Top 12 best practices for your paid social media campaigns

As mobile usage grows, paid social media provides the perfect opportunity to provide relevant and timely ads to a specific target market to build brand awareness and increase sales for your business. Being able to target specific audiences in specific locations at specific times increases the likelihood of them converting. Social media marketing should form part of your digital marketing strategy to help you reach as many people as possible. Here are some of the best practices you should follow to make sure your paid social media advertising is as effective as possible. 

In the current online landscape, organic reach on social media has become a tough market so paid social advertising is being leveraged by many businesses to reach their target audiences.

74% of people use social media when making purchasing decisions and it plays a key role in nudging customers towards buying your products or using your services so it should play an important role in your marketing strategy. 

As mobile usage grows, paid social media provides the perfect opportunity to provide relevant and timely ads to a specific target market to build brand awareness and increase sales for your business. Being able to target specific audiences in specific locations at specific times increases the likelihood of them converting. 

Social media marketing should form part of your digital marketing strategy to help you reach as many people as possible. 

Here are some of the best practices you should follow to make sure your paid social media advertising is as effective as possible. 

What is paid social?

Paid social provides you with a way of displaying adverts or sponsored marketing messages on popular social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. It also allows you to target a very specific audience through various demographics. 

When you see a paid social ad, you will see a sponsored or promoted tag near the post. Every social media channel offers something different and lends itself well to different types of content:

  • Twitter - short form content 
  • Facebook - marketplace for shopping 
  • Instagram - visual content 
  • LinkedIn - networking with other professionals

Organic social media can take time to build momentum but a social campaign allows you to get started on a much faster basis. 

Getting started 

1. Determine your target audience 

The target audience you choose will play a huge part in whether or not your ad succeeds. Like with any of your other digital marketing activities, if you target the wrong people, they’re unlikely to take any interest in your ad and you won’t earn any sales or leads for your business. 

If you’re already running digital marketing activities, you should already have an idea of who you’re targeting. However, if you’re not sure, have a look at the typical customer visiting your website and social media pages and use this to form the basis of your targeting for paid social ads. 

Look at attributes such as:

  • Age range 
  • Gender 
  • Marital or family status 
  • Occupation 
  • Hobbies and interests 
  • Income 

You can use this information to build an idea of your typical customer. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can use this to deliver a message that resonates with your target audience and their needs. 

Utilise retargeting ads 

Retargeting is a great tool to use and these ads work for any goal or objective you’re looking to achieve. These ads will be shown to people who have already visited your website but didn’t convert. 

You can target customers who have added items to their basket but failed to purchase, or have spent a long time looking at a specific service page to help keep your brand top of mind and push them towards a purchase. Retargeting ads can remind customers about you when they’re in need of your product or service. It will also help to push those who were previously in the research phase to purchase. 

Build lookalike audiences 

If you’ve already run a successful campaign and want to build on its success or you have a large social media following, a highly effective way to build a successful ad is by using lookalike audiences. Social media networks will find people with attributes that are similar to your best customers and who will be more likely to engage or convert. 

2. Choose the right platforms 

Knowing who your target audience is not only crucial for targeting the right people, it also enables you to choose the correct platforms. 

Using the networks that your target audience is using means you’ll be able to target the people who are most likely to engage with your ads and your business. Have a look at the demographics for each platform to learn more about where your target audience is spending its time. 

If they spend their time on more than one platform, invest in a paid social strategy that focuses on those platforms. You don’t have to limit yourself to one platform and you don’t have to invest in every single social platform if that’s not where your audience is. 

Think carefully about the channels you want to use and, using only the platforms your audience is using, you’re more likely to generate better results. 

3. Set goals and objectives 

If you want to run a successful campaign, you need to know what your goals and objectives are. These should align with your overall business goals whether that’s increasing revenue or driving traffic to your website. 

Social platforms provide objectives to meet a range of business needs so there’s something for every business and ad. You might be looking to target different stages of the marketing funnel and there are objectives that will help you achieve this. For example, to boost sales from your social media ads, you might want to set your ad objective to focus on earning conversions. 

4. Decide your budget 

Social media advertising is one of the least expensive types of advertising in both the traditional and digital market. Paid social works on a pay to play model which makes it easy for you to target specific people without stretching your budget. You’re able to only target the people who are likely to engage with your brand, in comparison to TV or radio ads that are priced depending on the length of the ad and when it will air. 

This means you can keep track of the return on investment for your ad spend more easily and analyse the results. Paid social ad campaigns allow you to set your own daily or lifetime budget and the ad will stop running once this runs out to prevent you from over spending. However, you might want to keep an eye on the spend to make sure you’re getting the most out of your budget as once it runs out within a day, the ad will stop showing. 

Creating your ad 

5. Keep mobile in mind 

85% of mobile internet users are active on social networks. Mobile is more prominent than ever and the majority of your audience is likely to access social media on a mobile device. As a result, you’ll need to design your ads with mobile in mind. Make sure your copy isn’t too long and your images and video ads are easy to view on a small screen. 

6. Let your organic content inform your paid ads 

If you already have a presence on social media, it’s likely that you are already posting organically on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis. Some of these posts might attract a lot of attention and some might not. Think about which of the high performing posts could make the best candidates for your ads. If they’re getting engagement organically and you boost them to a similar audience, it’s likely they will resonate with your target audience too. 

When you’re running paid ads for the first time, this is a great place to start. 

7. Create compelling ad copy 

Your ad copy should catch your audience’s attention, be informative as well as action focused to drive those website visits or sales. This is one of the most important parts of your ad and could mean the difference between someone stopping scrolling or continuing. 

What should you bear in mind when you’re creating ad copy? 

  • Stay short and sweet - get your message across in a couple of sentences or less 
  • Keep within character count guidelines for chosen platforms 
  • Be informative 
  • Use relevant keywords 
  • Make sure your ad is actionable to drive visits to your site, regardless of your objective

8. Use high quality visuals 

No matter which ad formats you choose, the images or videos you use in your ads can determine their success. Low quality images or videos are less likely to be trusted by your audience and will make them much less likely to engage with your ad. 

High quality images and videos are more likely to capture your audience’s attention and make them more likely to engage with your ad. Make sure the creative is relevant to your campaign and the ad copy you’re using to make the ad as successful as possible. You might need to test your ads to find out which videos or images work best for your audience. Either way, make sure the visuals you use capture your audience’s attention straight away. 

9. Choose the right Call To Action

You will need to use your ad to guide your audience to take the next step. If you want to get visitors to act on your ad, you will need the right call to action to tell them how to proceed. If you’re advertising a product or series of products, you might want the CTA to be ‘Buy Now’. On the other hand, if you want them to read a piece of content ‘Learn More’ might be the best option. 

Most paid social ads have a list of predefined CTAs to choose from but there should be the perfect one for your ad.

10. Make sure your landing page is relevant 

Making sure your ad copy is spot on and the visuals are appealing is only half of the battle. Once you’ve drawn your target audience in with a brilliant ad and managed to get them to click through, the next step is getting them to take action on your landing page. 

Your landing page should match the promises made in your ad and provide visitors with everything they need to know about your products or services. This is the perfect opportunity to provide them with an excellent user experience and show them how your product or service can solve their problem. 

Monitoring your ads 

11. Test your ads 

You might run an ad and find that it doesn’t gain as much engagement as you’d hoped. All is not lost! Keep experimenting with different ad copy, images, videos and CTAs to see which version of your ad is most effective. We recommend testing each element separately so you can understand which parts of the ad are positively or negatively impacting your ad’s performance. 

12. Monitor ad performance 

Continuously monitoring your ad’s performance, both while it’s running and once it’s finished, will help you to get the best results for your business. It doesn’t matter which platform you use, you will still be able to see how your ad is performing. 

Social platforms will show you behaviours such as:

  • Ad views 
  • Ad clicks 
  • Conversions 

While your ad is running, keep an eye on it on a daily basis to learn more about the results its driving. Don’t just focus on one metric. Looking at the overall performance can give you an idea of how your ad is working and how your audience is interacting with it. 

If you’d like to learn more about how paid social media advertising can help your business, please sign up to our newsletter. 

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Blog written by

Dylan Bonsall
Digital Marketing Executive