Building meaningful personal connections is the key to ongoing business success. However, as market saturation increases, keeping your customers and attracting new ones becomes more challenging. Paid social media advertising is a solution that reaches and engages your ideal audiences.
Nielsen reports that over half of surveyed businesses will increase social media ad spend by up to 50% in 2022, while over 20% will more than double it. Paid social is only one part of the digital advertising giant that continues to pull ad spend away from other mediums as budgets for print and linear TV ads continue to decline, but choosing the right digital advertising platforms matters. You want a trading desk that helps you plan a digital marketing strategy that offers better targeting options, refined budget controls, detailed personalization, and an ever-expanding user base. In 2021, digital ad spend surpassed linear TV for the first time.
So, where are those ad dollars going in the digital space?
Statista reports that $260 billion of ad spending will go to paid search in 2022, while $56 billion will go to paid social media ads. Observing those numbers, you might wonder why more ad dollars are flowing to search if social media ads are highly effective at attracting and retaining customers.
The answer: paid search attracts customers who know what they want and are ready to buy. Ad dollars spent on paid search translate into immediate returns in the current quarter. Plus, paid search is straightforward since these ads are primarily text-only.
Paid social can also generate immediate sales. However, it’s often a long-term, top-of-the-funnel strategy that builds the critical factors necessary for survival and growth in saturated markets — brand awareness, recognition, and loyalty. With these crucial components in place, your search ads become even more effective at converting.
Paid search ads (like pay-per-click ads) can complement paid social campaigns by sending traffic to your social media headlines and videos, helping you gain followers and generate buzz. As your social media accounts grow, you build brand recognition that will increase conversions on both social and search in a synergetic way.
Paid social also offers many more ad types than search. For instance, with social, you can take full advantage of the constantly growing demand for video and influencer marketing and hot, developing trends.
Let’s take a deeper look at why companies use paid social, what makes a winning social strategy, and how to pick the best social platform for your business.
Why Do Companies Use Paid Social in their Social Media Strategy?
Organic reach continues to decline across longstanding social media platforms (i.e. Facebook and Instagram) since these channels can make more money from display ads than organic content. Organic reach is, alternatively, doing much better on growing platforms like Discord, TikTok, and Twitch.
Does this mean you should stop posting organic content on older platforms?
No. Organic posts and paid social still complement each other when used together. Organic content builds social presence and allows for interaction with existing and potential customers. You can strengthen relationships, increase engagement, and grow customer satisfaction.
Paid social works well for building brand awareness, reaching new target audiences, boosting sales, and driving conversions. You can announce new brands and products, special deals, and events.
If companies want to achieve business goals on social, they must pay the gatekeepers, but organic content is still worth posting. The top three benefits of social media paid advertising are worth examining in more detail.
1. Reach Their Target Audience
Social media is the most powerful place you can use to bring your brand and customers together because of its impressive array of targeting tools. You can segment audiences, and you have a multitude of methods available to engage those audiences on different social feeds.
If you need more granular information to build out your personas, you can get it through conducting surveys, asking questions, and using gamification. User-generated content can give insights into your audience’s thoughts and reactions to your efforts.
No other space offers more ways to find, reach, and communicate with the precise individuals who will respond to your messaging.
2. Build Awareness of Your Brand
A strong brand identity and a clear brand message are the heart of a successful business. Building brand awareness brings profound benefits:
- Brand recognition grows
- Customer loyalty brings repeat business
- Word of mouth spreads
As people become more aware of your brand, they form opinions about you. Using organic and paid social media together enables you to convey the brand message that will drive those opinions. The result is the easier achievement of your business goals.
3. Achieve Business Goals
Social media offers an arena to achieve these realistic business goals:
- Small businesses can interact with local patrons and find more while growing a positive community presence.
- Startups can build awareness, fill the top of their funnel, and generate leads.
- Enterprises can boost customer retention and loyalty by listening and providing an effective customer service channel.
Now that we understand why so many companies are budgeting more ad dollars for social media, we should explore what makes up an effective social media strategy to avoid random posting. A lack of overall strategy harms your ability to reach and surpass business goals.
What Makes Up a Great Social Strategy?
Not to be too obvious, but social media is all about being social. Pumping out a steady stream of only promotional posts or just one type of organic post is a sure path to failure. To create authentic, enduring brand awareness, focus on creating a mix of different types of organic posts with promotional content judiciously sprinkled in.
Content that showcases your brand’s personality and values will create a lasting impression on the minds of the customers your brand image lives in. Values are especially critical as consumers increasingly search for businesses that reflect their positions on hot-button issues like sustainability.
The best social media strategies include space for interacting, asking questions, listening, and connecting. These make social media social and will accelerate your efforts to reach your business goals. Plus, social media’s algorithms reward content that generates interaction with greater reach.
Followers don’t make purchases accidentally. Nailing these five components of a successful social media strategy will set you up for success.
1. Creative Social Content
Social media success depends on the success of each piece of content you post. Posts that stand out trigger actions — you get the likes and shares that algorithms love. You also get remembered; users start actively looking for your content.
However, producing memorable content can be time-consuming and highly competitive. Also, stellar content should add something of value to the consumer’s experience. Keeping a content calendar up to date will help you stay organized and synchronize content with promotional efforts.
Here are nine types of content you can use to create a rich experience for your followers:
- Videos continue to grow in popularity, drawing users away from other mediums.
- In-depth blogs and guides demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, which builds credibility and reputation.
- Good images are eye-catching and stop scrolling long enough for your message to be consumed.
- Interactive content like quizzes, polls, surveys, calculators, contests, and giveaways transform passive viewers into active users.
- Live video’s popularity is growing faster than recorded video.
- Influencer marketing is compelling and effective.
- Thoughtful tips show that you care and are an expert.
- Behind-the-scenes peeks demonstrate your humanity.
- Funny memes and GIFs lighten life and can drive a point home non-confrontationally.
2. The Right Social Channels
There are several considerations in determining which social media channels will produce the best results for your business. Answering these three questions may help.
Where do your customers live on social media?
It’s not going to do you much good to put all your hard work and effort into building a presence on Facebook if your audience is teenagers on TikTok or B2B marketers on LinkedIn. Building a customer persona can help you identify where your audiences are.
Which channels are the best fit for your brand image?
If your brand’s image is visually impactful, Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat can be stronger options to build out slick creative campaigns with vibrant photography or videos. If your material is more text-oriented, it may be better suited to Facebook, LinkedIn, or in brief excerpts on Twitter to drive traffic from hashtag searches to your long-form content.
How many resources can you commit?
Your budget and available personnel will impact your choices. If an individual marketer is managing social directly as part of their overall role, they may only be able to effectively manage one channel. If you have the resources to hire a full-time social media manager, or to partner with a company like AUDIENCEX, you can handle content and community management across several channels. Content like full-length YouTube videos require more resources than short TikTok POVs shot on a smartphone; white papers and ebooks take more time to create than blog posts.
3. A Defined Set of Goals and Key Metrics
Perhaps the most critical part of achieving your business goals on social is to set realistic objectives that your team can reach. Using the S.M.A.R.T. framework can help. Goals should be:
You’ll also need to choose the key performance metrics (KPIs) you’ll use to measure performances. Here are the critical metrics that will give you a 360-degree view. For:
- Awareness: Track impressions and reach
- Share of voice: Track volume and sentiment
- Return on investment (ROI): Track referrals and conversions
- Customer care: Track response rate and time
4. Understanding of Priority Audiences
Social media’s ability to reach virtually any audience anywhere makes it challenging to zero in on which audience to focus your limited resources on for the best results. Prioritizing your channels and audiences can help.
There are three steps to determine audience priorities:
- Map your objectives or business goals so you know what you want to achieve.
- Map the audiences that have the potential to fulfill your goals.
- Rank your audiences, giving the one with the most significant potential the most weight.
The audience occupying the priority one spot is where to focus most of your resources.
5. Strategic Budget for Campaigns
Although companies are increasing paid social media budgets, social ad spend still makes up only a fraction of overall expenditures on marketing. Statista reports that in 2022, about 17% of the overall budget across businesses was devoted to social.
Businesses must spread their social media budget across personnel, software, content creation, and advertising costs. Once you have these calculated, you can break down how much you’ll spend for a period or individual campaign. Prioritizing audiences will tell you whom to build campaigns for first.
Closely tracking campaign metrics will tell you which campaigns are working best (and should receive more funding) and which ones to cut. Determining which platform is best suited for your campaign will help your budget go further and increase ad spend ROI. All your other KPIs will also improve.
How To Determine Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for Your Campaigns
Choosing the right social media platform for your campaigns begins with your buyer persona and proceeds with an evaluation of which platforms your audience is on.
Start by gathering all the in-house information available about your persona’s makeup. Include demographics, pain points, priorities, and spending power. Having a customer list will be helpful, too.
Next, use analytical tools like Google Analytics and Meta’s audience tools on Facebook and Instagram. Google Analytics will tell you what social media channels your ideal customer prefers and the type of information they search for. If you have access to data from an audience intelligence solution, such as Audience Insights, this can also help to inform a deeper understanding of your customers.
You can then use your customer data with Lookalike Audiences on Facebook to build a custom audience for your campaign.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you can start using the platform(s) they primarily use. Then produce content tailored to the platform, your audience, and your business’s voice.
Run the Perfect Social Media Campaign Today
There are so many aspects to consider when running a social media campaign that being competitive with social marketing requires a professional approach. However, many businesses don’t have the resources to hire a full-time Social Media Manager. And many others prefer to focus on their core business.
Additionally, paid search engine marketing, organic social media, and paid social all work better when combined into one unified strategy. The efforts on one channel enhance results on all three, leading to higher ROI for the entire marketing budget.
AUDIENCEX offers a unified approach to digital marketing. Our professional teams can help agencies and brands with creative development, content planning, and community management and engagement. We’ll work with you to build brand awareness and drive conversions across programmatic channels, search engines and social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, NextDoor, and TikTok.
If you’re ready to pursue a holistic marketing strategy and see real results, request your free consultation with AUDIENCEX strategists today.