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Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your other inbound marketing efforts. That said, each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, and acknowledging these can help you put out the most suitable, engaging content possible.
Social media has become a cornerstone of marketing strategy; it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, social media is a tool you should be using everyday to interact with consumers.
Let’s dive in and examine the pros and cons of advertising on each of the four major social media platforms.
The Good: One major benefit to using LinkedIn is its user base, which consists mainly of business professionals. Over LinkedIn, your ads are almost always seen by business-minded individuals, like yourself. This makes it a social media platform with high conversion rates. Like Facebook, you can also target to niche groups in categories like demographics, employee title and location.
The Bad: Don’t expect a high click-through-rate for your ad here. However, while you’ll rack in less overall clicks on LinkedIn, the users behind the clicks are much more qualified than they are on the other social media channels. On Facebook, you may get as many as 1 in 200 impressions; on LinkedIn, it’s common to receive 1 in 500.
Another downside using LinkedIn is the cost of running an ad campaign. It’s normal to pay up to four or five dollars a click. The extra cost may be worth it you, however, because you’re reaching a higher-quality audience for your business and bypassing those who aren’t interested automatically.
Example: Here’s a perfect example of effective LinkedIn advertising. MarketShare used LinkedIn display ads to drive traffic to their site by targeting an audience of marketing professionals they were looking for.
The company garnered significant results by utilizing this method: the ad received a .10% click through rate, which was double the number MarketShare expected. They also reported seeing more qualified leads coming in through from different verticals. Success! You can view the MarketShare case study here.
The Good: Twitter allows you to target people based on their current interests. Every time someone sends out a tweet with a hashtag, you have the ability to target them via social media advertising; this is just like keyword targeting on Google AdWords.
Another way you can effectively target a particular audience on Twitter is by honing in on a particular user. Find someone, like an industry influencer, and target their set of followers to extend your ad’s reach.
The Bad: Even though Twitter has a great ability to target users through keywords and hashtags, targeting by interest isn’t as easy. The selection of interests to choose from are extremely limited. The closest interest category for a B2B inbound marketing agency to choose from is “Marketing.”
Choosing this category will not prove to be very effective, since it includes such a vast industry. Twitter has the potential to being a great channel to advertise on, once they expand their categories for advertising.
Example: Even the most traditional companies can benefit from advertising on social media. Take for example, the Girl Scouts organization. Girl Scouts had developed a new mobile app that helped customers better find where products were sold, which, in effect, will drive sales.
The outcome of this ad campaign was a victory for Girl Scouts. Over 19,500 viewers downloaded the app; which was much more than expected. The key takeaway from this: use photos of your products to supplement tweets and entice visitors. Just like with tweets, an advertisement with an image is multitudes more effective. View their success story here.
The Good: Since the search engine giant created this social media platform, it’s no wonder they added SEO benefits to it. Any activity on your company’s page is calculated into your search optimization. For someone in your circle, your company’s page will appear before others that are not in their circles. People using Google+ are usually more tech-driven than those on Facebook or Twitter. If you think this is the right audience for you, it could be advantageous to use your marketing tactics there.
Google+ features “+Post ads” that post on Google’s Display Network, which increases the reach of your advertisements considerably. This is a major plus, because visitors don’t have to be directed to another website to with their clicks.
The most unique aspect to these ads is that an advertiser doesn’t pay for an ad if someone doesn’t click on it. They only pays for as many clicks as it gets. The one downside of this is that Google counts hovering over the ad for more than two seconds as a click.
The Bad: This social media network hasn’t received nearly as much engagement as the other three sites mentioned in this blog. It only has 540 million users; compared to the others, this is very low. It also doesn’t support advanced targeting options like Facebook does. On here, you can segment ads based on demographic targeting, contextual targeting and device targeting.
The promotion policies are also very restrictive, so contests, promos and giveaways aren’t a possibility, which stops many companies from advertising here. For this reason, the best way your business can use this site is for its SEO feature. This feature is also limited, however; if you’re not in someone’s circles, it won’t help Google get your website seen by those users.
Example: Toyota has been noted for its impeccable use of advertising on Google+. Toyota not only ran a campaign on +post ads, they also used hangouts to their advantage.
They used hangout to connect dealers with potential customers, so they were able to nurture them through the sales funnel at the first point of contact. Toyota experienced dramatic results from this campaign, including a 50% higher engagement rate than industry averages. See the complete success story here.
The Good: Facebook has the largest audience, at over 1.19 billion registered users. The major plus with advertising here is the visibility it could give to your company. This makes Facebook a great choice for a small businesses. With the option to advertise based on location, you can easily increase your reach. Unlike LinkedIn, it’s a very cost-effective option. You can spend as little as a dollar a day per ad.
Another pro with Facebook ads are their advanced targeting options. When advertising on Facebook, you can target viewers based on six different categories: location, gender, likes/interests, relationship status, workplace and education.
They also do their own form of A/B testing for you. Facebook lets you create multiple ad variations and uses the best performing ad set from those variations. This gives you very valuable information into the effectiveness of each ad your company is producing.
The Bad: Facebook as an advertising only has one crucial drawback you should keep in mind: the metrics that Facebook provides regarding ad performance are (currently) pretty miniscule compared to other sites.
Example: BarkBox used Facebook’s targeting abilities to their advantage and has greatly benefited from it. The company received half of their daily conversions and one-third of their daily traffic from Facebook.
They did this by targeting dog lovers with Facebook’s custom audiences option. Using targeted keywords of people who “liked” different dog breeds, they expanded their business and grew their subscribers to 5,000 per month from Facebook alone. You can see the full success story here.
The Bottom Line
Paid social media advertising can be very beneficial to your business. For best results, use this along with other inbound marketing tactics to really take your business (and profits) to the next level. Learn more about the perks of social media advertising in our ebook, “Social Media Paid Advertising” below.
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Written by Lindsay Kolowich / Hubspot Blog
One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how (and why) people think and act the way they do. It's much harder to create compelling content marketing, for example, if you don’t know why it would be compelling to your audience in the first place.
Before you jump into the tactical nitty-gritty of marketing, it’s really helpful to understand how people operate … which is essentially what the entire field of psychology attempts to explain. Understanding some key principles of psychology can take your marketing from good to amazing, all because the right audience is reading and identifying with it (and most likely converting on it, too).
Psychology and Marketing: 10 Important Principles of Psychology You Should Use
Have you ever played the game where one person says a word, and the other immediately responds with the first thing that comes to mind?
That's kind of how priming works. You're exposed to one stimulus, and it affects how you respond to another stimulus. Psychology Today gives the example of two groups of people reading the word "yellow" followed by either "sky" or "banana." Because people have a semantic association between the fruit and its color, the "yellow-banana" group will recognize the word "banana" faster than the "yellow-sky" group recognizes "sky."
What's this got to do with marketing? Lots. Using subtle priming techniques, you could help your website visitors remember key information about your brand -- and maybe even influence their buying behavior.
It's been tested before. In a study by Naomi Mandel and Eric J. Johnson, researchers manipulated the background design of a website to see if it'd affect consumers' product choices. Participants were asked to choose between two products in one category (like a Toyota vs. a Lexus). According to Psychology Today, "they found that visitors who had been primed on money (the website’s background was green with pennies on it) looked at price information longer than those who had been primed on safety. Similarly, consumers who had been primed on comfort looked at comfort information longer than those primed on money."
So if you're trying to make use of priming in your marketing, think about the small details. They could be the difference between someone buying your highest product price point and bouncing from your page.
Introduced in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the concept of “reciprocity” is simple -- if someone does something for you, you naturally will want to do something for them.
If you've ever gotten a mint with your bill at a restaurant, you've been the victim of reciprocity. According to Cialdini, when servers bring a check to their patrons without a mint, the diners will tip according to their perceptions of the service given. With one mint, the tip jumps up 3.3%. Two mints? The tip jumps "through the roof" to roughly 20%.
In your marketing, there are a lot of ways to take advantage of reciprocity. You don’t have to be rolling in dough to give something away; it can be anything from a branded sweatshirt, to an exclusive ebook, to a free desktop background, to your expertise on a difficult subject matter. Even something as simple as a hand-written note can go a long way in establishing reciprocity. Just be sure you're giving away the free thing before you ask for something in return.
3) Social Proof
Most marketers are aware of this concept already, but it was too important to leave out from this list. If you're not familiar with it, social proof is the theory that people will adopt the beliefs or actions of a group of people they like or trust. In other words, it’s the “me too” effect. Think of this like an awkward middle school dance -- few people want to be the first one on the dance floor, but once a few people are there, everyone else wants to join in. (Keep in mind, this desire to conform doesn’t go away when you get older and less bashful about your dance moves.)
One easy way to make the most of social proof is on your blog. If you're not already, use social sharing and follow buttons that display the number of followers your accounts have or the number of shares a piece of content has. If those numbers are front and center and you already have a few people sharing your post, people who stumble on your post later will be much more likely to share.
4) Decoy Effect
You'll often see this effect in pricing models -- one price point is intentionally included to entice you to choose the most expensive option.
In Dan Airley's famous TED talk, "Are we in control of our own decisions?", he describes an ad from The Economist outlining their latest subscription packages. Here's what they offered:
Online subscription: $59
Print subscription: $125
Online and print subscription: $125
Crazy, right? You could get the print only subscription and the online and print subscription for the same price. Why would they offer that?
That's what Airley thought, too. He reached out to the folks at The Economist, but he never got a straight answer from them.
So he decided to run his own study with 100 MIT students. He gave them the pricing packages outlined above and asked which one they'd want to buy. When all three options were there, students chose the combo subscription -- it was the best deal, right? But when he removed the "useless" option (the print subscription for $125), the students preferred the cheapest option.
Turns out that middle option wasn't that useless after all -- it gave students a frame of reference for how "good" the combo deal was and enticed them to pay more for that deal.
So if you're looking to increase conversions on a landing page with two options, you might want to add a third. It could help increase the conversion rate of the option you'd ultimately want people to take.
Ever gone to buy airline tickets and seen a tagline that says “Only 3 seats left at this price!” Yup, that’s scarcity (another Cialdini concept). This psychology principle goes back to the simple formula of supply and demand: The more rare the opportunity, content, or product is, the more valuable it is.
In 1975, Worchel, Lee, and Adewole conducted a study to see how scarcity affected people's perception. At the start of the study, they asked people to rate chocolate chip cookies. According to an article by my colleague Lanya Olmstead that describes the experiment, "[The researchers] put 10 cookies in one jar, and two of the same cookies in another jar. The cookies from the two-cookie jar received ratings twice as high as the 10 cookie jar even though the cookies were exactly the same."
But if you want to properly use this principle, you need to be careful how you word it. If you approach the scarcity concept as if there used to be a ton of a product or service, but due to popular demand there’s a few left, people will be very receptive. On the other hand, if you approach it from the angle that there are only a few products total, so get it now, the principle won’t be as effective. Check out this post from Nir and Far for a deeper explanation on why that distinction is important.
Ever wondered why it's so hard to resist a sale at your favorite clothing store?
Often, it has to do with anchoring -- people base decisions on the first piece of information they receive. So if my favorite store typically retails jeans for $50, but I find them on sale for $35, I'll be ecstatic. "I just got a crazy deal on these jeans," I'll think. I'll probably even buy them. But if my friend typically shops for jeans that are $20, she won't be nearly as impressed.
For marketers, anchoring is important to know -- especially if you're ever running a sale. You'll want to clearly state the initial price of the product (this is "setting" the anchor), and then display the sale price right next to it. You might even explain how much of a percentage off your customers will receive with the sale.
7) The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Ever heard about a product and then start seeing it everywhere you look? You can thank the The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. It starts happening after you encounter something for the first time, and then you start noticing it cropping up in everyday life. Suddenly you see ads for the product every time you watch TV. And when you go to the grocery store, you happen to walk down the aisle and spot it. And alllllll of your friends all have the product.
It's weird right? Here's why you're suddenly seeing this new thing everywhere.
According to PS Mag, this phenomenon (also called "the frequency illusion") is caused by two processes. "The first, selective attention, kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often. The second process, confirmation bias, reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence."
For marketers, this phenomenon is precisely why nurturing is incredibly important. Once someone starts noticing your brand (aka clicking around on your website), you'll want to help them start seeing you "everywhere." Send them targeted nurturing emails and retargeting ads based on their behavior, and you could increase the possibility of them converting.
8) Verbatim Effect
According to a study by Poppenk, Joanisse, Danckert, and Köhler, people are more likely to remember the gist of what someone said, not the specific details. So when you attend a session on how to blog for your business, you're most likely going to remember details like "Have another person edit your work," not "Send a Google Doc three business days ahead of time to a peer so they can edit your work. Don't forget to use Track Changes so you know what you missed!"
They called this the "verbatim effect." And it can have a huge effect on how your content performs.
To begin with, people are spending less and less time actually reading online. According to data from Chartbeat, more than half of your visitors will spend less than 15 seconds on your site. So if people aren't reading your content and not likely to remember specific details, what's a marketer to do?
I'd recommend spending even more time than you already are on perfecting your headline. Not only should it be search- and sharing-friendly, but it should also accurately describe what's in your article. This way, when people are looking for more information on a given topic, they'll think of that one helpful article they read a while ago and Google the topic to find it again. If you've done the work, you should appear in the search results. If you need some help writing compelling headline copy, check out this post on our blog.
People have a limited amount of space in their short-term memory. In fact, most people can only remember seven pieces of information (plus or minus two pieces in any given situation) at a time.
To cope, most people tend to cluster similar pieces of information together. For example, if you had a whole grocery list of random items, most people would tend to mentally group items into certain categories (dairy, grain, meat, etc.) to be able to better remember what exactly was on the list.
So when you're creating content, keep clustering in mind. How can you design and lay out your content to increase memory retention? One way to do it is by grouping similar topics together -- either under numbered bullet points or with different header sizes. Besides being much easier to scan, your writing will be much easier to remember and recall down the road -- especially if you’re creating long lists of content.
10) Loss Aversion
Loss aversion means pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Once someone has something, they realllllly don't like to lose it.
When Daniel Kahneman studied this concept, participants were given mugs, chocolate, or nothing. Then, they were asked to make a choice, they were given two options: If they were given an object, they could trade their objects, or if they were given nothing, they could choose one of the two items. The result? Roughly half of the participants who started with no items chose mugs, but 86% of those given mugs to begin with stuck with that item.
Moral of the story? People don't like to lose what they've already gained.
Though this could open up some semi-sketchy doors for certain types of marketers, loss aversion could have a significant factor in freemium products and increased product adoption. For example, you could ungate a feature for the free version of your product for a certain amount of time. After that time period is up, that feature could be removed unless you upgrade to becoming a paying customer. While you certainly have to be careful how you play to this psychological need, loss aversion is a very important concept for every marketer to know.
Written By: Ginny Soskey / Hubspot Blog
Calling out other people's grammar mistakes has become a favorite internet pastime.
From news articles and blog posts to emails and tweets, if there's an error in there, someone's going to remark on it. Especially if it's made by a brand. (Hey, we're guilty of it, too.)
And who could blame them? I also feel a certain sense of pride when I find a typo in a popular book. Sometimes I circle it with a pencil -- you know, in case the publisher ever puts out a call for typos and I need to find it easily. You never know.
But here's the thing: Grammatical errors don't necessarily mean the author didn't know better. I could go on for days about the differences between "whether" and "weather" -- and yet, for some reason, that one trips me up on a regular basis, especially when I'm texting.
Why? Because our brains are wired in a way that makes us all susceptible to grammar slip-ups.
Let that sink in for a second. No one is safe from making grammar mistakes -- not even the Chief of the Grammar Police.
In fact, some of the most common grammatical errors don't happen because the writer is being careless; they happen because the writer is focused on their writing at a much higher level than the order of letters in a word.
Let's dig in to why.
It's Not Your Fault
Think about how quickly you need to access words and interpret meaning when writing an email or having a conversation. Our brains don't just stow away every individual word in our vocabularies in enormous storehouses, ready to be called upon, one-by-one, at a moment's notice.
Instead, most linguistic researchers agree that words are stored in groups according to the relationship between words. They call the process "word priming."
How does word priming work?
In a study outlined in David A. Sousa's How the Brain Learns to Read, subjects were presented with pairs of words. The first word was called the "prime," and the second word was called the "target." The prime was always a real word, but subjects were told the target could either be a real word or a non-word (like spretz). In the experiment, researchers showed the subjects the prime and the target, and the subjects had to decide as quickly as possible whether the target was a real word.
In every case, people were much faster and more accurate in making decisions about target words that were related in meaning to the prime (like swan/goose) than they were if the prime and target were unrelated (like tulip/goose).
Researchers suspect the reason it took less time for people to identify related pairs is because these words are actually physically closer to one another among the neurons in the brain, and that related words might be stored together in specific cerebral regions.
Another way of framing our tendency to pair words together is that it simply becomes a habit.
Dr. Tom Stafford, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Sheffield who studied Wikipedia edits to see what they reveal about how the brain processes language, told The Washington Post, "When you first start typing, you don't have any habits. And then as you become fluid, that skill is based on the assemblage of routines that you don't have to think about."
Both sets of research are complementary: Scientists have found that when people form habits (like learning to group related words together), the neurons in their brains can change their firing patterns so that these habits become more automated and take less mental energy when they're repeated.
What does this have to do with grammar mistakes?
Andrew Heisel of The Washington Post uses this example:
"If a friend texts that she’s 'going to a concert' and you want to tell her you’re also going, you might type, 'I’m going, to,' instead of 'I’m going, too.' Your brain is used to hearing the word 'going' followed by the word 'to' (as in going to work/school/etc.) and it just saw the phrase used that way in your friend’s text. Conversely, in sentences that should end with the preposition 'to,' people often write 'too' because that word more frequently concludes a sentence."
We all start out our emails and text messages and tweets with a specific concept we want to express, such as the fact that we're also going to the concert. But when we actually type these concepts out, we unconsciously think about several options (like "going to" vs. "going, too") and pick one. This process happens so quickly that we sometimes select the wrong one.
We're especially prone to error when we're choosing between two words or phrases that sound the same.
“Usually we pay a lot of attention to pronunciation while we’re typing because it’s usually a really good cue how to spell things,” says Maryellen MacDonald, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. “When someone types ‘Are dog is really cute,’ it’s not that they don’t know the difference between ‘are’ and ‘our’; it’s that the pronunciation of ‘our’ in the mind activated the spelling ‘our’ but also ‘are.’”
This can happen with even the oddest of homophones, like when people mistakenly write "28" when they meant to type "20A." An error like that puts the classic your/you're and there/their mistakes into perspective a little bit more.
Grammar Takes a Back Seat to Meaning
In the end, it all comes down to generalization -- what WIRED's Nick Stockton calls "the hallmark of all higher-level brain functions."
Generalization is the grouping strategy that helps our brains respond quickly to situations similar to one we're already familiar with. It's what helps us take in information, combine it with our habits and past experiences, and then extract meaning from it. And it's fundamental to our ability to communicate.
But, at the same time, it makes us prone to grammatical mistakes no matter how well we can write. Typos aren't usually a result of stupidity or carelessness, Dr. Stafford explains. Instead, they often happen because trying to convey meaning in your writing is actually a very high-level task.
"As with all high-level tasks, your brain generalizes simple, component parts (like turning letters into words and words into sentences) so it can focus on more complex tasks (like combining sentences into complex ideas)," writes Stockton.
Of course, you should still proofread everything and get a fresh pair of eyes to look over your written work. But at least you can rest easier knowing that you made that typo in last week's blog post not because you were ignorant or negligent, but because you were hyper-focused on conveying meaningful information to your readers.
I know I will.
Written By: Lindsay Kolowich / Hubspot Blog