Mastering Social Media Ads: A Comprehensive Strategy for B2B Marketers<br />

Setting Yourself Up for Ad Success 

Yes referrals and word of mouth marketing are great and the conversion rates are high, and sales are easy – but they lack scale and predictability. 

That’s why businesses don’t rely only on referral marketing.

With the majority of the world’s population using social media channels, it’s a legitimate place to reach customers. 

We’re told we have to post every day and have a massive audience and a huge email list in order to get scale and predictability.

But then the algorithm knocks you off the the path and organic reach plummets. You can’t even get enough views on social content to make any connections let alone engagement.

Now you need a way to get people to see and interact with your content AND get them closer to a sale.

I’ve been managing ads since the dawn of Facebook Ads (Wow, I feel old saying that).

This ad game has changed many times over the years, and it’s only because I understand what I’m about to share with you, that I’ve been able to keep up and keep evolving along with the ad platforms. It’s also why when a new platform launches an ad program I can pick it up easily.

Want to learn how? Read on.

 

The Standard Layout

Once you learn one platform you’ll know enough to navigate them all. They are all based on one general layout:

Campaign – This is the main container. It contains the ad sets and series of ads.

Ads Set – The Ad set is the audience you are targeting in the campaign. 

Ads – The copy, images and creative that make up the ad.

Organization will be key so your team doesn’t struggle to find things in the ad manager platform. 

Stay mindful of these details:

  • How you name campaigns – use months and years, program or services to easily identify and delineate your campaigns. Keep names on the shorter end. Ex: Book Launch May 2023
  • How you name ads sets to ensure you adequately identify your audience so it’s easy to use in other campaigns or track the audience source (for regtargeting ads) Ex: Women Book Readers WA
  • How you name ads so the list of ads isn’t convoluted. I recommend dating the ads, identifying differentiators in copy or image to help you when a/b testing and use the post dates if you are using existing posts for your ads.

Now this layout doesn’t mean the platforms are easy. They can be unintuitive and clunky. Especially during setup, troubleshooting and navigating results. Let’s address that.

 

Ad Woes & The Algorithms

I have one client account promoting pet daycare/boarding and it’s regularly flagged as a “special category” (housing) ad, but it’s not. In this case the words used in the ad and creative are triggering the auto filters to flag the ad as a potential special category (and on Meta you need to have a special setup to run those ads). 

This means each time I build a new ad creative, I have to ask for a manual review of the ads. 

It’s a pain, but I know the issue and I know it will be approved. 

My options are deal with it, or change the wording. Which isn’t always easy to find creative wording that isn’t confusing to your audience. So I have to allocate a little more time to this setup.

Does your ad look like an ad?

If it does people will probably skip past it – unless your messaging is spot on capturing their attention and hitting a pain point.

If you can get engagement on your ad, the algorithm will reward you.

To get engagement:

  • Share educational and transformative content
  • Share user generated content – social proof
  • Give something for them to engage with – questions, resources, not general bland content that everyone is sharing but real genuine info tohelp
  • Convince them they need your advice/service/product
  • Be sure you aren’t sharing generic advice that others are also posting

I buy things because of Instagram ads and TikTok often – more often than I wish to admit or tell my husband. 

Why? (do I buy)

I had to consciously think about this and break it down. 

From a conscious perspective they showed me why I needed this thing or service in my life and it was in a video which I connect with. 

I usually know when I’m watching an ad but I keep watching when it captures my attention and shows me how to use the product and played on my emotions

On an unconscious level I’ve usually been retargeted and have seen the company pop up in my feed more than once, priming me to pay attention. 

If your content strategy is lacking your ad strategy will follow. 

Make sure your messaging is engaging. The quality of content is the number one factor. 

You can run an engagement ad to crummy posts but it won’t make it a better piece of content.

Let’s talk about why.

How the algorithm works with ads

Social media algorithms serve ads to users they think will be interested. 

The algorithm is designed to boost user engagement for advertising revenue but you still have to create content useful for users to want to take action. Once they engage your ad gets rewarded. 

However, algorithms also end up trapping users in an echo chamber so once they see your ad they’re going to see others who are offering similar products or services. 

So you’ve got to stand out.

 

Setting Up Successful Ads

This is the part everyone seems to skip. And it’s the most powerful piece of online advertising. Having a strategy is everything. Let’s talk through it.

Understanding Ad Objectives. 

Add objectives align with the sales funnel process: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. 

Within these are objectives that define the purpose or goal of the ads such as reach, brand awareness, engagement, traffic, lead generation, messages, job applicants and conversions are the basic ones.

Objectives are goals – what do you want people to do.

My Tried and Tested Strategy

I’ve been using this strategy for many years because it’s evergreen. It’s my secret sauce and I’m sharing it all.

The trick about ads is that it’s not really about the ad itself, but how it’s integrated into the existing funnel.

utside of referrals, what are the paths (there’re more than one) your clients get clients? This is the Funnel.

What are the steps people take before becoming a client?

  • Do they visit the website and then call? 
  • Do they visit the website and signup for emails?
  • Do they visit the online store and buy?

 There are way more options but this is the question you ask your clients. Then you map out the funnel and determine how to apply ads into the steps and drive more people through the funnel.These are the ads I start with.

Engagement Ads: Perfect to tap into new audiences, essentially for new traffic and audiences.

Retargeting Ads (Warm): Ideal for list building by reaching out to those who have engaged with you before. People who have engaged on the social pages or posts.

Retargeting Ads (Existing Clients/Prospects): Zero in on existing customers or subscribers. That’s where sales are lurking!

How to Apply Them to the Funnel

Engagement Ads. 

The first step is all about using valuable and interesting content to grab the attention of your audience and build a following. Content can be anything from blog posts and videos to whitepapers, infographics, webinars, or even podcasts.

You need to know exactly who your target audience is. Who are they? What issues do they face? What questions are they asking? Knowing this will help you create content that speaks directly to their needs and positions your company as a leader in your industry. And will also help you set up your engagement audience in your ad set.

Next I start with what social posts are already performing well organically. I like to apply this ad to those posts. I don’t set up a boosted post, I actually build an ad in the ads manager and “use existing content” this way I have more options in the set up and more control over naming and calls to action.Using existing content that is already working means I know the content is good and  means I’m not creating extra content for ads at this first level step of the ads funnel. 

Retargeting Ads. 

Retargeting is a multiple step ad with layers. 

Let’s talk about the two I begin with. 

Retargeting Engaged Audiences with Offers

Once you’ve built your audience with the engagement ads (above) it’s time to use your value-add content to retarget. 

This is content that addresses the issues and pain points your target audience faces. What questions are they asking? Knowing this will help you create content that speaks directly to their needs and positions your company as a leader in your industry.

Now we’ll use a custom audience feature which is a powerful tool. Create a custom audience of people who have engaged with your content on social or visited your website.

This is the perfect moment to present these engaged users with an enticing offer, whether it’s free or discounted. This could be a free trial, a demo, an eBook, a webinar – anything that provides value and is relevant to your business.

The goal here is not just to get users to take action but also to collect their contact information for further nurturing. 

Retargeting for Nurturing Audiences Down the Funnel

Retargeting helps move your audience along the sales funnel, but nurturing is what will turn these leads into actual clients. 

This step is where the layers of retargeting can happen and also these layers are what makes this retargeting step a little more challenging. That’s why if you have your funnel mapped out it makes this step easier. 

I have a client that has multiple sign up forms and several different industry audiences.

That means they have multiple signup forms on their website. This is part of their funnel. 

Once a user signs up through a form on the website, that user is segmented in a certain email list based on the form they completed. 

Then we are able to take each list and retarget those users on social for the next step in the funnel – to make a call or signup for a demo.

We can do this for each of their segmented audiences. We’ll include language, offers and creative specific to that segment to drive the audience to the next step in the funnel.

Throughout this phase, keep offering valuable content that solves specific problems, showcases case studies of how your product or service has helped similar businesses, or even provides personal consultation offers.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Social Media Ad Management

 Have a strategy. Don’t just set up an ad or boost a post with the only goal of “to get sales.” Be strategic and define your audience and leverage the system/funnel in place to help move the audience along. 

Engage with your audience on the ads. Don’t leave people hanging. Deliver what you said you will and fast. Giving an ebook – set up an email that immediately delivers it to their inbox.

Listen to what your audience is saying this is going to be amazing feedback that will help you adjust your strategy and content. And other times it’ll be crap feedback.

Become familiar with and use multiple types of ads, tailor your ads for the platform you’re using and track your results!

Social media ads present a wealth of opportunities to help connect your clients with and engage their target audience. But random one-off ads usually don’t deliver results.

By strategically using content, retargeting with appealing offers and nurturing leads along the sales funnel, you can make the most out of your social media advertising campaigns and achieve campaign goals.

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