A Beginners’ Guide to Acing Advertising on Social Media

social_media[Image: Getty Images]These days, it seems like everyone, regardless of their demographic, devotes endless hours to updating their social media profiles with photos of meals, musings and selfies. In fact, according to a 2015 study by research firm Forrester, smartphone users in the U.S. now spend more time on Facebook than on Google’s applications. This excessive screen usage may not help us achieve well-balanced lifestyles, but for spa owners seeking to capitalize on society’s social media obsession, it may be a boon. How? By advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, they can target established, built-in audiences.

That said, even if your business has these popular social accounts, the goal shouldn’t necessarily be to advertise across all of them. “Determine the top two social channels where you think (or know) your customers are and own those spaces,” advises Laura Knapp, managing director of Social Reality’s SRAX social division, an internet advertising company. Even if you do want to try out all your options eventually, she cautions, avoid spreading yourself too thin at first and instead focus on a single site at a time. The following how-to will help you develop ad campaigns on each of these three social media giants.

Facebook: Social Media Sovereign

Reigning king of social media, Facebook has 1.71 billion monthly active users and dominates its competitors, making the platform a smart advertising choice, especially for spa owners just beginning to dip their toes into social media advertising. Facebook offers a number of targeted ad options, which can be posted based on:

• Location Connect with clients who live near your spa.

• Demographics Choose age, gender and even language.

• Interests Find people attracted to buying spa and beauty products.

• Connections Reach friends of current customers.

Facebook will then run clickable ads within users’ newsfeeds and alongside personal pages, driving traffic directly to an advertiser’s website. Ads can fit any budget, as business owners set their own dollar amount limits. Small businesses can choose to run ads in a variety of ways:

• Cost per click (CPC) You pay only when someone clicks on your ad. According to Fit Small Business, an organization that provides research-backed content to small business owners, the retail industry’s CPC averages around $0.25. In other words, spending just $5 on Facebook marketing should net your spa’s website about 20 clicks.

• Cost per action You pay when a specifi c action is taken, such as making a purchase from your website.

• Cost per like You pay to get a like on Facebook.

• Impressions You pay when someone sees your ad, even if they don’t click on it. On Facebook, you pay per 1,000 impressions. Fit Small Business lists the retail industry’s cost per mille—the cost of 1,000 views of your ad—as $5.21. But is a modest Facebook impression worth the money? Many spa owners say yes, simply because it’s a way of getting your spa’s name out there. “When potential clients need a spa day and our name comes up in a search, they just might say ‘Spa Lamar sounds familiar to me. I can’t place where, but I must have heard something positive from someone because I have a good feeling about them,’” says Heidi Lamar, owner of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Spa Lamar. Lamar designs her ads in house and runs mostly “hot deal” promotions. Through her marketing savvy, her spa’s Facebook page now has more than 10,500 likes.

For those without a graphic design and copywriting background, Facebook’s business website offers tips for clear writing and photo selection. These include using short, simple words with strong calls to action.

RELATED: Honing Paid Search Engine Marketing

Instagram: Picture Perfect

With more than 500 million monthly active accounts, Instagram now provides one of the world’s strongest mobile ad platforms. Plus, according to Forrester, Instagram users engage with brand posts 58 times more than Facebook. The photo-sharing app lets businesses circulate ads with a highly engaged audience in several formats:

• Photos Use imagery to promote your spa.

• Video Can be up to 60 seconds long.

• Carousel Showcase 3-5 images and links within a single ad. Users can swipe left to see additional images. Regardless of format, all ads include a call to action button that takes users to an advertiser’s website. Since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012, users manage their ads with Facebook’s self-service tools and interfaces. Instagram lets its advertisers set their own budgets and tailor ads to the business’s exact needs. You will, however, need a Facebook login and profile to run ads on Instagram. Facebook’s aforementioned business page also offers a slew of ad creation tips for the Instagram platforms. The team advises focusing your message by cropping tightly around the important part of the image, making sure you use high-resolution images and showing people using products instead of the products by themselves.

RELATED: 5 Easy Ways to Running a Successful Spa

Twitter: Pointed Little Chirps In a mere 140 characters, Twitter ads have the potential to boost sales and reach new clientele. According to statistic company Statistica, Twitter has 313 million active monthly users, so you may want to consider creating a so-called “Tweet engagement campaign.” This mode of advertising allows users to extend their reach by promoting their already-posted Tweets. Alternatively, businesses can create and promote a new Tweet to a targeted audience. For the latter, a business owner can choose to target users based on keywords, interests and/or followers found in users’ profiles. If the Tweet doesn’t generate engagement, it’s free. Spa owners using either type of Tweet engagement campaign can:

• Spotlight a new retail product or spa treatment.

• Start a dialogue with current and future customers.

• Connect with influencers in the spa/beauty industry.

• Promote an upcoming event Dan Settani, Jr., owner of Viso Bello Day Spa in Middlebury, Connecticut, admits that tracking success and quantifying results for Twitter advertising can be challenging. He recommends creating sponsored Tweets to reach a much larger audience. His trick is to write clever, straightforward copy that delivers a solidified answer. “With Facebook, you can more easily gauge how posts perform based on likes, comments and shares. It’s harder to see this on Twitter, which is why I suggest purchasing sponsored Tweets,” he says.

– by Jennifer Purdie

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