12 social media marketing tips + Free social media budget template
According to a report by eMarketer, 18.3% of adults in the United States have made a purchase through Facebook in 2020 . Two-third of Facebook users visit a local business Page on Facebook at least once a week. Moreover, 200 million IG users visit at least 1 Business profile on a daily basis. 81% of Instagrammers use the platform to research products and services. Social media platforms provide small businesses and brands with an opportunity to reach, attract and connect with their audience. Social media platforms are becoming more crowded by each day passing. So, if you are looking for some actionable social media marketing tips that’ll help you stand out from the crowd, read along.
We have also prepared a social media marketing budget template that’ll help you plan your social strategy. If you’re here for the budgeting template, scroll to the bottom of this blog and download your free social media marketing budget template.
1. Define buyer personas
An online survey conducted by ITSMA studying buyer personas and their effect on leads and revenue. The survey found that buyers are 48% more likely to consider purchasing from solution providers that curate and personalize their marketing to address their business specific issues . In fact, 81% buyers are also willing to pay a premium for industry-specific solutions, according to the same survey . In order to address the correct audience and cater to their specific needs, a persona-based marketing always proved to be fruitful. Most businesses have more than one buyer personas.
Buyer persona describes who your ideal audience or ideal customer is. Personas are highly researched fictional characters in marketing which are created to depict your target audience and represent a user type that might use your buy your products brand, visit your website and interact on your social profiles. As a social media marketer, you answer questions like what is your target audience’s age group and gender, which country and city they live in, which social media channels they use the most, what are their interests, what form they usually consume content in (audio, video, imagery) and much more. Using buyer personas, you can also describe what challenges they face, what their usual day looks like and how they make decisions.
The personas are based on extensive research on your target audience’s buying process and market trends. A strategy that is persona-based helps in discovering the clear picture of who you are targeting and understanding if the content you’re producing will resonate with them. If they don’t resonate with your content, they are not likely to trust you with their money. Creating buyer personas is one of the best social media marketing tips you can get because it has a direct impact on leads. Research conducted by ITSMA found that 56% of businesses have generated higher quality leads using buyer personas. Additionally, 36% of organizations have created shorter sales cycles using buyer personas .
2. Targeting the right audience size
Reaching an optimal set of audience should be your goal. Don’t go too big or too small when targeting an audience. While targeting too wide an audience, you rely more on the social media platform to find the users who would be interested in your advertisement. While this might feel like a shot in the dark, it may actually help you a potential audience you would have not thought to reach otherwise. This is a good approach only when you’re trying to create an audience for your ads and not entirely sure about what options to use. A specific audience can be more interested in your products or services than a wider audience. Just be careful because if you choose too many options at once, the audience might be too niche and small for your ad to be effective.
3. Create different content & ads for different platforms
According to a study by Think with Google, using an omnichannel advertising strategy results in 80% higher rate of store visits for local businesses in the United States . While opting for more than one social media channel for advertising and connecting with your audience is smart, it is important to remember it isn’t wise to publish the same content across every platform.
Communicating with your audience in a manner that is inconsistent with the customs and norms of the social media platform can be ineffective, or worse, counter-productive. Every social media platform has its own traditions, tonality, language, audience and type of content. To ensure that your social media marketing efforts aren’t going to waste, understand what different social media platforms ask for and learn how to address your audience on all the social platforms you’ve decided to participate in.
4. Make the most of ‘A/B Testing’
In the world of social media marketing, A/B testing means experimenting between 2 or more variations of an ad and comparing the results against each other. It is like statistical hypothesis testing and an analytical method used for making decisions that estimates parameters based on sample statistics. Harnessing the power of A/B testing is one of the best social media marketing tips that can help you see great social media advertising results.
A/B testing simply takes out the guesswork and gives you real-time data to back up your decision to use a certain ad copy, creative or headline. It ultimately runs the two ads against each other and tests which of the two ads receives better response from your audience.
5. Leveraging video ads
Numerous experiments and surveys have been performed to compare the outcome of video ads with image ads. One such experiment was performed by Databox asking marketers if video ads deliver better engagement when compared with image-based ads. Almost 60% marketers said that video ads tend to drive more traffic. Additionally, they study found that video ads result in 2 times increase in clicks, 20-30% increase in conversions and a 2 to 3 times higher Click Through Rate (CTR) .
Apart from ads, video features on all social platforms must be taken complete advantage of. On Facebook, videos can be posted as Posts and Stories. Instagram now has 3 formats in which you can upload videos – IGTV, Reels and Story (of course, you can upload a video as a Post, too). Not experimenting enough with these features is a mistake. Yes, to make it big on a visual platform like Instagram, you need to post great pictures. However, if you want to draw new eyeballs to your Instagram page, posting videos is recommended. In fact, IGTV are 4 times larger than photos on the Explore page on Instagram.
6. Use social media retargeting in ads
Simply put, retargeting an audience on social media is the process of finding users who visited your website or app and then using their data to find their social media profiles. Ad campaigns can be run on these ‘retargeted’ profiles to target those people and convince them to visit your website again. Instagram and Facebook make it easier for you to find and retarget users with a wide variety of ad formats.
When a user visits your website, views your products or services, adds them to the card or makes a purchase, a cookie is provided to them that tracks their activity. This cookie tells your retargeting partner when one of your website visitors appears on another social media platform, like Facebook. Based on this prior engagement and purchase intent, the ‘cookied’ visitor will be served your ad on Facebook and Instagram. A study conducted by Citreo found that website visitors who are retargeted are 43% more likely to convert .
7. Boost posts that perform well
When it comes to paid social media advertising, boosting posts that perform well rarely comes to mind. Leveraging this powerful feature is bad enough, however what’s worse can be boosting or promoting the wrong posts. If ‘following your gut’ is your approach for picking posts to boost, you might want to reconsider it. One way to go about it is to go to Facebook Page Insights (or Instagram Insights or Insights of any other social platform you use) to see which posts have performed well in the past. Following are the things you want to consider while analyzing the success of your previously posted content:
- Likes, Shares, Reactions and Comments on Facebook
- Likes, Shares, Comments and Saves on Instagram
- Likes, Comments and Retweets on Twitter
Facebook and Twitter also provide engagement rates of individual posts and tweets respectively. For Pinterest and Instagram, you will have to calculate engagement rate manually. This can be done easily by dividing the total engagement of the post with impressions for Posts and reach for Instagram.
Don’t have a ‘set it & forget it’ mentality when it comes to posts. Check regularly which posts are performing better than other posts and boost. Also, understand that engagement is the language your audience communicated back to you with. If a post is performing well, try to understand why it is so and what you did differently.
8. Add a call-to-action (CTA)
Call-to-Action or a CTA – Words in your ad copy or post copy that compel users to take some action. Examples – Visit Store, Show Now, Call Us and Contact Us
AdEspresso by Hootsuite conducted an experiment on Facebook testing which CTA button on the social media platform brings in the most leads and at what cost. They ran 4 same ads on Facebook with just 1 differing detail – CTA . The CTAs they used were – No Button, Sign Up, Learn More and Download. Here are the results –
- No Button: Leads – 20, Cost of Acquisition – 12.50 each
- Sign Up: Leads – 26, Cost of Acquisition – $9.62 each
- Learn More: Leads – 36, Cost of Acquisition – $9.94 each
- Download: Leads – 50, Cost of Acquisition – $5.10
The most noteworthy conclusion you must take with you from this experiment is that not adding a CTA button leads to much fewer leads and a higher Cost of Acquisition.
9. Experiment with different landing pages
While sending users that click on your ads to your Home page sometimes can be fruitful (as users can navigate your website and see what all you do), it is recommended to keep experimenting with different landing pages. Following are some pages that can be used as landing pages:
- Product or service description page
- Product catalogue page
- Contact us page
- Pricing page
- About us page
10. Embrace the power of Story Ads
All the Facebook-owned platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp) together generate 1 billion+ Stories. Alone on Instagram, more than 500 million accounts use Stories on a daily basis. Over 4 million small, mid and large businesses use Story ads on a monthly basis. Contrary to popular belief, Instagram Story ads by brands are quite liked by users. 58% of the users surveyed by Instagram said they became more interested in a product or brand after seeing it in a Story. Moreover, 50% of the users said they’ve visited a website to purchase a service or product after seeing in it Stories.
It is always a great idea to promote an event on Facebook to engage to larger set of an audience. Story ads can really help in making the users aware of upcoming events and locations. The Gen-Z social platforms like Tik-Tok and Clubhouse have disrupted the user- space, however, Facebook continues to have notable value. Using Tik-Tok, Snapchat and other video popular apps are also a great source of promoting video ads.
Iconic apparel brand Gap ran video ads in Instagram Stories to boost brand awareness and reach a set of new customers for its Logo Remix collection. As a result, Gap saw a 17-point increase in ad recall value, a 4-point increase in message association through IG Stories and a whopping 73% lift in CTR as compared to its previous IG campaign .
11. Monitoring campaigns & track appropriate KPIs
Not keeping an eye on what your social media ads are delivering to you is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. All social media marketing tips will go to waste if you don’t do this one sincerely. It is the most important piece of the puzzle in social media advertising because if you don’t monitor your campaigns, you won’t know how they’re performing, how useful your efforts were and if your target audience resonated with your ads. Tracking your campaigns and analyzing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allows you to understand all of it and much more. It helps you make adjustments to your current ads and improve your future campaigns. Some of the important KPIs to look at when running ad campaigns are:
- Link Clicks
- Click-Through Rate
- Page Likes
- Engagement Rate Ranking
- Post Shares
- Tracking of standard events: Events like Add to cart, Contact, Initiate Checkout, Lead, Purchase, Schedule, Start trial, Subscribe, etc. can be measured on Facebook itself
12. Keep your budget in mind
Overspending social media budget does no good. It is easy to lose track of your budget, especially when your posts are performing well and ads are generating revenue. Therefore, avoid running too many ads, running too many A/B tests and boosting too many posts. Make sure that you’re investing money in the right posts that will deliver you a good Return on Investment (ROI). Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals), watch what your competitors are doing and most importantly, make a budget and stick to it. We have something that will help you plan your social media marketing budget. Feel free to download and use it to plan your social media strategy.
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 eMarketer & Insider Intelligence (2020) “Social Media Update Q2 2020” [Online] Available from: https://www.emarketer.com/content/social-media-update-q2-2020 [Accessed January 2021]
 Instagram (2019) “How to sell your products on Instagram” [Online] Available from: https://business.instagram.com/blog/how-to-sell-your-products-on-instagram [Accessed January 2021]
  ITSMA Online Survey (2014) “Increasing Relevance with Buyer Personas and B21 Marketing” [Online] Available from: www.itsma.com/pdfs/research/ITSMAPersonasandB2I_AbbSum.pdf [Accessed January 2021]
 ITSMA (2014) “Research Highlight: The Importance of Developing Effective Personas” [Online] Available from: www.itsma.com/importance-of-developing-effective-personas/ [Accessed January 2021]
 Think with Google (2018) “How to reach today’s impatient shoppers—whether they’re shopping online, by voice, or in store” [Online] Available from: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/app-and-mobile/meeting-shoppers-needs/ [Accessed January 2021]
 Databox (2019; modified in 2020) “Videos vs. Images: Which Drives More Engagement in Facebook Ads?” [Online] Available from: https://databox.com/videos-vs-images-in-facebook-ads [Accessed January 2021]
 Citreo (2018) “The Power of Retargeting: Computing and High Tech by the Numbers” [Online] Available from: https://www.criteo.com/blog/power-of-retargeting-computing-high-tech/ [Accessed January 2021]
 AdEspresso by Hootsuite (2018) “What’s the Best CTA For Your Facebook Ads? (a $1,000 Experiment)” [Online] Available from: https://adespresso.com/blog/best-cta-facebook-ads/ [Accessed January 2021]
 Instagram Business (2018) “Iconic American retailer” [Online] Available from: https://business.instagram.com/success/gap [Accessed January 2021]
Image Courtesy: Today Testing (for derivative), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons