Getting started with social media advertising
Ellie Tudor, Senior PR and Marketing Executive
- Building the perfect, targeted audience
- It’s all about the design
- Learning from your mistakes; measuring the success with useful data
The power of social media cannot be denied. The Social Bakers’ Q3 2020 Social Media Trends Report found that global social ad spend rose 56.4% in Q3 2020 compared with figures recorded at the end of Q2. Coupled with the fact that more brands are turning to social media advertising in place of print due to the pandemic and the realisation that people are spending more time than ever online, means that now is the time to get stuck in. Not only can these online platforms enhance the profile of your business but excellent customer service, engaging posts and relevant and insightful content can grow your following and, in turn, create a loyal audience base who keep coming back for more. The demand and expectation of consumers when it comes to social media is only set to rise over the coming years and brands need to move with the times.
When first considering how to approach social media, it’s important to dedicate time to building a truly authentic voice for your brand or business. It’s crucial not to approach the platforms as a one-way broadcast opportunity, instead, develop a strategy which delivers a version of the brand which is relevant, authentic and engaging on social media. Social media is ultimately about conversation and social interaction. Each channel within the social media ecosystem delivers something different for the people who use it, each with its own vernacular, personality and a gigantic back catalogue of inside jokes it’s impossible to get completely clued up on. Your brand’s traditional audience can be anywhere from subtly to completely different on social media. And therefore, expecting to be able to transpose existing marketing assets and insights onto a social media channel is ultimately to underestimate the channels.
So, before beginning to build an effective social media advertising strategy, the best place to start is to invest time in building an organic following. Building an organic following will provide the key to understanding your social media audience by giving you data on who is seeking out your brand without the benefit of advertising. Once you know who those people are, you will be able to develop and curate your target audiences with greater efficacy.
Four tips for getting started:
- Set out the key objective(s) for the ad
First, take the time to reflect on what you want the ad to achieve. Are you looking to drive attendance at an event? Do you want to encourage followers to make a purchase? Do you want to push people to your website so that they learn about the services on offer? Depending on the objective the layout, messaging, audience, graphics and even the platform you use for advertising may differ, therefore you must understand what you’re trying to achieve before you move any further along.
- Know your audience
When it comes to social media advertising, the set up on each platform is slightly different. With an objective decided and a key audience in mind, it is important that you make the most of the detailed targeting functions that each platform offers so that your ad is placed in front of the relevant people and the ones most likely to drive results. Having built up your understanding of your organic audience across multiple platforms, you can then use this as a solid basis for mapping out your audience for advertising. Knowing who you are already reaching on the platforms will help inform the areas that you want to target as you move forward. You can even target those with hobbies such as magic, environment and cars, languages and even behaviours, the more targeted you make your ad, the more effective it should be.
With your objective and audience targets set, the first half of the job is done. When working on the design of the ad, in order to stand out and drive clicks, website traffic, or sign ups, the creative needs to make people stop and not just continue scrolling.
Globally, there are 3.81 billion global social media users compared to 4.57 billion internet users. That means that 49% of the world’s population uses some form of social media. Even more of a reason to ensure that the design of your ad is created to draw attention and stand out. Use of colour, font and images are key. Remember:
- Be careful to not overload the ad, something that looks too busy may be unappealing to those scrolling past
- Design with audience targets in mind. Are there certain colours that will appeal more to 21 – 30 year olds compared to 50+? Will a certain font resonate with parents more?
- Make sure that the design is optimised for all platforms and will look as good to those viewing on a desktop as those viewing on a mobile device
- Make the most of your results
Setting the objective(s) of the campaign from the outset is paramount but so is measuring the results at the end. All of the main social media channels offer this tool within the advertising platforms and these results can be used to inform your advertising in the future. A clear and detailed report which breaks down each element of the ad, including impressions, reach, click through rate, will be easily digestible for other members of the team, as well as any clients that you’re sharing the information with.