Approaching Social Media for SMBs
As a new agency we speak to a broad spectrum of businesses and marketers at different levels in their online acquisition journey. But one thing I’ve noticed over the last few months is how most businesses, small or large, seem to be unhappy with the performance of their paid social campaigns. That is, unhappy with the level of transactions/sales/leads they bring in.
It especially seems a pain point for younger businesses, who have little prior experience with social media and a smaller amount of traffic/followers to remarket to. So, whether you’re planning your approach or judging your results, the below are a few things we feel you should consider:
1. Firstly, don’t compare it to other channels, especially Paid Search.
Let’s exclude remarketing for the time being and just consider social prospecting. Yes, you can qualify the audience with demographics and niche interest targeting, or create small lookalike audiences based on your most valuable customers, but ultimately you’re hitting users that more often than not aren’t looking to buy right now. And more often than not they don’t actually want to be taken away from Instagram and what they’re currently doing. On the contrary, someone who hits a Paid Search ad has actively taken the first step to search for a related product. So a user on Paid Search is actively looking for you; whereas with Social you’re looking for them. And there’s a huge difference there.
2. Look at a range of conversion views and other data points
If you only look at last-click conversions for Paid Social it’s also going to seem like a waste of money. However, if you also only look at Facebook’s attributed conversions it’s also going to look like the greatest success story in the history of digital marketing. So getting a few different views and finding a balance between them all is really quite important.
Additionally, look at some of the softer metrics – engagement rates, page views, add to baskets etc. This will help inform you if the audience is responding. If they click and still don’t engage you might need to rethink whether you’ve got your targeting right.
3. Run a decent test
If you don’t have a full attribution model, then you’ll need to find a way to measure the uplift in traffic/sales. A causal impact study is probably the simplest way of doing this, although it is never going to be 100% accurate and requires time to measure the results.
The premise of a test like this is to run a control period (of no activity) and a test period (of activity). You could do this simultaneously by choosing two similar regions or run them sequentially in the same location. The problem for both is that the conditions won’t be the same, so try and minimise the differences between the two.
Ultimately what this is meant to reveal is whether or not the test period (running social activity) has a latent impact on searches/visits/transactions across other channels.
4. Look beyond acquisition
Yes, I understand that for SMBs driving new customers is the priority, but Social Media can be so much more. A recent Hootsuite article emphasises how Social should be used to create communities and strengthen relationships with both new and existing customers. And by offering something more than just retargeted product ads, you’ll allow social media to do what it was designed for – let users discuss, share and recommend you to their peers.
For any questions, tips or strategic advice please feel free to get in touch!