Sales & Marketing

What SMEs need to consider before investing in paid social

4 min read

24 September 2018

Reporter, Real Business

Paid social can be an effective tool for businesses to target customers, but they need to do market research first.

Paid social, it can sound like an intimidating concept to SME owners operating outside of the marketing industry. But its benefits, such as systemically targeting your ideal customers with adverts that appeal to them, far outweighs any irrational fears.

Paid social (also known as PPC) encompasses a range of digital tools and strategies that push your products or services out to your target audience at the right time. But where should SME owners start when it comes to PPC? The answer: do your research first before jumping in.

Know your social media options 

It’s important to check out all the social platforms available to you. But how do you know which one is best? Start with this checklist:

  • Is the platform you’ve chosen used by your target audience?
  • If so, do you understand how they are using this platform?

Know the user politics

Tied into this should be an understanding of the shifts in usage over these platforms. Don’t just go straight to a social media platform that’s worked for you in the past unless you’ve read up on news relating to any user based changes.

For example, platforms such as Twitter were known to be popular go-to platforms for PPC, but earlier this year, many user accounts were found to be fake, and thus, rendered useless for targeted social media advertising.

In a similar vein, you may remember earlier this year that social media star Kylie Jenner uttered that damaging sentence about Snapchat becoming “lame” after the app underwent some changes. This remark had hugely damaging repercussions on Snapchat’s market value and led to a substantial drop in users.

Find out where your target audience likes to ‘hang’

Although the above Snapchat example is rather a sensationalist one, it’s exemplary of how businesses must track the shifting user based landscapes of social media – and note what platforms target customers may be getting sick of.

Knowing these updates will prevent any wasted money and time on adverts that are not targeting the users you want them to.

There are so many different platforms to choose from when it comes to PPC, from YouTube to Linkedin, all the way to Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. But it’s essential that you run some dummy campaigns first to see on which platforms your campaigns gain traction. 

To boost posts: Remember the small and simple details

Most analytics software has audience definition options. This means audiences can be targeted via their interests as much as by their location.

So, you are more likely to reach your customers via a more targeted campaign whilst avoiding useless clicks from users who cannot access or do not engage with your services.

Most importantly: Know your goals

It’s useless investing the time and money into PPC unless you’ve set your own goals first. By using the acronym, SMART, you’ll never forget what they should be.

Keep goal specific (avoid being vague), measurable (track performance through free or paid analytics tools), attainable (don’t set unrealistic goals) and relevant ( will more user traction on Twitter help increase my revenues –  is this where my audience lives?). Finally, ensure your campaign is timely, (set clear goals you want to achieve by a certain time).

Taking the above considerations into account means you will be able to visualise a clear performance strategy going forward, and that’s what a PPC strategy is all about.

If you know your goalposts, you can set clearer, more attainable, and ultimately, more effective PPC objectives.