Why managing your own social media promotion is a sure-fire way to fail

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When agencies develop a strategic media campaign in 2016, it’s pretty much a given we’re going to include tactics for social media promotion (unless the client is trying to reach dinosaurs). Once we present our ideas to clients, though, their responses are always the same: “We’ll be handling the social media promotion in-house.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure your team is wonderful and fully qualified. But what many marketing managers fail to realize is that they may be doing their company a huge disservice by “handling this in-house.”

Facebook, Twitter and the numerous other social media outlets have developed amazing, self-service platforms that make it seemingly easy for anyone to do it. The platforms are selection based, you can choose your own budget and you can monitor it yourself — so why wouldn’t you do it in-house?

Because what they don’t tell you is how to do it effectively.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been served ads for a brand when I don’t fall anywhere near its target audience and have no interest in what the company is promoting. As Quinlan’s media director, this makes me cringe. It’s just bad social media promotion! The entire benefit of using social media promotion is the control you have over precise targeting and segmenting of audiences.

Still a little apprehensive? Don’t worry. I put together five reasons why you should trust a professional with your social media promotion.

1. You don’t know how to determine the appropriate channels.

twitterThe first step in any good media plan is determining the appropriate channels based on your target audience. Whether it’s distinguishing between using social or digital display, or which TV station or social media outlet we should select, you should always look at the usage for that target group of users. Professionals can use tools, such as ComScore, to provide the top social channels for a defined target audience.

For instance, if we’re looking to reach women over 45 years old, we might not want to use Twitter promotion because the usage of Twitter by this group is low in relation to other social media options.

I’ve often seen brands select social media outlets based on their own usage patterns. In the worst case scenario, this is bad because they do not fall in the target audience. In the best case scenario, this is bad because they have determined that their focus group of one must be statistically reliable to apply across an entire marketing segment.

2. Not all parameters are created equal.


We’ll use Facebook for this example. I was recently setting up a campaign for Quinlan where we were looking to hire an experienced content professional. I wanted to target current titles that a person might have in order to reach people who were qualified for this opening. In this case, entering “content marketing” produced several results, including  job titles, interests, educational background and more.

Specifically selecting job titles allowed me to significantly reduce the pool of potential applicants and spend my budget most appropriately (and not waste money reaching people who weren’t qualified). If I had entered interests, I would have certainly increased the pool of potential applicants–but an interest in this area does not equal qualification for the job opening.

Hiring a professional ensures that you are getting the appropriate targeting for your campaign objective and not spending precious budget on impressions that have a low likelihood of converting.

3. You’re forgetting about certain targeting parameters.


There have been countless times where I’ve seen an ad served to me on social media and realized almost immediately why I recieved it even though I have no interest. Why? Because a key piece of targeting, which would have dropped me from the segment, was left out.

Say I am a college or university and I want to reach potential students. I might look for someone who has graduated from high school, has an equivalent diploma or is still in high school and also falls in the age group of 15-24 years old. This way, you catch both the high school sophomores before they make decisions and those who didn’t attend college right out of high school. At first glance, this seems like a solid target audience, right?

Wrong. You’d be missing a critical piece of targeting since we would want to exclude anyone with any type of degree already. Why would we waste impressions (which equal dollars!) on someone that isn’t likely to attend school again?

You might say, “Well, maybe those people would want to go back to school. We don’t want to exclude them because they could potentially decide to go back and earn a different degree.”

If this is the logic, we should just remove the age parameters from the demographics as well because people of other ages could go back to school. Social media, and media in general, is supposed to help you reach those individuals that are most likely to convert. Not anyone who could potentially convert. This isn’t a good use of your marketing dollars because targeting everyone is targeting no one.

4. Truth is, you’re not making the most of your budget.


This part seems pretty simple for many brands, but it’s actually much more complex. Many times clients will say they have a set amount of money put aside for social media promotion, so they want to support a certain amount of campaigns throughout the year.

We know you have a finite amount of money to allow to this marketing line item. We get it. But let’s make the most of the dollars you do have! This requires a quick review in the social media platform to determine the total audience estimate of the target you are trying to reach. Once you have this, some basic media math will allow us to develop a plan with the appropriate reach and frequency to build a successful campaign. This way, we can determine the optimal spend level for each campaign.

If you have multiple campaigns and a limited budget, these audience estimates can help you to determine priorities and budget accordingly. This method is preferred, versus assuming that all campaigns are equal, which they aren’t (unless they have the exact same audience for each one).

5. You need to be able to segment the appropriate audience and goal.

target audience

While this also seems pretty simple, it’s actually the most often overlooked. Social media promotion allows us the opportunity to speak differently to each target segment. It allows us to provide offers that speak to their needs and wants and use messaging that they will find most impactful.

Professionals can help you to segment your campaigns to each audience and goal. We can help to develop the most appropriate messaging, offers and images to provide the best return on your spend.

Next time you consider handling your social media promotion in-house, it may be best to think twice. Are you truly an expert in the field? If not, it’s probably in your best interest to let the pros help you navigate the very complex world of social media promotion!

Want to talk numbers? Tweet us at @QuinlanCompany.

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