If you’ve been reading our posts for any length of time, you’ve probably seen us talk about results like these…
…where we’re driving hundreds of thousands in revenue from social media advertising for our clients.
You can see results like these too with the right strategy in place!
Are you ready to take control of your social media advertising and start driving real results?
And we’re talking about more than just followers and likes, we’re talking about website conversions and lead form completions here.
If you’re ready, then keep reading, because today we’re sharing an all-around social media advertising tutorial.
This will help you lay the foundation for a profitable social media advertising strategy.
So what we’ve prepared today is a 9-step plan to get you started with social media advertising with pitfalls to avoid along the way.
Step 1: Research the different social media platforms
Step 2: Audit what you’ve done on that platform so far
Step 3: Conduct a competitor analysis
Step 4: Determine your goal and what you want from your social ads
Step 5: Make a list of your target audience’s goals and pain points
Step 6: Make the ads
Step 7: A/B split test ads
Step 8: Optimize and simplify
Step 9: Rinse, wash and repeat with other platforms
The first step in this social media advertising tutorial is to determine which social media platform has the largest pool of your target audience.
Because that is the platform you’ll want to advertise on.
Most people just automatically gravitate to Facebook because it has the largest user base.
And as a result, it does usually have a portion of everybody’s target audience on the platform.
But if, for example, your target audience consists of millennial women and you own an eCommerce home decor store…
…Pinterest may be the better place to start advertising.
We have a whole post discussing the top ranking social media ad platforms and what makes each of them appealing, so be sure to read this post next.
But overall, you’ll want to figure out where your target audience spends the majority of their time and money.
Is it on Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? LinkedIn?
Whichever platform it is, that’s where you’ll want to start advertising first.
But before we get into that, if you’re interested in learning more about social media ads, then you can check out our new social media ads webinar.
Now back to our social media audit.
If you don’t yet have a business account on the platform you’ve decided to utilize, you’ll need to start from there.
The setup process will vary a little from platform to platform, but you’ll generally want to create a business account or page.
And then, also set up your ad account for that platform along with the tracking pixel from that ad account.
Now, we have a post if you need a tutorial on how to install a tracking Facebook pixel on your website that you might want to read next.
But beyond just getting your accounts set up, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to make sure they’re optimized.
That’s why step 2 is to “audit what you’ve done so far” on the platform.
Because even if you already have an account set up, you’ll need to adjust things to ensure it’s optimized for your audience and for the platform.
For example, on Instagram, that could mean changing your bio to include keywords, especially now that keywords are searchable on IG.
For us, we have the words “digital marketing agency” and “online marketing” in our bio…
…so that if someone is typing those words into the Instagram search bar, we’re hoping to be one of the top accounts to appear.
Or on Facebook, this could mean making sure everything in your About section is filled out so people know how to contact you by:
- website, or
- your physical location.
Overall, just jot down a list or make a spreadsheet of the things you have done on the platform to date, including:
- the content you’ve posted,
- ads you’ve run, or
- how much of your general page setup is completed.
That’s because you’ll need this information in the next step of this social media advertising tutorial.
In a competitor analysis for social media, you specifically study their social media accounts and ads to see:
- what they’re doing well,
- what they’re doing poorly, and
- what your shared target audience responds to well from them.
So you’ll first need to pinpoint either your direct competitors, or general interest accounts with a shared target audience, or both.
We usually start with any direct competitors you can find.
But if they don’t have social media accounts, you can move to indirect competitors and general interest accounts.
And by “general interest accounts”, here’s what we mean.
Let’s say, for example, you sell chess boards, you might find an account called ChessLoversClub or something.
They’re not a competitor in the sense that they sell chess boards, but they likely have an audience that would be interested in what you sell.
So once you’ve pinpointed 3-5 accounts to study, take inventory on:
- what they’re posting,
- the ads they’re running (if any),
- how they engage with their audience in the comments or on Stories,
- what their bios look like,
…and anything else worth noting.
You then want to compare this information with the info you gathered in step 2 of this social media advertising tutorial about what you’re currently doing.
Any glaring discrepancies? Anything you’re doing better at them or more importantly, worse than them?
You’re looking for any clear takeaways on what you can do differently to better relate to your target audience on social media.
As well as to strengthen your social media presence.
And here’s a pro tip for you: you can spy on your competitors’ ads by looking at their Facebook page. Here’s what to do:
- Go to their page, and scroll down to the Page Transparency section.
- Click see all, and scroll down to “Ads from this page”, and it will tell you if they’re running Facebook ads or not.
- If they are, then click Ad Library and you can scroll through to see all the ads they’re running.
And you can see from the little grey icons if they’re running the ad on Instagram as well.
Even if you’re studying your competitors for Pinterest or Twitter as opposed to Facebook…
…this tool can still give you some insight into the general messaging and creatives your competitors are delivering to your shared target market.
And once you’ve got a list of CTAs for yourself on what you can improve upon in your social media presence, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Before you go any further you need to figure out what action you want your audience to take from your social media ads.
Where are they at in your funnel and, therefore, what makes the most sense for them to do next?
Exchange their contact information for a lead magnet? Get a discount code encouraging them to purchase directly on your website?
…if you’re a little lost on this step of this social media advertising tutorial.
That’s because it’s important that you see the bigger picture of your potential buyer’s entire customer journey.
With purchases that are at a higher price point (or in the instance of most B2B and service-based businesses)…
…it’s going to take more than seeing 1 social media ad to convert a follower into a customer.
Whereas lower-price purchases and impulse buys can usually get away with asking for the sale a little earlier on.
You need to understand what it takes to convert your customer.
As well as where your customers are usually at in that process when they run into your ad on social media.
This is so that you can create an effective social media advertising campaign.
In addition to addressing your audience appropriately…
…solidifying your goal now will help your social ad campaign run a whole lot smoother for the rest of this process.
We’ve mentioned in other posts that social ad platforms design their campaign objectives on the backend by goal.
So looking at Facebook’s objectives, for example, if you choose the conversion campaign…
…Facebook is going to deliver the ad to people within your selected audience who are the most likely to not only click but also convert.
Whereas if you choose the engagement campaign and select post engagement in the Ads Manager…
…Facebook is going to show the ad to people within your audience who are most likely to engage with your ad, but nothing more.
We’ve seen so many new advertisers start off on the wrong foot by selecting:
- the engagement campaign, or
- even the traffic campaign
…when what they really want is website sales or lead form completions.
You’re already doing yourself a disservice from the start if you choose the wrong campaign.
And it’s because you’re telling Facebook you want something different from what you really want because you’ve selected the wrong objective.
And this applies to all social ad platforms, not just Facebook.
So that’s why this step is so important, both for understanding how to address your target audience…
…as well as for the technical side of things win setting up your campaign correctly.
You want to put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
And then, make a list of problems they want to solve or goals they want to achieve as it relates to your product or service.
That is because, ultimately, you don’t sell a product or service, you sell a solution.
For example, in the instance of Target’s delivery service, where they deliver your Target orders same day from your local Target store to your door…
…they’re solving their customers’ pain points of not having time to go to the store themselves and shop on their own.
Or, of wanting to continue staying home as much as possible amid everything going on since 2020.
They’re selling convenience and time saved.
So if they were to create an advertisement about that, it would be better to start with something like:
“Not enough time in the day to get grocery shopping done? Place your same-day Target order from your phone and have it delivered to your door within 2 hours.”
As opposed to something like, “Our Target Delivery service has been awarded 5 stars in XYZ Magazine!”
See the difference?
Making a list of your audience’s Gs & Ps will help guide you in what message to create your ads around.
You want to create social media ads that address your audience’s needs, and paint your product or service as the solution.
You’ll also want to reflect on step 4 of this social media advertising tutorial where you decided what your goal and offer were going to be for these ads.
So you’ll want to marry the two: addressing your audience by need + giving them a CTA aligned with your goal.
Now as far as how to actually create the ads, we have a whole graphic tutorial how to design animated Reels ad and more, all for free with Canva.
But the important thing we want you to take away from this step is that at its core…
… if you’re going to stop them mid-scroll, your ad needs to address your audience with something they care about.
All the fancy video ad creatives and clever technical setups won’t matter if you’re talking about something your audience doesn’t care about.
So be smart and intentional with your messaging here.
A/B split testing is where you test multiple ads or ad sets out at the same time, with 1 variable changed among them, to see what performs best.
So this could look like running the same exact ad to 3 different audiences to see which audience responds best.
And this can also look like running 5 different ads to 1 audience to see which ad performs best.
If you only ever run 1 or 2 ads to the same audience, you’re going to be left frustrated, wondering why you’re not seeing scalable results.
That’s why if you work with a digital marketing agency like LYFE Marketing, you’ll see us using extensive A/B testing in our clients’ campaigns.
This is so we can find that working combination to drive the most results at the lowest cost.
This includes everything from testing:
- multiple cold audiences (which are people who have never heard of your business before),
- to setting up retargeting audiences,
- lookalike audiences,
It’s important to note that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket with 1 audience or 1 ad and then expect results.
You need to test multiple ads, multiple audiences, and look at your campaigns in the form of a funnel.
If you’re A/B split testing ads appropriately, you will find that some ads or audiences do not work.
They don’t drive results, or they do, but at a really high cost.
You don’t want to leave those ads and ad sets running, because they’ll continue to drive up your cost per result.
You’ll want to cut those ads off so that your budget can be reallocated to the ads that are performing well.
And the ads that are performing well will change over time.
So this is an ongoing process that you’ll want to remain on top of after your ads have been running for a while.
We say “after a while” because at the same time you don’t want to make changes too early.
We talked about this before that Facebook has what’s called a “learning phase”.
It is a designated period for Facebook’s machine learning to gather data about your ad.
And every time you make an edit or change to the ad or ad set, you reset the learning phase.
This prolongs the learning phase, which is there to help Facebook find and deliver your ad to the people most likely to convert.
So every time you make it start over, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
That’s why you’ll want to wait until your ads are out of the learning phase.
Or, have received 50 optimization events within a 7 day period to start making changes.
Going back to step one, if you had any other social media platforms that were a strong second in target audience population…
…it may be beneficial for you to advertise on there as well.
Of course, take your advertising budget into account first.
You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin financially or in terms of time and labor.
But at the very least, clean up your accounts on those platforms, make sure they’re completed, and pointing to your website if nothing else.
And that wraps up our 9 step social media advertising tutorial!
If you need any help with your social media ads, don’t hesitate to check out our social media advertising services today.