Welcome to the fifth and final post in our Fearless Series on SOCIAL MEDIA. So far, we’ve shared tips on how to find the right social media platform, how to use the best practices for social media content creation, how to build a social media strategy, and how to work with influencers. Today, we’re looking at an element that many businesses fail to utilize – paid social media strategy.
It’s hard to imagine paying for ads to reach customers on social media platforms that are free to use. Yet, often, paid social media is the most efficient and effective way to reach your target audiences. But to maximize this benefit, you’ll need a sound strategy. Let’s dig in on how to get there.
Why Use Paid Ads on Social Media?
Social media sites are driven by digital algorithms primarily designed to show a user content from individuals and brands they engage with most often. This creates a bit of a silo. Standing out and breaking through all the noise on social media can feel hard, while reaching new users with organic (or nonpaid) social media content feels near impossible.
That feeling? Entirely real. In fact, in 2018, Facebook changed its algorithm to make it harder for organic posts – again, posts without any money behind them – to reach large audiences. Businesses can now expect just over 5% of their followers to see their organic posts.
Paid social media helps you work beyond organic Facebook posts’ limitations, allowing you to break through platforms’ algorithms and reach your audiences more directly. Its biggest advantage is how specific it allows you to be with audience targeting, a great way to make sure the money you spend is helping you reach the right individuals.
Most social media platforms allow you to define your audience based on specific geographic regions, gender, age range, listed occupation and even interests. As a note, if your content or page are political in nature or address issues around housing, targeting restrictions may exist to ensure you aren’t violating federal law. Still, with focused parameters, you can create a direct line to the audiences you want to reach. This investment can be worth every penny as you try to grow an engaged and interested following.
Main Types of Paid Social Media Strategy
Most social platforms offer paid ads falling into two strategic categories – awareness ads and lead generation ads. Which approach you opt for depends on your business goals.
Awareness Ads: Boost your brand visibility
Awareness ads are just as they sound, designed to build awareness and visibility for your brand. You should utilize them most often in your work with paid social media, particularly at the beginning of your work. Specifically, we always recommend a call-to-action approach with awareness ads, one encouraging individuals to like or follow your business across social media platforms.
You can also enable awareness ads to drive targeted individuals to specific links on your website, but we recommend saving those for when you have an established following AND you have a specific ask of the audience with the link you share.
Lead Generation Ads: Generate new business and sales
The second category of paid social ads are lead generation ads. As the name suggests, these are an ideal sales tool to directly reach a potential customer. A number of social media platforms have now even created their own internal lead generation forms so the potential customer can fill out a form with information you need to collect (name, location, phone, email, etc.) and then your sales team can follow up to try and sell them your product or service.
Implementing Your Strategy
Understanding the two main types of paid social ads and when it’s best to use them, you are now able to create a paid social media strategy that’s right for your business.
At Fearey, we counsel clients to have a baseline brand awareness strategy when it comes to paid social media. This means consistently running a low-level, small scale awareness ad about your brand. The best way to do this is to evaluate the organic social content you post, identify the most popular, engaging post from the previous two weeks and create an awareness ad to place that post in front of a new, more targeted audience.
That targeted ad can run at a relatively low cost ($1/day), so let it run for two weeks. When the campaign finishes, evaluate your results and simply switch it out for a popular post from the previous two weeks and so on. This is an easy, relatively inexpensive and sustainable way to bring new individuals to your page using content you’ve already created.
Looking to move beyond brand awareness and actually acquire new customers? A lead generation campaign is a great way to start. Again, this is not something you should take on unless you’ve previously built awareness of your brand on social AND established a rhythm posting regularly. No one wants to provide information to a brand without a following and that rarely posts.
If you are posting regularly, engaging with your audiences and also building awareness consistently, then launching a lead generation campaign could pay off. To create a lead generation campaign, you must determine what you will offer in exchange if a potential customer shares their information on your form. Is it a consultation? A special discount? A free gift? Once you’ve defined what you will offer, you can create ad copy with a strong call-to-action asking individuals to sign up, making it clear about what they will receive when they provide information.
If you do employ lead generation ads in your paid social media strategy, you must have the infrastructure and a plan to follow-up on any leads received in a timely fashion. When people are giving up their personal information, they are committing to and expressing interest in what you say you will provide. Don’t disappoint them.
Both awareness-focused and sales lead-concentrated strategies work together to amplify your content and drive new customers through the virtual door. If you are interested in finding out more information on creating an ad campaign specific to your business goals and objectives, please give our team a call or reach out today. We are always happy to discuss.
Until then, stay fearless.