Selecting which channels to use to drive your paid social campaigns can be a challenge. It's important to focus your paid social strategy on the channels where your key personas most often reside and engage with content and assess where to distribute your ad budget for social.
Here are 5 simple steps to choosing the right paid social channels for your business:
1) Research the behavioural insights of your audience
Review Google Analytics and your other analytics tools to gain insights into your audience's online behaviours. Assess how people most commonly arrive at your website and how they engage with your content. Gather audience demographics and insights and combine with your persona profiles to help inform your channel selection. Is one social channel currently referring more traffic than another? Find out the reasons for the trends and reach out to your customers for feedback, to enhance your decision-making.
2) Look at which channels your competitors are using
Take advantage of competitor analysis and benchmarking. Analyse their social media marketing activity. Are they using paid social, organic or a combination of both? What type of content do they promote? If a competitor is spending a lot of time on one channel and not so much on the others, it's a strong indicator this channel is working for them. Some paid activity will be 'dark' posts, so be sure to follow their channels to increase the chances of seeing their adverts. Be critical to identify gaps in their activity, where you can gain competitive advantage.
3) Align your business goals with your customer needs
What are you looking to achieve from particular social channels? How can you build an offer centred around your customer needs to help you achieve that? The two should be aligned.
Social media channels are a long-term investment. If your business goals are about increasing brand awareness, then an offer built around gaining engagement and exposure will work well. If you're promoting social ads to gain traffic to your website – with the goal of increasing sales – a more tailored approach is required to boost conversions. Consider a platform-specific offer or discount to entice customers to convert. If your customers are likely to shop around for cheaper alternatives, this could work well in increasing spontaneous purchases.
4) Make a strategic case for being on each channel
Don't spread yourself (and your budget) too thinly across a range of paid social channels. Make a clear business case for being on certain social channels. Focus on your customer needs and preferences. Here are some reasons to choose one channel over another:
- You're currently achieving success through organic methods on the channel and want to further that success
- You've already run a trial with a small budget and seen positive results
- It's cost-effective and has proven ROI
- You're comfortable creating content for that platform and it's a good fit for your brand
- Your customers hang out on the channel
- You're taking advantage of an emerging platform ahead of the competition
- It's a large enough existing channel to exploit
5) Find the optimum number of social channels
A common mistake in social media marketing is to neglect or overload. In very few situations will every potential paid channel work for your business, so it's important to narrow them down to generate the best return on investment. A simple way to test whether your selected channel is the right fit, is to take your draft budget and calculate out forecasted ROIs based on previous results.
Once your core paid social channel is mastered, you can grow it whilst simultaneously running smaller test campaigns on other channels before analysing the results. Perfect one paid channel, before building your paid social media strategy.
Choosing the right paid social media platforms can be a difficult challenge, but starting small and testing, before branching out, is the best way forward. Through a cycle of research, testing and optimisation, you'll soon be able to deliver successful paid social ads and start seeing a great return on investment!
If you want to get expert paid social media tactics, channel comparisons and best practice tips, download our free guide to creating an effective paid social strategy!
Enchant is a digital marketing agency, based in London, specialising in paid social, email marketing and marketing automation. We enable brands to reach their potential through customer-centric marketing strategies. Want to learn more about creating an impact with paid social? Get in touch now and schedule a free consultation with one of our social media experts.