How to align paid social media strategies with business goals?
Ivaylo Borisov, Dublin, Ireland

Written by Ivaylo Borisov

May 22, 2020

Paid social media strategy Ardency Consulting Ivaylo Borisov Ireland_21052020

Recently in another article I discussed the account-based marketing opportunities which we can explore with the major social media platforms Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. While critically important to master, ABM is just a part of the company’s overall marketing and digital strategy and it would make sense to discuss some of the most common digital and paid social media marketing strategies.

Marketing and digital strategy must follow business goals and business development strategies. In the case of social media, the critical factors to consider are the relationship between business goals, marketing goals, digital marketing goals, marketing goals as defined by the digital platforms and the available tools to achieve them.

In a perfect world we would coordinate business and marketing plans among sales, marketing, business planning or any relevant department and as a result will make sure that marketing plans reflect common goals which are to be achieved with effectiveness and efficiency. All the major global digital platforms allow for addressing marketing goals like awareness, brand share of mind, ABM or individual hypertargeting but although with global reach their abilities along these goals differ and there is not a single platform that can provide us with all marketing tools to achieve all marketing goals.

In my experience, the most powerful paid social media marketing is a result of coordinated usage and the right mix of major social media platforms. While this poses its own issues of required management resources, a precise and analytical approach will allow for cost-efficient global marketing with even very modest financial resources.

So, what would be the starting point in such strategic marketing planning for a global B2B business? Let’s look at several common business goals and then what would be the relevant social media strategies for each one of them.

Business goal – launch a new brand or product line

Product Launch Ardency Consulting Ivaylo Borisov Ireland_21052020

Obviously when we launch a new brand or product line we need to ensure that we are able to push our message to broadest scope of our target market. We need to ensure reaching our current customers as well as any potential geographical or industry markets beyond the core contributors to our revenue streams.

From social media point of view, we need to deploy broadest set of goals from awareness and reach to lead generation. The major risk with this goal is to control for the advertising costs and return on marketing investment. One strategy to achieve the marketing goals is to divide paid social media programs in two stages – stage one focused on awareness, reach and brand preference and stage two on lead generation and conversion.

Therefore, we could consider following platforms in order of priority and relevant goals for each of them:

Stage I – Awareness and Brand preference:

  1. Google Display CPM for Brand Awareness & Reach and Product & Brand consideration
  2. Facebook ads for Brand Awareness and Reach goals
  3. LinkedIn ads for Brand Awareness

Stage II –  Lead generation and conversion:

  1. LinkedIn Forms and Website conversions
  2. Facebook & Instagram Lead Generation and Conversion goals, including Lead Forms
  3. Google lead forms
  4. Google Display for Sales, Lead Generation and Website Traffic

Business goal – grow market share

Social media strategy presentation Ardency Consulting Ivaylo Borisov Ireland_21052020

We need to grow revenues mostly through market share increase, therefore through switching competitors’ customers to our products and services.

From marketing point of view, we need to push compelling message to competitors’ customers, preferably highly targeted to specific influencers decision makers and users. The business is global, and we can anticipate limited LinkedIn reach. And in order to achieve highest marketing spend ROI, we need to ensure both high reach and strong targeting. We have some customer database with non-customer contacts, suitable for targeting and we need to expand targeting to similar audiences.

From social media point of view, we should consider following platforms in order of priority and relevant goals for each of them:

  1. Priority: Google Customer Match with similar audiences along Display and Gmail for conversion goals like leads or sales
  2. Priority: LinkedIn Account targeting + Sponsored Messaging for website or forms conversions
  3. Priority – Facebook + Instagram Custom Audiences with Lead Generation and Conversion goals
  4. If budget allows – Google Search with similar audiences with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn remarketing for lead generation

Business goal – grow revenues

Social media strategy presentation Ardency Consulting Ivaylo Borisov Ireland_21052020_1

We need to grow revenues with increased usage from our current customers, dormant accounts and attracting new customers, mostly through switching from competitors and in very limited scope – to attract new users.

From marketing point of view, we need to push compelling message with priority to current customers with whom we see potential of usage growth, up-sell or cross-sell. Secondly, we need to target hot leads or account representatives who had worked with our organization in the past or people who had shown interest in our solutions. And thirdly, target account representatives from companies, similar to the 20% of our top customers.

From social media point of view, we should consider following platforms in order of priority and relevant goals for each of them:

 

  1. Priority: LinkedIn Account targeting + Sponsored Messaging for leads and sales
  2. Priority: Google Customer Match with similar audiences along Search, Display and Gmail
  3. Priority – Facebook + Instagram Custom Audiences
  4. If budget allows – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn remarketing for conversion and lead generation goals
  5. If budget allows – Google Search with similar audiences

Business goal – expand addressable market

Paid social media strategies Ardency Consulting Ivaylo Borisov Ireland_22052020_1

We need to expand on our top 20% revenue generators through geographical reach and/or greater penetration among underserved industries.

From marketing point of view, we need to establish both pull and push strategies for expanding brand consideration and reach. The critical task here is to achieve optimal reach and brand awareness while controlling for costs in push strategies. From geographic point of view, we need to carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses of different social media platforms. For example, while LinkedIn is great for account-based advertising, it has limited geographical reach while Facebook and Google have great global cost-effective reach but sometimes quite low conversion rates. One prudent approach is to decide on the social media platforms according to the level of separate geographies’ usage.

From social media point of view, we should consider following platforms in order of priority and relevant goals for each of them:

Geographical awareness:

  1. Google Display CPM for Brand Awareness & Reach
  2. Facebook ads for Brand Awareness and Reach goals
  3. LinkedIn ads for Brand Awareness

Industry penetration

  1. LinkedIn Forms and Website conversions
  2. Google Display for Sales, Lead Generation and Website Traffic
  3. Facebook & Instagram Lead Generation and Conversion goals, including Lead Forms
  4. Google lead forms

In conclusion, while paid social media is far from the complete picture of an organization’s marketing communications, it is connected to direct cash outflows and marketing costs and needs to be tightly controlled and very precisely planned along goals, channels, duration, creative and copy. And although all of the discussed strategic approaches have been tested in practice, they are just the start in strategic social media planning and in no case they exhaust the general marketing or digital strategy of the organization.

Make sure you business and marketing goals are aligned

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