Social media has proven its worth as a valuable marketing channel, and it can become even more valuable when you supplement your efforts with paid social. The organic reach of social media is decreasing, with traditional posts and tweets getting less attention than in the past. Paid social is a way to get your content and message in front of a new audience by paying to increase its reach.
Most social media platforms have paid social options that allow you to target your specific audience segments, choose your budget and measure your success. These tips can help you get started.
Look at Your Budget
Determining a budget for paid social can start by charting the ideal digital marketing strategy for your company, one that combines the use of owned, earned and paid media.
- Owned media: Company website, social pages and profiles, and branded content
- Earned media: SEO, social media posts and blogging
- Paid media: Paid social and other paid advertising
Figure out the short-term and long-term amount you can spend to ensure paid social pulls its weight. Platforms allow you to set a maximum daily or total budget, usually based on cost per click. Think about the internal resources required for paid social launch, maintenance and keeping new customers engaged.
Establish Goals and Objectives
You’ll only know if your paid social efforts are a success if you’re clear about what you want them to achieve. These goals can include:
- Awareness, which increases the reach and audience of your brand
- Clicks and Conversions, which can increase traffic to your website or capture new leads
- Engagement, which gets more people interacting with your brand
Keep an eye on your campaigns’ performance and determine whether or not you’re hitting your targets.
Segment into Targeted Audiences
One of the most useful features of paid social is the ability to identify specific audience segments based on various demographics, and then create paid social campaigns that speak directly to that specific group. Options can range from location, age and gender to job title and industry, depending on the platform.
Pick the Right Content to Promote
Check out your inbound marketing reporting results to see which blog posts, offers and other content is already getting a lot of organic traffic. That’s the content you want to promote in your paid social campaigns.
Keep an eye out for:
- Blog posts with high views and click-through rates
- Offers with high submission rates or conversion rates
- Call-to-action copy that consistently gets results, which you can borrow to test in campaigns
Experiment with a Few Paid Advertising Platforms
Rather than focusing all your efforts and budget on a single platform, try experimenting with a few different platforms to see which work best for you. The three most popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and they make an ideal starting point.
- Facebook: With more than 1.3 billion users, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform. It’s best for building relationships and brand loyalty. Audience members are 60 percent female and mainly between the ages of 25 and 54. Target people who aren’t already seeing your post in their feeds. A suggested budget is a maximum of $10 per day, aiming for a cost of 10 to 15 cents per click.
- Twitter: Twitter is fast and furious, which means your paid content is apt to get stale more rapidly than on other platforms. Its 600 million users are largely between the ages of 18 and 29. It’s good for conversations, sharing info and general public relations. Go for a promoted tweet or use Twitter cards, which let you include an image or video with your post. Cost typically runs around 50 to 75 cents per engagement, which can include clicks, replies, retweets or follows.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for B2B, with 600 million users largely in the 30 to 49 age range. Here people share news, articles and engage in conversations with the aim of business development. Sponsored updates go directly into the main feed rather than the ad sidebar. While the cost per click can run upwards of $4 each, the lead quality also tends to be high.
Remarketing to Those who Interacted
Another paid social tactic is remarketing, which involves tracking people who interacted with your website but haven’t yet converted. Retarget this group by adding a tracking code into your content and then using the Custom Audience feature on Facebook and the Tailored Audience feature on Twitter to set up a new paid social campaign that reaches those people.
Adding paid social to your overall marketing strategy can increase your reach, boost your website traffic and otherwise give your brand an edge that results in new relationships, customers and perpetual fans.