Totally forgot to share this, but I was interviewed by Fortune / CNN two weeks ago on Twitter’s foray into the small business advertising arena. I basically say that I think Twitter is playing SMBs for fools and taking their money without showing ROI. It worked for Google with AdWords for years, so I don’t blame them. But SMBs really should stay away from stuff they don’t understand. If you understand analytics and CPC, CPA, CAC then go for it. If you don’t, focus on making a better cupcake.
Same can be said about Facebook, too.
Experimented with a small ad budget for a client on Facebook recently.
My quick takes:
- If you’re a large, national brand, then Facebook advertising can probably work for you.
- If you’re a small, localized brand, use Facebook’s keyword/Likes and geographical targeting options effectively, and track it closely, then Facebook advertising may work for you. Maybe. Really, it’s not that easy. To do it right, at least. And can get costly, fast.
It’s for folks in the middle where I think it’s largely ineffective:
- If you’re a small brand in a densely populated area, or with regional or national aspirations, then Facebook advertising is a waste.
And you can insert Google/Twitter above and the conclusion is the same.
As far as Twitter goes, there are already tools available that can provide for localized search/keyword targeting. And they’re free. And rather than just spit out a sponsored tweet or auto-follow, viewing keywords “intratweet” and in context can provide you a valuable opportunity to engage with a potential new lead/customer/fan and actually start a fruitful conversation versus just badgering them with a boilerplate response.
Check out GeoChirp, for one.
In short, “GeoChirp helps you search for people Twittering for specific things in a specific area.”
- Choose your location
- Put in your search term
- Set the radius
- And view results
You can follow results by subscribing to an RSS feed. (Read more on GeoChirp here).
Pretty powerful stuff. Talk about targeting…
And on Twitter, there’s only 140 characters to work with. There’s not much room for nuance! Using Dave’s cupcake shop example, if someone around you tweets:
“I just had the most incredible banana cream cupcake at my niece’s b-day party! My favorite! [Insert obligatory Instagram food porn pic here]”
…then that’s about 99% of the targeting you need, no? Next to word-of-mouth or a warm referral from a friend or existing customer of yours, you can’t do much better than that. Why pay Twitter/Facebook/Google a dime when you can connect with someone on a one-to-one basis and tailor your response based on a known, stated, common interest? It’s far more authentic and you can use your own voice.
“Hey @suchandsuch, I’d put our banana cream frosting up against any in the world!!! Come on down and I’ll give you a sample on the house!”
The fact that Twitter is a giant “open” conversation means a) unlike with the walled gardens of Facebook, or the anonymous algorithms of Google, you can engage anyone, personally, and b) you can be hyper-granular in targeting your likely audience. Seems to me to be far more valuable than the “throw a bunch of crap against the wall and see what sticks” model of mass advertising with it’s .01% click through rates.
And as a user, aren’t you happier to receive word about something you love vs. that for another Brazilian wax treatment all because you’re a “Female, aged 18-34?”
Does curating an audience this way take work? Sure. Easy? Nothing worthwhile ever is. There’s no silver bullet in building an audience for your business online, but one truth about social is that you get out of it what you put into it. Signing up for an ad budget doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. Consequently, I’ll wager that the “leads” you get out of those efforts will pale in quality next to the ones that you originated organically on your own using your own voice, and your own thumbs, one tweet at a time.
Feel free to reblog, comment, or ping me on Twitter @mbrosen to discuss in more detail.