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Social Media Paid Advertising 101: A Beginner's Guide

Social media has evolved into a powerful platform for businesses to connect with their target audience. With billions of active users on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, social media paid advertising is an essential component of any marketing strategy. In this beginner's guide, we'll explore the basics and provide you with a roadmap to help you get started with social media paid advertising for your business.

What is Social Media Paid Advertising

Paid ads are online advertisements a company pays for to show up on social media platforms and search engines to drive traffic to their website or another platform. Social media ads are one of the most popular forms of paid advertising since you can reach many targeted people easily. Paid social ads use what is known as a native ad since they appear as ‘Sponsored Posts’ and blend into the timeline. The major platforms for social media advertising include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Defining Your Advertising Goals

The first step in any advertising campaign is to set clear and achievable objectives. Whether you aim to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales, knowing your goals will guide your strategy and help you measure success.

Selecting the Right Social Media Platforms

When creating a paid social ad it’s important to understand which platform is best to run your ads on. Understanding your target audience and whatever platform they use most is the best place to start.

Setting a Budget

Determine your advertising budget, taking into account factors like cost-per-click (CPC) and the competition in your niche. Start with a budget you're comfortable with, and consider increasing it as you gain experience and see positive results.

Ad Creative

Once you know your platforms and have set a budget, it’s time to build the ads. When building the ads I recommend creating the creative and copy yourself. For the creative, you can recycle posts, graphics, and pictures that have already performed well on your page or use UGC or content created by your brand. Whatever you use for the creative should directly relate to your target audience and should come from you or the brand.

Ad Copy

When writing the copy of your paid ads it’s important to include long-tail keywords. These are keywords that are super-specific and more often a phrase over a single keyword. For example, if you were putting an ad out for a dentist's office instead of “dentist” you would say “pediatric dentist in the Northern Street area.” The more specific your keywords are the easier it will be to reach your target audience; taking advantage of paid ads is an almost guaranteed reach to your target audience. Not only are the ads so specified to your target audience, but they also can teach you a lot about your target audience based on what performs well, insights, reach, etc.

Your copy should also include a call to action, whether it’s an event or a promotion, the ad should always call the viewer to take some sort of action such as, "View Website", "Download App", "Shop Now", "Visit Page", etc.

Campaign Monitoring and Optimization

Once your ads are created and published it’s important to track the results. Luckily Meta, used for Facebook and Instagram advertising, makes it easy to track all the results if that is the platform used for your advertisements. Even if you’re not running ads through Meta it’s important to track results to understand what works and what is going to give you results.

Since most ads are pay-per-impression you’ll want to know what makes your target audience interact with the ad so you get the best return on ad spend (ROAS). Your target audience will let you know what they like best which is why it’s so essential to monitor reach, click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rates.

Split Testing (A/B Testing)

Understanding and monitoring your target audience will help you determine what creatives to use; videos, pictures, graphics, etc. If you’re tracking your ad analytics you will know if a carousel ad set is performing better than a video or a graphic. By understanding your target audience you will be able to put out the best possible performing ads which will in turn boost performance and conversions.

To discover what works best for your audience, conduct split tests on various ad elements such as headlines, ad copy, visuals, and CTA buttons. This process will help you fine-tune your campaigns for optimal performance.

As with anything in the social media world is important to test everything before committing, the same goes for social ads. Paid social ads are a great way to reach your target audience and find new customers. Paid ads are an extension of your brand which is an extension of your business so make sure that’s reflected in all creative aspects. Keep trying out new ideas, take inspiration from other campaigns, and most importantly have fun!

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