Paid social media advertising is the new organic: creating an evolved social media marketing strategy
B2B or B2C, companies from every sector are harnessing the power of social media to attract, engage, convert and retain custom. But have you considered paid social media advertising?
When it comes to measuring return on investment, it seems that organic social media content is not cutting it anymore. Yes, you can post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn without charge but that “free” post is not free. It has already cost you and your business in terms of time (not to mention associated costs of travel, props, influencer or graphic design fees).
Organic is fading
The real kicker is yet to come. Fading organic reach means that there is no guarantee that your followers will even see the results of your labour let alone engage with it. According to the latest stats, fewer than 6% of page fans see organic posts from companies. In other words, for every 100 page followers, an organic post will reach, on average, five or less people.
Therefore, the question becomes how can you as a business owner, managing director or partner, reach the people who matter on social media channels in order to boost business performance and demonstrate ROI? The answer: by evolving your social media strategy to include paid social media advertising.
What is paid social?
Paid social are digital advertising options available on social media platforms that have a cost attached to them. From text ads to single image ads, carousel ad formats to inbox messages and sponsored content, there are many forms.
Similarly, like Google Adwords, paid social ads are normally charged on a cost per engagement basis and rates vary by platform, audience and targeting criteria.
Top audience selection criteria include:
● Demographic or firmographic targeting
● Interest targeting
● Remarketing lists
● Customer lookalike audiences
Got a question about your social media strategy? Speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct by calling 01625 682110.
How to create a paid social media strategy that works for your business
An effective paid social strategy should combine business objectives with detailed research yet remain open to experimentation.
Before parting with any of your marketing budget, you must first ask: what is the objective and how does this fit with the wider business goals as defined in the business plan?
Typical objectives for paid social ads include: brand awareness, increasing traffic, increasing engagement, lead generation and increasing sales. Defining your objective will directly impact what social platform/s you use and will determine what ad formats you choose.
For example, using spotlight ads to increase your followers on LinkedIn is great. However, if your business goal is to increase sales and revenue by channel, your campaigns are likely to fall short. A better investment would be to explore social commerce options such as the promotion option on Facebook or “shop now” on Instagram.
Research and data analysis are key to identify the following. Firstly, your buyer personas based on demographic or firmographic profiling to inform social media audience targeting. Secondly, which social media channels your prospects can be found on and to consider for investment with paid ads.
Take time to understand who you are targeting and examine past performance: what social networks or campaigns worked well previously? Which haven’t? Furthermore, consider which platforms your competitors are actively bidding on. Make use of social media insight tools to further your research into audience selection and analysis.
No social media strategy would be complete without continual testing and refinement of ad format, copy and audience targeting. Your plan should be flexible and able to adapt to the rapidly evolving nature of social media advertising. In summary, lower performing campaigns with negative ROI should see investment moved elsewhere.
Why paid social pays: ROI and the growth of Social Commerce
Can paid social really fill the organic void? We are not advocating that you should abandon all hope and leave organic posting behind. A strategic social media plan that includes paid advertising options helps to zero in on buyers that matter to you across the sales cycle.
By examining audience selection, ad format choice, content selection and social network preference, businesses are able to make paid social work. It can even achieve a return on investment that rivals other marketing channels. Want to increase quality traffic to your website? Paid social can do that. Looking for more engagement such as likes and shares? Paid social can do that too. Need to increase your revenue? Yes, paid social can.
A tricky decision
According to recent research, social media messenger sales are outperforming the current ROI champion of email. Also, social commerce is said to be growing faster than its retail counterpart.
Influencers – the darlings of the social media world – may be able to generate up to 11 times more ROI than other advertising methods. Choosing between influencers such as bloggers, vloggers, micro-influencers, celebrities, activists and thought leaders requires careful planning and analysis. Not all influencers are created equal so parting with your hard-earned budget needs a granular approach to measuring marketing return.
Getting help with your paid social media planning
Is it time that you invested in paid social? Or do you need to revisit your current paid social media marketing strategy? Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing management consultancy that offers advice across many areas of marketing. We can help you get to grips with social media marketing – both paid and organic. Our dedicated marketers work with businesses of all sizes to audit, research, plan and manage digital marketing strategies.
By choosing Think Beyond, you have a CIM qualified marketer on your side with access to latest industry insights and marketing training.
Start your Think Beyond journey today
Also, you can book a free one hour marketing strategy consultation by completing our 60-second contact form.