How to get the most out of your social media budget, from the creation and execution of ads to measurement and ROI
If you want a quick, thorough, and practical overview of how to manage a social media budget, you're in the right place. Naomi Ross from Sydney Design Social joins me to discuss the one thing every social media ad campaign should have, how you can measure the impact and success of an ad, what kind of budget you should be considering, the value of spending $10 versus $100 and how to maximise a small spend. Plus, there's a bundle of tips on what you can do when your ad campaign isn't as effective as you'd like.
“Ad campaigns give you more control and options when it comes to targeting your specific target market, compared to boosted posts"
Listen to the full episode on The PR Pod podcast for more tips on managing a social media budget. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, just search "The PR Pod".
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF BOOSTING POSTS OR HAVING SOCIAL MEDIA ADS?
Social media platforms are designed to make money. They prioritise organic content from friends and family as well as paid content above unpaid content.
This means if you have a business account, you are unlikely to get high visibility or a large exposure to your target market without boosting your posts or running ads.
DOES THIS MEAN IT'S POINTLESS HAVING A BUSINESS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT UNLESS I SPEND MONEY ON ADVERTISING?
No.... If you have brilliant, engaging organic content you are able to get cut-through but it is HIGHLY competitive.
Also, if you have an established brand and you're happy with your audience numbers and engagement and you don't need to bring in new customers then it is certainly less of a priority.
WHAT'S THE FIRST THING I SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE RUNNING AN AD?
You need to determine what your goal/s are. Consider it on a broader scale as well as on the individual focuses of each ad campaign. For example, a broader goal could be to have social media drive 30% of your annual sales. A campaign goal could be to have one ad drive 100 people through to your website with 20 of them converting to a sale.
It's completely fine if your goals change throughout a year, just try and keep to a specific goal for each ad campaign
Facebook has a great article on Choosing The Right Objective, but to summarise the three main goals:
Awareness - is as it sounds, making people aware of your message
Considerations - gets them to seek out more information on the product or service
Conversions - is about driving sales
HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ADS?
There's a few metrics you can consider based on the goals of your campaign and here's a quick summary of a few of them:
Cost per click (CPC) and click-through rate (CTR): This relates to the percentage of times users see an ad and click through to an opt-in page, sales page, product page. The higher the CTR, the lower the CPC.
Frequency: This refers to the number of times each person sees your ad (impressions divided by reach). When a user sees the same ad multiple times, the ad tends to stand out and become memorable. This can be particularly effective in branding campaigns.
Cost per action (CPA): This is the average cost of a user taking the next step in response to an ad - liking a Facebook page, opting in for a download, clicking through to complete a purchase or watching a video, etc.
Likes: This is most valuable in brand awareness campaigns where you are NOT focused on driving a user action.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED TO SPEND TO HAVE A SUCCESFUL CAMPAIGN?
It all comes back to your goals. Let's say you have an event space and your goal from advertising on Facebook is to get function bookings. You spend $10 on a Facebook ad and you get just one person clicking through but they hire the space for $2,000. That's successful.
Consider what the ad spend will mean for you, financially. If you spend $500 to promote a product you want to sell and that product retails at $10 per item, you're going to need to sell 50 products to cover the cost of that advertising investment. If you get 50 or less sales as a direct result of that ad, it's not successful in terms of making you money (as you've received the same amount as you spent). However, you could look at it as being positive in terms of increasing brand awareness but that wasn't your goal, right?
If you're just starting out, go with a low spend and adjust as you learn. See what happens when you put $1 behind a boosted post and how that differs to $5 via your analytics.
Just bear in mind it may not be the amount you've spent that's relating to you not achieving your goals. Throwing more money at it won't necessarily solve your problem. Take a look at the copy, the quality/type of image or video, review what your website is like and whether that's part of the issue in not converting people when they click through. And if you don't know why it's not successful, run the ad past a few friends you trust that understand your industry and see what they think.
WHAT WILL A $100 AD GET ME THAT A $10 AD CAN'T?
If you understand how print advertising works in magazines, think about it like that. If you were to spend $200 on an ad in a magazine, that ad is likely to be placed at the back of the magazine among all the classifieds. If you spent $2000 you'd be a little further up the front and there is probably going to be more space dedicated to your ad. $20,000 might get you right at the front and four full pages. It's the same with social media....
The more money you spend, the most exposure you'll get to your target audience. You'll receive a better placement/positioning where your ad is more visible. It will be shown at a time when users are historically more likely to be engaging with that social media platform.
However, it's not to say you can't achieve your goals with a minimal spend which is why you should start with a small advertising budget, review and assess and build from there.
HOW SHOULD I BE DIVIDING UP MY AD SPEND IF I HAVE DIFFERENT GOALS?
Work out how much you have to spend each month and then think about your goals and objectives.
An ongoing 'likes' or awareness campaign is good to have ticking away in the background. It means your business is constantly being exposed to your target market and we all know that regular contact with a brand helps cement it into our memory. It also means you can leverage that brand awareness with more specific conversion campaigns down the track. So consider putting aside some of your budget to keep that general awareness up.
Think about putting a few dollars behind most posts to boost them. Focus on the ones you want to drive an action from, versus boosting posts that are just general messaging.
When it comes to ad campaigns, consider putting a little more behind your seasonal/monthly focuses. You will have more specific objectives for those so it's worth spending a bit extra if you want to drive a specific result
TIPS FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST
Look at running a campaign in two stages to maximise its impact. The first could be a reach/impressions campaign which has the goal of getting your brand on as many radars as possible. The second part could be a CTR campaign, where you target the people you reached in Stage 1. This means you're reaching people who already have brand awareness versus those who have never come across your brand before
When it comes to how much of your overall advertising budget you commit to social media versus print, online and broadcast, consider where your target audience are spending most their time. If your audience is most likely to be on their phones and not reading a newspaper, then online and social media is a much more effective way to reach them.
Don't be reactive and chop and change a strategy without giving it time or assessing where it went wrong. You will need to be adaptable and pivot once you do recognise the issue but you need to spend some time analysing how to do it differently or better next time.
Don't use user-generated content (that is, someone else's post) as an ad. You don't own that content, they do. It's fine to repost generally as you can credit them but you can't do so with an ad. If you are making money off their ad, then they deserve to do so as well and at the very least, they need to give you approval to use their content for a paid campaign.
Consider A&B campaigns. This means running two campaigns, or two ads in this case, which are very similar with one small difference. It could be exactly the same photo but different copy, or same copy and different photo. Or, it could be exactly the same ad but you put it to two different target markets. Either way, it's very important there is only one difference so you know the one factor that created those (potentially) differing results. If you change multiple things, you can't determine which element caused the difference in results and you learn nothing...
Videos do get higher engagement but at the end of a day, a great photo will get more engagement than a crappy video.
If you want some more tutorials on your social media strategy, take a look at Sydney Design Social's blog plus check out Facebook Blueprint. There's also some other social media podcasts up on the podcast which you can find here.