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Recap: Social Media Business Bootcamp with Erin Corn

At our December educational event in DTLA, Erin Corn of Shorebird Media led a lively group of experienced practitioners and student members through some practical steps to optimize their use of social media, and particularly Facebook and Instagram advertising.

Erin started by focusing on how the apps are making improvements and additions, such as Instagram’s recent branching out into shopping, designed to keep people within the app environment for longer, creating less disruption for the user and more engagement for the apps. In fact, Erin pointed out that smaller businesses may no longer need to create a website and could instead create a meaningful presence within Instagram or Facebook.

Understanding your audience

Erin’s first tip was to pay attention to the buyer persona, something she says that even larger companies don’t always get right. She warned against being too general because too broad a persona won’t resonate with anyone and walked the audience through an interactive exercise designed to help them develop an effective persona including age, gender, lifestyle. The second stage was to create a value proposition based around two questions

·      How does your product or service serve the goals of your buyer?

·      How does your product or service provide a solution for this buyer?

The goal is to keep coming back to your persona to ensure that the ads and other communication you share are relevant to the needs of the likely buyer.

Moving forward, Erin emphasized the importance of also matching your ads and offers to where buyers might be in the sales funnel from awareness through to transaction. Too often, Erin warned, companies throw out discounts too early in the process, for instance, instead of reserving them for when people are truly interested in buying.

Finding your audience

Erin explained different mechanisms for finding and growing your audience on Facebook and Instagram using custom and lookalike lists that enable you to use your current email list to target similar consumers. Using the Lookalike function, it’s possible to isolate potential customers who are like your most engaged, high-value visitors. Erin called the Lookalike Audiences function “the most powerful targeting option on Facebook” and shared that using the feature to generate lists of potential customers outperforms every other option.

Other tips included researching the attributes of people who follow your competitors’ pages, narrowing ( rather than broadening) your references, and matching targeting to each stage of your funnel to really bring focus to your efforts.

Goal setting

One of the most challenging things with social media is deciding on what to measure. For Erin, the most valuable measures are those that tie directly to the bottom line, for instance, metrics around conversion and loyalty. Engagement, likes and comments, are interesting but figuring out cost per lead and the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) are key if people are to spend money efficiently on advertising on these platforms.

Let’s talk creative

Rounding out a lively presentation, Erin offered some best practices to help members make the most of their social media advertising. Top of the list was the idea of adding movement via video which continues to dominate. Her insider tip there was to make sure that you get your company name in quickly, don’t expect the audience to sit through a full video to see who has created it.

Erin also hearkened back to the persona and value propositions, urging people to make sure that their copy speaks to a detailed buyer persona, and to choose imagery and colors across ads that help people to see who you are and what you stand for. Finally, she urged people to experiment and keep trying different ways to approach their social media advertising – try to create that ad that will stop your buyer in their tracks!

This was AMA Los Angeles’ last educational event of 2019, but we’ve got lots in the works for 2020. Follow our Eventbrite page for the latest information and updates—and don’t forget that AMA members get great discounts!


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