Internet of Things: Learning, testing, growing
Ever since I joined the digital marketing game a few years ago, I've been scared to death of social media advertising. To my eyes, the guys and galls setting up paid campaigns were the absolute rockstars of social media. After deciding to finally step up and learn the dark arts, I can kick myself for knowing that it really isn't the rocket science I set it up to be.
In my efforts to grow, learn and know everything there is to be when it comes to digital content marketing, I signed up for a free trial of LinkedIn Learning – an online tutorial-based learning platform. I'd much rather go through official channels such as a university-accredited course, but alas it costs more than my wedding dress (which is also too much).
LinkedIn Learning, especially the Learning Paths functionality that feature a series of tutorials grouped together is in fact an incredibly useful, functional tool. I signed up for the Become a Social Media Advertising Specialist course (for obvious reasons). Among its tutorials in the 18-hour programme are social media marketing foundations, branding and SEO courses and of course advertising tutorials for running a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat ad campaign.
Learner that I am I took copious notes of each tutorial, easily doubling the time it'll usually take to go through the content. More than that, however, I wanted to test that I was actually learning anything. So I created adverts using my personal accounts.
I am a deeply private person and am careful to post on my own channels based on principle, but testing your new-found knowledge with a paying client is also not quite the ideal. I had to bite the bullet.
Lessons from my Twitter campaign:
I was at first very cautious and very scared knowing that Twitter can be quite a harsh place. My first adset I actually targeted to Australia hoping to minimise the possibility of someone I know seeing the advert. Even the copy I used apologised for the ad being there: "Howdy, I'm a content marketer learning the ropes of Twitter advertising. Not trying to sell anything, just looking for some data. Please click, engage or give ya girl a holler." Sad, yes.
After a few days the advert refused to get any reach or clicks whatsoever. I've never been as ashamed in my entire life. Only about a week later when I created another adset to work as comparison campaign did I realise my credit card was never captured – oh the lessons you learn!
The second adset targeted a much-broader audience, and yes even targeting South Africa, although interestingly enough my best numbers in fact came from Australia! These adverts were much more adverts in the traditional sense, with a clear call to action and good copy.
With both adsets finally running I could finally learn. The sad ads performed terribly. Clicks were expensive and a meagre results rate of 4.2%. The proper ads even surprised me. They reached 10 times more people than the other ads, with a result rate of 10.3%.
Now I know you need to look at the bigger picture – but what happened to those clicks once they when to the website? That's for later, only through this process did I realise I never set up Google Analytics for my website, but the focus now is advertising ...
Lessons from my Facebook campaign:
I'm sure many would agree that using Facebook simply comes more naturally than other platforms, we know it so well and there is just so much more cash behind the system. So with Facebook I had a very clean-cut experience.
Since I had a Food Fellowship and Wine Facebook page that I created eons ago, but posted on last in 2016, I didn't need to bear my face with adverts, which automatically creates a much better experience.
Not quite sure what I wanted to achieve with the campaign, I decided to set targeting quite broad, specifically interest-wise. Anyone ever ushered the word "marketing" in a post or bio probably ended up seeing my adverts.
I can't say that I'm blown away by the results, but I'm not really surprised that I didn't hit the roof. My goal was to play with the advert. Of the 10 549 impressions, only 95 people clicked on the links, whereof there were only 10 landing page views.
Going forward I'd definitely direct the people to specific pages rather than the website in general, especially this website that features as a personal blog and shows a little bit of everything. Also, I think for my purposes a lead campaign would be much more effective.
What I love about working in digital content marketing is how the industry is always growing, shaping and moulding towards trends. Right now, if you want to run a successful page you either need to be famous or putting a budget behind your social media content.
I may be slightly late in joining the game, but now I'm here and will continue to learn, test and keep growing!