A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Paid Social
by Reed Congdon
As a small business, using social media as a marketing tool may seem overwhelming at first. As a consumer, the ads you see pop up on your social platforms may seem to be only from the big name brands and leave you wondering, “how can my business compete with those guys?”
Well, the truth is that you don’t need to. The two main benefits of paid social is that it A) fits virtually any budget and B) has enhanced targeting capabilities that allow you to reach your target audience, and only your target audience. On a local level, this means that any budget you spend advertising on social media will be used to reach the people who matter the most to your business.
A good paid social media strategy will do wonders for amplifying your reach, boosting brand awareness, and eventually leading to conversions. There has never been a better time to dive in and get started!
But before you do, keep these five tips in mind when developing your first paid social strategy:
Determine your Budget
Paid social media is a cost effective way to reach your audience and promote your product or service. The reason is that platforms such as Facebook and Instagram use a PCP (pay-per-click) model, where you’re only charged when a user clicks on your brand’s ads. This tactic aims to reduce budget waste. How much should that budget be? A good practice is to start with a small investment, then gradually increase your budget once you have an understanding of what is working.
Hootsuite outlines the fact that according to the Business Development Bank of Canada, a common rule of thumb is that B2B companies should allocate 2-5% of revenue on marketing, while B2C companies should spend between 5-10%. The portion of this budget allocated to paid social should depend on the other marketing initiatives your business is implementing.
Define your Target
Arguably, the most important aspect of your paid social campaign is targeting the right audience. Strategize who exactly your target audience is, then how best to reach them. To be blunt, start by asking yourself which groups of people will generate the most sales for your business.
Pro tip: you can get a good idea of this by doing an audience analysis through your website analytics. Not sure where to start? We’re happy to help with this!
Once you have an idea of who your target audience is, you can set up your campaign targeting to reach them. Facebook has a ton of data available at your fingertips. First-party user data, for example, can tell you where users live, their ages, and even what their interests are. Use this to your advantage to reach those who would be interested in your product or service. Did you know there’s even a way to target users who visit specific locations and serve them ads on social? Mobile-to-social advertising is one of the most effective ways to capture a local and relevant audience.
Set your goals
Determining whether or not a social advertising campaign is successful all stems from finding the “why” in your advertising strategy. Start by outlining your business objectives. The goals of your paid social campaign should align with these objectives. Once you have these down, map out exactly what KPIs you’ll measure to make sure your campaign is on track. By outlining exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with your paid social strategy, you and your team will have a clear understanding of which metrics to watch when monitoring it.
Choose the right platforms
When deciding which platform to advertise on, the first thing to keep in mind is to make sure you are using the social platforms that best depict what your business offers. Instagram and Facebook for example, require visually appealing content to break through the clutter, so be sure that your creative is up to par. The second thing to assess is who is using each platform. Go where your audience is! Do some research on the demographics of each platform and figure out which ones your target audience uses the most. Snapchat, for example, is a great way to reach and capture a younger demographic. Check out this quick guide on choosing a platform that’s best for your business.
Optimize your campaign
Finally! Once your campaign is up and running, keep a close eye on it. The beauty of social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is that they offer in depth analytics of your paid social campaigns at no cost to you. By monitoring the analytics of your campaign, it takes the guesswork out of what is working or not for your business. With this understanding, you can optimize your future campaigns and use the tactics that are proven to help you reach your goals. Remember, practice makes perfect! Insight is invaluable when it comes to developing social advertising strategies.
With these tips, you should be able to get rolling with your first paid social campaign. But, as you may come to find out, the capabilities of these platforms can span much wider than what we’ve outlined here. To take a deeper dive into the power that paid social harnesses, feel free to connect with us and we’ll help you build a social media strategy that works for you and your small business.