We have all been on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn and seen the word ‘sponsored’ or ‘promoted’ alongside a post or piece of content.
As more and more brands are turning to social media platforms to generate awareness, engagement and traffic, more are paying to have their content seen by more people. Unlike organic social media, paid allows you to reach audiences not currently engaged with your brand, and generate new followers or clicks that may otherwise have been lost or taken significant time to gain.
So, should you be paying for your social media posts?
Here are some of the top reasons you may want to consider it:
Paid social advertising lets you identify specific audience segments (gender, region, age, preferences, and other demographics) and craft messages that relate specifically to that market segment.
One key targeting option available on social platforms is to target people by their interests. If this is done well, the ads that users will see in their feeds will be relevant or useful and won’t seem out of place with their organic posts. This can be as broad as the football team a user supports to having an interest in needlecraft. So if you are a personal trainer for example, you can target people who have already “liked” pages connected with fitness, health, sports etc.
One area where you can easily focus your efforts and budget is location targeting. How localised you make your targeting will be determined by the minimum audience size required to run a campaign – this is typically 1,000 users on most platforms – and the level of geographic targeting available. For example, on Facebook you can target cities or towns, or a radius around them, whereas targeting on LinkedIn is limited to the ‘big’ cities you choose.
This is a great tool for smaller, local businesses that do not export products, and just want to reach a small area where the potential customers are local to them.
Raise brand awareness
Paid social advertisements allow you to cut through the noise and put your posts higher up in potential customer’s newsfeeds. Promoting your page or a particular post can give you the chance to obtain more leads and generate more interest in your brand, from people who probably would not have seen your content otherwise. This is a great way to build your brand and increase engagement with new and future consumers.
Calls to action
Those who use paid social well are going beyond brand awareness alone, by using direct response calls to action that drive users to their websites, thus leading to sales.
On Facebook promoted posts a call to action is available for the following objectives: Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, App Installs, Lead Generation, Conversions, Product Catalogue Sales, Video Views and Store Visits.
One of the main advantages that paid social has over organic activity is the ability to quickly generate results. With organic posts, you are limited to showing your message to those who already follow you. Depending on your budget, paid social can get you in front of the right people at the right time than you can organically.
Give it a go! You can start off with a pretty small budget for a promoted post and get great results. I would suggest trying it with as little as £20 – £30 and see how you fair from there.
Just keep in mind that targeting users by age or gender alone is not going to cut it. Clever use of combination audiences (targeting various interest-based and demographic audiences in one campaign), unique and relevant content ads, and enticing offers and calls to action are a MUST if you’re hoping to stand out.