Written by Caroline Cox on Jan 6, 2022

Feel like no one gets you the way your targeted Instagram ads do? You’re not alone.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How social media marketing can benefit your brand 
  • Tips to determine which platform is right for you
  • Missteps to avoid with paid social campaigns
  • Ways to make your social media content stand out

When it comes to digital marketing, few avenues are as adaptable and ever-changing as paid social

Particularly for younger audiences, taking advantage of social media marketing campaigns can bring brands big success by seamlessly fitting into the feeds people are already scrolling day in and day out. 

Whether your audience prefers the professionalism of LinkedIn or the fun, colorful features on Instagram, you can take your paid social campaigns to the next level in 2022 with these tactical tips and tricks. 

businesspeople using their smartphones

Make sure you’ve got your tracking pixels properly set up and firing, and the right codes embedded in the right places. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Ensure you’re tracking everything properly

Setting up proper tracking is one of the most important steps you can take when creating paid social campaigns (or any marketing campaigns, really).

Having proper tracking in place from the beginning ensures that you’ll have all the metrics you need at your disposal to analyze, report on, and use to improve your current strategies.

For starters, you want to make sure you’ve got your tracking pixels properly set up and firing, and the right codes embedded in the right places. From there, make sure to test your tracking so you know everything is operating as it should. 

When you’re setting up tracking, you also want to determine the most valuable metrics or KPIs for each campaign. Decide which data will be most valuable for your goals, whether that’s lead gen, brand awareness, conversions, or something else.

2. Have a plan for consistent testing

Sure, you know testing is a key part of creating the most effective campaigns. 

But planning for how often you’ll test (and conduct paid social audits) can keep this task from falling to the bottom of that ever-growing to-do list.

You may be able to find new copy, new imagery, or even a slightly different price point that could improve your campaign performance and get you a higher ROI.

Add a recurring note in your calendar or project management app to revisit your social media marketing metrics and see where you can make tweaks or improvements.

Pro tip: It can be tempting to eliminate a failed paid social idea without much thought. But before you start over, see if there’s a way to tweak the campaign or ad, like swapping out the image or call to action (CTA). A small fix may be key to turning a mediocre campaign into a successful one.

3. Don’t let personal bias get in your way

I know what you’re thinking: biased? Me? Never! But hear me out. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being so familiar with your product or service that you forget that those seeing your paid social campaign might not be. 

When you use too much jargon or assume users have a certain level of knowledge, you risk alienating your audience.

Keep both new and returning leads in mind. When creating paid social content, ask yourself:

  • Is the creative enticing enough to get clicks, even if they’ve never seen the product before, or would someone have to already be somewhat familiar with it?
  • Would someone unfamiliar with your product understand what it is or does from your ad copy? 
  • Does it discuss the benefits in enough detail? 
  • Is it persuasive enough to inform and convert the clueless non-believer, or are just preaching to the choir?

Got the resources to dig deeper? Get some uninitiated target audience members to go over your campaign and provide feedback. Ask about the wording, their understanding of terms, the level of interest the creative generated, and anything else you (or they) can think of. 

Alternatively, your target audience can surprise you. You may think the ideal audience for a new cookbook is middle-aged women, but you could be missing out on a whole segment of young college students who want to learn to cook as well. 

It’s all about being open-minded. Test and iterate to see what works best. Let data drive your decision-making, not your personal opinion.

person taking a photo of food for social media marketing purposes

For the best results, you want to use the platform where the majority of your customers are. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Consider your audience when choosing platforms

Ads can appear on multiple platforms, from Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook to Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and even TikTok. (Yes, TikTok advertising was huge in 2021 and will continue an important marketing channel.) 

When you’re determining which platform would work best for your paid social ad, consider your audience.

Some people default to opting for the platform they’re most familiar with. For the best results, however, you want to go to where the majority of your customers are. 

You can find this info through your own research, discussions with customers, and market surveys. And if you find the platform you chose isn’t working, test out a new one and see how it stacks up.

Pro tip: Don’t neglect social selling. Social media-based e-commerce has grown in popularity over the last few years, with more and more platforms adding features to make it a seamless process for consumers.

5. Set a high bar for your content

Millions of content pieces are posted online every day. WordPress users alone produce more than 70 million new blog posts each month. 

With so much out there, what you publish needs to be interesting, engaging, and eye-catching to compete.

With younger generations sporting short attention spans, it’s more important than ever to create paid social posts that:

Pay attention to the ads that catch your eye on social — what messages do they include? What’s the CTA? What visual elements do they have? This insight can help inform how you approach your own paid social.

Pro tip: Haven’t leveraged an industry influencer yet? Influencer marketing is a nearly $10 billion business, so now is a great time to explore if it’s right for your company.

6. Prioritize CTAs

Let’s circle back to testing. 

One area that can make or break a paid social campaign is your CTA. Many businesses will focus too much on the ad and not enough on what action they want the viewer to take next. 

When you’re creating paid social campaigns, spend time making sure your CTA is strong and drives the viewer to make the decision you want. For best results, A/B test a few and see which ones your viewers respond to.

Instagram lets you choose from several CTAs, such as:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Learn More
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More
  • Donate More (coming soon)
  • Shop Now
  • Watch Video

Looking for more ways to amp up your social media marketing plans in 2022? Let’s talk.

girl smiling for a photo on a restaurant patio

It may seem like a pain to hop on board the latest buzzy platform or feature, but it can give you an edge over your competition and get you seen as an industry leader. (Image via Unsplash)

7. Embrace new layouts and features

The trendy nature of social media means these platforms usually don’t stay stagnant for long. 

With growing competition and a handful of big platforms vying for the most eyeballs, there’s a near-constant stream of updates and changes.

It may seem like a pain to hop on board the latest buzzy platform or feature, but it can give you an edge over your competition and get you seen as an industry leader. 

Often, when beta versions of these social platforms are released, a site-wide change isn’t far behind. 

By trying out a new feature or interface when it’s first available to test, you can set yourself up to be a pro at the new way of doing things — potentially before the brands competing against you.

Better yet, these new tools could give you an extra boost, like refining your target audience or improving your return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Pro tip: Augmented reality is predicted to continue growing in popularity in 2022. If it applies to your product, use it!

The takeaway

Paid social campaigns certainly have a place in your digital marketing program in 2022. 

Not only do social platforms have sophisticated audience segmentation options, but they allow you to meet your prospects where they are in a way that’s targeted but feels organic.

By following social media marketing best practices like consistently testing, properly tracking, and creating engaging content, you can create best-in-class paid social campaigns that convert.

This article has been updated and was originally published in January 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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