By Darren Gilbert

“95% of South Africa’s major brands use Twitter and 92% use Facebook to advertise,” says Atmosphere Orange’s media director, Chanel MacKay, who is quoted by Cape Business News. “With 53% more YouTube users and 65% more Instagram users over the past year alone, marketers are increasing their social media budgets as they grasp the potential for market share growth on their doorstep.”

Make use of targeted features

“On LinkedIn, Sponsored Updates can be targeted to particular regions (countries, cities and so on) and industries, as well as to specific job titles and even particular companies,” writes Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite.

Rhodes agrees: “I recently forecasted that spending approximately R1000 on [a] Clicks to Website Facebook ad would generate an estimated ad reach of up to 140 000 – that is a lot of eyeballs.”

Facebook’s Sponsored Posts can be blasted out to a nearly endless list of interest groups,” adds Holmes. “Facebook can even go after ‘lookalike’ audiences, i.e. users who have already expressed interest in products similar to yours.”

Twitter offers similar ads types,” continues Rhodes. “For example, advertisers can help their tweets reach more people by implementing Tweet Engagement ads.”

Consider the power of video

At the beginning of October, Facebook rolled out their autoplay function for videos. Since then, we have seen a slew of brands jumping onto the bandwagon. And there has been some amazing content. Twitter followed suit.

Just make sure that the content is top quality and each video is shorter than three minutes and 30 seconds. This is so mobile users can quickly stream and view your videos, points out Rhodes.

“Quality content – when promoted via strategic social media ads can generate tens of thousands of views and an almost uncountable amount of increased brand awareness,” says Rhodes. If you’re looking for some inspiration on the kinds of excellent videos that are being produced, check out Miran, an international content agency.

Keep smartphones in mind

“As mobile phone social media usage increases, social ads creators are adapting to the trend by ensuring that there are ad options that are optimized to appear well on mobile devices,” says Rhodes. “Statistics show that the highest growth in the user base is seen in three key economic hubs, namely Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.”

“[T]he fact that native social ads are viewed on a device people carry around with them at all times also opens up unique marketing possibilities,” writes Holmes. Overseas, Twitter unveiled a feature which enabled paid tweets to be targeted by zip code. “This kind of ‘geofencing’ technology, which Facebook has had since 2001, enables businesses to court the kind of walk-in customers most likely to act on limited-time deals and in-store specials.”

Cape Business News quotes PwC South Africa’s entertainment and media industries leader, Vicki Myburgh: “By embracing digital as the engine of their business, companies can position themselves to meet consumers’ changing demands through any channel and format – and more effectively and more profitably than ever before.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think social media advertising is worthwhile? Tell us below.