When it comes to paid online advertising, 72 percent of B2B marketers use paid social. Businesses looking to take a step further from organic social media to establish brand awareness, drive traffic to specific web pages or create a lead generation strategy, could all utilize paid social media. As your organization evaluates opportunities with paid social media advertising, you may come across difficulties due to the many factors involved and struggle with where to even begin.
To develop and run an effective paid social media campaign, you need to start with the basics. In this post, we’ll take a look at the five essentials you should reflect on before getting started. While this shouldn’t serve as a comprehensive guide, it will help lay the foundation from which you can build successful paid social media campaigns.
ESSENTIAL #1: DEVELOP YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE AND BUYER PERSONAS
The first and most vital step is to evaluate your target audience. Organizations need to fully understand their current and future customers in order to properly target them. Paid social platforms provide specific targeting capabilities, including:
- By industries or communities
- By job titles or individuals with shared interests
- By demographics, such as gender and age, or
- By geographic locations
These platforms also allow you to upload remarketing lists to include existing customers when targeting.
Make sure to thoroughly develop target personas that align with your overall campaign goals and will resonate with your asset. Also, keep in mind where your audience falls in the customer journey. For instance, if the goal is lead generation and the campaign promotes a bottom of funnel asset, your target audience should be far along the customer journey and should include high-level decision makers.
ESSENTIAL #2: ESTABLISH YOUR PAID SOCIAL CAMPAIGN GOAL
Next, you need to set goals. Why are you running this campaign? Some common goals are:
- Strengthen my company’s brand awareness
- Drive more traffic to my website
- Identify new customers through lead generation OR nurture existing customers
Figure out what you want to accomplish with this paid campaign and make sure it aligns with your intended target audience. Once you have identified your goal, you can begin to build your campaign strategy and identify milestones to help you understand and measure progress.
ESSENTIAL #3: CONTENT PROMOTION
This next step aligns with your campaign goal. Typically, paid social media initiatives are driven by a need to promote a piece of content, landing page or event. In this case, you have identified what content to promote and you can move on to the next step.
If that isn’t the case, you should perform a content evaluation. Here are a few types of content and three categories they fall under in the content marketing funnel:
- Top of Funnel – white papers, blog posts, infographics, guides, social media updates
- Middle of Funnel – events, webinars, case studies, data sheets
- Bottom of Funnel – demos, free trials, consultations
Content is king! Determine which assets you currently have that would demonstrate value or spark interest to your audience, then choose an asset that aligns with your campaign goal.
ESSENTIAL #4: VISUALS
Use a strong visual asset in the form of an appealing graphic or video. Ninety-two percent of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy. You want to grab the attention of your target audience and help your ad rise above the noise of other social media posts. An ad that blends into a timeline will put all your other hard work and research to waste!
Be sure that the visual asset follows your business’ branding guidelines regarding font, color scheme, logos, etc. Across social media platforms, consistency in your messaging and visuals will help customers to quickly identify your brand and products, creating what we marketers like to call “brand identity.”
ESSENTIAL #5: SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
Now, you need to figure out which social platform fits your campaign needs. We will touch on four social media platforms with paid advertising functions – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn ads appear as promoted posts in the feed of your target audience. The targeting capabilities for LinkedIn can narrow down specific industries, job titles, fields of interest and study, demographics and geographic locations.
Twitter: Twitter ads are promoted tweets that appear on the timelines of your target audience. The targeting capabilities for Twitter can narrow down communities, groups, specific interests, demographics and geographic locations.
Facebook: Facebook ads appear as sponsored content posts in the feeds and right-hand columns of your target audience. The targeting capabilities for Facebook can narrow down by demographics, geographic locations, interests and behavior.
Instagram: Instagram ads appear as sponsored content posts in the feeds of your target audience. Keep in mind, 55 percent of users on this platform fall in a younger age demographic, ranging from 18 to 29 years old. As this platform relies heavily on visuals, the image or video asset used must be very appealing.
Choose a platform that will support your campaign goal, is appropriate for the content you will promote and provides the targeting capabilities you need.
Congrats! You’ve evaluated the most critical elements that can make or break a paid social campaign and you’re ready to start drafting. Laying down the groundwork will help you avoid missteps and keep your campaign aligned from the beginning.