Like most of us, there have been times in my life when I’ve just gone and done something off the cuff. No plans, no worrying. I just went ahead and did it.
Sometimes this worked out fine and the unexpected outcome was great. Other times, though, the outcome was ok, but not necessarily worth the effort. Or, I felt that with more thought and planning – even just a little – the end result could have been so much better.
For those of you with a business that is ready for more effort on the marketing front, there may be some among you who think some unplanned, ad hoc activity will be fine. Even if your brand name and business reputation are discovered by just a few more new clients, that’s enough. Right?
Maybe in the early days. But to give your business every chance of success and longevity, you need to be willing to put in the extra time and resources to achieve that. Creating a clear and thorough strategy to plan an advertising campaign, is one way you can help your business grow, that can reap bigger and better rewards than you could have hoped for.
Let’s take a look at 7 important steps for planning your next paid social media campaigns. And remember this catchy abbreviation I have come up with; P.P.P.P.P.P.M.R. (or Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Paid Media Results).
1. Set a Budget
Before you begin with anything, it’s important to know how much money is available to finance your campaign. Remember, the reason you’re going to run a targeted, pay per click, social media campaign is because your organic reach isn’t as broad is it was a couple of years ago.
What may seem like a comparatively large outlay, could reap the rewards you’re looking for. But only if you plan this campaign properly. That also means that when you set your budget, you need to put some aside as a contingency and then make the rest of your advertising investment work hard for your business.
2. Define Your Campaign Objectives
Knowing exactly what you want from your advertising campaign is another essential. When it comes to social media campaigns, the most popular objectives from any campaign are to:
- Increase engagement – typically through social media post likes and shares.
- Attract traffic to your website – useful when promoting a new product, service or brand launch.
- Increase lead generation – using paid media and social media ads to encourage potential prospects and customers into our sales funnel.
- Make your brand more visible – using ads to get your brand and message out there, to as many of your target audience as possible.
- Increase sales – use ads to get the right product to the right potential customer at the right time.
It’s possible to achieve more than one of those from a single ad campaign. However, to do that successfully, it’s important to know which ones are the most important and then target them with the right ads.
The way to discover which objective or objectives are the most important lies in reviewing current activity on your website and social media channels. If the social media posts and ads you already share aren’t going far, that’s a clear lack of engagement that needs to be addressed.
Or if you need more lead generation activity, paid ads on specific sites can help ensure they’re being seen by the right people who would be genuinely interested in your business and the products or services it provides.
3. Choose the Right Platform/s for Your Brand, Audience & Objectives
Once you’ve established your budget and ad campaign objectives, the next step is to know which platforms and channels to push your ads on, through your chosen paid for ad option.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter all target a slightly different demographic and not all of them are right for every brand. That means some research will be needed to understand which platform will best suit your needs.
Facebook and Instagram are excellent options for most businesses as the user base on both is vast. LinkedIn is a great B2B ad campaign option, while Twitter is a good option for B2B and B2C, particularly where increased engagement is among your main goals.
If you’re unsure which one is right for you, you could do some research based on your competitors’ social media ad activity.
4. Create the Right Ad/s for Your Campaign Objectives
With those first three important details in hand, the next step is to create the right ad or ads for your campaign. The format should be simple and clear: your brand name and image, with a short message to encourage the response you want.
One good way to begin is to study the typical posts on your social media platform of choice. Then, if you can create an ad that blends in with that format while promoting your message, you’re already increasing your chances of getting a response from your audience.
You may also need to create a series of ads for potential customers who are at different stages in their journey with your business. One to help raise awareness of your brand to attract new customers from your target audience, another to attract existing customers and encourage them to remain engaged with you and a third to convert customer interest into a purchase.
5. Ensure Your Landing Page is Fit for Purpose
Once your paid media or paid social media ad campaign is ready, you should ensure the landing page/s your ads direct them to are in working order, loading quickly and include everything they need to.
It’s no good getting potential customers all interested in your brand and excited about what they could buy, for them to land on the wrong page or the right page but with the wrong information.
6. Set a Campaign End-date
Another detail you need is to decide how long your ad campaign should run for; a week, two, a month? It’s up to you. But don’t let it just run and run. Timing is important, too short and not enough people will see it, too long and your target audience will likely become blind to it.
7. ALWAYS Measure Results
The next step is to be in a position to measure the impact and success of your campaign. It’s easy to see how much you’re spending, however, it’s not always immediately clear if that outlay has secured the results you want and objectives you identified at the outset.
The different social media platforms are all able to generate lots of information for you, you just need to know what you’re looking for. Look back to your initial objectives and start there. From that point, you can see whether or not your ad campaign has been a success on those points. Utilise platform tracking and tools such as Google Analytics, Hubspot and Ruler Analytics to close the gaps in data attribution. The below links should help you find out more about tracking conversions on each platform:
Once you’ve taken stock of those details, it doesn’t hurt to broaden out and see what else has happened as a result of your campaign.
As you can see, the planning and execution of your paid media ad campaigns can be pretty involved. However, according to research, marketers who document their marketing strategy are 538% more successful than those who don’t. That means the research and planning of your campaign are important and can be the difference in just how successful it and your business, is. And remember this catchy abbreviation I have come up with; P.P.P.P.P.P.M.R. (or Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Paid Media Results).
Have I missed a step or piece advice that you think is an important part of the process? Comment below with your thoughts.