Choose the best social platform for paid campaigns with these 4 smart steps
It’s hard to see the marketing campaigns of giant corporations and not feel jealous of their seemingly limitless resources.
Take Netflix, for example, with their $2 billion advertising budget and their multi-award winning brand. Television, print, billboards and buses – the streaming video service advertises everywhere – and there’s one place in particular where they’re winning: social media.
Their strategies across every platform could be a case study in social media best practices and the numbers prove it’s working. Netflix ANZ has:
We can’t all be Netflix, however. If you’re like the majority of us, you need to allocate your spend and your budget a bit more strategically.
But how do you choose which social platform for your paid campaigns when there’s only so much to go around? While the networks ‘worth using’ are quite cemented at this point, there are always new updates to keep track of.
We’ve untangled this web a bit and broken down how to choose the most suitable platform to focus your paid campaigns in four easy steps.
Can confirm. pic.twitter.com/sgE0mzPRRf
— Netflix ANZ (@NetflixANZ) February 19, 2018
Step 1: Agree on an objective
Marketers know they should be on social media, but can you explain why?
Answering the question – ‘what am I hoping to achieve here?’ is an essential first step in crafting your strategy.
Consider the following social media goals and rank them in order of priority:
- Increase brand awareness,
- Connect with customers and build a community,
- Drive traffic to website,
- Boost brand engagement,
- Generate more leads,
- Increase in-person sales,
Once you know your reasons for being on social, you can start to strategise around which networks are best suited to your business.
You can do this based on your own understanding of the platforms and how they work. If you’re looking to connect with customers, for example, it follows naturally that you should definitely up your efforts on Facebook as that is by far the most widely used service. To generate B2B leads, you should spend more time on LinkedIn as its sole purpose is fostering professional connections.
Gauge your choice by tracking your own data. Did you set out on Instagram to drive website traffic? Check out your click-through-rate and inbound links to see how you’re tracking.
Step 2: Plot out your target audience
With your objectives in mind, it’s time to find out where your target audience is spending time.
Here’s a general overview of social network use among Australians:
- Facebook: 94 per cent of Australians,
- Instagram: 46 per cent,
- Snapchat: 40 per cent,
- Twitter: 32 per cent,
- LinkedIn: 18 per cent.
With Facebook nearly universal – boasting 2.07 billion monthly active users, to be exact – few businesses would even consider ignoring the social media giant. Other networks, however, are less widely used by the broader population and, therefore, less obligatory for your business.
Several factors play into social media preference, so use data-driven customer personas to determine where your customers are.
To start, think about the most basic demographics – age and gender.
Then dig in deeper – considering things like the industry and profession of those you want to reach.
If you work in the Information Technology and Services sector, for example, you’ll want to be on LinkedIn, as it’s the network’s’ number one industry. Those in ranching, however, are probably okay steering clear of the site, however, as the field is least likely to spend time on LinkedIn.
At this stage, it’s important to remember you simply can’t be all things to all people. Targeting everyone at once is typically a fruitless effort. Even Netflix – with their massive marketing spend – doesn’t spread their resources this thin. While certain series, including Master of None and House of Cards have their own Twitter handles, the majority don’t. This is undoubtedly guided by company research around Twitter use by fans of these shows.
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) July 4, 2017
Step 3: Decide on a budget
Okay, so you know where you want to be and why. Now it’s time to decide how much advertising you can afford.
Social promotion is priced differently than other forms of advertising. In many ways, you get to name your own price by letting the platform know what you’re willing to pay and then their magic algorithm goes to work to get you the best results for that amount.
This is advantageous for businesses just getting started because you can start small, gauge your results and see how much more you want to invest. As Facebook puts it in their advertiser help centre, “If you want to spend $5 a week, you can. If you want to spend $50,000 a week, you can do that too.”
There are some key differences between how the bidding platforms work on different networks.
On Facebook, you can bid in a few different ways:
- Cost per click,
- Cost per action/conversion,
- Cost per like.
The final price is affected by the type of ad you choose, the time of your campaign and the audience you choose to target.
— Mari Smith Top Facebook Marketing Expert (@MariSmith) June 24, 2017
LinkedIn offers three different types of promotion:
- Sponsored updates,
- Sponsored InMail,
- Text and Image ads.
Marketers pay for these based on clicks (CPC) or the price you’re willing to pay for 1,000 impressions (CPM).
Again, Twitter ad pricing is an auction-based system.
Advertisers on Twitter can chose to set bids for automatic or maximum. Automatic bidding lets Twitter optimise ads based on an advertiser’s objective and budget. With maximum bidding, advertisers manually select what they’ll pay for leads, clicks and engagements.
Promotion on Instagram falls under the Facebook advertising umbrella and is therefore priced in a very similar way.
The final cost of your Instagram ad will be based on:
- Your bid – either manual or automatic,
- Estimated action rates – based on target user’s past actions as well as the historical performance of an ad.
- Ad quality and relevance – based on negative and positive feedback, as well as target users’ Instagram activity.
- Audience targeting – if many brand are targeting the same audience, the ad will cost more.
Step 4: Choose your social platform
At this point, you should know:
- Exactly what you want your social promotion to achieve,
- Who you want to reach and which networks they use.
- How much you’re willing to spend.
All that’s left to do is choose your platform and get to work creating your ads.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you embark on your paid promotion journey:
Don’t forget about supporting content
Social profiles should tell your brand’s story. To do so, complement paid advertisements with supporting content such as photos, videos, articles and website links that reinforce your message without being too transactional.
Test organic posts before paying
Not sure which posts to promote? Take a look at your highest performing unpaid posts and determine why they fared so well. Was video included? Did you go behind the scenes? Make a special offer? Whatever it was, try to recreate that magic in your ads.
Correlate your data
It’s easy to track engagement on social media – likes, tweets, retweets, mentions, shares, comments – but don’t let these metrics stand alone. Compare them side by side with what you’re seeing in actual profits in the ‘real world.’ By doing so, you’ll be able to get a much more comprehensive understanding of how well your social media strategy is working.