When 2015 started, there were two predictions swirling around in the social media world: this will be the year of native video and paid social media advertising. As I’m witnessing businesses get a better handle on both, so far I believe those predictions are accurate.
Nevertheless, there’s still a major disconnect for many marketers and businesses trying to integrate paid social media advertising into their strategy. The potential is enormous when done right but on the flip side, it’s a painfully expensive endeavor when it doesn’t go as planned.
I talked with a few respected experts in the field about their favorite strategy for paid social media. Here’s what they came up with…
1. Push High Performing Organic Posts With Ads
When boosting on Facebook, I choose the post with the best organic reach. If the Facebook post already has good organic karma, it tends to push the boost pricing down and some of the organic snowball effect remains.
Facebook tends to like these too because they feel less sale-y to the fan and get more interaction as a post vs. an ad. Oftentimes the number reached by the boost is on the high side of the range initially given.
Founder, Kids Activities Blog
2. Hit That Boost Button, Baby
Boosted posts have gotten a bad rap by some “experts” but I’m crushing it with them as they are simple to run and, if you’re a small business, you don’t have to pay some “guru” to run the ads for you.
Here’s an example of a boosted post I did on one of my local business pages where I rent out inflatables.
I reached nearly double my total page count, got close to 100 likes on the post and gained 13 new page likes for only $20.
I then boosted another post about the same inflatable and spent $40 this time. Here’s what happened:
Once again, my reach was huge. I got 27 new page likes and nearly 100 likes on the post itself…but did that result in money? That’s why we run ads, right?
The answer is YES!
Within 5 days of running this post — the only one on Facebook that I have even shown anyone this brand new slide — I have 10 reservations of this unit, as seen below:
This equals $3200 in gross revenue off $65 in Facebook ads! If that doesn’t excite you then you’re brain dead!
BONUS TIP: Wait at least 2 hours before you boost a post as you want it to get the maximum organic exposure first.
SUPER BONUS TIP: Boost posts by targeting an area, don’t simply boost to fans and friends of fans.
Ambassador of Awesome, Post Planner
3. Split Testing Works
Running paid ads on social media is a great way to increase your reach and leverage your content to get seen by your target audience. When running social ads, try split testing or A/B testing. This allows for a much more personalized and targeted ad campaign that will lead to increased clicks, downloads, signups or purchases and will ultimately improve your ROI.
Start by setting up at least two separate campaigns with different headlines. Focus on capturing the attention of your audience by asking a question, stating the benefit of your product and then using action words. Don’t forget to keep your headline simple and direct for optimum results.
By simply testing two or more headlines, you will quickly be able to determine which one is resonating with your target market and driving more results. You can also do this with other variables of the ad, such as graphics, ad copy, etc. The key is to change only one thing at a time so that you can determine what combination of variables works best.
Founder, Boom! Social
4. Create a Laser Focused Landing Page
First, create a laser-focused landing page. When someone hits your ad’s landing page, deliver on your ad’s promise — nothing else. Don’t distract your landing page visitors with unnecessary outbound links or fancy graphics that don’t support your ad’s messaging. Stay on message and don’t waste your visitors’ time.
Second, don’t overwhelm your visitors with too much information — if you do, they’ll bounce. It’s better to have a landing page that has a few strong selling points listed that get your visitors interested and/or excited to receive more information from you plus an email capture field for you to collect valuable data. Once you’ve collected email addresses, start sending emails that share or link to more long-form selling content.
Last, don’t waste your time building your ads’ landing pages from scratch. There are plenty of landing-page-builder tools out there, like ShortStack, that provide well-designed templates for you to use and are free.
Head of Advertising @ ShortStack
5. Look Beyond Conversion Pixels
I used to be very disappointed with the ROI of my Facebook ads. The main reason for that disappointment was that I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg by solely relying on Facebook conversion pixels to measure the number of conversions I was getting from the ads.
What I do now is target a small enough region so I can later measure the evolution of my revenues in that specific region compared to others that I didn’t run ads on. I look at the impact on my bottom line and whether or not that impact is attributed directly to the ad.
If I run an ad in a specific region and that region shows an increase in revenue others are not showing, I can precisely measure the ROI of that ad. This includes all the indirect ROI generated by increased brand awareness, word of mouth, etc. This is a much more accurate way to measure the impact of my advertising efforts. For me, the impact has been much bigger and changed the way I measure.
Remember, Facebook conversion pixels only tell you a part of the story.
6. It’s All About Targeting
Facebook is a powerhouse of potential for businesses. The vast data that Facebook has on users allow for incredible targeting. I like to say that you can get in front of ANYONE you want on Facebook with a properly targeted ad. The problem is that most business marketers on Facebook are not using some of the key tools available to do this. I’m not even talking about the need for advanced tools like Power Editor, just simple tools that go far to powerfully target your Facebook ad.
For example, in the Ad Manager, I recommend using the “More Demographics” section in the Ad Manager when working in your ad set. This is a tool with a drop down menu and options like Education, Work, Financial and more. Use it! This lets you target by job title under “Work” or by those with a Master’s degree in the Education section.
By using the “More Demographics” option and drilling down deeper into who you want to reach, you can get in front of the exact audience and wisely use your ad dollars.
Mike Gingerich, Co-founder
7. Target Your Warm Market With Custom Audiences
If you are going to use Facebook ads to sell something, I recommend only directing those ads to your warm market: people who already know, like and trust you. Your ads will convert much better.
With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can target your website visitors, e-mail subscribers and your Facebook fans.
To setup Website Custom Audiences (also known as Website Remarketing), all you need to do is install a bit of code that you get from the Facebook Ads Manager area onto your website. The audience starts building from there so it’s a good idea to install this code well before you need it. For more help with this, check out this guide on how to setup website retargeting in Facebook.
To target your email subscribers, you need to upload your email list into the Facebook custom audiences area via the Ads Manager and then Facebook will match those e-mail addresses to their login addresses. They use a hashing technique that keeps this process secure and anonymous. Go here for a more detailed guide on how that’s done.
Facebook ads work really well to grow your audience with leads but selling directly from ads is a little more challenging. Selling to your warm market will help you get better results.
Co-author, Facebook All-In-One For Dummies
8. Separate Audiences Based On Interests
I love running retargeting ads where I retarget visitors to my website. When you set up retargeting ads in Facebook you need to put a piece of code on your website. Every time a visitors goes to parts of the website with this code installed the person is tracked.
Facebook records this person on a list and this is called a custom audience. When your website visitor goes to Facebook, Facebook will look up the custom audience list to see if they are part of this and if they are then it will display your advertisement.
Founder, Razor Social
What’s Your Favorite Paid Social Media Strategy?
If you run ads for your business on any social media platform, I want to know which tactics you find most effective. Let me know in the comments and be sure to mention your industry.