You’re here. You’re an AV integrator. You want to run a paid social media campaign.
Great. Here’s how to create a paid social media campaign for your AV integration firm in five steps:
- Identify your goals.
- Identify your audience.
- Pick the platform.
- Define your budget.
- Set it live and optimize.
Let’s dive in.
1. Identify your goals.
The first step in a marketing campaign should always be to set goals. We’ve talked about how to set goals in marketing before, but here’s a quick recap:
- Goals should be set so that their accomplishment would have direct business impacts. From a marketing perspective, this means that goals will frequently impact your sales and marketing funnels.
- Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).
- Goals should be optimized continually. They aren’t timeless. They should be revisited at regular intervals to ensure that they still make sense.
Those general guidelines should give you a good baseline for setting any type of goal. But let’s get a little bit more specific: what goals make sense for your AV integration paid social campaign? In other words, what’re you hoping to accomplish with your campaign? What does success look like? What does a conversion look like?
All great questions. Here’s my take: you can use a paid social campaign to accomplish just about any marketing end. Want to drive leads? Paid social can do that. Want to build your email list? Paid social can do that. Want to reach a new market? Paid social can do that. But, while paid social campaigns can be put toward just about any end, there are certain ends that they naturally cater most effectively toward.
What paid social is good for:
Paid social campaigns work really well at driving event-signups. I think that’s because, contextually, people are open to seeing events on social media; it’s such a time-based medium.
Building an audience.
Paid social is great for list building – offering a piece of gated content like an ebook, a webinar, or a white-paper, and capturing emails that way. It’s also great for increasing your following. Paid-like campaigns on Facebook, for example, can exponentially increase your page performance versus hoping for longterm organic growth.
Paid social is good for selling small-ticket items. Things like t-shirts or health drinks tend to do pretty well. Obviously, there aren’t too many small-ticket AV integration items, though.
What paid social isn’t good for:
Because, while paid social can be used to do almost anything, it may not be the most effective channel to use when:
Selling big-ticket items directly.
Here’s what I mean by this: it’s nearly impossible to automate big-ticket B2B sales so that users click through a paid ad, into a funnel, and purchase your AV integration services. This isn’t to say that it won’t work. But, in B2B sales, we all know that human interaction is key. So, I’d recommend focusing paid social campaigns around activities that fall higher in the funnel (like audience building), and setting goals accordingly.
With all of that in mind, here are a few example scenarios and goals:
|You’re hosting a webinar on conference room integration trends.||25 signups through paid Facebook ads before the date of the webinar.|
|You’re focused on selling maintenance contracts on equipment you’ve installed.||15 inbound calls from existing clients through paid LinkedIn ads over the next three months.|
|You’re focused on sales to new integration clients.||50 inbound calls from new prospects through paid LinkedIn ads over the next month.|
|You want to build brand awareness in a new market.||500 Facebook page likes from new prospects in-market over the next three months.|
|You want to build your prospect list.||300 emails captured from new prospects via paid LinkedIn ads over the next three months.|
Again, out of the scenarios and goals listed above, the most difficult to achieve would probably be hitting those inbound call metrics (because they affect lower-funnel metrics). Paid social could certainly play a role in these cases, but you’d probably want to supplement paid campaigns with other channels, too, to give your firm its best chance at success.
2. Identify your audience.
How do you identify your audience? Research and data.
The fewer assumptions you can make, the better. Of course, your audience will often follow (somewhat) logically from your goals – for instance, if you’re hoping to build a AV integration prospect list in Chicago, your audience targeting would naturally focus on the Chicago area. That’s a good start, but more is needed if you want your campaign to be truly effective.
Here are a couple more things to consider:
This stuff is valuable, to an extent – your ideal audience probably tends to fall into or lean toward certain age ranges, positional titles, genders, income levels, locations, or educational levels. All ad platforms allow targeting at a demographic level.
Psychographic and behavioral information.
This stuff is more valuable. Psychographic data describes your ideal audience’s mental propensities: they likely have common motivations, pain points, and values. Behavioral data describes what they do: what sites they’ve visited, what they’ve purchased, or where they’ve been. These targeting options vary somewhat from platform to platform (so you may have to adjust a LinkedIn campaign to Facebook’s targeting options).
3. Pick the platform.
Based on your goals and audience, it’s time to pick the social platform you’ll be advertising on.
Honestly, you can have success on any of the main social media platforms – every one of their user bases are big enough that optimized campaigns will work. But here are the top three social platforms I’d recommend for AV integrators:
For B2B, LinkedIn’s number one. Some studies suggest that up to 80% of all B2B social leads are created through LinkedIn. And up to 50% of all B2B social traffic comes from this platform alone. If you’re selling integration services to businesses, LinkedIn is the place to be.
Yes, Facebook’s had a rough year or two. But they’re still the biggest social media network in the world, with over 2 billion monthly active users. Your audience is definitely on here – it’s just a game of targeting them well.
This one might surprise you: I’d rank Instagram over Twitter right now for AV integrators, for three reasons. First, the audience is there (one billion users). Second, the visual medium of Instagram is conducive to showing off AV projects. And third, Instagram’s targeting abilities are tied in with Facebook (and Facebook does a really good job with this). So, if you’re doing a paid campaign, it’s really easy to do Facebook and Instagram at the same time. But, with that said…
Honorable mention: Twitter
Yes, AV integrators can definitely have success with Twitter. There’s a lot to like here, especially for more time-based promotions (events, specials, etc.) because of the fast-paced nature of the network. So we added it here.
4. Define your budget.
Once you’ve set your goals, identified your audience, and picked your platform, it’s time to set your paid social campaign’s budget.
At least, that’s how it would happen ideally. Sadly, that’s not always the order in which things actually take place. In real life, there’s usually a budget first, and goals after. That’s just the reality of maintaining a functional business.
If you have a set budget before you begin, you’ll need to maintain a flexible perspective when creating your goals. Be willing to rework metrics to more accurately align with the reality of your budget as you go. Certain audiences may require higher cost-per-clicks than expected. If that’s the case, readjustments may be needed. Know that, and allow it to shape your campaign accordingly.
But the ideal way to set your budget is to allow it to be determined by your goals and audience selection, using the predictive models in your ad campaign platform to define your budget.
For example: you want to generate 500 page likes. Facebook estimates your campaign will have a cost-per-like of $1. Your campaign budget should be $500.
If you have some financial flexibility – or even if you’re willing to move marketing spend around to hit paid campaign goals – this is the way to go.
5. Set it live and optimize.
Finally, you’re ready to set your paid social advertising campaign live. Now, it’s time to manage and optimize.
Three tips to that end:
Avoid “automatic” campaign settings. Twitter, for example, has an auto-promote mode that will “intelligently” select and promote your content around certain goals. But there’s almost always a disconnect in results. You know your business, your goals, your ideal audience, and your content better than any algorithm (at least, you do for now, while we’ve still got the upper hand on the machines). Put your knowledge to use in optimizing your campaign.
Make weekly adjustments. Unless you’ve got a daily budget of over $1,000, you probably won’t gather enough data on a daily basis to generate any kind of reliable insight. Make changes on a weekly basis, and monitor over time for results.
Don’t change too many variables at once. You want to ensure there’s a control to test against; if you change everything at the same time, it’ll be hard to tell what worked. Tweak one or two factors per campaign per week, and monitor the impact. If you want to test more factors, run more campaigns (or ad groups).
What should you tweak? Almost everything.
Copy. Demographic targeting. Psychographic targeting. Behavioral targeting. Daily ad spend. The time at which ads are displayed.
Your goal should be to identify what’s working and dig in.