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How are you using social media to help grow your business? The fast paced world of social media is always changing and it can make creating a successful social strategy somewhat difficult at times. Whether it’s being able to create the type of content that provides value to your audience or understanding the best ways to manage paid advertisements, it’s never been more important to be in the “know how” when it comes to the current best practices of today’s most popular social networks.

So why are you using social to begin with? Most real estate professionals will agree that at the end of the day it’s all about getting in front of more buyers and sellers to generate more business. But in the noisy world of social media and with almost all of your competitors trying to grab the attention of the same audience, how do you truly get your message heard? The answer is paid advertising and the value of this tool is growing exponentially. In fact, 65% of marketers increased their paid social media ad budgets in 2013 (Vizu).

The “Social Media Checklist 2015: 7 Steps to Generate More Business” provides a roadmap to creating an effective social media strategy in the new year, and Homes.com has created a seven part blog series to offer details on how to achieve each of the steps found in this helpful checklist. This time around, we’d like to share exactly why you should start investing in paid social media advertising and what you can do to get the most out of your efforts here.

1. Test multiple images and copy points

The images and copy points that you choose for your ads are of utmost importance, but not all of them will be winners. The good ol’ fashioned process of trial and error is the only way to figure out which combination will work best. The image you choose is the first thing they see, so make sure that it’s something colorful, eye grabbing and portrays what you are trying to offer. Once you’ve captured their attention with a great image, the text that you choose is what will entice them to find out more. Mix and match copy points with different images and track the performance of each combination. Once you’ve figured out which of them is getting the most interaction, then you have yourself a winner!

2. Include value proposition and strong call to action

What’s in it for me? This is the age-old question that customers ask themselves before deciding whether they want to find out more about a product or business. The key is to determine what your audience is looking for and how you can fulfill those needs. For example, if you want to target first-time homebuyers in your area, provide them with a resource like the “First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage Checklist”. This will be an invaluable tool throughout the home buying process. The trick is to position it in such a way that presents obvious value.

So your value proposition worked and you now have their attention. Now you need something that will prompt them to click on your ad. This is when a strong call to action is most valuable and the pivotal “zero moment of truth” comes in to play. You need to give them a reason to take action. A strong CTA would be something that explains what they will gain by clicking on your ad and creates a sense of urgency that will prompt them to take action.

3. Bid within recommended ranges for each platform.

Since every business has different budgets and goals for paid social ads, there’s not an exact science to how much you should be investing for each ad campaign. The amount of money you allocate here depends on what you are promoting, the length of time you plan on promoting it and the return you expect to gain. With that said, bidding within the recommended ranges that are provided by each social platform is a good starting point until you get more comfortable with running these ads on your own.

Success with paid advertisements will become a more simplified process as you continue to gain experience with each campaign. Keep checking back with Homes.com to stay updated on best practices and download the “Social Media Checklist 2015: 7 Steps to Generate More Business” to get even more tips on optimizing your social strategy.