Buying online advertisements to boost Christmas sales? It’ll cost you

As your company’s marketing plans start to revolve around the holidays, you might want to add social and digital media to the mix. Surely, the audience is not there. But so, regrettably, are increased costs.

Just about all social media advertising, like Facebook ads or Google ads, operate within an auction system. The more other brands jump in with their own advertisements (since they do during the holidays), the greater everyone’s costs will be. The exact ads you’re getting in the summer for $1 a click may cost you $4 or $5. Or more.

This is everything business owners will need to understand about advertising online — without breaking the bank.

ENGAGE HEAVILY, THEN GO ORGANIC

This might be the opportunity to rely on organic (in other words, regular, outstanding social media) posts. While organic reach is low — sometimes as low as 1 percent of your fan base — there are things you can do to grow this.

Reach (the amount of people that see your messaging) on Facebook and Instagram is controlled by countless variables, but among the most important is participation. To put it differently, the more you engage with people — asking them questions, thanking them and so on — the superior unpaid reach you will get with that individual.

All year long, you should actively participate with prospects, fans and clients on social networking. Posts should ask questions or make different opportunities for individuals to comment on or discuss your articles.

Prevent the NEWS FEED

The most aggressive space on Facebook is your News Feed — there’s limited stock and everybody wants to be there. However, Facebook has been quietly adding new places to market, like on the Messenger home display, on inside and videos “Prompt Articles.” Since fewer advertisers use these placements, the bidding rates are normally lower.

TAP INTO YOUR EXISTING AUDIENCES

As a rule of thumb, audiences that are “warm” to your own message perform better. This is where Facebook’s “custom audiences” can work in your favor this holiday season. You may upload a list of your email newsletter subscribers or your previous clients, and promote to them. While bidding rates will not always be cheaper, the results will likely be stronger.

EXPERIMENT WITH NEW AD CHANNELS

Social networking platforms are constantly rolling out new methods to Boost your messaging — and a number of them aren’t tied into the competitive auction system.

Twitter’s is a fantastic example. For a flat fee, Twitter will raise the range of your entire brand’s tweets. There are 3 levels of pricing, all flat-fee based, and you just turn it on to get it start working.

For younger viewers, Snapchat may be a powerful performer. You can make photo overlays which are active in a specific geographical area and for a particular time. For now, these are relatively inexpensive.

TEST, TEST, TEST

All that said, in case you still need to use regular social advertisements (and compete at the auction market for this area), conduct a small-budget evaluation of a few hundred bucks so you understand roughly the price that you’ll be paying when you roll the complete campaign out. And, if your budget supports it, then test many different messaging and images to get the maximum bang for your buck.

In summary, while vacations may indeed be a vital time for the business to market, by studying with small budgets, avoiding the active placements and leveraging engagement to cultivate your organic reach, it is still possible to market smartly — and cheaply.

Tod Maffin is president of , a social engagement service that builds revenue for companies utilizing social and digital media. Advice on his free workshops are at .

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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