Advertising online – Facebook versus LinkedIn

Linkedin versus Facebook ads

iStock_000001256263XSmallAdvertising using social media channels is becoming more and more popular, not surprising really since you have the potential to reach millions of people in a very targeted way.  In 2013 global online ad spending is projected to amount to more than $500 billion and more specifically social ads spending is expected to double by 2015 to $9.2 billion.

If you are considering which social channels to use to promote your product, business or service, this might help.

Here’s a comparison of Facebook versus LinkedIn ads.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is by far the larger of the 2 networks with over 1 billion users. You can use Facebook ads to a) promote your page and build your following b) to promote a specific post on your page’s timeline or c) to drive traffic to an external page such as your website.

Facebook allows you to be really specific when choosing who should see your ads.  You can target by  geography down to quite a granular level, for example you can have your ads appear only to people in North Vancouver but it doesn’t get as granular as Yaletown or Kerrisdale (yet).  You can also target your ads by age, gender, education but the aspect that is most beneficial about Facebook advertising is that you can target the ads using target audience likes.

Profiling Your Customer

We often work with clients to build an ideal client persona identifying such aspects as which car they drive, which shoes they wear, which music, sports teams etc, etc (it varies by business obviously).  The more you know the better and by profiling your customer or ideal client in this way then you can use Facebook ads to appeal to a very specific demographic.


You can also target the ads on Facebook to the friends of people who have already liked your pages.  We’ve had a lot of success running Facebook ads for consumer related products or services but it can be more tricky for business to business or professional service type firms.  Our favourite technique is to use Facebook to build your page followers: once people have connected with your business there you can use your timeline to build mind share and community with them.  Starting at as little as $1 per day.  Facebook can be a strong tool to add to your promotional advertising arsenal.

LinkedIn Ads

linkedinLinkedIn has less than a quarter of the users that Facebook has but the advantage LinkedIn has over Facebook is that users are all professional, business type people so, if that is you audience, LinkedIn might be the better advertising tool for you to use but but you have to be extra careful to get it right and it’s quite tricky.


LinkedIn ads like Facebook ones, can also be used to target a specific audience i.e.  by geography, profession, company name, seniority or job function. However LinkedIn ads are not as granular as Facebook’s in terms of geography or personal likes and you are actually quite limited.  With LinkedIn the best way to use the ads is to encourage people to click on a link to an external website -ie your website or squeeze page.

LinkedIn ads appear erratically, we had one campaign recently where the ads showed up thousands of times on the first day and hardly any the next. The only way to control this seems to be by increasing the ad budget (go figure), making sure your bids are high or through constantly tweaking your ad text.  They’re also more expensive than Facebook ads – starting at $10 per day. One positive aspect of LinkedIn advertising is that you can get creative with larger images (see spec sheet here).


If you have decided ads are the way to go and your target audience is consumer oriented or they are younger then Facebook is a no brainer. If your audience is older,professional or business oriented LinkedIn might be the better alternative but take time to consider whether you can get more bang from your buck by using your personal updates or updates on your company page on LinkedIn first.  I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn ads and think your marketing dollars might be better spent elsewhere.


Social Network Changes – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

This new regular monthly blog post will recap and explain some of the functionality changes taking place in the big social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.

Facebook Changes

1. Scheduled Posts

One of the best things to happen on Facebook for people who manage Facebook pages is the scheduling function that allows you to schedule your Tweets.  You can post Tweets in the past (anywhere on your timeline) or up to 6 months in the future. To schedule a post, click on the clock icon and enter the year, month, date and time you want your post to appear on.  Once you have schedule your post, you can view and change it by clicking on “Use Activity Log” in the <Edit Settings> of your page.  Whilst this is a great addition to Facebook for pages, there are a coupole of downsides: 1) You can only post in increments of 5 minutes 2) You can’t really edit the post itself once it is scheduled, you can edit when you want it to appear but not the content.


2. Activity Log for Profiles

Similar to the Activity Log for Pages, Facebook recently added an Activity Log for your personal page too. Click on this to see everything you have shared from today back to when you first started using Facebook.   According to Facebook:

You can do different things with the stories that appear in your activity log, depending on what the story is and where it came from.  You can adjust the privacy or delete anything you post on Facebook. If the story came from someone else (like when a friend writes on your timeline or tags you in a photo), you’ll be able to review who can see it. You can also control whether stories show on your timeline. On some stories, like posts from apps, you can report the post as spam, turn off publishing from the app or remove the app from your timeline altogether.

 Twitter Changes

Twitter recently announced a slew of changes to how their API can be used.  For most users this will mean very little at least in the short term but for Third Party Apps that build on Twitter this is huge.   Read more about the changes on the Twitter blog. Considering how cumbersome the vanilla Twitter can be and the fact that that most power users need to use third party tools to make their Twitter experience manageable, the company needs to be careful to not shoot itself in the foot on this one but the good news is that there will be more control over Third Party apps that are potentially dangerous and more rules put in place to police this.


LinkedIn Changes

We manage a number of LinkedIn pages for clients and to be honest the interface and capabilities of company pages on LinkedIn has been a bit of a let down for us, which is why we’re excited about upcoming changes to LinkedIn pages announced in their blog on September 6th.   The changes are currently being rolled out to the big players (Philips, HP and Dell are among them), you can take a look at an example on Hubspot’s page.

For users this will mean that it will be easier to find what you are looking for on a company’s page, company updates will be front and centre and company pages will now be available for iPhone, Android and iPad (not before time as LinkedIn has been sorely lacking in this area).

The changes are rolling out over the next few months and too be honest, they are long overdue.  Company Pages look like a dog’s breakfast right now and leave a lot to be desired.  We’re hoping that more functionality such as the ability to schedule updates and to interact with both followers and other companies will be coming too.


An Introduction to Internet Advertising

With online ad spending hitting new highs, Internet advertising is becoming one of the key tools that companies use to attract attention for their product or service online  and online ads are beginning to eclipse traditional advertising.


Hardly a new concept is it?  Advertising has been used ever since mass production became possible well over a century ago  as a means to influence an audience with the intention of getting them to buy your product or service.  You just need to read Claude Hopkin’s 1923 book on the topic called Scientific Advertising to understand the importance advertising has had from a business perspective for the last century (and many of his points still apply today).

Recently however traditional media advertising (TV, newspaper, billboards etc) has faced a tough challenges with readership and viewer numbers plummeting, savvy audiences becoming desensitized to traditional advertising techniques and with the rise of alternative ways to influence target audiences (such as social media).

One of the saving graces for advertising is the ability to use the Internet to advertise online.  Online advertising has a few advantages over traditional advertising:

  • Less Expensive
  • Highly Targeted
  • East To Track Effectiveness

There are a number of different forms of online advertising, each with its own pros and cons.

Search Based Ads

Usually associated with search engine  results ads like Google Adwords and one of the most commonly used forms on online advertising, search based ads are predominantly text based and appear as sponsored or paid ads when people search for a particular phrase or keyword online.With search ads you pay or bid on an ad appearing to a searcher (impressions) or when someone clicks on the ad (pay per click).    These ads are highly targeted because they appear only to the people who enter pertinent related keywords.  If you have a new website this is a great way to get noticed by the major search engines, and really useful if you are going after new audiences.  The key to being successful using these ads is to use very specific key terms that you know potential clients will use and to make the most of them in the ad text.

Banner Ads

Banner ads (or web banners), are for the most part, rectangular image ads that appear on another organisation’s website.  Pop on over the Entrepreneurial Woman’s website and you will see an example of a banner as right at the top of the page. One important consideration with banner advertising is that you should only post your ads on sites that are related to your product or service or that attract your target audience.  Banner ad costs can vary according to the traffic the site gets and can be on a pay per click basis or on a time based (i.e. monthly) fee basis.

Email Ads

Not to be overlooked, more people use email on a regular basis than use any other online tools.  Having a regular opt-in marketing newsletter should be part of every company’s online advertising strategy to promote its products or services.  Email advertising can also include buying placements in the newsletters of related companies.

Network Advertising

Advertising networks companies make it easier for organisations  to advertise on related sites.  Google Adwords  is an example of a tool that facilitate network advertising  and this is a growing area with companies like Tribal Fusion acting as facilitators between publishers of high trafficked content and organisations looking to advertise to their large audiences.

Pop Up Ads

Those annoying ads that pop up on your screen unexpectedly and won’t go away.  Spare your audience and don’t use them.

Online Classifieds

Just like traditional classifieds, online ads on classifieds sites are used for the most part by the general public to buy or sell and by companies that target consumers.  Craigslist and Kijiji are just 2 examples of online classifieds – they are easy to set up and free to use but before you do consider if this is appropriate to your brand.

Social Network Advertising

Many of the major social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow you to advertise and these social ads are the fastest growing form of online advertising.  The biggest benefit of advertising using social networks is that your ads can be aimed at a very highly targeted audience and you can get started with just a few dollars per day to test the waters.

Online advertising tools make it easy for companies to use adverts to reach their audience online and can be a huge driver of targeted traffic to your website.   If you are considering your online advertising strategy and would like more information about our services please contact us.

Related posts:

The Future of Digital Advertising, iAds and Promoted Tweets

The Future of Advertising

Using Social Media to Make Good Business Decisions

If you were planning on dating someone met online, you’d want to find out everything you could before committing to a real date. That’s the way it is when choosing a vendor for your business: you want to find out if they have a reputation for breaking (business) hearts or for being dependable.

Using Social Media to Make Good Business Decisions

In 2009 PR Newswire reported that a whopping 86% of recruiters use social media to research candidates and make the right hiring decisions.  As business people we can use the same techniques to help us make the right decisions when it comes to determining which businesses to work with or to outsource to.  It is important to get the right people on the bus and social media can be a great tool to help you determine whether or not to work with a vendor (or even a potential new client).  This blog post is aimed at showing you how.

Avoid the Bad Business Date

Bad Date

Social media is a tool for connecting, communicating and building community but it can also be great for research and that is exactly what you should do when making any important entrepreneurial decision.    Gone are the days when you had to rely on gut instinct and the assurances of your prospective business partner.

When I meet with a potential client for the first time or talk with a would be vendor or supplier, I always do some due diligence to find out a bit about them in advance but also to make sure that they are who they say they are and that they are the right calibre of business or professional to work with Out-Smarts.  I am not being arrogant here but exemplary customer service is paramount and if we make the wrong decisions in the court ship phase of a relationship it can often come back to haunt us down the road and we don’t like doing anything that will jeopardize the standard of our work.

Social Media for Due Diligence

When conducting due diligence like this, the first thing I do, after checking out their website (and especially their testimonials)  is to Google the name of the business person in question as well as the company.    A Google search can tell you a lot about the person’s personal brand online and will often deliver the pertinent search results you are looking for.  But this is all very well and handy when the name is unique (try Googling Mhairi Petrovic – I think I might be the only person on the planet with this name) but the same cannot be said for the John Smiths of the world.

Social Media Research Tools

One way to hone in on the right person to research and find out a bit about them is to use Pipl.  Pipl comes in extremely handy if the person in question has a common name because it allows you to narrow it down by place.  Pipl is a simple tool which searches the “deep” web for mentions so the results are often quite extensive.  Simply enter the first name, last name, city, state and country to start the process.  The results that are delivered provide a comprehensive list of mentions across the web with links to the source content so that you can check out the person.

A similar tool to Pipl is Social Mention which provides real time social media search and analysis.  Unlike Pipl, which is centred on people, Social Mention delivers search results on any term you choose to enter – this can be an individual’s or company’s name or any word or phrase you want to search for.  You can search across blogs, comments, bookmarks and more or you can do a universal search.

Another approach, and one of the best ways to research a business or an individual, is to use LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is the largest “professional” social network with over 90 million LinkedIn users worldwide (3m in Canada) as of January and this means that, if you want to find out about a professional or business person there’s a really good chance that there will be on there.   There were nearly two billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010 and over 1 million companies have a presence there.  Its search functionality is great but the most beneficial aspect of LinkedIn is that once you have found the right person you can review their professional profile to check out their references and to see if anyone else in your network is connected with them.  We humans are social people, if we find that someone we know has given the person or business a good reference on LinkedIn then we are much more likely to trust and work with them.

No Active Presence?

So what happens if you do all this research and fail to come up with any information at all about the vendor or business person?  You’ve  done your digging but they don’t have a presence online.   Well, it’s up to you whether to work with them or not but in my personal opinion, in this day and age if someone isn’t even slightly active online, you have to question their commitment to their business.  My advice would be to give them a wide berth.

One last thing to consider is that this is not a one way street: the chances are that the next time you meet with a prospect they will have done their research online as well and this time you or your business is in the spotlight.  So, it’s always a good idea to run through the steps outlined above, check out your own profile online and ask yourself – would you do business with you?

Just like find out about someone before going on a first date, do your research and sleuth work in advance before embarking on that first business “date”, it can help you avoid a costly “divorce” or worse in the long run and the tools to allow you to do so are at your fingertips.

Using Social Media for Recruitment – Part 1

Social media isn’t only a great tool for networking and marketing online, companies are using these tools more and more to connect with potential employees, to attract new hires, to build brand awareness (as a great company to work for) and to research prospective employees. This is the first of 2 blogs looking at social media for recruitment.

There are a number of social media tools you can use to enhance your recruitment function – here are a few:

  • Professional Networks,
  • Social Networks like Facebook,
  • MicroBlog platforms like Twitter,
  • Blogs,
  • Video
  • Podcasts.

Perhaps the main social networks that support recruiting are the professional networks. To use these effectively, your company should have a presence in these forums whether it be through a company presence or through staff profiles.

Professional Networks:


LinkedIn has over 47 million users in 200 countries. As a “professional social network” it is ideal as a tool to use to assist recruitment. There are a number of ways you can use LinkedIn for this:

Searching Jobs on LinkedIn – this is useful from a recruiting perspective as it allows you to search other positions in your industry that have been posted in this forum.

Find People

You can use your LinkedIn Profile to find people – LinkedIn is a free professional network but if you upgrade your LinkedIn membership you can communicate more effectively with possible candidates. Paid LinkedIn accounts start at $24.95 and run to $400.95 depending on volume (of emails, interactions etc). By using this paid LinkedIn functionality you can contact, communicate and interact more than with the vanilla version but more importantly for recruiting, you can check references.

Post a Job

Posting a job on LinkedIn costs $195 for a 30 day listing. The benefit of posting on LinkedIn is that it facilitates candidate research and allows you to identify and connect with people who can recommend and refer them.

In addition, LinkedIn also provides a service aimed solely at recruiters called LinkedIn Talent Advantage which aids in the sourcing, getting the word out about jobs.

More on social media for recruitment tomorrow.