Growing your business through social media in a less-densely populous region of the country, such as the Midwest or “Bible Belt”, provides its own unique set of challenges, but it also offers many opportunities that you may not find in larger markets.
There are many geographic and demographic factors that are necessary to take into account, and knowing your market, the audience, and its various personas, are vital to the success of any social media campaign. Making the mistake of treating a smaller market like Oklahoma City or Kansas City the same as a larger one such as New York City or Los Angeles can result in your campaign being incredibly unsuccessful, resulting in wasted time and money, as well as falling further behind your competitors.
Alternatively, taking the correct approach can result in you achieving your goals much faster and positively impacting your bottom line.
Develop a Paid Social Media Campaign
As social media has grown over the past decade or so, so have the ways in which accounts are able to effectively reach users. While it might seem like everyone is going viral all of the time, that simply isn’t the case for the vast majority of accounts, especially on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, where algorithms play a heavy part in what content is seen and what is not.
It’s also important to remember that not all social media campaigns are created alike, and the goals, audience, and strategy for a company in St. Louis might be completely different from a similar company in New York City.
The task of your content reaching its intended audience is even more difficult when you are in a crowded market space, competing against other businesses who offer similar products and services. This results in social media becoming a “pay to play” space. There are few things more frustrating than spending time and money on developing content only for no one to see it, so it’s important to develop paid social media campaigns.
Paid Social Media Factors to Consider
When developing a paid social media campaign, there are a variety of factors to take into consideration during the planning and implementation stages.
As a social media marketer, you should determine:
- A strategy that outlines your goals for the campaign
- Your target audience
- The advertising budget
- The type of content you will utilize
- Which platforms will be most effective
Set Your Social Media Strategy
Let’s pretend that you own a roofing business. Let’s also pretend there is another roofing business in the same city that offers similar products at similar prices. Depending on the size of the market, especially in a region prone to severe weather such as the Midwest, there are likely many small roofing businesses that fit these criteria. What’s going to ensure that your paid social media advertising is going to reach the correct audience? Let’s discuss.
First things first. For businesses in the Midwest that are aiming to grow through social media marketing, a well thought out strategy is the first step.
What is it you are trying to accomplish with this campaign? Are you trying to:
- Increase engagements
- Gain more followers
- Direct users to your website
- Generate leads
These are just some of the ways in which social media marketers look to utilize their social media platforms. For a roofing business, generating leads and phone calls as well as driving traffic to your website might be of the utmost importance, especially after a large hail storm.
Who is your Target Audience?
Once you know what you want to achieve, you must know who to target. Some people might think, “let’s cast a wide net and see what we catch.” While that might seem easy enough, just because the market size isn’t the same as New York or Los Angeles, it’s still important to target the right audience so that your valuable ad budget isn’t wasted on users who have no interest in what you are offering.
There are several ways in which you can target certain users.
- For your roofing business, knowing the location of the most recent storm means you can target users geographically. You are going to have more success if you target an individual town or specific zip codes as opposed to the entire state.
- An added benefit to paid social media in the Midwest/Bible Belt is that your advertising budget can stretch further. In heavily populated areas of the world, it can be much harder and more expensive to achieve results. If a storm hits areas all across the state, you can advertise to users in every corner without breaking the bank.
- Some users might already be looking at businesses to help with necessary repairs. Targeting users who are interested in roofing, construction, repairs, etc. will help you hone in on the “right” audience.
- In the United States, the average age of a first-time homebuyer is 33 years old. If your ad is targeted at all users, regardless of age, it will be served to a large number who are likely not homeowners.
- The roofing company example might not translate when targeting based on gender, but for other organizations, such as those in the medical industry, for example, targeting only men when promoting prostate exams and testosterone boosts is going to be more effective.
Once you’ve narrowed your audience, you can fine tune the targeting measures to maximize the potential of each campaign. Each social media platform has a minimum spend per day, so you’ll need to be sure you budget for the correct length of time. Based on your target audiences and length of campaign, you will receive estimates on what your campaign will ultimately spend.
As mentioned above, one of the many great things about social media marketing in a smaller market is that you’re able to reach a much larger audience on a smaller budget.
Perhaps you are just trying to raise awareness for your business should the time come when users are looking for someone who offers your services. A more generic social media campaign needing to reach a wider audience in a state such as Oklahoma can also be beneficial. With the Oklahoma City DMA spanning 34 counties and over 32,000 square miles, it’s not as difficult or costly to reach a large number of users. Simply put, ad dollars can be stretched much further in a state like Oklahoma because just under half of the state resides in the Oklahoma City DMA.
Campaign targeting, particularly geographic targeting, can greatly differ depending on what part of the country you’re in. Let’s take New York City for instance. A national marketing agency who is used to running social media campaigns in big cities might recommend targeting only one zip code to reach their desired audience, or a single mile radius. Millions of people live in that small area in New York, and may not be willing to travel further out to visit a business — so it’s a strategy that makes sense for the area.
In the Midwest, targeting only one zip code or a single mile radius would potentially greatly limit the effectiveness of your campaign. It’s not at all uncommon for people to travel a couple of hours to visit a business that they are loyal to, even if they live outside of the metro. People are more spread out — and that needs to be taken into consideration when planning your campaign.
Social media is not one size fits all.
Once you have determined your goals, budget, and target audience, the creative and copy you use needs to convey the appropriate message. When it comes to content, less is usually more. Busy imagery with lengthy copy results in users scrolling right past it. A clear, concise message with strong imagery will lead to more clicks and ultimately, more business.
For example, a static image of a damaged roof or short video of a severe storm with copy offering free estimates for roofing repairs is going to have a greater impact than a graphic with every single service you offer, every different type of shingle available, and all of the different prices. Piquing interest is the initial goal of your creative. Once you have raised awareness, users will keep moving down the marketing funnel where you can begin to provide more information.
Creating content in the Midwest/Bible Belt is different from other parts of the country. This region tends to be a bit more conservative, which means that certain content can easily offend some users.
When creating content for users in the Bible Belt:
- Do not create memes making light of conservative values, particularly religion or popular politicians. likely result in negative feedback which can do permanent damage to your brand.
- Place emphasis on family values. Family values are incredibly important in the Midwest, so an ad campaign featuring a single person might not be as effective as an ad featuring a family.
- Develop trust and loyalty. Midwesterners place a high value on loyalty. People in the Bible Belt are likely to pay more for goods and services from brands they trust, and they will continue to do so, as long as they believe they are being treated fairly. This differs from other markets that have a plethora of options and businesses need to grab attention by offering huge discounts or unbeatable prices.
Again, knowing your audience is an absolute must when approaching those topics
Which platforms should you use?
Deciding which platforms to utilize for your campaigns is different for every organization. A high end furniture store that is showcasing items in their showroom will fare better on certain platforms, whereas a financial institution offering informational and educational content about mortgage rates will likely do better on other platforms. With all of the different platforms out there, how do you decide which to allocate time, money, and resources towards? Let’s break down some of the more popular platforms for advertisers:
- Long-form videos, infographics, and links to articles tend to resonate more with Facebook users, who typically spend more time absorbing a piece of content before moving on to the next thing.
- Instagram users expect to see aesthetically pleasing and snackable content. Posts with long videos or static images containing a large amount of text are going to cause users to keep scrolling and ultimately tune you out. Plus, the pesky algorithm will likely serve this content to a smaller audience. Instead, high-resolution photos, stories, and short videos (especially Reels) provide what interests the vast majority of users.
- Twitter caters mostly to those wanting breaking news or up-to-date information about a topic or event. Articles, blogs, or trending news is going to perform better here than a local trying to promote their lunch special
- Users here are usually hoping to network or find a new job, which means they want to connect with industry peers over the latest news and talking points pertaining to their career field. They do not want to be sold anything.
- Short, catchy video content is king. Whether it’s purely for entertainment, or even educational, users are looking to get in and get out without necessarily committing to just one brand or voice.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have the time or resources to diversify my content like that,” and that’s ok. Not every organization needs to be on every platform. Only manage what makes the most sense for your brand, and try to tailor the content as best you can – otherwise, you’re wasting time and effort.
Social Media Analytics and Reporting
Once your campaign has been launched, it will need to be closely monitored to ensure no mistakes were made and that everything is running as it should be. Then, after it’s completed, you can analyze the results to determine what worked, what didn’t, and make any necessary edits for future campaigns.
While planning and publishing a campaign is a large portion of the process, analyzing the performance of the campaign is just as important. If you’re spending money, but not seeing the results, it’s imperative to figure out what’s not working. And when something does work, it’s important to know what you did so that you can duplicate it going forward.
- Not driving enough traffic to the website?
- Did you set your campaign goal to drive traffic to the site or to increase engagements?
- Not acquiring any new leads?
- Maybe the form to fill out is too lengthy.
- Engagements are down?
- Trying freshening up the creative.
Trial and error can certainly be necessary to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Even experienced digital marketers need to make changes to their campaigns. The goal is to figure out what works and sometimes that takes time. Whether it’s budgets that need to be adjusted, a global issue that is slowing down the supply chain, or perhaps you just need to change your creative, there are a variety of factors that force changes to be made.
Not All Social Media Is Created Equal
When it comes to social media, or any marketing, it’s important to understand the area that you are marketing to. What works well in Los Angeles may not make sense for Dallas or St. Louis — because for all that we have in common, there are also plenty of regional differences that need to be accounted for.
Now that you know more about the unique benefits and challenges of creating social media in the Midwest, you know that you need someone who understands this audience.
At Arrow Marketing, Media & Consulting, LLC, we pride ourselves on not only being social media and advertising experts — but our staff is made up entirely of Oklahomans, many of whom are originally from smaller, more rural areas. We understand the unique community and culture here in Oklahoma and the surrounding areas, and have helped our clients create successful, thriving campaigns and marketing efforts around the Midwest.
We also work with national accounts with Oklahoma ties, to ensure that there is a local touch to their marketing and social media, and to provide a unique local perspective.
If you’re ready to get started on creating your campaign, reach out today.