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6 Questions to Ask When Building a Social Advertising Strategy

, | February 16, 2023 | By

Social advertising promises something that was once marketing’s distant dream: the chance to engage directly with consumers, solicit their feedback, and respond in real time. Social media advertising helps you reach customers where they already hang out, then direct them to resources that generate brand loyalty and drive new engagement. 

The most effective social media advertising strategies position your brand as an authority—as an organization consumers like and respect. But realizing this dream can be tricky, especially when you’re navigating numerous social media platforms, each with its own rules and norms. 

The right social media advertising strategy begins with deeply understanding your customers. And how do you do that? By asking the right questions. In so doing, you can access a treasure trove of useful information and speak to consumers in a way that allows them to truly hear what you’re saying. 

These six questions will help you devise, refine, and measure results for each social advertising campaign. 


1. Who are we talking to? 

Imagine talking to your mother the way you talk to your best friend or to your boss the way you talk to your child. This is equivalent to what a lot of social media advertising strategies do when they don’t get to know individual customers. 

The right data should inform your strategy by helping you build clear and specific personas. Some important questions to ask as you build these personas include: 

  • What does each persona care most about? 

  • How does each persona prefer to communicate? 

  • Which personas hang out on which social platforms? 

  • Does the way you talk to one group have the potential to alienate another? Is there a way to mitigate this effect, such as by developing different campaigns on different platforms? 

  • How will you connect this customer data, from social media platforms and beyond, so that it can be used effectively? What about connecting different data points? 

The first ingredient in the recipe for a successful social media advertising campaign is to understand your customers. Enrich the recipe by continuously expanding upon your personas, getting more specific, and responding to customer feedback. Data matters at every stage of the process. 


2. What are our goals? 

You have no way of knowing how successful your social strategy has been without clear goals. The actual results you get may also help you refine your goals. For example, if a campaign goes viral and attracts lots of new followers but no new revenue, then next time, you’ll know which approach to use if you want to expand your viewership. 

The more specific your goals are, the easier they will be to track. Some options to consider include: 

  • Brand affinity/awareness: How will you measure this? Is your goal more likes and shares or something else? 

  • Customer engagement and feedback: Do you want to have a conversation with your customers? Is there specific information you seek from them? 

  • Conversions: Do you want customers to make a target number of purchases? To increase revenue generally? 

Your goals should change from campaign to campaign and should ideally take each persona through the entire buyer’s journey. In each individual campaign, you may have different goals for each persona too, so plan accordingly. Ultimately, each ad must serve up an exceptional customer experience that keeps targets engaged. 


3. What do we know about the platform? 

What thrives on one platform may flop on another, and the algorithm is constantly changing. For example, most platforms make links less visible because they want to keep users on their sites. But putting a link in your bio or in the comments on a post can increase visibility. Similarly, across all platforms, it’s important to get eyes on a post early, but the metrics that drive virality vary. Make sure you understand the rules and norms of each platform you use. 

Some other tips to make the most of your campaign include: 

  • Prioritize the platforms that work best for your product. Not every brand needs Twitter or TikTok, for example. 

  • Use insights from the platform to govern your decisions. Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, and most other social platforms give you data on which times your viewers are most active. Use this to refine your platforms over time. 

  • Use the tools the platform offers, including advertising and A/B testing. In many cases, using in-platform tools can increase visibility and viral potential. These tools, however, pose certain limitations and may prioritize the needs of the platform over your business's needs. So consider investing in external tools for optimization, automation, testing, and personalization. 

  • Pay attention to how users of each platform respond to your marketing efforts. You may be surprised. Common wisdom and expert insight are helpful, but there’s no substitute for real-world experience. Small changes, such as using a different color, can make big differences. 

4. What do our customers care about? 

Why do customers use your products? “Because they like them” isn’t enough. You must dig deep, understanding your customers’ needs and wants and how you fit into their life. Some important queries include: 

  • What problem is your product solving for each persona? 

  • What are your customers’ daily lives like, and how does your product fit into them? 

  • What can you do to become more relevant to your customers’ daily lives? 

Social media is a great way to connect more meaningfully with your customers. Invite them to share their stories and then listen. You may be surprised by how willing viewers are to provide useful data—and by how much you learn. 


5. Which strategies are most effective for engaging with customers? 

It doesn’t matter what an expert told you, what you read somewhere, or which social platform is the subject of the latest hype. Social media is constantly changing. This doesn’t mean you have to latch on to every fad. Marketing is about what works, not what’s popular. Your marketing and social media advertising strategy must always center on the goal of speaking to your customers, not a hypothetical customer and not the ever-shifting trends of a platform. 

Some questions to ask include: 

  • Where are your customers, and how do they use this platform? 

  • Do you need to advertise on every platform? If so, how does the strategy differ from outlet to outlet? 

  • How do your customers respond to various campaigns? Are they willing to share feedback? Surveys often generate a lot of visibility and can give you really useful information. 

  • What content solicits the most engagement? Blog posts, questions, and images tend to elicit more comments and, therefore, more visibility. 

  • Which in-platform ad formats are most successful? Going beyond basic sponsored posts, such as using formats like carousel ads and videos, affords you the opportunity to engage with customers in different ways and break up the monotony.

  • How will you personalize your ads, across formats and platforms, to be relevant to your audiences? Where will you be pulling data from to power these personalizations?

Dynamic creative optimization can help you edit your strategy as you go. 


6. How will we evaluate our strategy? 

A social media advertising strategy is only as good as the post-marketing evaluation. What are you doing to assess the effectiveness of your ads? The more objective and specific the measures are, the more guidance they can offer. 

  • What are the key performance indicators for each campaign? Clicks? Likes? Comments? Purchases?

  • How frequently will you evaluate results? At intervals, or continuously?

  • What is your definition of a successful campaign? 

  • At what point will you change strategy if a campaign is not working? What is your strategy for making changes? All the data and testing in the world means nothing if you don't use it. How will you use your results to optimize your campaigns? Do the results guide you to test other aspects of your ads?

  • Can your entire team agree on your evaluation metrics? 

Creative automation makes modifying your social media advertising strategy easy and ensures you can test out various creative elements throughout the life of each campaign. To learn more, check out our free e-book, How to Scale Personalized Customer Experiences with Creative Automation.

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