Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 | 5 min read
Many brands are in a similar position right now in terms of social media maturity. They have established a strong presence on the main social platforms and have committed to content marketing — either setting up dedicated internal teams or working with agencies to deliver and manage their organic social content.
The next step for these brands is the transition to paid social. Here is my list of ten essential processes that will give you the best chance of success in your paid social campaigns:
Be clear on your targets and how success will be measured. Keep your objectives simple and align them to your business goals.
Judging the performance of your campaigns on social metrics such as likes and retweets does not harness the full power of social. Campaigns should be measured and optimized based on the ultimate goal — be that awareness, sales or something more specific like footfall in store or repeat orders. Real-time data, such as mentions and sentiment, can be used to gauge brand campaign performance.
Consider using social media management platforms, as they offer more detailed measurement and reporting than the default tools within social platforms. Having social listening, for example, would allow you to track sentiment for your brands and competitors, measure content performance across multiple social networks, and stay on track of market trends.
Choose which platforms to run your paid campaigns on based on your objectives and target audience. Spend more budget targeting the portion of your audience that you can most easily influence.
Target the right people with the most relevant ad creative or content. It’s important to narrow targeting to the right demographics and interest groups, rather than wasting budget targeting groups that are not relevant to the campaign. Targeting specific groups with content tailored to their interests will improve performance.
Being creative with your content gets results. Data allows us to see what users respond to so that we can optimize content and plan new strategies, but without experimentation, you will never find out what works best.
Generally, it’s a good idea to use uncluttered, easily recognizable imagery. There are different guidelines for different platforms, but you should also experiment with these to confirm what works for your brand: with and without logos, featuring people or no people, product close-ups and use of bright colors. And always remember that images should be relevant and consistent with the brand and campaign.
A strong call to action often works well on Facebook, but emerging paid social platforms may require a softer sell.
Non-promoted posts (organic content) should be used to inform your promoted activity. Posts that perform well can be amplified with spend and can also indicate what content areas you should experiment with. Using a platform that can manage both organic and paid content simplifies this process and can automate the promotion of your most engaging organic posts.
Always perform new tests in your campaigns: keywords, bidding, demographics, copy, image variations, time of posts, etc.
Test a variety of interest targeting: keywords, Facebook & Twitter Interest Categories, @handles on Twitter, Facebook Custom Audiences and Partner Categories.
Ensure that your tests are statistically accurate. To make sound optimization decisions based on your tests, you must generate a large enough sample size for the comparison to be valid. Your budget, media costs and targeting will dictate your potential sample size and the number of tests you can perform.
Change bids regularly based on performance. Consider automating re-bidding with bid management software.
Cancel spend on segments that are not performing and set up new tests (it’s also important to keep your campaigns, ads and ad sets well structured for easy management).
Refresh your ad creative regularly and formulate new ideas and variations based on your best performers. It’s important to avoid repeatedly showing similar content to the same users. New imagery and text will appeal to a new audience and ensure that your campaigns do not become stale.
Make a point of documenting what worked well and, if applicable, use similar techniques as a starting point for your next campaign.
Using a social media management platform allows you to store, manage and reuse your learnings from a central system, rather than having to manually document them in Excel spreadsheets.