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How to Advertise on Social Media – The Basics

Person using social media apps on a tablet | KDM

Advertising Objective

First things first when setting up any advertising campaign; ask yourself ‘what do I want to achieve by advertising on social media’. There is a range of different outcomes you might be aiming for depending on how your business operates: the products or services you sell, and what the business is needing to take it to the next level.

Growing brand awareness – this goal focuses on showing ads to people most likely to pay attention to them. They could already know of your business or they could have never heard of you before.

Growing reach – this one is slightly different to brand awareness and aims to reach as many people as possible given your budget.

Consideration objectives – this goal aims to get those who see your ads to engage with it in some form or another and can be focused on achieving app installs, website traffic, lead generation, video views and more.

Retargeting – this goal focuses solely on targeting those who have engaged with your ads or business previously but did not follow through and convert. This is usually complimentary to other advertising campaigns to get the most value.

Each of these advertising objectives have varying results on how ads behave differently in the eyes of social media sites and how far your budget goes in terms of value. Understanding your short-medium term business goal that can be measured and is specific (e.g. Increase website & store visits by 1500 this month) is paramount in deciding which advertising objective will be most effective in growing your business.

Data Tracking and Website Setup

When it comes to Social Media Marketing (SMM), there is a tonne of overlooked value in the data your ads provide and this is partly because the process is a little bit complicated (but not impossible to learn) if you’re not in the digital marketing industry. By setting up Facebook’s own Pixels and integrating your personalised Facebook pixel code into your websites code, it allows Facebook to track actions and activities your audience has with your website across different devices. This lovely gold nugget provides a tremendous amount of insight and provide a range of benefits to you such as:

  • Conversion tracking – Any ‘event’ that occurs on your website is tracked, such as viewing a product, landing on the contact page, reading a blog, making a purchase etc; Pixels can even tell if you’ve added to cart but didn’t purchase. This information can be leveraged to tailor your ads to your best products or events and it also allows Facebook to determine where each user is in the sales funnel and target each user differently.
  • Optimising delivery – From conversion tracking, Pixels allows for Facebook to better optimise ads through bidding, targeting algorithms and other mysterious trade secrets to better target those who are more likely to make certain types of actions on your website (depending on your advertising objective).
  • Audience targeting – This is the big one! From all this data the Pixels are collecting from your website, it is silently putting together a list of all the people who have interacted with your site, and segmenting them based on where they are in the sales funnel. On top of that, the Pixels are then able to put together a separate list of people who haven’t interacted with your site and are known as a ‘look-a-like’ audience who share the same interests, attributes and behaviours as those who have proven to be valuable customers.

Being able to capitalise on the combination of data tracking, custom audiences and optimisation is a core part of an effective and successful SMM campaign that can really launch businesses into the stratosphere. Like we said before, this is probably the most complicated part of social media marketing, so if you are tech savvy and had no problem understanding Pixels then you’ll have no problem; if not, you wouldn’t be alone and is a large reason why many businesses choose to have a Digital Marketing Agency like KDM handle their social media marketing campaigns. On top of setting it up and understanding it like no other, being in the marketing industry for a living means capitalising on all those data tracking metrics and improving your business is our bread and butter.

Content/Creative

Creating the ads themselves might seem to be the simplest task after learning about the small & large intricacies of SMM but don’t be fooled, it still carries a great amount of importance and creating effective ads with engaging content that fulfils its purpose can sometimes be tricky. There are literally hundreds of factors and tips we could offer (making content and creative are taught professionally in universities now) but here are our favourites.

Firstly, your advertising objective is going to effect what ads you should be running; if you’re going for growing reach (generally a top of sales funnel campaign) you might not want to be showing people ads of how people reviewed and rated your business, that would best be shown to people who are ready or close to making a purchase.

Secondly, less text is generally better! No seriously. Facebook and Instagram are places where users barely spend more than a few seconds looking at any one post before moving on to the next one so when it comes to paid ads don’t waste those precious seconds on making them read the start of a paragraph. This means that images, videos and slide shows should be the main goal in attracting the initial attention of people on social media and depending on your brand and products/services, this can be a range of engaging creative relevant to your business.

Thirdly, we recommend showing creative that does not look like an ad. This isn’t because people don’t like ads but because Facebook and Instagram are used to share and look at moments to and from friends and family, meaning that if ads resemble this familiarity there is a higher chance of engagement happening. The best way to achieve this (among a plethora of ideas) is to show the benefits of your product and not the product itself, if you’re advertising furniture (boring!) show the happy family interaction and experience around that furniture in a living room setting instead (engaging and drives emotion!).

Bonus point! Try to keep the focus on a single point in your creative, keep it simple and make it obvious what they should be looking at. This helps maximise the chance they will notice the right thing and be interested in the product or service within that first few seconds.

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