How to Max Your Paid Social Media and Get ‘Bangs for your Bucks’

This is the final article in our Social Media To Pay or Not to Pay series. Previously we looked specifically at the advantages and disadvantages of YouTube advertising. YouTube, Facebook and Google make billions out of paid social media advertising each year, but that doesn’t mean that we, the advertiser, are guaranteed a good ‘bang for our buck’ on ad spend. In this article we look at ways to get the most out of your paid social media.

“Google and Facebook – which hoovered up over 60% of global online advertising spend in 2017 – offer unparalleled access to billions of people, as well as troves of data on them. On the other hand, the dependency cuts both ways: 98% of Facebook’s revenue last year came from advertising.” The Week

That’s 98% of Facebook’s $16 billion revenue, by the way.

It can be hard to decide whether or not to pay for the premium features and advertising tools on social media, we offer some tips you can use to maximise your return on any platform.

Tips for managing and creating your ads

Think about your budget: what is it worth to you to get that click or someone’s contact details? What is the potential value of that sale? If it’s several thousand pounds, it’s worth investing a few hundred, if it’s hundreds of pounds, it’s worth putting in a few quid. Consider what you’ll make from it.

You need to set your goal: what do you want to achieve? Is your offer compelling and will it light anybody up? Then you need to spend some time away from the platform to get everything ready.


I’m often asked why you should set objectives for paid social media campaigns, and the answer is simply that there is a template set up behind the button with the call to action ready and waiting. But it also helps you consider what you want to achieve and manage your expectations.

The objective sets the button text in the ad – “call us”, “click now” or “visit website.”

Get the destination completely ready

Get delivery or fulfillment ready before you start: think about your offer and what the follow-up is. If you’re going to be giving something way, have it prepared. If you’re going to be welcoming people to a page on your website, make sure it’s set up and has a data capture method on it too – the form for people to fill in or where they can enter their email address or phone number.

Get your ad creative and have your copy written. For Facebook, ensure you have the parameters (pixel dimensions for your ad images) spot-on to fit the rigid requirements.

Are your customer-facing colleagues ready and prepared for the response?

Define your target audience closely: choose your ad objective and think about who your target market might be. You may want to set up some custom audiences and on most platforms you can name and save these groups ready for the next ad.

Monitor your adverts closely: because you want to know it’s doing well. You want to be able to go in and modify things a bit too. The helpful thing about all of the platforms is that you can pause it in real time, as well as cancelling or modifying your ad to set it to go again.

This is one of the benefits of digital marketing overall – the ability to go in and make changes in real time to make your advert as effective as possible.

Remember the 3 Rs?

Select the right platform for your target audience: you will want to know how effective ads are, particularly on specific platforms. For instance, on Facebook they can be very effective, depending on your audience, what you have to offer and if it’s the right platform to connect with those people.

For location-specific targeting, either Facebook or LinkedIn are the most refined geographically for paid social media. Both allow you to pick a city or location and set a radius around it.

I’ve run ad campaigns for B2C audiences on Facebook that have performed brilliantly; I’ve run B2B campaigns on Facebook that were a total flop.

LinkedIn ads can definitely be value for money if you do them well; make them interesting and worth sharing. You MUST set up a secondary data capture mechanism, whether that’s a landing page or they’re sent to a page on your website where they can enter contact details, so you get an email address or telephone number. Linked In won’t gather it for you.

Facebook lead gen ads will gather contact data for you, but you need a privacy policy embedded on your website that you can link to in the advert set up process.

The click-through rate on Facebook is very low, (typically less than 0.01%) which is why you have to increase the numbers of potential reach to reach the right number of people.

How much can you do in-house?

Outsource or DIY: if you plan to outsource your social media advertising, ask to see the results of similar campaigns on your chosen social media platforms. If you prefer to DIY, there are guides on all the platforms but you can definitely save blood, sweat and tears by improving your skills.

Check out our Advanced Social Media Advertising workshops – these run several times a year or we can deliver them in-house.

If you’d like to improve your overall digital marketing skills, check out the Digital Marketing Institute diploma programmes we help run at nesma – excellent programme with impressive results.

Is it worth advertising on social media?

It’s worth including in your marketing tactics, and if your objective is awareness, consider running ad campaigns over a longer period of time. That way the people you want to target have more opportunities to see your ads and for your name to become familiar to them.

One-off ads can also be a worthwhile investment. If you have an event coming up or a webinar you’re hosting, or an offer (such as a stock sale) it’s a good way to get peoples’ attention.


Remember, all the platforms want you to advertise with them, so they have detailed guides to take you through the process. This is the best place to start, and then you can look for additional support.

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the application.

While there are some helpful paid social media features, you don’t need a paid account to do well on LinkedIn, or to build your network.

Now for the fun bit

You now need to decide which platform is best for you and what type of advert to do. Over the To Pay or Not To Pay series, we focus on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube, because they’re likely to be the platforms where you’re already most active and they are a good place to start.

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thought leaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash