Paid social or social media advertising has become almost a necessity for many businesses. A study in 2019 found that on average people spend almost 2 and a half hours on social media every day. With this number increasing, it is more important than ever that businesses have a social media presence. Paid social is a great way to establish this visibility. Social media advertising can be tailored to any marketing strategy at any stage of the marketing funnel if used properly.

Once you decide you want to run a paid social campaign, the next step is knowing where to start. It can be intimidating knowing where and how you approach social media advertising. This blog is designed to guide you through the setup of your paid social campaigns so that they are as optimized as possible. Before anything else, it is important to know what you are trying to achieve with your paid social campaign.

Identifying Marketing Goals & KPIs

The first step in marketing on social media is identifying your marketing goals. These will set the foundation for your paid social strategy moving. If you clearly define your marketing objective on the metrics you will use to measure it, setting up the rest of the campaign will come to a lot easier.

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • How are you going to measure results?
  • Do you want to target bottom-funnel users who have visited your website recently or do you just want to spread awareness for your brand?

Answering these questions will help you determine which marketing channel is best for achieving your goal, which audiences to target, how much budget you should put behind the campaign and what the creatives and messaging should be.

Choosing Your Channel

After you clearly define your marketing goals and KPIs, the next step is choosing the best platform to advertise on. The good news is if you already know your marketing goals and have defined your targeted audience, choosing your channel should be a breeze. Facebook is king when it comes to paid social advertising. In 2019, 89% of marketers surveyed use Facebook in their brand marketing strategy. And 83% of consumers use Facebook consistently. Because of its popularity and 1.66 billion monthly active users, most businesses can benefit from running paid social advertising on Facebook. It is a great platform for promoting brand awareness as well as engaging potential customers by targeting their interests or demographics.

We recommend starting paid social campaigns on Facebook before you start with more expensive platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. These channels can be extremely beneficial if used properly. LinkedIn is great for B2B businesses that are looking to advertise to people with certain job titles. Twitter can be useful for businesses wanted to experiment with their social reach.

Identify Your Audience

The next step after you know which channel you want to advertise on is choosing who exactly you need to be targeting to reach your goal. Targeting the right audience is critical for success in your paid social campaign. Are you trying to reach new customers at the top of the marketing funnel? Or do you want to narrow your targeting to users who are more familiar with your brand and product? The three most common audiences that businesses should start to build are persona audiences, lookalike audiences, and retargeting audiences.

  • Persona audiences are custom representations of your target customer. You can build your persona audience through demographic targeting, personal interest targeting, or by which stage in the buying cycle they are in.
  • Lookalike audiences are just that. It is an audience that is built to mimic the demographics from a seed audience you create. It is best practice to always include a lookalike audience along with any other audience you are targeting.
  • Retargeting audiences are common among all major social media platforms. This audience is made up of users who are familiar with your brand or product in some way. This audience is built either through customer email lists or through users who have engaged with your website or interacted with your ad. Retargeting allows you to really narrow your audience to specific actions they took on your website. This can be either a top-funnel or bottom-funnel marketing strategy.


Determining Your Budget

After clearly establishing your goal and performance metrics, the next step is determining the amount of budget to put behind the campaign. Ultimately, your budget needs to reflect on what you are trying to accomplish with the campaign. A high budgeted paid social campaign that is set up poorly or without a goal in mind is a fast way to drain your marketing budget with little to no results to show for it. Conversely, too small of a budget will limit your ability to further down the process.

A helpful way to determine the size of your budget is knowing what your target cost-per-acquisition (target CPA) should be. For example, if your goal is to bring 100 new users to your website to fill out a form and you have determined that you would be willing to pay $10 for each new website visitor that fills out a form, then you can calculate how much budget you will need. You will also need to know your industry’s conversion rate and expected cost-per-click (CPC). There are several reliable sources online where you can find these metrics for your industry. If the expected CPC is $0.50 and the conversion rate for the industry is 1%, then we can calculate that we would need 10,000 website visitors to receive 100 form submissions. Since our expected CPC is $0.50, we determine that we should spend $5,000 in order to receive the 10,000 website visitors we need to accomplish our goal.

Messaging & Creative

The last step before launching your paid social campaign is creating the actual image or video ad that you want to show. The image you use combined with the messaging is crucial for the success of your paid social campaign. It is important to keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of social media users are on their mobile devices, so you should tailor your ads for a mobile experience.  You only have limited space available, so you need to keep your image and messaging concise. Think about your targeted audience and goals for your campaign. Are they already familiar with your business or product? What is their need? Where is your ad going to appear on the channel? You want your ad to be eye-catching but thoughtful. It is important that your messaging resonates with your audience.

If you are launching a new paid social campaign, it is important to experiment and A/B test with different images and videos as well as the messaging to go along with them. After running your campaign for a while, you will have enough data to see which images and messaging are receiving the most interactions and make strategic changes from there. If you have the capabilities, it is beneficial to use video for your ad instead of images as these tend to perform better.

There are many benefits to running paid social campaigns. From the custom targeting options to selecting your marketing channel, if set up properly your social media ads can do wonders for your business. I hope this guide gives you a clear foundation where you can begin to see success from your paid social campaigns.

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