Making the Most of Paid Social Media Marketing for Your Business

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Making the Most of Paid Social Media Marketing for Your Business

Promoting your business on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is an exciting, contextual, effective way to market your company’s offerings. The implementation is simple; set up an account and start posting about your business’ goods and services. Once your account is established, you’ll set about growing a social following by posting interesting, relevant content and interacting with your audience. It’s amazing to think of all the potential business you can attract simply by engaging on social media - for just the cost of the time it takes you to post an update, tweet or message.

Once you’ve established some strong social media habits, you’d be well advised to consider deploying paid ads on these sites. Paid advertisements heighten your content’s visibility to more potentially interested people. Social media advertising can be tailored to fit your budget and, when utilized wisely, can be powerfully effective.

It’s important to note that when I refer to “marketing,” I’m using the word in a broad sense; not simply as offering items for sale. Because the platform is social in nature, the aim of marketing on social media is to utilize the platform to develop and maintain relationships through your interaction. It is those relationships that grow feelings of trust in your authority and integrity among your audience. Of course, the preferred result of your social media interactions will be brand recognition that will naturally translate into familiarity, goodwill and ultimately, sales. To blatantly “advertise” your offerings on social media to the exclusion of more social conversation, will alienate, rather than attract followers.

The “big three” social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - each have distinct paid content models. Briefly, they work like this:

Facebook - There are two ways to promote your content on Facebook. You can “boost” an existing post or create an ad from scratch. In either case, you’ll be able to choose your budget and the length of the ad campaign; additionally, you can customize an audience to whom the ad will be targeted.

Twitter - You can promote tweets, accounts or trends on Twitter. A Promoted Tweet appears in feeds that don’t already follow you, labeled as promoted content. Promoted Accounts ads appear where Twitter users with relevant interests to your business are likely to see them. Promoted Trends harness the power of hashtags and appear to all users in Trending Topics, identified as being promoted.

Instagram - You can pay Instagram “Influencers” (users who have substantial followings) to promote your business in an organic manner that does not look like an advertisement.

Best practices for paid social media marketing

When you’re ready to put your money where your social media marketing is, here are some tips to make the most from your advertising dollars:

Determine what you want to gain via social media. Goals for a paid social media campaign (an ad or set of related ads) could include gaining more followers for your social media accounts, driving more traffic to your website, getting more visits to your blog, putting more subscribers on your email distribution list, increasing audience engagement or cementing brand identity. Focusing on a particular goal will strengthen the message you convey and make it easier to determine the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.

Set a budget - It’s wise to start out conservatively, but don’t be too timid. Decide upon a budget big enough to make an impact but with which you feel comfortable. If you’re satisfied with the results, you can increase or reallocate your spend in subsequent campaigns.

Try different approaches - One very user-friendly aspect of social media advertising is that nothing is engraved in stone. Track your campaign’s progress for several days. If you’re unhappy with the results, try something different. A/B testing is a useful method of creating two different campaigns (A) and (B) promoting the same thing. Deploy both and see which performs best.

Measure, track and be influenced by analytics - One huge advantage of digital marketing like this is your ability to see, in real time, how your advertising is performing. Take advantage of this benefit to help make your campaigns more effective! It’s definitely not a “set it and forget it” situation; keep abreast of what is working and what is not. Adjust your message, tactics, approach, the demographics you target, the day or time you start your ad… any variable you can think of to, over time, develop your unique “secret marketing recipe.”

Paid social media advertising is a bit more intense because you’ve got actual money in the game. But you can make it effectively work for you by following some best practices and being agile with your execution. Paid social media marketing allows you to reap greater benefits from the strong relationships you create with your online audience. It’s worth your time - and your advertising dollars - to be social.

How could your business benefit from paid social media?

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