Gear up your paid social plan for Q4

Q4 is right around the corner and it’s imperative to do some legwork now to set yourself up for success once the holiday season is upon us.

Paid social is likely to have a significant impact on your overall efforts – not only in building the funnel but actually delivering end-of-the-funnel conversions.

So how do you set yourself up for success? Here are my top five tips for what to take care of now.

Personas, personas, personas

Do your audience research. Comb through your internal data and understand who your customers are – even if you think you know this like the back of your hand, do some research to see whether any segments have changed or emerged.

What are their characteristics, behaviors, and traits? Think about demographics, household income, interests, and likes. Additionally, leverage audience insights tools from both Google and Facebook to get a richer, more layered sense of who your customers might be.

Once you have this information, you can create your various personas – the different types of audiences that would be interested in your product or service. Now you know who to target.

Channels

When you truly know your customers, you’ll get additional insight into what channels you should be advertising on. Facebook, of all social media channels, is always a given because of its enormity and ability to get very granular with its targeting.

But which other social media channels might be right to advertise on? Did you find out that one of your target personas happens to consist of senior-level business people? If so, LinkedIn may be worth a try.

If your audiences like to consume information, news, and technical knowledge, Twitter would be a great channel to pull those folks into the funnel.

Are you going after females who tend to research, be fashion-driven and creative, or perhaps are big DIY-ers? Pinterest could help you achieve scale.

Test the different relevant social media channels, get a sense of where your audiences lie, and understand where you can fill the funnel with an engaged and interested audience.

Audience

Now that you know your personas and the channels you’d like to reach them on, you’ll need to develop a number of audiences and begin doing some rapid-fire testing to understand which targeting types work best for your business.

If you have a strong CRM list, begin with lookalike audiences – segment your customer list into groups of identifiable characteristics, build a lookalike from those, and test away. Also consider testing layers on interests, demographics, etc., to gauge what fine-tuning those lookalikes may do to performance.

Then, of course, leverage the other targeting styles within the platform – use a combination of interests, behaviors, and demographics to really get granular and as close to your personas as possible.

As all performance marketers know, granular can be great – but keep in mind that you don’t want your audience size to get too low. Healthy volume (the general recommendation with Facebook is to have audiences of at least 200,000) makes the job of an automated bidding algorithm easier as it has more people to work with, more data to flow in, and more ability to understand what is working and run tests to replicate success with other audiences.

Creative

Don’t forget your creative: it plays a hugely critical role in paid social – it’s what gets people to notice you, click on your ad, and get into the funnel in the first place.

When approaching creative, remember to try to be as clear and straightforward as possible when discussing your business. Ideally you want your audiences to know who you are, what you do, and why they should care. If your creative achieves this, with great imagery and copy, your customers are qualifying themselves by engaging.

If you’re in ecommerce, think about featuring top-selling products, or most clicked on/viewed products on the site. If you’re a service provider, think about why people use your service, what their most favorite things about it are, and what value it can really bring to one’s life.

Then: test, test, test. Be smart about it, though – come up with a testing roadmap in which you have brainstormed unique and different copy themes, value props, images, products, testimonials etc., so that you can analyze what’s resonating with your audiences.

Additionally, don’t forget to tailor your creative/copy towards specific audience segments. The more personalized you can get with the audience you are targeting, the better.

Landing pages

Just as with creative testing, test out your landing pages. Figure out what types of audiences or creative mesh with what types of landing pages you have. Again, it’s always about a tailored experience.

One recommendation I always give is that, if you don’t necessarily have the means to develop multiple landing pages, at least leverage dynamic copy on your pages. This is where you can pass through a parameter in your link and have your page update to feature messaging that flows with that ad copy theme.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a big fan of testing – especially before the seasonal rush hits. Test as much as you can prior to Q4 so you can understand who the right audiences are for you to target, the appropriate social media channel mix to use, and the perfect combination of creative and landing page to hit a home run when it comes to conversions.

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