How to Build a Social Media Advertising Calendar

So, you’re ready to advertise on social media – congratulations! Now that you have a strong social strategy and content flowing regularly on your page, it’s time to increase the reach of your posts by putting ad dollars behind them.

Typically, at Dittoe PR, we build “ad cals” on a monthly basis for our clients, but you have the option to create a weekly, monthly, quarterly or even an annual advertising calendar.

From outlining your advertising goals to selecting content and setting a budget, below is a step-by-step guide to help you build a social media advertising calendar and further promote your business online.

Step 1: Set your budget
According to Web Strategies, businesses spend on average about 5-15% of their annual revenue on marketing efforts. Of that total marketing budget, 35-45% of funds should be allotted to digital marketing. From there, 15-25% of the digital marketing budget should be allocated towards social media advertisements.

For example, if your company reported a $100,000 revenue in 2018, your annual social media advertising budget should be around $1,500. Break that down on a monthly basis, and you should be spending about $125 per month.

At Dittoe PR, we recommend starting out with a budget of $250-500 per month in the first few months to allow for audience and content A/B testing.

Step 2: Create an audience
Understanding which platform(s) your target audience is active on will benefit you in the long run. The Pew Research Center conducts an annual survey to discover which platforms certain demographic groups gravitate toward.

If you’re trying to reach women between the ages of 30-49, Facebook is probably your best bet. But if you’re trying to reach men between the ages of 18-29, YouTube or Instagram might be the advertising platform for you.

Whoever your target audience is, the more specific you can be with demographics, the more likely you are to see a higher return on your investment. For example, let’s say you’re promoting an article published in an industry trade publication by your CEO on how to retain employees. You’ll probably want to promote the piece on LinkedIn and target users with similar work and education history and those working in overlapping industries since the content will be most relevant to them. It wouldn’t make sense to target 18-24-year-old users on Instagram, right?

Step 3: Outline your goals
After setting a budget and defining your niche audience, it’s time to align your overall business goals with your expectations for social ad performance. Are you interested in increasing foot traffic to one of your locations? Consider targeting people within a certain mile radius of your store. Are you interested in promoting a new product or service? Find common interests and overlapping demographics for your target audience and promote away!

Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn allow digital marketers to select an overall campaign goal when setting up new ads or selecting existing content to boost or sponsor. From brand awareness to consideration and conversions (a.k.a., website visits to engagement and lead gen), start with the objective that best aligns with your overall goals and go from there!

Step 4: Select the content
Now that you’ve set your budget, chosen your platform and outlined your goals and target audience, it’s time to select the content you want to promote! Personally, I like to look at the top performing content over the past few weeks and look ahead for any upcoming events or recurring promotions in the next month to help me get started.

You can also look at recently secured media coverage, top performing or under-performing landing pages on your website (shout-out to Google Analytics!) and upcoming holidays that align with your business objectives.

Are you trying to increase gift card sales before Mother’s Day? Did your media relations team recently secure a big national hit? Do you have an informational video getting a lot of views on your website? Is your business recruiting for new positions? The options are endless, especially if you’re willing to get creative!

Step 5: Build your calendar
Just like grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, it doesn’t really matter what order you throw the ingredients into the bowl, as long as they’re all accounted for in the end! As long as you’ve checked all five boxes before launching your ad, you’re good to go!

Some digital marketers start by outlining which dates they want the ad to run first, then follow up with budget, audience, etc. This can be useful if you’re advertising a seasonal sale on a product line or promoting ticket sales for an upcoming event. Some start by dividing their budget equally between 4-5 ads and align the audience type with the content, which can be useful for businesses trying to build general brand awareness among target audiences.

At Dittoe PR, we use the following format for our ad cals, but feel free to make one of your own if you need more information!

AD DESCRIPTION: This is a brief description of the ad (i.e., Careers page or WaPo coverage)

  • Ad run: These are the start and end dates for your advertisement.
  • Medium: This helps to signify whether or not your team will be boosting existing content or creating a new advertisement, and on which platform the ad will run.
  • Creative: From a URL to a company branded graphic or video, the creative used can vary depending on the type of ad you’re running. Just be sure whoever is creating the ads understands what will catch the audiences’ eyes! (Hint: visuals > text)
  • Campaign budget: Here’s where you outline the total amount you want to spend on the advertisement over the lifetime of the ad. If you’re running for longer than a week, consider at least $1/day. Some platforms, like LinkedIn, require a $10/day minimum.
  • Audience: Use this section to break down the audience demographics including age, gender, employment status, job industry, interests, and much more.

Once you’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle, put them together in an easy-to-understand calendar format like the one below. This will help you reference the month (or year) at a glance and know when it’s time to launch a new set of ads. This format will also help ensure you’re not oversaturating the market with too many ads running at once.

If you’re still interested in assistance with managing your social media advertising efforts, contact Lauryn Gray to schedule a consultation or request a proposal. We’re happy to help!

Social Media Advertising: The Basics

So, you want to advertise on social media? Smart choice. Not only is advertising on social media more accessible for small businesses, it’s also more effective.

 

According to the Global Web Index, “the average internet user now spends about 15 minutes longer each day on social platforms than they do watching TV.” With 50 percent of people using Facebook daily, and more than 2.2 billion monthly active users on the platform, this platform is a great place to start.

 

Facebook, and by extension Instagram, is the most popular platform for social media advertising. But depending on the type of ad you’re running or the audience you’re hoping to reach, advertising on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or even YouTube may be a better option.

 

USING VARIOUS PLATFORMS TO PROMOTE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONTENT

At Dittoe PR, we have clients advertising across the top four social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 

With each of these platforms, there are obvious differences to the types of content being shared on each channel. For example, using LinkedIn for business-focused content and using Instagram for photo and video sharing. There are also nuanced differences to the types of advertisements you can create, the copy and creative used for each and the demographics available for targeting. Let me break it down for you!

 

Types of ads.

Knowing the difference between when to boost an existing post versus create an advertisement is important. First, look at the copy and creative you plan to use. Many platforms such as Facebook, limit the content for ad copy to less than 100 characters. If you’re looking to share more information, a boosted post may be your best bet. This allows the information to live on your page after the ad has run its course.

 

If you’re promoting an upcoming event, like a flash sale, a grand opening or a hiring announcement, and you’re okay just sharing the essential information – OR – if you want the content to be removed from your page after the ad ends, consider creating an advertisement instead.

 

Demographic targeting.
Each platform offers various demographics to target by, including location, age, gender, income, interests, job title/function, employer and more.

 

Knowing the audience you’re trying to reach with an advertisement is likely the most important step in creating a social media ad. If you end up targeting the wrong group of users, the advertisement will not be successful. A common practice we use at Dittoe PR is reviewing third-party or channel-specific reports for each individual channel, or the channel you plan to promote, and taking a closer look at the age, gender and location of your followers.

 

If you’re trying to target people that don’t currently follow you, reach out to the users with demographics that fall outside of your top followers. But, if you’re trying to promote a new service or newsworthy coverage to your followers, or users like them, targeting your top follower demographics is a great idea!

 

For example, one of our client’s goals this quarter is to reach a larger audience of fitness enthusiasts. To align with this goal, we promoted copy and creative that discussed the recovery benefits to massage therapy to coincide with the fact that most people make New Year’s resolutions to “get fit” or “stay healthy.” We also partnered with local fitness influencers to help spread the message, then we shared and boosted their content to the client’s Facebook pages to further promote this message.

 

HOW TO SELECT CONTENT TO PROMOTE

Sometimes, selecting content to promote can be overwhelming, especially with a client who has a lot going on or provides a wide range of offerings. By focusing on what is truly important on a case-by-case basis, PR pros can break down what types of information are going to be most relevant to the users your clients are trying to reach.

 

Partnership goals.

When promoting content, think back to the primary goals of the PR partnership. Does your client want to gain more followers? Do they want to open a dialogue with their customers? Are they trying to increase foot traffic at a certain location? All of these goals will play into the types of content you’re promoting and the way you’re promoting them.

 

Facebook allows businesses to promote based on a number of potential results, including: getting more leads, promoting your page, getting website visits, promoting your business locally, getting more website purchases, and receiving more messages.

 

Organic performance.

One of the easiest ways to select content to promote is by reviewing your recent top performing content. If a post is performing well organically on your page, throwing some ad dollars behind it and boosting it to a targeted audience is a great idea. It’s pretty common for people to pay more attention to posts that already have garnered engagement, rather than clicking on or reading a post that has no likes or comments.

 

Timely content.

Another great way to select promoted content is by sharing information that would be relevant to your followers.

 

For example, February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day takes place on Feb. 14. For our client Massage Heights, we homed in on the heart health benefits stemming from regular massage therapy and including last-minute gift ideas available for purchase.

 

Adversely, for our client Merchants Capital, we regularly promote recent loan closings for affordable housing developments to promote the work of the team and encourage borrowers to contact them for assistance on their next project. These types of posts not only position you as an expert in your field, but they promote your brand in an efficient and relatable way.

 

Want your business to reach new audiences through social media advertising? Learn more about Dittoe PR’s social media services and connect with Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation!