You don’t have to be on social media for long to realize that it’s taking the advertising world by storm. While advertising was a part of running a successful business long before social media came on the scene, today, social media advertising reigns supreme. But when it comes to putting an actual social media ad strategy in place, many of us are left scratching our heads. With so many different options, each with their own complexities, it can be difficult to weed out the effective from the ineffective.
At SocialNicole, digital advertising is a huge part of what we do, which is why we’ve put together a list of 5 great advertising strategies within social media marketing. These include macro-level tips such as creating a master advertising plan and maintaining quality control, down to the nitty-gritty details such as creating precise target audiences and determining the best words or images to use for a particular channel. So whether you’re brand new to social media ads or you just feel that your business’s advertising plan needs a boost, read on for our 5 killer social media advertising strategies.
5 Advertising Strategies for Social Media
1. Social Media Advertising Strategies: Create a Master Plan
Whether big or small, your business must have an advertising plan in place before you even think about placing an ad or running an ad campaign. At SocialNicole, we have spent years honing our ad plan approach to make sure our ad plans are streamlined, easy to read and decipher, and paint a clear picture of our business’s goals. Our first strategy for social media advertising success is to determine what your business’s advertising goals are, and then to create an ad plan, complete with a plan for budget and metrics, to implement and start achieving those goals.
Business Goals for Social Media Advertising
It is important for your business and everyone on your marketing and advertising team to have a consistent macroview as well as microview of your advertising goals. The macroview is the big picture, the main objectives, your brand’s personality, and what is going on with the ads across the board. This bird’s-eye view can help you identify where there is room for improvement. The microview is the look at each social media channel and how you can translate your macroview (big picture) into the daily microview (social media channels).
Before you begin mapping out your advertising plan, determine what your business goals are. Are you looking for brand awareness? To drive more traffic to your website? Perhaps you want to generate more qualified leads? Or build your email list? Or maybe you are looking to build up engagement on your social media channels and grow the actual audience size? You probably have a mixture of goals, which is ok, but it is helpful to know what it is you want to accomplish before you set out to create a plan of action.
Ad Plan for Social Media Advertising
Now that you have your goal(s) in mind, the next step towards achieving it is to create a social media content calendar, as well as an ad plan. Map out your content across all channels for each week, month, quarter, year–whatever works for you. Keep track of important events, holidays, dates, etc. for your business. Then, create an ad plan that promotes the content that is most in line with the goals determined above.
At SocialNicole we create monthly content and complementary ad plans, which allows for constant assessment of performance and reevaluation of our goals at the time. In our ad plans, we clearly lay out each specific goal and the ad type needed to reach that goal. Your goals may change from time to time, and social media advertising works best when you keep it moving, all the while keeping in mind the mission and goal of the business as a whole. By assessing and changing this ad plan each month, you will be able to continuously course-correct as needed to keep your goals in sight.
The monthly ad plan strategy that SocialNicole uses complements any specific campaigns our clients may choose to run concurrently. When a specific campaign is being planned out, we will create specific content and ad plans that are just for that one campaign. The campaign ad plans, once approved, run at the same time as the monthly ad plan, each with a unique set of goals. The monthly ad plans are always focused on the big picture, keeping businesses present and relevant, while the campaign specific ad plans are narrow and focused on achieving the goals of the campaign.
Budget for Social Media Advertising
One of the first decisions you need to make when creating your ad plan is how much money you are able and willing to spend on each ad campaign. People often ask us, “How much money should I spend on ads?” and the answer is something you have to determine for yourself. How many people do you want to see your ad? What budget is your business operating under, and how much of it can you allocate towards social media advertising? We believe so strongly in social media marketing and advertising that we would advise you to put a large portion of your ad spend budget into it. At SocialNicole, we know that what you get out of social media advertising depends on what you put into it – so we encourage you to give it the juice it needs to take you where you want to go.
Metrics for Social Media Advertising
In our opinion, the best way to find out what works for your advertising budget is to test as much as you can to determine how much money you need to spend to get the results you want. This may take some time, but testing is a very effective and hands-on way to become an expert on social media advertising. Keeping a detailed account of the performance of your ads will help you determine what works and what doesn’t (this extends beyond budget to audience, content, etc.). At SocialNicole, we provide weekly and monthly metrics for all our ads and are constantly assessing the data to continue improving our advertising strategies.
In providing these metrics, we assess the performance of the ads in terms of link clicks, reach, impressions, and more, as well as the cost of each link click and result. In this way, we can be careful to give more of our budget to the ads that have historically performed the best.
2. Social Media Advertising Strategies: Optimize Your Content
You have no doubt heard the phrase, “Content is king.” When it comes to your business’s digital presence, this point cannot be stressed enough. If you don’t have quality content, you will lose viewers, followers, and prospective customers. If you do have quality content, you could see your business reap incredible benefits, and social media advertising is the way to get that stellar content out on the screens of the people who will bring you those benefits.
So let’s say you are already creating quality, organic content for your business on social media–what we are focusing on here is how to optimize that great content as you advertise, particularly across multiple channels. Advertising on multiple channels is great, but when doing so, it is important to pay attention to what kind of content “sells” on each channel. If you sell products, using Instagram with its handy-dandy “shop now” advertising feature might be perfect for driving traffic directly to your online shop. If your goal is more page followers, Facebook might be your best bet.
Once again, the best way to determine how to do this is to look at your own advertising history: where did your ads particularly shine? If you are brand new to advertising and don’t have past data to analyze, then play around with it. The time and ad spend you dedicate to learning what type of advertisements work best for your business will pay off in the long run.
You can also look at your competitors. Where are they advertising? What types of ads are they running on each channel? What are they doing right and what are they doing wrong? You can learn from both.
Be ruthless and give your own business a social media audit frequently. Assess the data and figure out what isn’t working, what you need to change, and where you can take things to the next level. Social media is ever-evolving, and a smart business will evolve with it.
3. Social Media Advertising Strategies: Congruence Across Channels
Keeping your ads congruent across all channels may seem to contradict our previous strategy, but if we look a little deeper, we find they aren’t really opposites. Our third strategy is to maintain congruence of your brand’s voice, personality, and your advertising goals. It’s likely that you have common followers across your social media channels. Someone who follows you on Facebook should get the same message from your brand that they do on Instagram. This will help them remember you and can earn you loyal followers. The consistency also keeps your brand looking professional.
Remember the social media content calendar we mentioned above? This is a very helpful tool in achieving this congruence. Think of your business as if it were the protagonist you are writing in the next Great American Novel. What is your character’s (business’s) voice? What is his/her (its) main goal? What character traits, morals, and personality quirks does this character (business) possess that make him/her (it) unique, special, worth listening to (or, in the case of business, worth following, hiring, buying from, etc.)? Make sure that the content you are advertising across the board all reflects the voice, values, and goals of your business.
Run each social media platform like it is a unique piece of a whole; it should do its part to serve the big picture while also playing to the strength of the specific channel. In this way, the content we share on Twitter is going to look different than the content we share on Facebook, but in the end, they are both going to look like SocialNicole.
4. Social Media Advertising Strategies: Targeting the Correct Audience
Our next tip for social media advertising is one we consider a non-negotiable: determining the best audience for your ad. If you want your ad spend to go further, and to see better results (not only in the performance of your ads but in sales, too), targeting the best possible audience for what you are promoting is crucial.
In our first strategy, we told you to create a master plan which includes a goal. If you have a clear goal in mind, it likely involves the type of people you want to reach (or, if not, will make it much easier to determine the type of people you want to reach). Since you know your business best, you probably already know your customer demographic. You can build audiences for Facebook and Instagram, as well as Linkedin, advertising. Include age group, gender, job title, field of study, interest, and more to tailor-make your audience.
We also like to use retargeting audiences, which means creating an audience of people who have visited your website, added items to their online shopping cart, used your app, and more. Retargeting consumers who have already interacted with your business in some way can be a great way to boost sales, particularly if you were able to give these individuals a great experience the last time they visited your website or app, shopped your products, interacted with you on social media, or something else. Retargeting is a very valuable strategy, but you do have to have Facebook Pixel (or pixels from whatever social media channel you want to advertise on) installed on your website or on your app before you can take advantage of this audience group.
Our biggest tip for honing your audience selections is to test, test, test! As we have said above, we keep careful track of the ads we run and assess the metrics of their performance every week and month. Based off of these metrics, we will often change out audiences to test which bring in the best results. There are some general rules that will pretty consistently affect the results you see (for instance, a large audience will lead to a lower cost per result on your ads, while a tiny audience can cause this number to go way up), but in many ways you will have to test audiences and see what results you get.
5. Social Media Advertising Strategies: Quality Control
Our last, but not least, tip in this series is to maintain quality control of your ads. A master plan is the first step in our guide to great social media advertising, and part of quality control is to create this plan, keep it consistent, and adjust it every time you make an adjustment to the ads–keep a paper trail, so to speak, of the changes you make or suggest for your ads, so that your plan matches the actual ads being set, checked, and running every step of the way. This quality control extends to the content you are using as well. Making sure to use proper and consistent language and grammar, clean links, and high-quality images is important to maintaining the quality of your ad content.
As a professional social media marketing agency, SocialNicole takes extra measures to ensure accuracy for each and every ad and post we place. We have a very detailed “2nd check” process that we use for all ads and content placed. One of our team members is tasked with checking all work in detail against the approved ad plans and content documents. We have specific spreadsheets where this employee must sign off that every element was checked and place their own name and reputation (and job) behind it being right. With digital ads there are many moving parts, audiences, links, budgets, ads placement, creatives and more. Ensuring absolutely everything is done right is part of what makes us a leading social media marketing agency and why people choose to work with us. While this process may seem tedious, it is worth it to ensure the kind of quality that your business and your customers deserve.
With these 5 strategies in your wheelhouse, you are well on your way to more successful advertising on social media! Once you have created your master plan, created killer content (curated and congruent across all channels), targeted your ideal audience, and set in place a quality control system, you should start to reap the benefits of great social media advertising!
Still daunted by the idea of advertising on social media? Let us take it off your hands and do it for you! Contact us today – we are a full-scale social media agency which specializes in social media advertising, and we would love to share our expertise with you.