Within the last decade, social media has become more than a way to maintain personal relationships; it’s now the number one way for brands to acquire, convert and engage viewers.

But over the years, organic social has seen a steady decline with paid social advertising taking its place.

“We’ve gone way beyond [organic social],” said Apryl Pilolli. “Awareness, preference, loyalty and sales are more important.”

So how can brands and stations best use paid social advertising to attract viewers? Pilolli, head of innovation at Social News Desk, gave marketing professionals five key tips during her session at Promax Station Summit 2019 on Thursday.

1. Focus on Real Business Results

In the early days of Facebook and Instagram, likes and shares were commonly used to measure impact on social media. And although these elements are still important, it shouldn’t be the primary objective of a campaign.

“You need reach and ratings. You don’t need likes,” Pilolli said.

Instead, stations should focus on real business results—like gaining more followers or app downloads—to engage with viewers and boost brand loyalty.

2. Use Thumb-Stopping Creative

Once you’ve determined your objective, it’s time to focus on the creative. With so much content appearing on a single person’s feed, it’s easy to get lost in the mix.

“You need to earn people’s attention on social media because they are multitasking,” she said. “You need something that’s going to grab their attention, stand out, and stop their thumb on the phone.”

And according to Pilolli, that can be anything from a pop of color to something that makes people laugh. She also offers additional tips to keep the audiences’ attention once you’ve got it, like keeping videos under 15 seconds, using talent and optimizing content for the “sound off” feature.

3. Target the Right Audience

When using paid social media advertising, many people believe that the more people they reach, the better. But that’s not necessarily the case, Pilolli says.

Instead, paid advertising should be used to retarget your current audience and those who live in your station’s area—not with people who won’t engage in your brand later. Pilolli suggests utilizing Facebook’s advertising tools like location-based targeting to zero-in on the people that matter most for your brand.

4. Create Conversational Copy

The worst thing you can do on social is write lengthy, formal copy for a post, Pilolli says. It’s important to keep text short, be conversational and ask questions when possible.

“It’s social media, so you need to be social,” she said.

Pilolli also recommends using emojis, when possible, to help grab the audiences’ attention and seem more personable.

“We are visual humans, and we are going to stop and look at those visuals,” she added.

5. Test, Test and Test

In the end, no one has social media completely figured out. Social media is always changing, Pilolli says, and it’s important to keep testing different methods to find out the best method for your brand and your budget.

“I always find that what works today won’t work tomorrow…you can run several ads and find out quickly what’s most effective for you,” she said.

Tags: apryl pilolli station summit 2019

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