In a few short years, social media marketing has become one of, if not the dominant forms of advertising. The ability to target a specific audience at specific times across platforms is truly remarkable, yet few companies take full advantage of the opportunities it presents. Whether you’re an experienced media buyer or a social media novice, these tips will help you launch a successful campaign.

Set Specific Goals

Before launching any advertising campaign, it’s important to determine what you want to achieve, and how you will judge its level of success. In social media marketing, it’s also critical to identify your target audience as well. If your objective is to receive more online orders through followers clicking through a Facebook ad, you need to thoughtfully determine metrics to measure performance. Will 10 new orders leverage success, or do you need 100?

It’s always a good idea to begin with the S.M.A.R.T. method. This is a useful tool, whose anagram stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive. 

Take an Objective Inventory of Your Social Accounts (And Check Out Your Competitors!)

Before launching a social media marketing campaign, it’s important to evaluate your current social strategy and honestly account for where it is strong and weak. Look at the frequency of your posts, and which posts receive engagement from followers. If you’re seeing low engagement numbers, consider the time of day you’re posting, and whether you’re posting so infrequently that you don’t appear in followers’ feeds, or so frequently that you’re stepping on your own posts.

You also need to look at your competitors and colleagues in your industry. See where the successful ones are driving engagement, and what platforms they use.

Produce and Post Quality Content

The most important aspect of social media marketing is providing quality, relevant content. The simplest way to tackle this is to suit your content to each individual platform. For example, Facebook places posts that include videos and photos higher in their algorithm. Twitter’s limited characters rely on links to expand messaging. Ads need to be written in specific voices appropriate to the platform. If your staff is limited (or just you) you can use editorial calendars and automated scheduling to help.

Pay Attention to Results and Adjust When You Need To

Lastly, you need to track your social media marketing campaign after it’s launched. Don’t be afraid to tweak it if engagement is low. Social Media ad managers make it very possible to be reactive over the life of a campaign.