Boost advertising with earned social media

Your brand gains exposure in two ways–through advertising and earned media. Advertising is all you pay for to market your brand, including advertisements on TV and radio, in newspapers and through social media venues (such as for example Facebook). Earned media is what results from other business efforts and achievements, such as for example delivering innovative products, high-quality customer support or winning a business award. For a good example of earned media, just look at just how much positive press and word-of-mouth Apple received before it advertised–or even revealed–its iPad.

The same holds true, perhaps even to a larger degree, in social media. You can not only pays for Facebook ads to improve your business or product visibility, you can even earn social media by maintaining an engaging Facebook Fan Page and having positive interactions with customers. Both are crucial. Advertising brings customers in through the doors, earned social media retains those customers and transforms at least a number of them into valuable brand evangelists.

The Nielsen Company divides Facebook’s social media into three distinct types:

  1. Homepage Ads: Paid ads which contain a graphic, text and a choice to Just like the ad or the business enterprise or product it represents.
  2. Social Impressions: Homepage ads with the help of the names of a member’s Facebook friends who already expressed their Like for the ad. Social impressions are both paid (the ad itself) and earned (the names of a member’s Facebook friends).
  3. Organic Impressions: Stories or status updates that appear on the Walls or in the news headlines Feeds of a member’s friends whenever that member interacts with the brand.

Nielsen’s research implies that social impressions (homepage ads in conjunction with social advocacy) are a lot more effective compared to the ads alone in every three of the next categories:

  • Ad recall: ten percent homepage ad versus 16 percent social impression
  • Awareness: 4 percent homepage ad versus 8 percent social impression
  • Purchase intent: 2 percent homepage ad versus 8 percent social impression

Similarly, homepage ads perform significantly better when coupled with organic exposure:

  • Ad recall: ten percent homepage ad alone versus thirty percent homepage ad + organic exposure
  • Awareness: 4 percent homepage ad alone versus 13 percent social impression + organic exposure
  • Purchase intent: 2 percent homepage ad alone versus 8 percent social impression + organic exposure

As you’ll expect, the more organic exposure a brand receives, the larger the boost:

  • Ad recall: 15 percent homepage ad plus 1-2 organic exposures versus 32 percent (with 3-9 exposures) versus 33 percent (with 10 or even more exposures)
  • Awareness: 7 percent homepage ad plus 1-2 organic exposures versus 13 percent (with 3-9 exposures) versus 28 percent (with 10 or even more exposures)
  • Purchase intent: 3 percent homepage ad plus 1-2 organic exposures versus ten percent (with 3-9 exposures) versus 15 percent (with 10 or even more exposures)

In a nutshell, advertising on Facebook isn’t enough. Your business must make an effort to make your ads as engaging as possible to create more social and organic impressions–the types of media which have an opportunity to go viral.

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