Social media marketing. It’s official – it works.

Well, at least everybody thinks so, as a report from eMarketer has shown that SMEs rank social media as their second most effective marketing tool. The first? Their own websites, of course. Wow – a well-deserved round of applause please, for social media.

Social media’s stance as a powerful marketing tool isn’t a total shock. In fact, it’s been the superstar of online marketing for a considerable time now; largely, because it’s very cost-effective (yes, cheap) – until now, it’s been free.

Don’t get us wrong – social media is still free to use – but like every element of digital, it has evolved dramatically. Paid social media advertising options are now by far your best bet if you’re seeking social-channel-marketing benefits… And let’s face it, who isn’t?

So what is paid social media?

Simply put, it’s the practice of paying for your social media posts – yep, you guessed it!

When your organic reach has all but screeched to a halt (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us) it’s time to introduce paid social into your marketing mix.

Paid social options are available across almost all platforms. These days, there are options for Facebook advertising, Twitter advertisingInstagram advertising, … Even LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat are at it now.

A few years ago, it was incredulous to pay for social… But things change. And now, boosted posts, display ads, promoted tweets (and all the rest) are more popular than ever.

But why? What’s made marketers happy to fork out for something that was previously there for free? Well, we’ll tell you.

Why are we now paying for social media advertising?

Because, it happens to be very fruitful. And it’s cost-effective. While it’s not free, it’s still fairly cheap – so for a small amount of budget you can now make your social media efforts much more productive.

Take Facebook, for example. Facebook’s organic reach has been in decline for some time now. If you’re posting as a business, you’ll have noticed that the number of people who like your page is nowhere near the ‘reach’ of your posts – a.k.a. the actual size of your audience.

With organic reach rumoured to be as low as 10%, if you want to increase your engagement, you firstly need to ensure people see what you’re posting – and you do that by popping a few quid behind what’s called a ‘boosted post’.

It’s all in the stats…

What can the statistics tell us about paid social media advertising? On Facebook, desktop ads have 8.1x higher click-through rates and mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates than normal web ads. Meanwhile, Promoted Tweets have shown average engagement rates of 1-3 percent—much higher than traditional banner ads.

paid social

So what about good old ‘organic’?

In no way does this mean that organic social media is dead. In fact, it’s far from – as paid social media content can really complement your organic posts. You can even use the learnings from your organic posts to help you shape and execute your paid campaigns -or vice versa. Learnings, what learnings? Whatever you’ve learned from looking at your metrics!

Using paid social media metrics effectively

Metrics play a crucial role in any digital marketing campaign – they help you to determine ROI and also direct your future efforts. It’s true that access to (free) social media metrics has not always been easy, but now we’re paying, the social networks seem to have upped their game.

In order to encourage people to pay (call us sceptical, whatever) these networks have seen increased need to provide strong, reliable and perceptive analytics. Both Facebook and Twitter have proved us right by releasing updates to their analytics recently, but expect to see even more improvements – and to be able to get even more use out of them.

It makes sense – if we can see it’s working, marketers will be much more likely to pay for it.

Find your niche – audience targeting through paid social media

You know we love audience targeting. Ask any marketer – audience targeting is life. Not only is it one of the more insightful, interesting aspects of marketing, but it delivers better results too. Win!
The depth of audience segmentation you can achieve through social media advertising is very powerful, albeit slightly un-nerving. Once you’ve found them, use paid social to target your niche demographic and voilà! The people who actually want to see your posts will. That’s the idea anyway – it’s really more about who you want to see your posts seeing them.
Want your ad to appear before a London-based mum who drives a Ford Focus, calls herself a foodie and likes travel, pets and podcasts? Why waste time tracking her down, when you can pay Facebook to do it for you? Job done – that’s the power of audience segmentation on social.

When does paid social media advertising work best?

As with all marketing tools, paid social works best when it’s integrated with other channels. For example, email marketing is most successful when it’s used to complement social content. Try linking your CRM database with Facebook or Twitter campaigns to supercharge your communications – giving both channels an extra boost.

Most marketing channels tend to be one-trick ponies – think, billboards and TV ads (great for generating awareness) or direct mail (good for lead generation/response).

The great thing about social media marketing, particularly paid, is that you can use it to meet a wide range of objectives (brand awareness, direct response, market research, product or offer promotion… The list goes on!). Paying for it simply means you can target a much wider audience for all of those things!

So how much is it actually going to cost?

It doesn’t have to cost the Earth – you can start a paid social media campaign for as little as you like. That’s not to say it’s ok to scrimp, but with good content and well-researched targeting, you can still achieve impressive results as little as a few pounds. Try a small-scale paid social campaign and see what happens… You might (and probably will) be pleasantly surprised!

If you’d like to find out more about paid social, or see what our specialist team can do for you, give us a call on 0161 848 9008. We’ve already unlocked the power of paid social media advertising, and we’d be only too happy to lend you the keys!

 

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