A lot of brands and businesses see great results from paid social media advertising. But, a lot of companies don’t think they have the budget to do this type of advertising. What they don’t know is that content marketing best practices include a little bit of paid social advertising. Once you choose your tools and your people, establish your social media posting schedule and start creating your content, it’s important to think about how you can make your content reach more people. In this post, we go over how much ad revenue occurring on some of the major social channels, how to set your social media strategy to determine your budget, how to narrow down your budget, and then we give you tips of how to advertise, no matter your budget. Finally, we give you a rundown of the advertising offerings for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
How Much Money are Businesses Spending on Social?
Facebook, the clear leader for social ad revenue, reported that their 4th quarter advertising revenue for 2016 was $8.629 billion, and their full year ad revenue was $26.885 billion. Twitter brought in $641 million in Q4 2016, and $1.15 billion for the full year. Facebook doesn’t disclose Instagram’s ad revenue numbers, but some analysts report that Instagram’s 2016 ad revenues reached about $5.3 billion for 2016. In terms of who is spending that money on social advertising and the ROI they’re realizing from their ad budgets, over 95% of businesses polled by eMarketer say they get the most ROI from Facebook advertising, but plenty of people are advertising on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram as well. So, it’s pretty obvious that it’s worth it to spend a some money on social advertising, but how do you set the budget?
How Do You Set a Social Advertising Budget?
Hootsuite says that there are three questions you have to ask yourself when you start to think about a social advertising budget.
- What are you hoping to accomplish with your social media advertising budget?
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure the success of your social media advertising efforts
- Do the answers to questions one and two support your overall company or brand’s objectives?
The answers to these questions will give you an overarching idea of the things that will inform your social media advertising plan – but they don’t present you with a solid plan. To form one, you need to consider several different steps. It’s these steps that will help you figure out your social advertising budget.
Develop Your Overall Social Media Marketing Schedule
You can’t figure out how much money you need to spend until you find out what you want to spend your budget on. That’s why it’s best to fully develop your social media MARKETING strategy prior to figuring out your advertising budget. When you do this, you eliminate the possibility of having to revamp the social plan you’ve chosen, thus having to recalculate your budget. This is the most time-consuming and complicated part of the entire process, so we’re going to break it up into bite-sized sections for you.
Choose your social channel focus
You don’t want to spend the effort of developing a social plan, nor the money for an advertising plan, on a channel that doesn’t work for your brand. And, once you identify channels that might work for you, you have to decide what you want to accomplish on each channel. For brand awareness, try a tried and true channel like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – newer channels like Snapchat might not do the trick for you. For lead generation, it’s a good idea to have a LinkedIn presence. The most obvious factor in choosing which social channels to focus on is where your potential customers are. The social channel demographics can tell you that. Finally, take a look at where your competitors are. That will give you a great idea of where your potential customers are.
Decide on a social media posting schedule and which parts will be paid and which parts will be organic
Obviously, it’s price prohibitive and kind of spammy to turn all of your social posts into paid posts. Social media is just that – social. Real people are going to be following your page and if you are one big advertising machine, they’re probably not going to be interested, they aren’t going to engage with your page and they might not follow you anymore. Most content marketing guides tell you to first establish your social media posting schedule, then decide which posts can be paid ads.
Decide on your tools and resources
Not only will you need to figure out who will be posting your social content, you also need to figure out which tools you’ll need for social media marketing automation. A well-thought-out social plan includes lots of posts, potentially to different channels, and it’s time and cost restrictive to post content one by one on all your social channels. Content marketing best practices dictate that you find not only an automation tool, but perhaps even a social media content generator, like PromoRepublic, so that creating your posts is faster, easier and more effective. Your tools and your resources, the person or group of people responsible for your social accounts, are a big part of your budget. You can go with a freelancer, an agency, an in-house person or a mix of all three, but choose people who have their content marketing learning behind them so that they can implement the plan without much training.
Start figuring out your content
Your content is the most important part of your social media strategy. And, the content you choose to post should be custom-tailored for both your audience and the channel you’re posting to. Even in 2017, Facebook marketing tips dictate that you need to post engaging content that people want to share. That’s how you build your audience. A mix of link posts, visual posts and promotions are best, and it’s great to use PromoRepublic to hit all the major holidays and the not-so-major holidays so that you can share contextual posts that resonate with your fans and followers. Twitter is better for some visual posts, and short posts that share links to your blog or your landing pages. LinkedIn is a great place to share thought leadership through link posts and, you can write long-form updates right that appears in the news feeds of your connections. Setting up an editorial calendar is the best way to lay out all your content, and get approval from stakeholders, before you pull the trigger.
So now that you’ve got your strategy in place, let’s take a look at the types of budgets you may come up with, and how to develop a social advertising plan on any budget you come up with.
What’s My Social Media Advertising Budget?
In a nutshell, you have to add the cost of your tools to the cost of your resources, subtract it from the total budget you have for social, and then decide how much you’re able to spend on social media advertising.
Tips for Every Budget
Once you decide on your ad budget, you’ll need to figure out how to use it best. Let’s look at some tiers of budget to get an idea of what you can do.
If your budget for social media advertising is $0
You may decide you have no budget for paid ads, and are going to rely on organic social posts entirely. That’s OK. In fact, we recently conducted a webinar and wrote a post about generating leads, traffic and sales using PromoRepublic only. If you just want to spend your budget on a resource and a tool, it’s totally an option for you. Just make sure you follow our tips on the types of content to publish, and you will see results.
That doesn’t mean that paying for advertising doesn’t yield great results. Otherwise, why would so many businesses be doing it?
If your budget for social media advertising is very small
Use your non-paid posts to beta test before boosting or converting them to a paid ad. Since you’re already going to be posting organically, pay close attention to your metrics and analytics to see which posts are performing best, then filter them by how well they line up with your brand’s identity and your KPIs. That way you can choose the posts that will convert based on the number of likes and share you got, and make sure your call to action is spot-on. If your budget is extremely limited, don’t pay extra to reach EVERYBODY. By narrowing your target audience down to a certain geographic area or other demographic, you can control costs while still seeing ROI. Also, pick the channel most of your audience is on and post organic content to the rest of your channels. If you find that most of your engagement is happening on Facebook, don’t spend money to increase engagement on other channels. Spend money to reach more people on Facebook. Additionally, if your budget is small, spend some time contacting influencers to help you organically boost your content. It never hurts to ask!
If you have some budget for social media advertising
If you have more than just a few bucks for social advertising, we have some strategies for you. It seems to be easiest to break it out by channel, so just know that you can scale your campaign to your particular budget in any of these scenarios.
What is Social Advertising Like Per Channel?
Let’s break this down per channel so you can see which types of advertising are available for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. In each section, we’ll give you our advice on segmenting your audience, the type of content that produces the best ROI, and whether you need just a small budget or a larger budget to execute a campaign.
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook has the most robust ad offerings, and advertising efforts there can lead to good conversions across the board. You just have to know what type of content to use to get the attention of your audience. The types of ads offered by Facebook are:
- Photo ads
- Carousel ads (of up to 10 images)
- Video ads
- Boosting to a target audience
While video posts perform well, the platform is getting saturated with them. And now that Facebook has made it so the audio plays automatically when you scroll through your feed, we might see a decline in the popularity of video ads in the coming months. Photo ads are great – just make you follow Facebook’s rules and you know the proper Facebook post side in 2017, because it’s changed. In terms of price, you’re looking at, on average, a $.28 per click price for link clicks, with a CPM of almost $7.19. It could cost significantly less if you’re only advertising on mobile, so look into that.
Once you log into the Facebook Ads manager, you’ll need to set your campaign objective, choose your placement and your target audience, set your schedule and budget – you can choose from daily or lifetime – and then create your ad. In the Budget & Schedule tab, you can totally control your budget. We recommend setting it to daily, and set a start and end date so you can measure the campaign and then revise your strategy when you see the results. We may be working on a 2017 Facebook marketing guide – so stay tuned! Facebook allows you to start small and then scale up as you see better results, tweak your campaigns, and start to invest more into your budget.
Advertising on Twitter
Twitter has three different advertising options, all categorized according to the objective of your campaign. Your ad type options are:
- Promoted Tweets
- Promoted Accounts
- Promoted Trends
Like Facebook, you’ll choose your campaign objective, and that will dictate HOW you pay, though it won’t dictate how much you pay. For campaigns designed to result in clicks and conversions, you pay per click. If you pay to have people engage with a tweet, you pay upfront for the engagement. When you want to gain followers, you pay per follower. When you want to promote awareness, you pay for impressions (CPM). Video view campaigns charge you per video view, and so on. While it’s good that Twitter has so many targeting options, it’s unfortunate that the pay schedule is so spread across the board. It can result in greater expense, which isn’t good for people with small budgets. It can, however, result in some ROI. As with Facebook, the more targeted your ad, regardless of ad type, the more expensive it is. If you’re playing for views, link clicks, leads or followers, it could cost as little as $.50 per, but Promoted Trends are always expensive.
To start a Twitter campaign, sign into the ads platform, choose your objective and start creating your campaign. You’ll choose your audience, set your budget. Please note that if you don’t do some calculating beforehand, you could end up spending a lot of money, or you could end up spending just a little money with no return on the investment. Once you set your budget, choose the tweet you want to promote or make a new one.
Advertising on Instagram
Instagram is owned by Facebook, so the same types of ads are available. We’re going to cover advertising on Instagram at some length in a later post, but for now, please keep in mind that the demographic of Instagram is different than Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, so before you play $.72 per click, really think about your audience. In the meantime, stay current on Instagram and make sure you launch some good Instagram campaigns.
Advertising on LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers five different ad options. They are:
- Dynamic ads
- Text ads
- Sponsored content
- Display ads
- Sponsored InMail
You can segment your audience based on their industry, position or seniority (among other factors), which is pretty great for a business networking tool. However, choosing too large of an audience can be price prohibitive, and too small of an audience might not bring you any results. As for payment, you can choose the CPC model or pay CPM, and you are not allowed to spend less than $10 on any campaign. In addition, there are minimum bids for text ads for both CPC and CPM. $2 per click or per 1000 impressions, depending on which you decide on.
Business related content is the only thing that performs well on LinkedIn, so if you don’t have some really compelling business content to share, save your advertising dollars for Facebook or another social channel.
As you can see, there’s a way to advertise on any social media channel, for any budget. As we strive to provide the ultimate in social media marketing guides through these educational blog posts, if there is a topic you’d like us to cover, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time, Social Media Marketers!