Investing in social media should be part of every digital marketer’s campaign. However, simply creating accounts, posting content, and engaging with followers doesn’t hold the same weight it used to. Thanks to ever-changing algorithms the game has changed. If you don’t invest in social media advertising, your message will be drowned out by your competitors who do. Increasingly, social media is becoming pay-to-play, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a huge budget to reach potential customers.

Adding a paid element to your posts helps to expand their reach and increase engagement. The good news is that paid promotion on social media is cost effective and can be manageable even for small business. We’ll look at a breakdown of the basic elements for each platform so you can decide which strategies might work for your brand.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook offers both paid advertising and an ability to boost organic posts. Paid advertising allows you to create ads and target your audience by location, gender, education, and interests. Advertising on Facebook can be done for as little as a few dollars a day and can help boost traffic to a variety of sources. You’ll be asked to choose an objective including some of the following:

  • Sending people to your site
  • Increasing conversions
  • Promoting your page
  • Reaching people near your business
  • Raising attendance for your event

Facebook’s ad platform offers a variety of options for you to create a specific target audience that you feel is the best fit for your message. You can create an ad set with up to six different images, allowing you to test which ads perform the best and further improve your campaign.

One of the most important features of this platform is the ability to select a call-to-action button for your ads. You can choose from options like “learn more,” “sign up,” “contact us,” and more to best reach your goal. If you’re new to social media ads and need a little help setting up your first campaign, take a look at our basic Facebook ad tutorial.

example of boosted post

Boosting Posts

There is also the option of boosting a post rather than creating an ad. This option consists of promoting your status updates in order to have more individuals see them. Boosting a post allows you to select the type of users you want to reach and also allows you to determine how long you would like the post to be boosted for.

A simple boosting strategy can expand your social media reach for a few dollars. However, an important thing to note here is that post boosting is recommended for when your primary goal is to get your branding in front of a large audience or garner more engagement for particular posts. Targeted Facebook ad campaigns, as discussed above, are recommended if your goals are more conversion driven where you want to send users to your website, get them to claim an offer, etc.

Instagram Ads

Instagram is now owned by Facebook, so you actually use Facebook’s ad manager to create and run your advertisements. There are five different ad formats to choose from:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Carousels
  • Story ads
  • Canvas Story ads

Picking the right format for your business depends on your goals. Photo ads only allow you to showcase one product at a time, while carousels let you show off multiple products. Videos let you tell a story about your brand, show people how to use your products, and more. Story ads and Canvas Story ads are a fully immersive advertising experience that let you use effects and filters to engage users. The main difference between the two is that Canvas Story ads use Facebook Canvas to help you build an ad that’s mobile friendly.

Here are the different campaign goals you can choose from:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App installs
  • Engagement
  • Video views
  • Conversions

Instagram has many of the same targeting options that Facebook offers to help you build you ideal audience.

LinkedIn Paid Content Promotion

LinkedIn offers paid content promotion similar to Facebook’s platform. If you have a company page and share updates from your company blog or guest posts from other sources, this platform is going to be a good choice for you. LinkedIn allows you to target individuals by job title, location, and much more. In addition to this it also provides an opportunity to exclude competitors from seeing your updates, which is useful if you are sharing insider secrets. LinkedIn allows you to target for how long you would like the campaign to run as well as monitoring its progress.

Pinterest’s Promoted Pins

Promoting a pin on Pinterest is a great way to reach your target demographic. Promoted Pins look similar to regular pins, the only difference being the text at the bottom that says “Promoted Pin.” These Pins can be targeted by gender and location much like promoted content on other social media platforms.

This advertising option is fantastic for companies that place a heavy emphasis on the visual appeal of their products. Ecommerce brands can especially benefit, and smart marketers will want to make Pinterest advertising a key strategy. Use strong images and the right copy to maximize your chances of success.

Twitter: Promoted Tweets, Trends, and Accounts

Twitter offers an option for promoted products including promoted accounts, promoted tweets, and promoted trends. Twitter’s platform allows businesses to identify objectives for the campaign and narrow down the audience to reach the right individuals as well. Recently they’ve added even more options for targeting including specific pre-determined audiences. Although promoting a trend is extremely expensive (think $200k), promoted tweets are much more affordable and fairly simple to set-up. They are a great way to drive people to a link, gain followers, or get your message out there.

promoted tweet example

Influencer Marketing

Another form of social media advertising is influencer marketing. This strategy consists of finding someone with a large social media following to promote your brand. What makes influencer marketing unique is the fact that influencers tell their own story about your brand in a way that feels real and authentic. Plus, users tend to trust influencer recommendations more than traditional advertising.

Benefits of Social Media Advertising

Social media ads are incorporated naturally into the platform to the point where some users may mistake them for organic posts. This is completely different from the disruptive nature of display ads, pop-ups, and video commercials. Sponsored social media posts also let you take advantage of the billions of users that spend time on these platforms every day.

The best part about paying to promote content on social media is that everything can be tracked through analytics.

Unless you have a large budget you probably won’t want to promote every post on your social channels. However, it is most certainly beneficial to promote select posts in order to reach your audience, raise brand awareness, and drive traffic back to your website. Determine which platform is the best for your business and always make sure to include an attractive image in your promotional efforts.

Are you sold on the idea of social media ads for your marketing strategy, but not sure where to start? Feel free to reach out to us! Our team of experienced digital marketers will help you .