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Paid social media campaigns can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal – if you know how to use them effectively in the short and long term. With the right strategy and a clear idea of who your ads are targeting, it’s possible to create marketing materials that deliver exceptional ROI.
The net positive effects of paid advertising on social platforms also go beyond sales conversion potential. With a smart approach, your brand can be a conversation starter. You can reach larger groups through shares and interactions from your target audience. Ultimately, this helps establish the clarity and tone of your brand’s voice.
To reach this stage, it is not enough to imagine your ideal customer and pay for highly targeted placements that seem logical. Without real testing behind your campaigns, it’s not possible to make data-driven decisions about what works and what doesn’t. Your actual audience may not always be who you plan or anticipate.
How to test effectively? In other words, how can you establish a clear and articulated purpose behind your tests so that you can interpret the results in a meaningful way? There are three steps to succeeding in this space: understanding your position, clearly defining the purpose of how you communicate with the public, and learning from your results to ultimately improve and succeed. Let’s break it down step by step:
1. Understand your business and marketing account goals
At first, it might seem strange to ask about the purpose of your business, because you might think the answer is “to make money, of course.” This step is about going beyond the basics and thinking deeply about the purpose of your marketing efforts. What goals do you want to achieve with your ad spend? What do you want your business to be able to do for its chosen audiences?
For some companies, the goal of these marketing efforts is to heavily promote a specific product. For others, a broader message is ideal. Other goals may include specific sales goals, such as increasing the number of first-time buyers or increasing the percentage of returning buyers to make additional purchases. Before you can start testing audiences, building lookalikes, and rolling out a mature campaign, you need to know where you want to stop.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
2. Give your audience and assets a real purpose
Finding the message that resonates the most with your target audience and lookalikes is key. This process starts with understanding the basic structure of the audiences you want to connect with, and then learning which themes resonate most easily with them. For example, some audiences connect very well with brand messaging that emphasizes a certain quality, such as environmental sustainability. Other viewers might react more positively to a story of hardship and ingenuity that drove a founder to start the company.
Understanding these themes allows you to begin developing materials to test and explore the creative structures that will give you a solid framework for growth. Does your audience prefer listicles? Do they like short, punchy content, or will they respond better to a short video? Testing the structures and themes of your copy in this way ensures that you are targeting audiences purposefully and effectively.
Related: Top 5 Not-So-Obvious Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid
3. Track your results and understand your data
How can you test with a lens if you don’t have a way to track your efforts, measure changes, and draw conclusions? It may seem obvious, but surprisingly few companies actively track the results of their paid social testing over the long term. There’s no reason not to track your results with various great tools on the market that make it easy to collect this information and put it into a usable form.
It can reveal key information, even the ones you weren’t expecting. For example, you can observe seasonal patterns in how audiences react to ads. You can identify a new category of audience to target or recognize when a particular approach isn’t working. Testing and tracking your data isn’t just good for finding out what’s working: it helps you make critical course corrections when something goes wrong.
Related: 7 Steps to Launching an Expert Social Media Marketing Campaign
With a testing program infused with a real sense of purpose and strong direction, it can be easier to chart the right course for your marketing campaign. Although there are still many steps to take, knowing the direction of the effort makes it easier to navigate. Less time wasted on poor value propositions and more time invested in creating smartly targeted campaigns translates to a better bottom line in the end.
By understanding your goals, building purpose into your public understanding, and by tracking the data, it is possible to reduce poor performance and increase actionable results. What opportunities for growth and success might be within reach? Now is the time to make that discovery.