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How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Budget

With 2.8 billion active social media users worldwide and an annual growth rate of 22%, it’s hard to ignore the fact that your customers are on social. But what’s the big fuss? Can’t we just post a bunch of stuff and easily reach our customers? If only it was that simple. So let’s cash in on the action.

The truth is managing social media is a little like being a scientist. A data scientist, actually. If it took Thomas Edison 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before his lightbulb finally worked, social media skills also need fine tuning. New users can’t expect overnight success, especially when running social media campaigns with a modest budget.

So try some of these tips out!

Test and Document

There is no miracle formula that fits all industries when it comes to social media. It’s up to you to figure out what works. The key lies in testing out different content, visuals, and audiences to find the best combination. As a rule of thumb, seasoned social media managers will start a campaign by testing at least 8 different copy and visual combinations before narrowing the ad group down to the best 2 for a final A/B test.

It’s a great idea to test all your elements and experiment with long form copy, short copy, brand power, and strong visuals. From there you will start to see what your audience responds to. Make sure you document the performance of the different content pieces so you’ll have historical data to help future tests.

Get Rid of the Weak Link

Initially you’ll need some time and minimal funds to test different formulas. But once you’ve gathered enough data to to lead the way, you’re ready to eliminate the low performing pieces. Knowing how to identify the low performing content is really critical to avoid dragging your healthy campaigns down by sending your CPCs sky high. So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the campaign dashboards, now’s the time learn to spot low performing content.

Facebook Ad Types - Managing Social Budget

The dashboard above shows that although more people saw the text ads, the sponsored content actually had a higher click-through-rate (CTR) and lower cost-per-click (CPC). You can easily compare different CPC and CTR to spot the underperforming ads. The great news is, unlike traditional campaigns, social media marketing gives you the freedom to adjust campaigns on the fly. With real time flexibility, you can turn off the ads that are not healthy and feed the ones that are working with some of the unused budget. It’s quick, painless, and incredibly effective.

Prototype and Experiment

Data-driven social media can really help you stretch your budgets. The data you gather will be able to help you design campaigns with higher CTRs at lower CPCs. From basic A/B testing to just pausing an ineffective campaigns, you’ll start seeing the difference. But before you end up with that golden formula, you’ll be going through many variations.

Sometimes an experiment can go wrong and you’ll end up having to start from scratch. It can be frustrating. But when you’ve finally found the winning formula, you’ve hit jackpot. When experimenting, it’s important to place your bets conservatively and start small. Imagine running out of budget when you’ve finally figured out your perfect ad. Start small, test aggressively, act quickly, and double down (or go all in) when you’re ready with a clear winner.

Know Your Audience

Social isn’t like a magic bullet. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll need to know where your target audience lives on social and how they respond to different types of content. Each social media channel has its own demographic and members so it’s important to adapt your social strategy to each platform to really unlock your potential.

Instead of the spray and pray tactic, you’ll need to be a bit of an analyst. Test different hashtags, visuals and words to see who bites what and where. If you’re in tech, health, or marketing, your audience is probably on LinkedIn. If you’re in hospitality or retail, you might want to look at Instagram to reach your customers. The chart below shows the breakdown of social users based on age groups.

Rework and Revolutionize

Why have what you need? Is there a landing page creative or a visual in the newsletter they’ve designed that can be repurposed for Facebook?

A TVC can be reimagined as a YouTube pre-roll, Facebook video, or an Instavid. You get the idea. It’s really up to marketers to be resourceful and to find the best content that can be matched with the audience and the social platform. Internal collaborations and creativity can really help stretch your dollar.

Now that you know how to maximize your social media budget, you’re on your way to finding your own winning formula. Oh and can you help me share this guide with other social scientists? Thanks in advance!

Chris Bentley
Media Producer that wants to light the world on fire with video... or at least save you from too much reading. Without his camera, Chris spends his time rounding up two young children or distracting them with video games.
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