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How to Plan a Paid Social Media Campaign

Sarah Corley
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing, #Social Media
Published on March 7, 2018

We share how to plan a successful paid social media campaign in 7 easy steps.

Whether you are launching a product, promoting an event or increasing brand awareness, paid social media campaigns are a valuable component. In fact, a combination of paid media, earned media and owned media is the best way to get maximum exposure for your inbound marketing campaign. Let’s explore how to plan a successful paid social media campaign in 7 easy steps.

Step 1: Define your budget
Often, one of the biggest hurdles is getting the budget for paid ads. Once you have a budget to work with, it’s important to set aside 1/3rd of the funds, in case you need to adjust bid levels to maintain competitive throughout the life of the campaign. HubSpot, a sales and marketing platform, even has created an ad spend calculator to help you plan for success by estimating a few key metrics.

Step 2: Define your objective and choose a platform
This is one of the most important parts of your paid social media campaign. In order to get the results you’d like, it’s important to clearly define the purpose of your campaign. Is it to get more likes and comments on your posts? To gain followers? To get people to convert on a content offer? Or is it just general brand awareness? If you answered yes to all of these, I’d encourage you to find one overarching goal. Write it down and plan your entire campaign around achieving that one goal.

Once you’ve defined your objective, it’s important to consider what social platform would best suite your campaign. It might be that you want to do a multiple platform campaign, but if this is your first paid social media campaign, I’d suggest choosing one social media channel that is currently your biggest source of leads.

Step 3: Clearly define target audience
Remember your trusty buyer personas? Your paid social media campaign should be built around targeting one of them on social media. Therefore, it’s important to have thoroughly researched and detailed all aspects of your buyer persona including: location, age range, gender and interests and hobbies. On some platforms, you can choose to target people who watch specific TV shows and even other brands’ followers.

At this stage, you should have your budget, your objective, social platform of choice, and a clear idea of your target audience from your buyer persona. Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty details of your campaign.

Step 4: Define start and end dates of the campaign and bid level
This is a key aspect of your paid social media campaign. How long do you want your campaign to run? 1 week? 2 weeks? Or a month? Set specific start and end dates around your campaign. 

The next section is a little more complicated and can vary depending on the platform. Paid social media campaigns rely on an auction-style method. Each social media platform requires a bid. You set the amount that you would be willing to pay to have your ad shown. Some platforms show you what companies are currently paying and it’s good to be somewhere right in the middle. The paid social media platform handles the rest.

Step 5: Create the “ad set”
The next step is to upload your ad creative properties. This can be photos, a video clip, the click through link, and it also includes the post message itself. Your advertisement will need to be approved by the social media platform before you can launch your campaign.

PRO TIP: Advertisements where more than 20% of the ad photo contains writing will be denied. Try to keep your ad as photo focused as possible. Save the words for the message itself.

Remember, the point of your ad is to generate traffic and attention, not to spam people. A term that I like to reference is “ad camouflage” which is when your ad should look like a regular post so that your target audience is more likely to click it.

Step 6: Launch campaign
It’s finally time to launch your campaign! After your ad has been approved, you can officially launch the campaign and once it’s launched, your ads will automatically post at your designated campaign start date and time. 

Step 7: Continue to manage and measure results
One of the best ways to launch and manage your campaigns and results is through HubSpot’s Ads add-on. Right now there’s no way to build out an entire paid social media campaign directly from the tool. However, the add-on is fantastic since it pulls in all paid campaign metrics in one place once it’s set it up.

Now there’s no more guessing the impact of your online ads or trying to figure out which ads performed best with this tool. The Ads add-on goes beyond the clicks and cost-per-click metrics to show you exactly how many leads and sales resulted from your paid social campaign. When paired with the HubSpot CRM, the deals tool calculates how much money you’ll be making from your ads too.

Once your campaign is live and has started, it’s important to consistently check in every few days. You want to respond to people who may comment on your post! You may also find that a certain ad is out performing another or you want to adjust the original bid price to bid higher or lower. This is where the extra funds that you set aside at step 1 will come handy. After your campaign ends, I recommend creating a report detailing your end results as well as all of the previous steps above, in case you decide to run a similar campaign.

Planning out a paid social media campaign will take some time, but will ultimately ensure a strategic approach. The addition of the HubSpot Ads add-on means that you can keep all of your campaign metrics in once place and tie it directly back to names of leads—proving the ROI of paid social media.

Need to talk through any of these steps? Or maybe you’d like to start a paid ad campaign? We’re here to help and we have experience in building out solid and measurable paid social media campaigns. Comment below and we’ll be in touch.