Social media has become one of the top necessities for brands to be successful in their marketing plans. With billions of people logging on to at least one social media platform per day, brands must go online to stay in touch and communicate with their customers. Some brands are now beginning to use paid social marketing campaigns to reach even more consumers online.
In fact, social media has become so important that nearly 80 percent of businesses have full-time teams dedicated to their social media. Over recent years, however, marketing in social media has expanded beyond merely having social media accounts, and brands have begun investing in social media advertising. So, when it comes to creating a strong social marketing campaign, where do you begin?
Understanding and Choosing the Right Social Ad Platform
Almost all of the popular social media platforms offer some type of advertising to businesses. Each has their own benefits, depending on your marketing goals and target audience. According to Web Strategies, these are the most popular social ad platforms:
Finding the right social medium to run your campaign depends on several factors. Before you start creating ads for each of your social media accounts, it’s important to understand how each social media platform’s advertising services work. To help, we’ve broken down the most popular.
1. Social Marketing Campaigns on Facebook and Instagram
Because Facebook and Instagram run on the same ad manager, it’s best to consider these two platforms together (Note: you can run Facebook ads without running Instagram ads, but you cannot run Instagram ads without running it on Facebook). With more than 2 billion people using Facebook and 500 million using Instagram each month, Facebook’s ad manager is by far the most popular social advertising platform. Note, if you’re not ready to jump to Facebook advertising, you can still boost regular Facebook posts.
Facebook Advertising marketing objective options, courtesy of Facebook.
Advertising Objectives: Facebook and Instagram campaigns allow you to set up ads based on different ad objectives–awareness, consideration and conversion. Within these objectives are more specific goals, including:
- Awareness: brand awareness, reach
- Consideration: traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation
- Conversion: conversions, product catalog sales, store visits
Example of Instagram and Facebook ad display, courtesy of Facebook/Instagram.
Ad Formats: There are several ad formats you can choose from when advertising on Facebook and Instagram, all of which cater to visual content. Depending on the your ad objective, you can create one of the following ads (read more about each ad type here):
- Single Photo: Use a singular image paired with text
- Video: Use recorded or animated video
- Carousel: show multiple photos or videos within one ad
- Slideshow: lightweight video ads
- Collection: a showcase of your products
Measuring Analytics: Facebook Business allows you to track your ads progress within Ad Manager. This tool measures:
- Cross-device performance
Both Facebook and Instagram offer audience insights to tell you more about the people following your accounts, those within your ad targeted audiences and people on the social platforms in general (e.g., demographics, likes/interests and lifestyles). You can also implement split testing for your social marketing campaigns to find the most effective ad visuals and copy.
2. Twitter Ads and Campaigns
Twitter is often seen as a news social platform, rather than marketing. However, many of the millions of tweets sent out are brand and business related. In fact, nearly 38 percent of people will post their opinion about a brand on Twitter, and 41 percent will purchase products after seeing them in a Twitter ad.
Twitter marketing objective options, courtesy of Twitter.
Advertising Objectives: Like Facebook and Instagram ads, Twitter bases advertisements on different objectives, including:
- Awareness: to reach as many Twitter users as possible
- Followers: to increase your accounts audience and gain new followers
- Promoted video views: to get more views on a GIF or video content
- Website clicks or conversions: increasing traffic to your website
- Tweet engagements: maximizing engagement of your Tweeted content
Examples of promoted Twitter posts and accounts, courtesy of Twitter.
Ad Formats: On Twitter, each ad objective is promoted in one of two ways. This can be through promoting individual tweets or your account. Either way, Twitter’s main goal is to get your content or your brand name in front of more Twitter users.
- Promoted Tweets: individual Tweets are promoted to increase reach/impressions and promote video content or a link to your website
- Promoted Account: account will be promoted in the “Who to Follow” section to increase followers
Measuring Analytics: The Twitter Campaign Dashboard allows you to manage ads and track progress. It includes tools that measure:
- Engagement rate
- Cost per result
Like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter also offers audience insights, where you can see follower growth, interests and demographics (e.g., languages, gender and location).
3. Mastering LinkedIn Social Marketing Campaigns
There are more than 500 million professionals using LinkedIn to connect with others, and these professionals have more than two times the buying power of the average web audience. As the top professional networking site, LinkedIn is a the best place for business-to-business (B2B) marketing and advertising.
LinkedIn advertising audience targeting options, courtesy of LinkedIn.
Advertising Objectives: LinkedIn ads are based on your marketing goals and can be created to achieve one of three goals, including:
- Generate business leads
- Drive website traffic
- Build brand awareness
Example of a LinkedIn ad display, courtesy of LinkedIn.
Ad Formats: There are three main types of LinkedIn advertisements you can implement to reach your marketing goals, including:
- Sponsored content: promoted content to drive awareness and leads
- Sponsored inmail: personalized content sent to users’ LinkedIn inboxes
- Text ads: short, sweet ads that appear in the “Ads You May Be Interested In” section on LinkedIn
Measuring Analytics: LinkedIn’s analytics focus on conversion tracking and reporting. Through the Campaign Manager, you can see:
- Total conversions: all actions of visitors to your website (e.g., downloads, sign-ups, etc.)
- Post-click conversions: number of times a conversion was fired after the user clicked on an ad
- View-through conversions: number of times a conversion was fired after a user viewed your ad and visited your website at a later time
- Conversion rate: number of times a conversion was made after someone viewed your ad
- Cost per conversion: average amount spent on each conversion
- Conversion value: total dollar value of all conversions
- Return on ad spend: percentage of revenue generated for every dollar of ad spend
4. Social Ads on Snapchat
Snapchat advertising is by far the most differentiated advertising. Compared to other social platforms, Snapads are quite different from traditional social marketing campaigns. Many of the ads are interactive and include video or other visual content. With more than 173 million people using the platform daily, it can prove to be a successful (albeit somewhat pricey) advertising option.
Snapchat advertising objectives, courtesy of Snapchat.
Advertising Objectives: Through a Snap for Business account, you can create ads that help businesses achieve three different objectives:
- Raise awareness: reach a large engaged audience
- Increase consideration: encourage an audience to learn more about your business
- Drive action: drive users to visit your website and interact with your brand
Example of Snapchat ad displays, courtesy of Snapchat.
Ad Formats: Snapchat offers three advertising options through its Snapad manager to achieve your advertising objectives and depending on your budget, including:
- Snap Ads: the standard vertical video ad, which can be customized in three ways
- Web view: drive traffic to a preloaded website, where users can sign up with email directly on the Snapchat app
- App install: drive app downloads, where users can install the app to their mobile device without leaving the Snapchat app
- Long-form video: drive views of video content (e.g., movie trailer, tv show, how-to video, etc.) in a minimum 15-sec video (Learn more here)
- Snap Filters (aka Geofilters): photo filters that appear based on a user’s location to promote a business or event
- Snap Lenses: animated, interactive photo filters that reach users on a large scale
Measuring Analytics: Snap for Business helps you manage campaigns and see results for each ad type. Snap Ad Reporting shows a variety of metrics, including:
- Delivery (impressions, video views and quartiles for length of time the video was viewed)
- Spend (total spend, cost per thousand impressions and cost per video view)
- Attachment (swipe ups to view more, cost per swipe and average screen time)
- App Install (total installs, install rate and cost per install)
- Long Form Metrics (quartiles for swipe-up attachment viewing)
Snapchat’s Filter Reporting measures analytics for geofilters and provides performance data on:
- Swipes: number of times users viewed the geofilter by swiping left or right on their photo
- Uses: number of times the filter was sent in a snap or posted to a snap story
- Views: number of times users view a snap with your filter by watching a friend’s story or receiving a snap using the filter
- Reach: unique number of snapchatters who saw the filter
- Use rate: rate at which geofilter is used when seen in the filter carousel
- Swipe time: average amount of time a person spent playing with the filter
Elements of a Strong Social Marketing Campaign
Once you’ve discovered the best social platform to advertise on, the next step is to build content that will promote your business, achieve your marketing goals and help you nurture customer relationships. Your ads will most likely be seen by current customers and potential customers, so it’s important that the content is targeted to them. So what does the best social ad content consists of? Here are four steps to building a successful ad.
1. It Catches Consumer Attention
The best social advertisements grab consumers’ attention. The easiest way to do this is through strong visuals. If your ad is going to be successful, you need striking imagery that will stop customers mid scroll on their social feeds. Use bright, colorful images that will stand out from all of the selfies, vacation photos and cute cat videos on the average social media feed.
Your content should also be upfront. Long descriptive paragraphs will drive customers away fast, so keep your copy short, sweet and to the point. Many ad formats help you cut back on the copy by having character restrictions. It’s best to get to the point and make your offer and the customers’ benefits obvious. You can explain in more detail on your website landing page.
Facebook ad call-to action (CTA) examples, courtesy of Facebook.
Finally, use a strong call-to-action (CTA), so your consumers know what the next step is. Your CTA should encourage an action that will drive customers to your website (e.g., “Learn More,” “Order Now” or “Buy Now”).
2. It Gives Customers Something of Value
Strong social ads know their target audience, what they like and their buying habits. Whether it is a percentage discount, BOGO deal or a free item, the best social campaigns get results by giving customers something of value, especially in our society of instant gratification.
Facebook ad example, courtesy of Facebook.
Your ad should easily show customers it’s value and why their participation is worth their time. If a new customer sees your ad, they should be encouraged to interact with you for the first time. A returning customer should feel valued, and the offer should nurture the relationship you already have established.
3. It Knows It’s Target Audience
A strong social marketing ad is created with the most important group of people in mind–customers. As a business, you may not know your customers on a first-name basis, but you should know them as a group. Not all of your customer group is the same, which is where buyer personas become a useful tool to understand your different target audience groups.
Any marketing content should be targeted to the right audience, and different customer groups will need different marketing strategies. When it comes to your social media ads, it’s important to primarily understand which social networks your audience is active on and whether they use those platforms as a basis for their buying decisions.
4. It Has a Carefully Chosen Budget
As part of your marketing plan, your social advertising will have its own portion of your budget. A strong social advertisement doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend big bucks. When deciding how to spend your budget, consider your marketing goals and how you want to see your money spent. Most social ad platforms will let you set a daily or total budget, and will charge you in one of two ways:
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC): Cost-per-click budgets will charge you each time a user clicks on the link in your ad. This is most common with ads aiming to increase web traffic.
- Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM): Cost-per-thousand impressions will charge from your budget each time your content makes 1,000 impressions (or is seen by 1,000 people). This is most common for ads looking to grow reach and increase brand awareness.
Setting up a social marketing campaign, like almost every other marketing investment, takes careful preparation and strategy. It starts by understanding your target audience and finding the social platforms they are most active on. From there, you need to capture customers’ attention and drive them to interact with your brand. With the right combination of copy and visuals, you can build new and nurture existing customer relationships so they keep coming back for more!