Before you begin that ad campaign on social media

Most small businesses are careful about what type of marketing strategies they invest in. When you have a limited marketing budget, it’s important that you spend it wisely to get the most for your money. Marketing through social media is one of the most versatile and cost-effective strategies that small businesses can use to reach their target audience and boost sales over time. That’s why 97% of marketers are using social media to reach their target audiences. But as useful as social media marketing can be, if not done correctly, you could just be throwing your hard-earned cash right into Zuckerberg’s pocket with little or no ROI in sight.

Here are some important things you should know spot on before you commence your marketing campaign on any social media marketing channel you think will work best for your brand.

  • Audience research (Define your target audience: Don’t talk to everyone.)
    Regardless of the size of your business, before you invest money, time, and resources on social media as a business leader, you need to know why you’re there and who your target audience is. A target market is the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing message. They are the people who are most likely to buy your products or services, and they are united by some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviors.
    Here’s a hint before we dig in: Your target audience is not “everyone.” Your task in defining your target group is to identify and understand your particular niche so you can dominate it.
    The better you understand your target market, the more closely you’ll be able to focus your ads, so you can pay only to reach the audience most likely to convert into customers. As your depth of audience insight grows, you’ll start to see higher conversion rates and better ROI — key metrics that matter to all marketers (and marketing bosses).

  • Select social media channels that have a culture that aligns with yours
    Your business/start up should have a consistent brand voice and culture that depicts the core values of the brand. Everything your brand stands for should be passed across as vividly as possible in a subtle and interesting way.
    When it comes to social media, every channel has its own established culture and these cultures can influence what type of content/business can flourish on a particular platform. For example, a business consultant is likely to be more successful on LinkedIn, a fitness coach can thrive on Instagram while an entertainer will most-likely do better on YouTube.

  • Let your organic posts inform your ads
    You’re likely already posting content on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram every day. Maybe LinkedIn and SnapChat, too.
    Some of these posts will resonate with followers; others won’t. Track which ones are being clicked, liked, shared, and commented on. These high-performing messages make the best candidates for social media ads.
    If you’re branching out into a new network with your social media advertising, start small. Use what you’ve learned from your organic posts as a starting point. However, know that those lessons will not necessarily translate across social networks.

  • Create a user-friendly value proposition
    Your business’s value proposition is arguably the most important element of your overall marketing messaging. A value proposition tells prospects why they should do business with you rather than your competitors, and makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear from the outset. Done correctly, a value proposition can give your business a huge advantage over your competitors.
    In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the pain point you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives

  • Develop different types of content, then track performance (A/B testing)
    A/B testing (also known as split testing or bucket testing) as regards social media marketing is a method of comparing two versions of an ad against each other to determine which one performs better. AB testing is essentially an experiment where two or more variants of an ad are shown to users at random, and statistical analysis is used to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal.
    More than just helping you understand your target audience better, AB testing can be used consistently to continually improve on a given product or service, improving a single goal like conversion rate over time.

Having all this knowledge handy will give you an edge in your marketing campaign and help you utilize your ad budget more judiciously.

Do you currently invest money in social media marketing? What is your experience?