Objectives. Once you have introduced video viewers to your company, retarget them with different ads. Use objectives such as i) Traffic to your lead generation/offer page, ii) Lead Generation (a very effective ad unit for getting qualified leads), or iii) Click-to-Messenger to entice and engage people to begin a dialog with you. Then:


Retarget Again. Now that you have a “hot” audience - people who’ve filled out the Lead Ad or landed on your offer page but not yet signed up - you can retarget again with different content.


The sales process will be similar for everyone you want going through your funnel. The speed with which prospects go through your process is really up to them. What you can do is continue to showcase your knowledge, provide value, and show humanity along the way.


Videos & Ads


Video, particularly right now, is an excellent way to introduce your small business to new people. Not only does video on Facebook get the highest reach and engagement, video is the best format for connecting deeper with your audience.


Make good use of Facebook Live video broadcasts as well, to connect more intimately with your audience. By the way, Live streaming video on Instagram is experiencing a massive uptick as well: a 70% growth rate. (And, good news: soon you’ll be able to save your Instagram Live videos to IGTV instead of them disappearing after 24 hours).


You can then amplify the reach of your videos and Facebook Live replays using Facebook Ads Manager.


If your business offers solutions and resources, now is the time for social advertising. Just remember to use compassionate and empathetic messaging. Plus, keep your offers relevant, timely and on brand.


About Mari Smith


Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Medimari headshot.pnga Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.


Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.


Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


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