Simply Measured has a built-in — and somewhat meta — social media marketing advantage; it’s selling social media analytics and measurement services to social media professionals … and using social media to do it.
But a captive audience is no guarantee of success. In fact, you could imagine savvy digital pros rolling their eyes as another promoted pitch rolls through their feed. So Simply Measured spends a lot of time crunching the numbers to figure out what is working best, and not working as well.
We caught up with Danie Pote, Simply Measured’s manager of paid media, to talk about the company’s digital marketing efforts. She said her team uses a variety of advertising programs — Google AdWords, display ads in social media newsletters, sponsored posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — to generate leads for the sales team.
The current top performer is Twitter. Using promoted tweets targeted to people tweeting about social media analytics, web analytics and similar topics for a campaign to promote its 2014 social planning guide last winter, Simply Measured generated more than 6,000 leads at a cost of $3.17 per lead. That, Pote said, is their lowest cost per lead for any ad product, social or otherwise.
“Twitter’s been a staple for us,” Pote said, “mainly because we know that we can use it to consistently deliver a high volume of quality leads to our field team at a very low cost.”
Do you have social media campaigns for 2014? Download this guide to get started on a plan: http://t.co/JBOJS75pq8 pic.twitter.com/SWIQaehJwZ
— Simply Measured (@simplymeasured) January 2, 2014
The promoted tweets, like the one above, are limited delivery tweets and are completely separate from Simply Measured’s organic social media efforts. That ensures the company can precisely track performance.
Using Twitter’s keyword and user targeting, Pote and her team were able to reach a receptive audience. And because they were looking for people to fill out a web form, they purposefully excluded mobile users, under the assumption that people would be more likely to do that — and read the PDF guide, for that matter — on desktop.
The tweets were crafted with strong calls to action, links and images, the usual best practices, which Pote said were validated by data showing that tweets with images and links drove 150% more engagement.
We talked in depth with Pote about the keys to a successful promoted campaign; her answers below were edited lightly for length and clarity.
Q: Beyond targeting, how can you make sure your promoted tweets do well?
A: We follow a few tried and true best practices every time we post a promoted tweet. Twitter’s introduction of photos that auto-expand in the timeline has been huge because it’s pretty much like a display ad now on Twitter. We really take advantage of having an image because you can put text in the image and by doing that you get to amplify your limited amount of characters.
So we have our image with something visually strong that relates to the content that we are promoting. We have a headline in the image that catches a user’s attention. We usually put a button in the image as well with a call to action that says download the guide or download the study, so it’s extremely clear what we want users to do with this promoted tweet. On top of that we use the tweet copy itself to tee up the value prop that they are getting.
Those things combined are really what we’ve seen to be successful, especially since adding the auto expanding images. We’ve found that tweets with both a link and an image increase engagement 150%.
Q: Why put a button in an image when the button isn’t actually clickable?
A: We include a button to visually serve something in the split second that a user sees your image as they are scrolling through their feeds. It draws a lot of attention to the call to action. The actual button is not clickable but the entire image is, it expands the tweet. It shows the user what exactly we want you to do with this; we want you to click on this because when you click we want you to download something or we want you to start a free trial or whatever the call to action may be. It really highlights the direction we want users to take.
Q: Twitter’s promoted tweet ad dashboard allows you to send multiple versions of the same tweet to help you optimize your campaign. How do you use that feature?
A: We are B2B so really what I care about is leads generated, and not necessarily retweets, favorites, comments. clicks, etc. I really care about which tweets are driving the most leads so I’ll actually look at what the conversion rate from clicks on the tweet because when people click you get charged for that. So what’s the conversion rate for click on the tweet to actual form fills.
Q: What’s the magic? What works better to encourage form fills?
A: I always start out with three or four variations of tweets and see which one works and go from there. You kind of have to let them run for a little bit before you can see which one’s working for you. I almost always start tweets out with a question, like ‘Do you have your social media campaigns planned for 2014?’ But not always. Sometimes it’s: ‘Kick off 2014 with a brand new social media campaign.’
It’s a balance. I would say there’s not really one method of crafting a tweet that’s going to get you the goal that you want to achieve whether it’s retweets, clicks and favorites or form-fill leads and conversions.
Q: Any other tips?
A: Sometimes adding the word ‘free’ in the tweet can help with engagement, but what really increases conversions has more to do with the office and the content that you are promoting and making sure that it’s targeted. So we’ll target our Complete Guide to Twitter Analytics to people who are tweeting about Twitter analytics, marketing analytics, web analytics, things like that.
Putting the call to action in the tweet itself is very important. ‘Click here to download’ and the link or ‘Download the free guide here’ and then the link. It seems king of silly to make it so obvious but it helps and we’ve found that tweets containing the word ‘click’ average 35% more engagement than the brand’s average. So really spelling it out for people and letting them know exactly what you want them to do with your tweet will help drive clicks to your landing page or whereever you are driving them to.
We also recommend against putting hashtags in promoted tweets. It’s another place for people to click [and Twitter charges you by the click]. We recommend not distracting users from what you want them to do and obviously in our case it’s driving traffic to the URL that we are promoting, so we never put other @handles in our tweet copy, we never add hashtags or anything else with URLs.