A Simple 3-Step Approach to Successful Social Media Advertising

A Simple 3-Step Approach to Successful Social Media Advertising

Even incredibly talented social media managers that oversee multi-million dollar advertising budgets understand that it takes hundreds of experiments (and failures) to master the art of social media ads. Pros and cons of social media advertising Pros: Campaigns are easy to track You can begin to drive traffic and conversions immediately (depending on your knowledge of your customers) You’ll have a complete picture of the ROI on each campaign Tons of targeting options, including age, likes, interests, income bracket, location and other demographics Retargeting options for people who have interacted with your content or visited your website Relative to other advertising mediums, social media can be extremely affordable (which we all love) Cons: Depending on your target market, a majority of the audience may be irrelevant -- leading to “wasted” ad spend Easy to create ads and leave them without ever checking on performance which can also lead to costliness Social media advertising requires a lot of time and attention in order to maximize results Run the risk of what marketers call ad fatigue. Awareness and audience targeting What I love most about TOFU social media advertising is that you can boost posts to specific, targeted audiences. Boosted posts aren’t the only option for marketers in the awareness stage of social media advertising. The main focus in the awareness stage is to create and share content that’s super-high-up in the funnel (TOFU). We’ve seen huge success with Lookalike audiences on Buffer’s Facebook Page. Recently, we experimented with uploading a Mailchimp list of Buffer for Business and Awesome users to Facebook and created a Lookalike audience from there. If you have Facebook Pixels set up on your website, you can create a Custom Audience based on traffic to that specific page and retarget those users with an add for another similar piece of content. Social media advertising: conversion stage The conversion stage is one of the trickiest stages to master, but those that get the hang of it can drive big results for their business. Thinking of advertising in terms of the three different stages: awareness, consideration and conversion, you’ll be well-ahead of 90 percent of the social media advertising marketers out there.

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A Simple 3-Step Approach to Successful Social Media Advertising

This story originally appeared on Buffer

There’s so much to learn with social media advertising that it’s difficult to know exactly where to start.

For example, audience targeting, budgeting, A/B testing, pixel tracking, writing, designing and analyzing all need to be taken into account if you want to see positive ROI from social media advertising.

There’s time and resources to consider as well.

Even incredibly talented social media managers that oversee multi-million dollar advertising budgets understand that it takes hundreds of experiments (and failures) to master the art of social media ads.

After speaking with top brands and marketers from around the globe, we’ve discovered a simple 3-step approach to successful social media advertising. This approach will help you bring all the various elements of advertising together in perfect harmony and how to drive more ROI from your ad spend.

A 3-step approach to social media advertising

Over the years, we’ve spent countless hours experimenting with various social media advertising strategies.

Whilst research each of these experiments, we found that there was a ton of awesome advice on tactics for each individual channel, but what we were missing was an overall strategic approach or “way of thinking” about social media advertising.

Instead of focusing on individual tactics and channels that frequently change, we wanted to focus on a blueprint that could be applied to any business or brand, no matter the industry or product. And that’s what I’d love to share with you below.

That social media advertising blueprint is broken up into three distinct stages:

  • Awareness (Top-of-the-funnel or TOFU)
  • Consideration (Middle-of-the-funnel or MOFU)
  • Conversion (Bottom-of-the-funnel or BOFU)

Unless you have a product that’s flying off the shelf or a viral marketing campaign, you’ll often need all three stages (awareness, consideration and conversion) working in tandem to attract and acquire new customers.

Why all three stages are important

One of the things I hear most from businesses is that they’re having trouble finding success with social media advertising, particularly Facebook, in trying to sell their product or services.

Whenever we get that comment, one of the first questions we ask those businesses is: “Do you have any campaigns set up that aren’t simply trying to sell, but to generate awareness?”

More often than not the answer is “no.”

It can be quite a challenge to immediately begin selling your product through social media advertising. As a marketer, you have to be willing to build relationships with potential customers first before you ask for the purchase.

That’s where this idea of awareness, consideration and conversions come into play.

Pros and cons of social media advertising

Pros:

  • Campaigns are easy to track
  • You can begin to drive traffic and conversions immediately (depending on your knowledge of your customers)
  • You’ll have a complete picture of the ROI on each campaign
  • Tons of targeting options, including age, likes, interests, income bracket, location and other demographics
  • Retargeting options for people who have interacted with your content or visited your website
  • Relative to other advertising mediums, social media can be extremely affordable (which we all love)

Cons:

  • Depending on your target market, a majority of the audience may be irrelevant — leading to “wasted” ad spend
  • Easy to create ads and leave them without ever checking on performance which can also lead to costliness
  • Social media advertising requires a lot of time and attention in order to maximize results
  • Run the risk of what marketers call ad fatigue. Potential customers might be shown an ad too early or too often and be turned off
  • Larger investment upfront while you figure out a good combination of content, visuals, and copy

Here’s a quick video preview on the importance of social media advertisingfrom our new Skillshare class:

Social media advertising: awareness stage

In the awareness stage, people are either completely unfamiliar with your brand or are unaware that they have a pain point that needs to be solved.

Let’s use Nike as an example, many people have heard of Nike (and they probably even own a pair of Nike shoes or a piece of gear!)

If you’re a direct, somewhat unknown competitor of Nike, the awareness stage is a critical place to start with social media advertising. Reason being, Nike has a strong hold on the market in terms of brand awareness and affinity. People may not know that your shoes and/or gear is more competitively priced or better quality than Nike.

Awareness and organic content

One great strategy for increasing brand awareness is to focus on organic social media posting and amplifying your top performing content.

One of the biggest opportunities for so many brands with limited time and resources is to simply boost top performing posts from their page. Not only is this the most inexpensive form of social media advertising, but it also provides brands with a way to reach a new customer segment that they might not have been able to with traditional ads.

Organic social media content is a powerful catalyst in increasing word-of-mouth marketing. People are much less likely to share an advertisement that feels like an advertisement with their friends and family.

For example, we boosted a recent post on Facebook that highlighted a photo from one of our Buffer Community members. With just $100 dollars, these are the results we received:

We spend about 70 percent of our overall advertising budget on simply amplifying or “boosting” top performing content. Some of these boosted posts have reached up to 750,000 people with one or two hundred dollars. Where else can you reach 750,000 people for a few hundred bucks? It’s incredible!

Awareness and audience targeting

What I love most about TOFU social media advertising is that you can boost posts to specific, targeted audiences.

With Facebook, for example, you don’t have to use the “boost post” button that you see next to your posts in the feed. Instead, as a Page manager, you can use Facebook Ads Manager to create a campaign (such as traffic, engagement or video views) to create a custom audience.

Then, once you’ve created a custom, highly-relevant audience, simply select the “use existing post” option.

This gives you total control over budget, goals, audience and allows you to run boosted posts alongside all of…

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