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SMBs on Social: What to Leverage to Achieve Goals

Published: February 3, 2016

Author: Carlton Sanders

One difference between launching a digital campaign on a social platform and a display platform or search network is a brand’s ability to choose what action they will pay for.
Twitter gives you options to pay per follower, website click, website conversion, engagement, app install, lead, etc., and Facebook offers nearly identical options. This wide variety of options can seem daunting for many, so let’s look at the options that best suit your goals and those that can achieve multiple goals at once.
The goal for most SMBs is to drive revenue and grow the business. When launching a social campaign to drive purchases or trial initiations, choose platforms with pricing structures that will give you the most control over your end goal.
Between cost per impression (CPM) and cost per click (CPC), CPC is a cost per action that is further down the conversion path and should be used for campaigns focused on conversions. If the target audience size is over 1 million, using oCPM bidding offered on Facebook will be the best option for conversion campaigns. Facebook’s oCPM method will show a brand’s ad to those that are most likely to convert; the feature optimizes by delivering impressions to those with a higher propensity to convert based on campaign data. One big caveat: there must be a steady flow of conversion data for Facebook’s algorithm to perform well in this method (you should have at least 25 conversions a day).
(For more on how to build segmented target audiences using your own data, click here.) 
Some businesses move to run campaigns on social outlets with the main objective being to grow their audience base, drive impressions and increase engagement on the outlet. For example, when a business launches on Twitter, it’s often looking to achieve three goals: grow the account, drive content engagement, and increase visits to the website. A business could choose to run three separate campaigns on Twitter to hit these goals or they can leverage one option to hit all three goals: Followers (CPF).
The key is understanding how the ads are served. When running a followers campaign, the advertising manager has the option to run their ads as promoted tweets. To efficiently spend campaign funds, all promoted tweets should have a CTA for anything except asking to follow the account, since the campaign will be charged for each follower. Instead, include a link to a landing page, video to watch, promo code, or any general message to drive brand lift on the platform. The campaign will not be charged for impressions, clicks, or any engagement (retweets, replies, or favorites) other than a follow; this is a loophole that enables brands with limited budgets on the platform to extend their advertising dollars. CPF campaigns have proven the ability to outperform Engagement (CPE) and Website Click (CPC) campaigns against their own target performance metrics – CPE and CPC, respectively.
Many SMBs run great social media campaigns but do not include a complementary SEM campaign to drive conversions once users become familiar enough with the brand/product/service to search for it with intent. Google is the top performing platform for conversions and is an essential outlet to complement any digital campaign to drive conversions. Brands that do not complement their display efforts with search leave themselves exposed down the conversion funnel and can allow competitors running conquesting campaigns on the channel to steal potential traffic and conversions. In short, be sure to allocate a portion of funds to run a complementary SEM campaign to capture the users who became familiar with the brand through social campaigns.
In digital advertising, there is always room for improvement, and brands should continuously test and monitor campaign performance against established KPIs. From the landing page level to the CTA within a promoted Tweet, there are many variables at play that ultimately effect the campaign goal. When developing these campaigns, be sure to run constant A/B testing to find performance trends in the tests and optimize campaigns accordingly.  By testing and optimizing campaigns on a continuous basis, campaign performance can be expected to climb over the duration of the campaign, and budgets can bring greater return.

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