Amid constant modifications to social media algorithms and search engine rankings, getting your content noticed can be challenging. While organic search is the cost-free and perhaps more convenient option, the chances of going viral without leaving some money on the table are slim.
Even though earned and owned media retain their marketing value, paid advertising on social networks is the surest way to generate traffic and sales from day one. As of 2021, 75% of Generation Z and 48% of Millennials will make purchase decisions influenced by social media advertising, and in 2020, social media advertising spend in the U.S. was estimated at $40.3 billion.
Whether you’re a large or small business, social media advertising is a must, especially if you want to stand out from the crowd, attract more visitors to your content, and increase sales.
What is social media advertising?
Social media advertising or social media targeting is advertising displayed to users on social media platforms.
Social networks use user information to serve highly relevant ads based on interactions within a specific platform. In many cases, when the target market matches the demographic characteristics of a social platform’s users, social advertising can considerably increase conversion rates and revenue with lower acquisition costs.
In this blog post, we’ll go over all aspects of social media advertising, from managing a campaign and giving practical examples of how to put it into practice.
How to manage your social media marketing campaign
1. Run your ad campaigns manually
Of the three ways to manage a campaign, running it is the cheapest and easiest option. All you need to do is choose an advertising platform and set up your campaign.
Running an ad campaign allows you to invest 100% of your budget in testing ads and finding the best ones instead of spending extra money on ad management tools or agency fees.
When you take responsibility for your campaigns yourself, you inevitably develop an eye for advertising so you can learn and improve your campaigns in the future. Instead of letting someone else do the work, you can become the expert and speak the language yourself, even if you hire outside advertising agencies down the road.
Of course, becoming an advertising expert takes time and commitment, which means the time you invest in advertising will be lost in other areas of your business. Especially if you are a business owner, it may not be beneficial if you spend hours on advertising because you have a busy schedule.
And just because you invest a lot of time to become an advertising expert doesn’t mean your advertising will succeed. Especially if you’re getting into the world of advertising, investing so much time and risk of not getting the results you want can be a gamble.
Who it’s ideal for
If you have a limited budget and don’t have the means to hire an advertising agency, running your campaigns is the best solution – but unless you’re already an experienced advertiser, you’ll require to invest the time and effort to learn.
However, a second option may be more suitable if you don’t have the money or time.
2. Run your advertising campaigns through automated software
Considering that social media ad spending is expected to reach $153,974 million in 2021, it’s no wonder that there are a variety of third-party tools available to help you manage your campaigns.
Sometimes on-site ad managers aren’t the most user-friendly. Still, third-party tools like AdEspresso or Revealbot can make optimizing Facebook ad campaigns and analyzing results much more straightforward than Facebook’s ad manager.
Or you can even use automated tools like Adext, which manages the entire campaign using AI. This way, you can focus on other areas of your business while the platform takes care of the rest.
With so many tools on the market, you can save time, optimize campaigns, and ensure your money is going to ads that lead to sales.
Although third-party tools are often relatively affordable, they still represent additional costs that need to be considered.
And just like running your ad campaign manually, there’s a risk with automated software that you’ll spend money but not get the desired results. And since you don’t have control over the entire campaign process, it may be harder to see where the ad manager is failing.
Who is it ideal for?
Using third-party tools is the happy medium for merchants working with a tight budget but also don’t have the time to invest in running their campaigns.
Creating a successful campaign is possible with automated software and minimal time investment, and for business owners with limited resources, this is probably the best option. However, it’s easiest to turn to professionals for those who have the budget and want the best advertising campaign possible.
3. Hire a managed service to run your advertising campaigns
While this last option is often the most expensive, it’s also the easiest and probably brings the most benefits. Rather than relying on your expertise or automated software, hiring a professional is the most reliable option to get the results you want.
The most obvious benefit of hiring an advertising professional is knowing what they’re doing – it’s their job. Therefore, the chances of getting the results you want are much higher.
Also, hiring a managed service means you don’t have to work and can invest your time and energy in other areas of your business that require more attention. So, even though you pay a fee and advertising expenses, you hope your advertising will lead to constant sales and give you a positive net result.
The only downside to hiring an advertising agency is that you can waste a lot of money if you don’t hire a good advertising agency.
Unfortunately, some agencies are just self-proclaimed experts who mislead their clients into wasting money. So, ensure you do your research well and hire only trustworthy professionals.
For whom it is ideal
You can always hire a new and better agency. Hiring a managed service is the ideal solution for those who have the budget and want to generate immediate revenue. And since social media advertising is easily measurable, you’ll know who to blame if your ads don’t meet your expectations.
Five steps to building a creative social media advertising strategy
1. Determine what you want to sell
If your eCommerce business only makes and sells one product, or if you already have an obvious bestseller, you can skip this step.
However, suppose your business has a more significant product catalog. In that case, you need to figure out which of your products are the most valuable and, therefore, should be the focus of your promotional efforts.
2. Research your audience
Ultimately, customers don’t just buy the physical product itself but, more importantly, what the product can do for them. Common Thread Collective identifies three levels of product issues:
- Physical: The product itself.
- Functional: What the product does for the customer.
- Identity: how the product makes the customer feel.
So before you try to sell anything to your target audience, you must understand who they are and what they want. But the question of what purpose your product should serve and what your customers want can’t always be answered in black and white.
Here are some tips to help you answer these questions
First, read reviews! Whether positive or negative, customer reviews are a valuable indication of what your customers want and how they view your product. These reviews can come from your online store, blogs, YouTube videos, or Reddit posts.
Take the time to read through them – they will either reassure you that your business is on the right track or give you clues on how to change direction.
Second, use Google Trends and keyword searches to understand how customers feel about different products and topics.
All you must do is type in a word or phrase, and the Related Searches section will show which regions have the highest search volume for that term, as well as related topics and searches that open up avenues that could have the potential for your business.
Finally, search for related hashtags on your brand’s social networks – this could be an excellent opportunity to find organic search queries for your products.
3. Use a creative platform
While the emergence of social media has opened up many new opportunities for digital advertising, you also need to face the fact that all social platforms have their limitations. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook – they all do.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative within those boundaries. There are many opportunities for advertising on social media, but social platforms are very different from television and magazines, so you have to consider some limitations.
You have less time to capture the audience’s attention.
In a world of endless scrolling and short videos, it’s no wonder Facebook users spend an average of just 1.7 seconds with a piece of mobile content.
So marketers have less and less time to capture customers’ attention before they scroll on to the next piece of content. To achieve this, you should reject the traditional TV story arc – rising action, climax, falling action – and instead introduce a new story arc that starts with the climax. This way, your ads can captivate customers from the start and lead them seamlessly to a call to action.
Your product should be the star of the show
Lifestyle product photography and ads have value, but ultimately it’s about selling a product, so it should be the focus. Don’t focus too much on the models, the actors, or all the trappings of creating ads – instead, focus on the product itself and let it speak for itself.
Create ads for mobile devices
Since over 98% of Facebook users access the app through a mobile device, your ads shouldn’t just be suitable for a 16 x 9 TV or desktop screen – they need to be adapted for mobile use.
Not only should your ads physically fit on a mobile screen, but they also need to be designed with the mobile user in mind. That means legible branding, large and clear text, eye-catching graphics, and interactivity whenever possible.
4. Create a digital marketing campaign
Now that you know your product, target audience, and platform, it’s time to put each piece into action. Not sure where to start?
Here are four steps to help you on your way to a successful digital marketing campaign
Define your goals
While it may seem like an obvious first step, setting clear and achievable goals is an essential foundation for a successful campaign. It can be easy to jump into a campaign with a lot of vision and ambition, but if you’re not purposeful, those ambitions can fall short. Whether it’s brand awareness, more followers on social media, or a higher SEO ranking, ensure you have a definable goal to guide your decisions throughout the process.
Identify your target audience
Although we’ve touched on this before, it’s worth saying again: know your target audience! The better you understand your customers, and what they want, the better you can tailor your advertising to their needs.
Create customer personas
This action goes hand in hand with the previous one, but here you go into a little more depth. A customer persona is a detailed description of your target customer that highlights their demographics such as age, location, occupation, income, and other details that may influence their buying decisions.
Determine your budget
While this may not be the most fun part, determining your budget is key to determining your limits and how you should allocate your resources. Fortunately, social media marketing is typically less expensive than traditional marketing, so you often get more bang for your buck with your digital media investments.
5. Improve your performance
ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) can tell you if your advertising is working but not why it isn’t.
After all, social media advertising aims to drive traffic and increase sales. But before a customer clicks the “complete purchase” button, they have to go through several steps to get there – and as a marketer, it’s your job to ensure they do.
Types of social media marketing
Gone are the days when billboards and magazines were the only advertising mediums. In the growing world of content and digital marketing, there are various advertising options, each with its strengths and limitations. Below, we highlight some of the most common types of ads and how they can add value to your campaign.
1. Photo ads
The photo ad is probably the most well-known type, which you’ll often see in news feeds, sidebars, and banners. They’re a little easier to create than other ads like videos and stories, but you must ensure your photos are high quality. For example, Sprout Social recommends 1080×1080 pixels for Instagram images and carousel ads.
Photo ads are great for building brand awareness because they put your product right in front of the customer’s eyes. Make sure that your images are stylistically consistent with your posts and Stories so that users immediately associate the ad with your brand.
And, of course, photo ads are an effective way to drive traffic to your website. A Facebook study found that a series of photo-only ads outperformed other ad formats in terms of driving traffic.
Unlike organic posts, photo ads can include a call-to-action button like “Shop Now” or “Download,” which helps create a seamless customer buying experience.
2. Video ads
According to Vidyard, more than half of all social media users will watch a full video if it’s less than a minute long, and the longer the video, the lower that percentage becomes.
That means you only have a short time to capture and keep users engaged. Fortunately, on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you can create short continuous loop video ads that users can quickly watch and interact with as they scroll through their feed.
3. Stories ads
According to a study by Instagram Business, half of the users surveyed said they visited a website to buy a product or service after seeing it in a Stories ad. And considering Instagram has 1 billion active users, that’s a massive opportunity for you to get your brand noticed.
When you advertise on Facebook Stories, a photo can be viewed for six seconds, while a video can play for up to 15 seconds. On the other hand, Instagram Stories ads can be up to 120 seconds long, whether you use photos or videos. On both platforms, Stories ads are displayed in full-screen format, so your product will be the focus while you have your customers’ attention.
4. Messenger ads
No, social media ads don’t just have to appear in a user’s newsfeed! Unlike photo, video, and story ads, Facebook Messenger ads appear between conversations on the user’s Chats tab in Messenger. Potential customers can click on the ad to start an automated conversation through Messenger, or the ad can connect them to your website to browse products.
Examples of social media advertising
After you’ve determined your social platform and the type of ads you want to run, it’s time to start beating the advertising drum. To help you get started, here are five social media hacks you can use to draw more attention to your content and convert viewers into customers.
1. Audience targeting
Audience targeting means focusing on a specific demographic, age, gender, occupation, or interest – but you can’t target everyone with the same tactics.
By researching keywords, interviewing customers, and creating clear customer personas, you can get a better picture of your customers and target them more accurately.
Not only should you target new and potential customers, but you should also ensure to retarget existing customers. This way, you can remind your customers about your brand even if they have already made a purchase, and it’s much more cost-effective than advertising to potential customers.
2. Advertise on social media platforms
That may go without saying, but an essential aspect of advertising on social media is to add value to your social media strategy. Promoting and repurposing your organic content on social media helps tell your brand story and make it stand out.
3. Paid search and social ads
Using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), you can tailor your PPC search ads based on whether a customer previously visited your online store and which pages they viewed. This way, you can target users who are already familiar with your business.
However, you can go a step further by combining paid search with social ads to target those who know your brand and those who don’t yet.
By first targeting your audience with social ads, you can increase brand awareness and help customers become familiar with your products. Then, when they see your PPC ads later, they’ll feel more comfortable and inclined to click on your website.
4. Improve the quality score
Quality score is a ranking metric that search engines use to indicate the quality of your keywords and PPC ads and is, therefore, an essential aspect of social media advertising. The greater your quality score, the higher your ad will rank and the more views it will receive at a lower cost per engagement. By posting organically on social advertising platforms and tracking interaction with each ad, you can figure out which paid ads perform best – those are the ones you want to promote.
5. Optimize user engagement for SEO
Optimizing your ad content is one of the most important ways to drive traffic to your website and increase sales. Among other ranking factors such as keywords, page speed, and mobile-friendliness, one potential SEO factor is user engagement. These metrics include click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, and conversion rate, among others.
But even though user engagement is not a key ranking factor for search engines, high CTRs and conversion rates still lead to better organic search rankings and more conversions.
Especially in e-commerce, social media advertising is one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your target audience and convert them into customers. No other advertising option can deliver consistent, scalable leads like social advertising.
As more and more retailers dip their toes into social media, it’s essential to know this advertising medium inside and out and build out your strategy. You’ll be ahead of the curve with these tips and actionable goals to guide you through the process.
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