When it comes to social media marketing, it’s increasingly more difficult to hit your goals without “paying to play.”
Don’t get us wrong. There is immense value in an organic (nonpaid) posting strategy.
But organic reach on social media isn’t what it used to be. And it’s been that way for years now.
On Facebook, for example, the average reach of an organic page post hovers around 5.2 percent. That means that about one in every 19 fans of a Facebook page will see that page’s organic (nonpaid) content.
Facebook isn’t the exception either. A vast majority of social media platforms use some type of algorithm, whose goal is to show users content the algorithm thinks will appeal to that user based on his or her past engagement on that platform. Nonetheless, it is in every platform’s best interest to keep organic reach low so that businesses have an incentive to buy advertising in order to reach more of their audience.
So, deciding not only the size of your social media advertising budget but also how best to use it is critical.
What does a typical social media advertising budget look like?
On average, businesses spend about 10 percent to 13 percent of their annual revenue on overall marketing. Of that, typically 25 percent goes toward advertising channels like social media.
Of course, that amount can go up or down depending on:
- Your target audience (and they’re use of social media)
- Past ROI (return on investment) from social media for your business
- Your digital marketing goals
But that’s a good place to start as far as a generally recommended social media budget.
Remember that your budget includes:
- Ad spend: This is what is commonly thought of when social media budgets are discussed. This is how much you choose to spend on any given advertisement. The more spent, the more people reached.
- Technology: This typically involves whatever technology or tools your business uses to create, launch, manage and/or optimize your social media advertising. You could have a subscription to the design tool, Canva, for example.
- Talent: This involves whatever labor you use in the creation and execution of your social media advertising. Whether it’s a freelancer or an in-house employee or team, you should factor the labor into your budget.
- Services: This is tied to the use of an agency to create and execute your social media advertising for you.
As far as where you can spend your budget, the world is your oyster, so to speak. There are several popular social media platforms with various advertising capabilities:
These platforms vary widely as far as the audiences you can reach, how to reach them and how they might fit your brand (or not).
(If you’re not sure which platform to start with, check out our guide.)
Once you have your budget amount decided, it’s important to spend it wisely. The following are six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget.
Set your goals
This is a key recommendation for almost any digital marketing effort. Know what you’re trying to do from the very beginning. This is especially important for social media advertising because you’re adding at least some spending on top of your other invested resources (such as time).
We always recommend S.M.A.R.T. goals:
Keeping these characteristics in mind as your goal-setting will help you best understand whether your social media ads are performing the way you want or need them to.
Being specific about what you’re trying to achieve can also help you confidently increase (or decrease) your budget accordingly.
Know your target audience
Who are you trying to reach? What platforms are they using and for what purposes? How old are they? Gender? What motivates them? What pain points do they have that you can solve?
These questions and more are what you want to answer when planning your social media advertising.
Because you can use a number of demographics and interests to target users on various social media platforms, do not skimp on this step. Specific audience targeting can make or break an advertising campaign.
Depending on who you’re hoping to reach, this could also guide your strategy on which platforms to advertise on as well.
Resist the temptation for broad-based targeting (all women in a particular city, for example). The more you can drill down on the type of person who will most likely engage with your ad, the more effective your social media advertising spend will be.
See our seven tips for determining your target audience. Also, check out our seven tips to better target your Facebook ads.
Your ads must stand out
Social media is a noisy, competitive, fast-moving place. Not only are you competing against other ads for your audience’s attention, but you’re also competing against that potential customer’s family, friends and so on.
An ad that doesn’t stand out in a scrolling news feed will never reach the goals you set for it. You need to catch the eye first and then compel the user to act in some way in hopes of ultimately converting him or her.
This can be a delicate balance when balancing your branding into the mix as well. But it can be done.
Be sure to brainstorm a range of ideas for each ad you’re planning and develop multiple creatives (visual designs) to choose from. Never be afraid to go back to the drawing board if an idea just doesn’t pan out.
Every platform requires a unique ad
Social media is not a one-size-fits-all experience for any user. Every platform is unique in a number of ways, including (but not limited to):
- Why users are engaged with it
- How users engage with it
- Expectations of users
- How ads are presented
- The size of ad creatives
Therefore, invest the effort in creating unique ads for each relevant platform you’ll be advertising on. What might be getting engagement on Twitter won’t naturally translate over to Instagram.
Otherwise, you risk having no impact because you’re not catering to the unique platform experience users expect (and burning your money right along with it).
Take a moment to view how others are advertising on different platforms. Take notes on what appears to drive engagement on each platform and incorporate those takeaways into your own planning.
Keep in mind that your ads can be generally related across platforms. They don’t have to be entirely different ads. You just want to ensure that they fit into each platform they’re appearing on.
Consider A/B testing
This is all about taking an active and engaged stance with your social media advertising campaigns.
It’s very common for businesses to create a campaign, get it going and leave it running without another thought. But it’s important to keep an eye on what is performing well, what’s not and what might perform better.
A/B testing is about experimentation, where you try different headlines, descriptions, images and so on. Successful experimentation will help you consistently create better ads over time.
Many social media platforms, like Facebook, include this feature with their advertising interface.
For more insight into A/B testing, check out our guide.
Related to A/B testing but outside of that experimentation, a general and regular monitoring of your social media advertising performance is critical.
There’s temptation to want to see the immediate results once an ad goes live, but give your new campaign a few days to perform before evaluating. From there, you’ll want to check in at least weekly, if not more frequently (depending on the type of ad and your ad spend associated with it).
Then, you can decide from there when it’s necessary to pivot and change some aspect of the campaign if it’s underperforming—or potentially increasing the ad spend if it’s performing well.
Understand the difference between cost-per-click and cost-per-impression advertising.
There are a million different ways you can go with social media advertising campaigns. When in doubt, start small. You can always add to a well-performing ad campaign.
And social media advertising is only the beginning. Need assistance with your overall digital marketing process? DailyStory features automation and audience segmentation where you need it most. Schedule your free demo with us today.