For most businesses targeting consumers, social media has become a key channel to reach, educate and engage new and existing customers. If you have a social media strategy in place, but your reach and engagement aren’t quite where you want them to be, you may want to consider using social media advertising to support your goals. However, there are many variables to take into account when planning a social media advertising campaign and, based on our experience at Designworks, here is a checklist to help you get the most out of your campaigns.
Determine Your Campaign Goals
Why are you considering investing in a social media advertising campaign? Here are several typical goals and how they would benefit from a paid ad campaign:
Page growth refers to increasing the number of likes, followers, fans, of your social media handle. This is best if you are committed to managing and growing your social media presence long term. You can advertise for your social page to be seen and promoted to your target audiences. In the long run, having your own existing, targeted audience of opt-in subscribers will make promotion of new content and campaigns to the right people that much easier.
This is when you want to drive your traffic to external pages, and promote conversions outside of the native features of the social channel. If you are looking to advertise and do not necessarily have a strong social media presence-or none at all, social media channels allow you to pay to promote your ad content/CTA’s immediately to a targeted audience, giving your content immediate visibility to them.
If you have good content, but just need that extra push, social media also allow you to expand (Facebook calls this “boosting”) the reach of your social content in its native form. This allows potential customers to engage with your content as they would any other content in the channel. In some cases, this form resonates with users who are wary of traditional sidebar advertising.
Targeting Your Audience
This is arguably the biggest advantage of social media advertising that you can’t get in many other traditional forms of advertising. If you have a campaign and you know the target audience you want to reach and think your audience is too specific for social media, you may be pleasantly surprised. Social media advertising tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated and offer pinpoint granularity. For example, Facebook can offer breakdowns against a wide array of categories including:
- Age either numeric age or by age categories such as millennials, gen x and baby boomers
- Location including mobile users in proximity to a particular location
- Behavior including spending behavior, e.g. towards online ‘lifestyle’ purchases, to ‘travel’, etc.
- Interests both by stated interests and inferred interests based on pages and posts they’ve liked
- Life Events for example, upcoming anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
With this level of granularity, you can isolate your audience and run a very targeted campaign. You can run any number of versions with different messaging/imagery, and in some cases, pick specific days and times of day for ads to go out. Campaigns can be automated to allow for brief a/b testing of ad effectiveness, and once a winner is established the most successful ad is given more exposure.
Choosing Your Ad Type
Depending on the social media platform you are on, you will be able to advertise and promote in different ways. You can promote an existing post in its native format (e.g. Facebook’s posts and Twitter’s tweets), have an ad appear in-line among other social content (they may be called out as promoted content), or appear as an ad in a designated ad-space such as a sidebar.
Different ad structures should be considered based on your goals. Generally speaking, if you are asking for a social interaction, such as a response, social page view, ‘like’, ‘share’, etc., then promoting existing posts and ‘ads’ within the channel’s unique form are acceptable. If you are trying to drive a sale or promote something outside of the platform, you may want to lean towards traditional ads in designated ad spaces. You are always welcome to try your own a/b testing to see what your own audience responds to, as well.
Refining Your Messaging
With your target audience(s) defined, you want to have a message that will have the greatest impact. With ad copy space limited and at a premium, it’s a good idea to try several versions (a/b test), or better yet, do some free testing on the platform through social media posts with your messages beforehand. From there, you can track the subsequent engagement to choose which message is most effective before putting money behind it.
Equally at a premium are your pixels. Be sure to apply your brand appropriately and to again consider your audience and any message that will accompany it. Be sure you understand the constraints for each image and video before you design the creative content. Particularly with imagery, you need to take into account mobile viewers and how the image will appear on smaller screens. In some cases, you may have to resize your original image for posts in other formats and dimensions.
When sizing down or changing dimensions, be sure to review the new image and ensure that any text or key imagery is legible/discernable and if not, consider increasing text size, removing/resizing/rearranging some individual elements.
Determining The Right Pricing Model
Depending on the nature of your ad and the platform, you will typically have two main budgeting options. Pay for exposure (CPM), or bid for link clicks (CPC). The latter is better if you can put a value to a click, and you are willing to spend more upfront to compete with other bidders. Exposure will focus on getting your ad/post in front of as many users from your audience as possible. Once again, depending on your goals, you will want one or the other.
We hope this has given you some useful insights and practical guidance on building out your social media advertising. If this is a hot topic for your business, please give Designworks a call and let us discuss how we can help you.