How to Plan Effective Social Media Advertising Campaigns

cellphone addiction to social mediaSocial media has blown up in recent years and as expected almost, if not all, of the major platforms, have found a way to cash in on the expansion. As the channels develop, businesses must follow suit and develop a solid social media advertising strategy.

96{ba0a9a3e15355dd97c9749cb9a24ec6f5ef05feff25622efecfa17819de82733} of social media users have visited a social network in the past month, and 77{ba0a9a3e15355dd97c9749cb9a24ec6f5ef05feff25622efecfa17819de82733} actively engage or contributed to social media. In fact, every day, the average UK social media user spends 1 hour 50 minutes on social media. With figures like this, you can see why these platforms become prime advertising space.

So, how can you design a social media advertising strategy that delivers results?

What Are Your Objectives?

Objectives are a good place to start with any planning effort. However, don’t be fooled into just setting any objective that comes to mind. Planning your objectives strategically means being smart. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound, and this formula is what’s going to help you get objectives that will deliver actual results.

Specific – Make sure the goals you set are specific and apply to you or your business directly. This makes the objective a much more valuable use of your time.

Measurable – This is going to allow you to tell when exactly the objective has been met. For example, do you want to sell more? Measure this by units sold. Do you want to increase website traffic? Measure by click-through rates or conversions.

Achievable – If targets are set too high, it causes stress, which decreases the chances of meeting them – if they’re set too low, it won’t push you or motivate you to work harder.

Realistic – Ambitious goals are a good thing to have but being too ambitious leads to low motivation if goals aren’t met.

Timebound – Deadlines are necessary for proper measurement of success. If you set a goal and give yourself no deadline, or a loose deadline of a year, for example, this doesn’t actively measure your performance. Set reasonable deadlines, evaluate your campaigns and adapt as needed.

Choosing a Platform

Depending on what your brand is and what you’re trying to achieve with your goals. The top 3 platforms in the UK are:

  1. Facebook

70{ba0a9a3e15355dd97c9749cb9a24ec6f5ef05feff25622efecfa17819de82733} of UK adults have Facebook, which makes it the country’s most popular social media.

What you get: link-click ads, video ads and boosted posts. Link-click ads and video ads are there to spread unique content, whereas boosted posts are used to promote your brand’s existing posts from a Facebook page.

  1. Instagram

Owned by Facebook, Instagram is a great platform for visually-based advertising.

On the platform you have five options: story ads, photo ads, video ads, carousel ads and collection ads. Each of these has its benefits. Stories allow you to create branded 15-second content and insert a ‘swipe up’ link to your brand, with photo and video ads you can do the same, although you will get an embedded ‘shop now’ link, and videos last up to 1 minute. Carousel ads allow you to add multiple images to an ad and collection ads allow you to tell an integrated story through video, images or both.

  1. Twitter

Twitter offers advertisers five different forms of advertising. Promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends are all options that will allow brands to promote their existing Twitter content and have it seen across the wider platform.

Website cards feature a large image attached to a tweet and clicking on the image will send users to your landing page. An app card allows a name, description and icon, and highlighted attributes such as the rating and the price that users can click on to download the app.

Finding the Right Audience

Surprisingly, 21.4{ba0a9a3e15355dd97c9749cb9a24ec6f5ef05feff25622efecfa17819de82733} of small business owners don’t think social media is effective for reaching their target customers. The best way to ensure that you don’t fall into this percentage is to make sure that you are targeting the right people on the right platform.

There are a few ways that you can locate and research your audience first; you’ll want to create a ‘consumer persona’ that details the ideal consumer for your brand. This will outline things like age, gender, location, preferences etc

From then, you’ll need to do some research – what platforms do you target age group/gender/interest group most regular use? Also, research consumer’s online behaviour – where are they? Who are they following? What content do they consume?

Planning Your Content

Many of the aspects from above are also applied to content research. However, when it comes to content, there are other things you can also do. Do a content audit of your own current content. What type of website or social media content do you have that performs well? Is it videos? Photos? Blog posts? Audio? Use this insight to inform the type of content you use for your advertising.

Look at the type of content that your consumers are engaging with and consuming, as well as what your competitors are doing. This will all help inform what type of content you should be creating and will also help you decide which type of advertising and which platform you use.

Measuring Success

There are many ways that you can measure the success of your campaigns, and you must have some plans in place for how you analyse your campaign performance.

If you want to do things the old-fashioned way you can create excel social media audit sheets and use them to track your follower and engagement changes manually.

The most common tool you can use is Google Analytics which can be used to measure campaign performance, as well as the in-built analytics features on the individual social media platforms to track the performance of campaigns and specific pieces of content.

Finally, make sure you are checking these results against your SMART objectives to see what you have attained, and where changes might need to be made going forward.

Chris HeadshotAuthor Bio: Chris Smith is a writer and blogger. Over his career, he has written for several high-profile publications, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, GoDaddy and The Huffington Post. He writes about sport, business and finance on his website, Spend It Like Beckham.

Rob Boirun
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