A Beginner's Guide to Social Media Advertising

Josh Horton

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn all have at least one thing in common -- to extend your company’s reach (regardless of your industry). It helps to have a large following, but if you don’t there’s a great way to reach a large group of people.

4 Tips on How to Use Paid Advertising

All five of the major players in the social media realm offer paid advertising. Whether you’ve sworn off social media or are an avid user, the ad platforms can be confusing if you’re exploring them for the first time. If you want to use your budget in the most cost effective way, you’ll want to fully  understand what you’re trying to accomplish, as well as which social networks are will help you get there.

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1. Understand your audience

If you take away one thing from this post it should be the importance of defining who you’d like to reach. Social networks allow you to target specific users based on certain criteria, including

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Specific interests
  • Who they follow
  • Whether or not they already like your page
  • Specific location

Your audience should be based on your buyer persona, so you’re not wasting your hard earned money on an audience who doesn’t care or have a need for your brand.

2. Choose a budget

Now that you’ve defined who you’re going to target, it’s time to pick a budget. This will determine how many people you’ll reach. The one great thing about social channels is they give you a rough estimate of the amount of people in your defined audience, as well as how many of those people you’ll reach based on your daily budget.

For example: if you’re a major company trying to reach an audience of 10M over two weeks, you’ll need to spend much more than a small business trying to reach a few thousand people in a small town. The best way to determine your budget is to set your audience and then adjust your budget accordingly. If you’re audience is way larger than your budget allows then you should try and narrow your audience.

3. Create ads that lead to conversions

In order for your audience to engage with your ads, you need to make them relevant. Our friends at HubSpot make a great point about the goal of social advertising. “Fulfilling a need your audience has even though they are not actively searching for it.”

To fulfill the need of your audience, the ad should be subtle. This means the visual should be so good people don’t know it’s an ad until they read the copy. You can create these images in photoshop. Canva is also a terrific tool to create awesome visuals. We use it here all the time.

As far as the copy goes, it should be

  1. Actionable
  2. Include your value proposition
  3. Be compelling.

It can be tough to fit these three into a twitter ad, so make sure you make every character count.

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4. Is this thing on?!

Anytime you invest you want to see if the investment is working or not. For example, if I bought new basketball shoes I should be able to dunk, right? All kidding aside, there are certain metrics you’ll want to pay special attention to during your campaign.

Engagements

Engagements are exactly what they sound like. They tell you the amount of people engaging with your ad. You can also see post reactions, comments, shares, clicks and page likes.

Engagement Rate

Your engagement rate is the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions. This helps you determine if the number of engagements is as good, or as bad, as you think it is. A high engagement rate means your audience is responding to your ads.

Cost

You should always monitor your ad spend to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes when setting your budget. However, you can also justify your investment by tracking cost per impressions, cost per engagement, and cost per acquisition.

Do Your Research

Another common theme among these social channels is they are constantly changing, upgrading, adding, or removing certain features. Just like anything else in the digital realm, if you want to be successful you’ll have to keep up with the ever-changing best practices.

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