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Paid social media campaigns can be one of the most potent tools at your disposal — if you know how to use them effectively over the short and long term. With the right strategy and a clear sense of who your ads will reach, it is possible to craft marketing materials that deliver an exceptional ROI.
The net positive effects of paid advertising on social platforms go beyond the potential for sales conversions, too. With an intelligent approach, your brand can be a conversation starter. You can reach broader groups through shares and interactions from your core audience. Ultimately, that aids in establishing the clarity and tone of your brand voice.
Reaching that stage requires more than simply imagining your ideal customer and paying for highly targeted placements that seem to make sense. Without real-world testing behind your campaigns, it isn’t possible to make data-driven decisions about what works and what doesn’t. Your actual audience may not always be the one you plan for or anticipate.
How do you test effectively? In other words, how can you establish a clear, articulated purpose behind your testing so that you can interpret the results in a meaningful way? There are three stages to success in this space: understanding your position, clearly defining the purpose of the way you message to audiences and learning from your results to ultimately improve and succeed. Let’s break it down step by step:
1. Understand the goals of your business and your marketing account
At first, it might sound strange to ask about the goal of your business, since you may think the answer is “to make money, of course.” This step aims to go beyond the basics and think deeply about the purpose of your marketing efforts. What are the goals 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 businesses, the focus of these marketing efforts lies in pushing one specific product heavily. For others, a broader message is ideal. Other goals can include particular sales targets, such as bringing in more first-time buyers or driving up the percentage of buyers who return to make additional purchases. Before you can begin testing audiences, building lookalike profiles and deploying a mature campaign, you need to know where you want to end.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
2. Put a real purpose behind your audience and assets
Finding the message that resonates most with your target audience and lookalike profiles is critical. This process begins by understanding the basic structure of the audiences you want to connect with and then learning which themes resonate with them most readily. For example, some audiences connect very well with brand messages that emphasize a certain quality, such as environmental sustainability. Other viewers might react more positively to learning about a story of hardship and ingenuity that propelled a founder to start the business.
Understanding these themes enables you to begin developing materials for testing and exploring the creative structures that will give you a robust framework for growth. Does your audience prefer listicles? Do they like short, hard-hitting content, or will they respond best to a short video? Testing the structures and themes of your copy this way ensures that you target audiences purposefully and effectively.
Related: Top 5 Not-So-Obvious Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid
3. Track your results and understand your data
How can you test with a purpose if you don’t have a way to track your efforts, measure changes and draw conclusions? It can seem obvious, but surprisingly few businesses actively track the results of their paid social testing over the long term. There’s no reason not to track your results with various excellent tools on the market that simplify gathering this info and putting it into a usable form.
Doing so can reveal key insights — even ones you didn’t expect. For example, you could see seasonal trends play out in the way audiences respond to ads. You might identify a new audience category to target or recognize when a particular approach isn’t working. Testing and tracking your data isn’t just good for finding out what works: it helps you make critical course corrections when something isn’t right.
Related: 7 Steps to Launch an Expert Social-Media Marketing Campaign
With a testing program imbued with a real sense of purpose and a solid direction, charting the right course for your marketing campaign can be easier. While there are still many steps to go through, knowing the meaning behind the effort makes for smoother sailing. Less time wasted on poor value propositions and more time invested in building smartly targeted campaigns translates into a better bottom line at the end of the day.
By understanding your goals, building purpose into your understanding of the audience, and following the data, reducing poor performance and boosting actionable results is achievable. What opportunities for growth and success could be within reach? Now’s the time to make that discovery.