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5 Tips for Advertising on Social Networks

June 9, 2010 By Andrew Chang
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Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook are great places for marketers to connect with prospective customers through highly targeted pay-per-click advertising. But don't make the mistake of simply applying all of the same advertising rules that you've used successfully in your search marketing campaigns to your social media campaigns.

Here are some tips to make the most of your campaigns on social networks:
 
1. Select the right target audience. You're one of hundreds of companies, all trying to persuade potential customers to click on your ad and learn more about your company. By targeting people based on their job functions and interests, you can craft messages that resonate with each particular audience. Social networks make it easier than ever to target your audience, because people spend hours personalizing their profiles. Showing ads only to a particular audience based on profile information leads to higher quality clicks and leads.

On LinkedIn's advertising platform, called LinkedIn DirectAds, you can target customers by job function, industry and seniority level. If an accounting software company is interested in generating sales leads from accounting managers, DirectAds can be directed to only show ads to vice presidents of accounting departments. Similar rules apply on Facebook Ads, where the same accounting software firm could target people who have listed accounting as one of their "Likes and Interests."
 
2. Be visual. A picture says a thousand words and gives marketers an opportunity to communicate product offerings in a way text ads cannot. Most social networking sites allow the inclusion of a small image as part of an ad, which attracts the eye and makes that ad more effective than traditional text ads at drawing attention. Consider using recognizable logos in your ads. Or if you are a new company, choose images that are relevant to your product offering. An established university might include its logo when advertising continuing education programs to career changers, while a brand new catering company could use the image of a chef in a bright red apron.
 
3. Choose words that resonate. Online marketers are familiar with the basic rules for creating text-based ads: use clear language, pick keywords and phrases that are relevant to what you're offering, and include strong calls to action. These rules still apply on social networks, but you have the unique opportunity to choose words and phrases that may resonate with a specific target audience.
 

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