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Getting started with Social Media advertising

With something as relatively new and fast-changing as social media advertising, it can be hard to know where to start. Often those who find themselves charged with setting up social media adverts won’t have had any formal training in this area, and limited previous experience. This can be a nerve-wracking experience with a marketing budget to spend wisely, but the good news is that following a few simple steps will greatly increase the chances of success.

Although it doesn’t cost anything to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account, it does cost money if you want to boost posts and rise up above the noise on busy feeds. Social media is perfect for sending out targeted messages and when advertising is done right can help businesses to boost sales and increase the ROI of their marketing budget.

Set your budget

Before you do anything with social media advertising the first thing to do is set a budget. Setting a limit to what you spend will help you to realise if you reach a point where you’re spending, but not generating the ROI you want. There is no number that’s set in stone for what is a good amount for social media advertising, but £5 a day is a good starting place.

The upper limit of your budget will depend on the size of your business, and as a general rule most small companies spend around 10% of revenue on marketing. How that’s split up will depend on what other marketing activity you have going on and what ROI you’re getting.

Pick your channels

Once the budget is set, the next thing is deciding how to distribute it. If you already have social media channels set up you’ll have an idea about which channels generate the most engagement and are the best way of reaching your target audience.

If you’re thinking about which channels are right for you the choice will depend on whether you’re running a B2B or B2C business, and the kind of thing you’re selling.

Put simply Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are the best channels for reaching consumers. Facebook and Twitter are good safe choices for any business, while Pinterest and Instagram are ideally suited to retailers with a strong visual element – such as those who sell clothing and food.
On Facebook you can pay to boost posts, so they reach larger audiences, or create an advert which will appear on the right hand side of users’ timelines. Twitter on the other hand allows you to create promoted tweets, trends, and accounts.

LinkedIn is a better channel for reaching other businesses, and although not as obviously e-commerce friendly as the B2C social media sites it’s been proven as a successful way of raising awareness of a brand and driving traffic to sites. Advertising options on LinkedIn take the form of sponsored content, sponsored inmail, and text ads.

Create great content

It doesn’t matter how high your budget is for the advertising, if you don’t have some great content to share then you won’t maximise your ROI. The heart of any great paid advertising campaign is engaging content – this means both pictures and words. Strong visuals are especially effective for engaging social media users, while words should be kept to a minimum.

If you don’t already have a strong library of images to advertise your products then it will be worth investing some of your advertising budget in hiring a professional photographer to take some. Strong, clear visuals that can be easily understood on mobile are key to getting clicks.

Measure your success

Unlike other forms of advertising where it’s hard to quantify your success, and gain insights into what has worked and what hasn’t, with social media it’s possible to see exactly where people have come from and what they’re buying.
If you have a Google Analytics account you can set up goals to track visitors who have come from specific locations and taken a specific action – like buying a product. For example you could set up a goal for visitors who came from Twitter and purchased a product that’s on offer. There are four ways to track goals in Analytics, by URL, visit duration, pages/visit, and event.

Values can be attributed to goals so you can accurately measure how much money you’re making from social media advertising. Using the e-commerce tracking functionality of Google Analytics it’s possible to feed in real data from your site to get the most accurate results possible.
Google Analytics accounts are free to set up, but require an experienced marketer to get the most out of them. This is another consideration for your marketing budget. Analytics is free to set up but in order to get the most out of it business will need to invest resources in skilling-up, or hire someone to help them do it.

If you need to get started with social media advertising but still lack confidence in taking the plunge get in touch with Vu. Our e-commerce experts will be able to determine how best to help, and set up an initial meeting to scope out your project. We can help with every step of the process, from setting up your ads on social media to tracking the results in Google Analytics.

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