Social media as an advertising tool

Social media as an advertising tool image

We’ve heard for years now, especially those in the marketing industry, how social media is not only taking over as a means of target audience communication, but is also blurring THE LINE which we marketers so love to use to define our scopes of work. Once considered a below-the-line medium, social media has gained prominence and speed in recent years, to become one of the most popular methods of both reaching and researching our customers and prospects.

Market researchers, social media experts and digital analysts alike will throw stats in your face about how social media is more engaging than other forms of communication, allowing for two-way communication with one’s audience; how it has a greater and more targeted reach; how cheap it is; how you can integrate and pick and choose multiple platforms based on your consumers… we’ve heard it all before. It has been a popular topic for some time now, and perhaps with good reason. Did you know that if you Google “social media marketing” Google returns about 784 million results, including everything from scholarly articles to blog posts and wiki pages? By comparison, Googling Kim Kardashian (someone who we can all agree has gone viral more than her fair share of times) yields about 155 million results – less than a fifth.


In recent years we’ve seen Facebook update its software to include in depth analytics and results for both paid advertising and organic posts; we’ve witnessed the rise of social media management platforms such as Hootsuite; and social analytics tools such as the likes of Twitter Analytics. Not to mention the creation of countless forms of social media. All of this points in one direction; maybe the people who keep saying social media is important for companies to invest in are right. We believe so. After all, it is what Yellow Door Collective does. Moreover, we certainly hope so, because Smart Insights reported that in 2015 a whopping 78% of companies said that they had dedicated social media teams.

The trouble of course is that although social media allows one to see and calculate how many people a company or brand is engaging, unless sales are made through social media it’s difficult to measure how successful these conversations really are. So the question on everyone’s minds at this point is something along the lines of “Is social media really that effective?” We’re here to tell you that it is. Very.

In order to demonstrate this, let’s take an example of a recent Facebook post that we published on behalf one of our clients, eta College, which we boosted for a nominal amount (bear in mind that this is not paid advertising on Facebook, but was simply one post that we boosted):


The post linked to a blog article about the HSBC Sevens in Cape Town and reached over 32,000 people, achieving well north of 2,500 likes.

We spent R150 boosting this post to our target audience. That’s the price of a movie ticket and snacks.

We were also able to choose our audience based on age, gender, location and interests. Naturally, we chose girls and guys between 17 and 25, located in Southern Africa and interested in sports and fitness, because those who sign up at eta College more often than not tick those boxes.

So with this single post, we reached 32,000 potential applicants. Of course not everyone who sees it will want to apply, and many may already have plans for university or college. So again the question of efficacy comes into play, which to address we will use a couple of hypotheticals:

Suppose that just 0.5% of the young sports and fitness fans (residing in Southern Africa) who see this are interested in potentially attending eta College (that’s very conservative). That’s one in every 200, which means that now we’ve reached 160 potential students. Let’s say that only 60% (96) of those potentials bother to contact the college, and of that group only 40% are accepted and end up attending. That’s 38 new students from a single post! Which if we look at this in a strictly business sense, is a fair bit of income for the price of a movie ticket and snacks. Take it from us, selling FMCGs (fast moving consumer goods), or anything else for that matter, would be much easier.

It goes without saying that simply putting stuff on social media and paying to boost or advertise is not sufficient. One needs to know what time to post and on what social platforms, in addition to ensuring that the content being created and shared is topical, noteworthy and share-worthy. Then there’s also the targeting, tagging of other brands and management of communication that results from said post or advert, and so forth. This is why it’s recommended that your social media (and other digital platforms) be managed by professionals. This is why it’s recommended that you come to us.

Of course we’re just scratching the surface here, and there’s much more to be said. However, being in the second-screen generation we also know that online attention spans aren’t all that long (this post has broken a lot of rules!). So, having answered the question of whether or not social media is actually effective in driving sales or conversation, the question now becomes:

When are you going to adopt a social media strategy?


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