In the last year or so, advertising on social channels has changed tremendously. Lately, major networks have changed their algorithms to give their users a better experience—one with less promotional content and more relevant content that they want to see. Because of these changes, as a marketer, you need to supplement your organic posts with paid promotion to get your posts seen by your audience. In fact, eMarketer reports that by 2017, social network ad spending will reach $35.98 billion worldwide.
As marketers are increasingly spending more on social platforms, it’s more important than ever to have the right strategy in place, track all of your paid social campaigns, and gain insights into what’s working and what’s not. Only then can you understand the return on ad spend (ROAS) from your campaigns.
In this blog, I’ll be walking you through how to put together a paid social campaign from start to finish for optimum results. Here are five steps to amplify your paid social campaigns:
1. Define Your Goals
It’s important to understand your goals for each paid social campaign upfront because your strategy and key performance metrics will vary depending on the goals you’re aiming to achieve. Your goals will help you map out the most relevant offers and content for your objectives—whether that’s brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, customer acquisition, retention, advocacy, or a combination of these. For instance, if your goal is to acquire more leads, you will probably want to share whitepapers or other gated content that people will need to fill out a form for so you can collect lead information. But if your goal is brand awareness, you might want to share ungated content such as an infographic or a fun video.
2. Identify Your Audience
Just as you would with any marketing campaign, you need to know who you are trying to reach with each of your paid social ads. You may already have buyer personas for your company’s target audiences that you can pull from (in some organizations this may come from the product marketing team). Once you understand this, you will need to decide who your exact audience for your social campaigns will be. There are a lot of great ways to target specific audiences on various social platforms, but if you don’t know who you’re targeting, you won’t be able to take advantage of the targeting options.
3. Pick the Right Channel and Content
The audiences on each social media network are different, and while some overlap across channels, their expectations of the type of content they’ll see on each channel is also different. So, you not only need to understand the networks your audiences are on and how to reach them there but also engage them with the right content. For example, ads about industry-focused events will probably do well on LinkedIn if they are targeted to a specific industry, but may not perform as well on Facebook.
4. Select Targeting Options
Once you have determined which social media channels you will advertise on, it’s time to get familiar with the targeting options on each of those channels. Social networks are getting more sophisticated with their targeting options, and you can target based on different fields: interests, skills, titles, company names, and even lists from your marketing automation platform—for example, people in your database with certain characteristics. LinkedIn, for example, lets you target people based on their titles, skill sets, company, and even degree, while Facebook allows you to target people based on their demographics, behaviors, and interest levels in certain topics or products.
LinkedIn’s Targeting Options:
Facebook’s Targeting Options:
Aside from targeting specific groups, you can also exclude certain audiences that you don’t want to serve specific content or ads. These people might not be the right fit for your ads, so excluding them will help you make the most of your marketing dollars by only putting your ads in front of the right audience. You can exclude people based on their emails address, interests, actions they have taken, and more. This comes in handy when you don’t want to advertise a product or service to a customer who’s already purchased it or to your competitors.
5. Create and Measure Your Campaigns
A good campaign structure will help you measure and report on different initiatives that are going on. You can build separate campaigns around all the products and services you want to measure and report separately, which will help you identify the audience that is most likely to respond to a certain product and serve relevant content or ads that resonate with them the most. This is a lot harder to accomplish if you have everyone grouped together in the same campaign. However, in some cases, it might be wise to start with a broader audience. For example, if you’re launching a new product or service and are not sure who will be most responsive or if you have a niche audience, you might not want to get too specific so you can achieve a broader reach. Then, you can track the campaign data to identify which audiences responded the most.
There are a few different ways to track the performance of your social campaigns. If you are using a marketing automation platform, then you can create campaigns that track not only form fills, but pipeline and revenue generated per campaign as well. Another way to measure your campaign performance is to set up unique URLs for each campaign. Depending on how granular you want to get, you can track your activity at a campaign level or within the campaign at a product or asset level. For instance, if you want to track how many people filled out a form to attend your company event, you can create a unique URL or marketing automation campaign to track visits to that event. However, if you were running three different paid ads to promote the event, you would probably want to know which one drove the most registration. Ultimately, your goal is to find out which event and ad drove pipeline and revenue. This knowledge will help you shift your budget away from lower performing events, assets, and paid ads towards the ones that are showing return on investment.
Are you putting paid promotion behind your social media campaigns? I’d love to hear about your tips and tricks in the comments below!