How To Run Social Media Ads Successfully [Ad Campaign Structure]
In our current digital age, there are among 3 billion active social media users worldwide, making up about half of the entire population. (Source: Statista) If you run social media ads always keep this in mind, building the right social media ads for your brand on the wide spectrum of media platforms and for numerous users may seem like a strenuous task. Yet, with an effective strategic plan, social media advertising can present many opportunities to reach the right audiences, enhance awareness of your brand, and increase conversions for your business.
This blog will serve as a guide to creating the most valuable social media ads that will contribute to your brand’s overall mission.
Know Your Target Audience: Customer Avatars
One of the most essential aspects of designing your social media ad campaigns is to define your audience. In this, you can create the ideal customer avatars that will represent segments of your brand’s potential customer base. When defining your target avatars it’s important to do your research thoroughly. Here are some important aspects to identify:
The more you know your audience and are able to define their primary pain points, the more valuable your campaign will be; ultimately translating into more customer conversions. It will also answer one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, “What platforms should my business be on, and where should I run ads?”. If you know who you are intending to reach, you will know where to find them. For instance, do you sell products to an older demographic? Facebook may be the best ROI for direct conversions. Are you a B2B service needing to build brand awareness and organic connections? LinkedIn should be one of your main focuses. By understanding the who, you will be maximizing advertising costs with the greatest return.
A different approach to gaining knowledge of your target audience is to analyze competitors and industry leaders. Who are their primary target segments? What social media campaign strategies are they utilizing and what is the response and engagement they get from their followers? This information can serve to not only help define your brand’s ideal customer but also find gaps in your competitor’s strategy to spark ideas in differentiating your approach, content, and social media ad strategy by bringing more value to your audiences.
“I love the saying ‘success leaves bread crumbs’. There are plenty of models out there to help guide decision-making in your industry. Not only looking at competitors (like, kind, quality) to find gaps that you can take advantage of and gain market share but businesses that have established themselves at a high level that have gone through the heavy lifting of target audience identification and testing content and ad implementation.“
– Kate Donadio | CMO
Create A Strong Brand Presence Foundation
In order for your social media ads to convert your audience into potential leads, you must first create a brand identity. This begins with establishing a firm foundation for your brand’s social media platforms and website. In terms of social network users, 86% of Americans say a brand’s transparency on social media is one of the most determining factors for deciding whether to take their business to a competitor. (Source: SproutSocial) This emphasizes that brand authenticity will demonstrate credibility and boost the success of your social media advertising efforts. Ensure you have consistent brand colors, voice, and frequency of posting on the identified platform(s), and that you have a systematic approach to driving engaged prospects to a well-designed and optimized website.
Create a Sales Funnel
Building a sales funnel is similar to creating a blueprint of the desired outcome to your advertising plan. List what you want to occur and organize it into a chain of events. With this method, you are minimizing steps a potential customer needs to go through and maximizing organization for creating your ads. How many clicks does it take for them to perform the desired action like filling out a form or putting their contact information in to receive a download of valuable information from your website? Are there ways to optimize this process (I.E. have the ad go to a fillable form on the desired platform such as LinkedIn instead of multiple steps of your website)?
For guidance on structuring a sales funnel that matches your company’s advertising goals, be sure to read our informational blog that discusses the fundamentals of utilizing the AIDA model. Please keep in mind that the funnel you create should be customized to your company, personnel, and capabilities. Do you have someone that can service the leads as soon as they come in? What processes do you have in place to direct leads into a CRM (client relationship manager)? Be realistic with yourself and your team, and literally draw out the intended plan visually.
Build Ad Strategy Focused on Budget
It’s important to establish a plan of action for your paid social media advertising based on how aggressive you can be with your budget. Create an overall monthly budget that matches your current advertising goals and adjust as needed.
A helpful tip in designing your brand’s ad strategy is with a top-down structure:
- Campaigns (goals and desired outcomes)
- Ad sets (well-defined target audiences and segments)
- Ads (variations of messaging, aesthetics, and call to action to specific audiences based on goal)
Organizing your ad strategy comes down to precisely defining your goals. For example, let’s say you would like to increase overall brand awareness and conversions. First, be sure to understand your brand’s bearings. Maybe your company is new, been recently repositioned, had a shift in management, etc. Now, dive into specifics. Think strategically; do you want to increase your number of leads, website traffic, or direct sales? If your brand desires to accomplish multiple goals, create different ads for each category. You may be thinking, “everyone wants to increase their sales”. While this is true, without the proper brand foundation, sales funnel, brand awareness and outreach strategy, and social proof, direct response ads are less likely to be successful. Be realistic with where you are in the process, especially based on your overall marketing budget.
Once you have properly determined your primary campaign outcomes, defined target audiences, and structured your social platform ads, you can begin to focus on what audience is most likely to convert. This allows you to pivot your marketing efforts to that specific target’s needs and grow potential leads.
According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Deloitte LLP, and the American Marketing Association, marketing budgets now comprise 11 percent of total company budgets on average. Meanwhile, companies on average spend 7.5 percent of total revenue on marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, “As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” This percentage is based on companies that have margins in the 10-12 percent range (after expenses).
Craft Multiple Ad Copies and Audiences
The main focus of your social media ads should be centered on your desired audience. We have the tendency to want to believe and act upon our own experiences and biases. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we will be more likely to identify trends in our audience’s behavior, their main pain points, and how to bring them the most value in your ads through strategic tone and language.
Don’t create just one copy of an ad for a specific audience. Design multiple that stay consistent with your campaign’s desired message for a greater selection of options. In addition, allow several pairs of eyes to review the social media ads. By collaborating, your team can provide diverse feedback and ultimately design ads that best complement your advertising strategy, and avoid silly mistakes that can easily turn away potential leads (like spelling, grammar, or tone-deaf content based on current political or economic landscapes).
For further inspiration and ideas, be sure to research designs and models to help elevate your ad potential. Some examples of utilizing Facebook’s advertising opportunities can be found here.
Execute, Evaluate and Update
The process of running social media ads is not a linear line. It can be unpredictable and may require many changes and updates after it’s been established. Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, evaluate and update your strategy. Be sure to also elevate your strategy to comply with your budget and frequency of actions. For example, if it’s found many customers have left items in their cart, it may be appropriate to launch a campaign such as We Know Life is Fanatic, Take 20% Off Your Purchase On Us. Now, not only have the ads learned customer behavior, you have learned how to properly cater them to your audience’s needs.
If an ad campaign is not performing as well as expected or desired, it does not mean that it is a failure. With each campaign, ad audience set, and ad variation, you are gaining valuable data about your audience. To truly be effective in ad campaign execution, you must be able to read and understand what the data (and your audience) is telling you.
It is important to develop several ads, and be patient with ad delivery because it takes about seven interactions with your brand before a user takes an action. (Source: B2Bmarketing)
Paid social media ads can serve as a catalyst to successfully connecting with your audience on the largest media networks. At Dolomites Consulting Group, we specialize in developing strategies that align with your brand’s value proposition. Contact us today to see how we can assist with your brand’s vision.
- Gaining knowledge of competitor and industry leader ad strategies can help define your brand’s ideal customer and spark ideas to differentiate your social media ad strategy to bring more value to your audience.
- Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, update and evaluate your strategy.
- By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will be more likely to identify trends in their behavior, identify main pain points, and how to bring them the most value through strategic tone and language in your ads.
- The process of running social media ads is not a linear line, it requires time to operate, evaluate, and implement updates.