Maybe you're using paid social media ads because the organic reach of your posts is heart-breakingly low, or maybe you want a cost-effective way to reach new, relevant audiences.
It doesn't matter what your motivation for investing in paid social ads might be, what is important is ensuring you get the best possible return on your investment.
Here are seven ROI-boosting steps to take before you begin paying for social media ads:
1. Establish Who You're Going to Be Targeting
You can't create a social media ad, target it to "everyone", and expect to see results. The best performing social media ads are those that are targeted at a very specific audience.
If your email list is quite small (specifically, less than 1000 on Facebook) you can create a Lookalike Audience. This will target Facebook users that have been identified as similar to people in your current email list.
Alternatively most paid social ads will let you create (and target) an audience according to metrics like age, location, gender, and interests.
This is fine - just ensure you've taken the time to create a detailed picture of your customer persona before you begin.
2. Decide How Much You Want to Spend
Advertising should not be an impulse buy. Instead you should be deciding how much you want (and can afford) to spend ahead of time. Failing to do so could result in:
- Underspending, or
- Spending too much too soon
Determine your budget before you begin using paid social ads and you will be able to distribute your budget fairly throughout the month.
3. Decide What You Want to Achieve
Your goals will determine the type of ad you're going to create - especially on Facebook, where advertisers are spoilt for choice.
If you want increase your following you'll probably want to promote your page, or potentially, boost a post. If you're looking to promote a piece of content, you could boost a post, but you could also choose to "send people to your website".
This is a decision you need to make prior to each new ad you create.
4. Optimize Your Conversion Funnels
When a visitor lands on your site via a paid social ad, where should they go and what do you want them to do next?
In order to maximize the value of the visitors you get via paid social ads, it's important that a clear path to conversion is laid out for them once they land on your site.
You also need to reduce any points of friction that could lead a visitor astray or make them question their decision to come to your site - things like poor design or imagery, lengthy contact forms, and positioning of trust factors.
Failure to complete this step risks wasting an otherwise qualified and targeted lead (a lead that you've probably paid good money for).
5. Decide How You're Going to Track Results
We don't all share the same goals when it comes to social media marketing.
Some of us might be looking to grow our followers.
Some might want to build their email list.
Some might be trying to increase sales on their website.
It's important that before you begin paying for social media ads you determine what you're aiming to achieve and how you plan to track your results.
Most social networks feature tools for tracking internal results. Facebook provides details of individual ad performance within Ad Manager, while Facebook Insights delves further into the growth of your following and how people respond to your posts.
What Facebook can't tell you is how your audience acts once they land on your site. For this you will need Google Analytics.
To maximize the social data your Analytics receives you'll want to track ad campaigns with a Google Analytics URL.
You can build a URL from within Facebook, which you'll need to input while you're creating your ad.
Do this, and you'll be able to see how many people arrived on your site as a result of the ad by going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium in your Google Analytics.
6. Use Free Social Media to Test Your Ads
Before you begin paying for social media ads it makes sense to use standard (i.e. free) social posts to test subject matter, images, and copy.
Will your sample size of responses be very small?
But that doesn't mean the number of likes, shares, and comments these posts receive won't teach you a few valuable lessons that can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to creating paid ads.
7. Draft Multiple Ads
The best marketers are always testing - testing landing pages, emails, contact forms, and much more. Social media ads are no different. While it's a great idea to monitor the responses your free social media posts get, the information you'll gather is only useful up to a point.
To ensure you're getting the very best results from your ads, you should be split testing them. To do that, you need to be drafting multiple ads.
You might want to change the images, your copy, or the ad type you use. That's up to you. Whatever you choose to test, your goal is to establish which variation of that ad performs best for you.
Paid social media advertising is effective and great value for money, but like with most things in life, it pays to be prepared. If you want to maximize the ROI of your paid ads (and why wouldn't you?) completing the above seven steps will serve you well.