We talk a big game about strategising here at Neighbourhood. To be honest, we've done our fair share of getting stuck into work with out spending the time required to strategise (don't worry, that was young, näive Neighbourhood, before we learned how wrong we were). Now days, we don't even step out the door for a coffee without a robust strategy that covers every possible caffeine-based eventuality - it's an essential part of any project. If you're looking to dip your toes into some social media marketing, then your first job is strategising, and the best way to strategise is with these top tips.
1. Every platform needs its own strategy
That's right, step 1 to a good strategy is more strategies. A lot of people still group all social media under one big heading; 'Social Media'. In actual fact, the separate websites and platforms can differ in major ways, and each deserves its own strategy. The approach you take to marketing on Facebook should be substantially different to the approach you take on Instagram, to the approach on LinkedIn, etc. If you're not sure why they would be treated differently than consider;
- Why do people use this platform? Socialising? Networking? Posting pictures of cats and brunch?
- How active are your competitors on this platform?
- What kind of ad (i.e single photo, video, carousel, animated) works best on this platform?
- What time of day do most people use this platform?
- What kind of demographic is most prevalent on this platform?
If you want to do social right, you'll approach each of these questions for each individual platform, and let them dictate how you plan. It'll improve your engagement and your ROI out of site, rather than trying to fit the square block of a Facebook Campaign into a round, LinkedIn hole.
2. Be specific with your objective
Every social ad you create needs a clear and straight forward goal. Whether it is getting a user to fill in a form, download an article or visit your website, the less of a breadcrumb trail you need to leave, the better. Don't leave the opportunity open for people to get confused or lost, because they will.
This will also help with the optimisation of the ads themselves, platforms like Facebook allow you build your ads with a certain goal in mind, for example clicks or conversions. When you do so, the audience is further segmented to try and get you those results; if you are looking for clicks, it will show more-so to people who have clicked ads in the past. Even the payment method is affected by this - paying for clicks or paying for impressions is the most obvious choice, and that depends on your goal for the ad.
3. Get specific with audience segmentation
The masses of people that use social media can be daunting. Even more daunting is trying to ensure you don't waste money advertising to people for whom your product or service is not relevant. This is why many social media platforms have extensive and super useful segmentation tools; so that marketers can get specific about who they pitch their ads at.
There's a lot of temptation to go broad with advertising - it's easy to look at your product and think "But every male between 18 and 50 that speaks English could really use this" but a) no they don't, and b) you're shooting yourself in the foot. As marketers and their tools get smarter, people are starting to expect that their ads are relevant, the days of being okay with advertisers throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at you are done. This is why you'll see better returns, more engagement and waaay better ROI if you take the time to build an audience that actually cares about your product.
Consider the sort of things your ideal audience likes, where they work, how much they make, what they do on the weekend, what level of schooling they achieved, what their living and travel habits are like... All of this is important information in segmenting out an effective audience.
4. Split test always and forever
Split testing (or A/B Testing) is the process of running two ads simultaneously that are identical in every aspect bar one. After a certain period of time (or number of engagements) you can then review which one was more effective and update future advertising accordingly. This process is such an integral part of the advertising process that many platforms have made them an integral tool; Facebook for example allows you to split test across multiple different categories as a feature. To split test effectively, just follow these guidelines;
- Only change one thing per split test, otherwise you won't know for sure why one did better than the other
- Split test constantly on different aspects of your advertising, such as creative, headline, audience, schedule or placement.
- Make sure your findings are used to better optimise future ads (otherwise why did you bother?!)
And there you have it! 4 sure-fire ways to ensure your social media strategy has its bases covered and is leaving as little as possible to chance. Good luck!