(IT AIN’T CALLED PAY TO PLAY FOR NOTHIN’)
Let’s face it: it’s 2017 and simply being able to produce great content just doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact, physically producing amazing content is only half the battle – albeit, a pretty difficult half – yet, it’s still not always the toughest part of a marketer’s job these days. (Especially if said marketer is trying to dominate the inbound sphere.)
Once a piece of content has gone through the ringer with copywriting, copyediting and the seemingly never-ending creative and design process, there’s still the whole part about making sure it even gets noticed. Because, after your team has poured hours, days, sometimes even weeks into the creation of a single piece of content, the cold, hard truth is that it’s harder than ever to (organically) get it in front of the right people who actually want or need it – aka qualified leads.
Enter: paid social.
As more and more companies and brands continue to invest in aggressive content marketing tactics, the need to reach as many qualified prospects as possible is becoming increasingly difficult, yet absolutely imperative. Because of this, paying for content promotion on social media is an essential part of any comprehensive inbound marketing strategy.
WHY PAID SOCIAL?
We all know that social is an extremely effective way to reach audiences. By investing in native social advertising, marketers are essentially able to spend money in order to get their content in front of the right people – on their preferred channel. This is exactly what makes it such a valuable tool for finding your target audience(s) and giving your messages a chance to resonate with a pool of qualified customers.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are the standard go-to options when it comes to paid social promotion. Why? Simple. They work. While there are certainly other channels with native advertising capabilities, these channels span such large and diverse audiences, marketers are able to uniquely identify, target and segment sometimes extremely niche audiences.
But, how do you know which one is best to use and when? The truth is, it’s all about doing your research and being willing to do a TON of testing when needed. Check out the rundown on our four favorite social advertising platforms below:
Facebook ads, not to be confused with Boosted Posts, are by far the best way to promote your content on Facebook if you are looking to see an immediate impact on campaign success. While Boosted Posts can help with a brand’s social engagement and presence, Facebook ads are more likely to produce tangible outcomes due to the highly specific targeting options and richer formatting possibilities. On top of that, Facebook offers the most in-depth analytics and reporting systems of all the social platforms.
Instagram Ads, which are (not surprisingly) extremely similar to Facebook Ads, enable marketers to get their content the attention it deserves by getting it in front of people who wouldn’t otherwise see it. With audience targeting capabilities such as location, interests and behavior it makes it easy to hone in on the right people. On top of that, there’s the option to create custom audiences based on data such as email addresses or phone numbers, or the ability to use “Lookalike Audiences” which targets people similar to the brand’s existing customers.
Like Facebook, there are two ways to go with paid content on LinkedIn: Sponsored Content and/or Text Ads. In our experience, we prefer the prior. LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content feature seriously elevates content’s visibility by posting it to a target user’s home page and news feed. The basic targeting features are similar to other social platforms, such as using age and job title to locate users, as well as setting your campaign’s budget and CPC options. Recently, LinkedIn also launched “Matched Audiences” in order to amplify B2B marketing initiatives with three new targeting capabilities: website retargeting (re-engaging website visitors), account targeting (targeting decision makers at your target accounts) and contact targeting (uploading or integrating your list of contacts).
User’s Twitter feeds are notoriously packed because of the sheer amount of Tweets going out at any given moment. (After all, it takes a lot of 140 characters or less messages to get your point across sometimes.) This is exactly why there are Promoted Tweets. Promoted Tweets give marketers the luxury of getting their content directly into a user’s feed without being outshined by other user’s personal feelings and insights or pictures of what they’re having for brunch. Since Twitter uses keywords, interests and followers as targeting categories, it’s an easy way for marketers to find exactly who they’re looking for. Additionally, there are a number of free, easy-to-use analytics tools to measure your Twitter campaigns.
PAID SOCIAL FOR REENGAGEMENT PURPOSES
Remarketing (or retargeting) is great. It really is. This tactic isn’t new by any means, so we won’t bore you with the details on how it works or why you need it, but it’s definitely one of the best things you can do for your content on social media. Think of it this way, a potential customer has already visited your site and shown interest in your company (lookin’ at you B2C!) and now you need to keep them moving through the funnel. So, you feed them remarketing ads and give them the information they need to help you close a deal and remind them why you’re great. The best part? All four of the above-mentioned social platforms offering remarketing options.
HOW PAID SOCIAL PLAYS INTO INBOUND MARKETING
Once upon a time, social media was considered a “free” marketing tool. It made content marketing so much easier. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. However, thanks to paid social, not all hope is lost. In fact, getting better visibility is now easier than ever… as long as you’re willing to pay for it. Be warned though, 65% of companies are planning to increase their digital advertising this year. So plan ahead, set aside a budget and don’t let your content go to waste.
Want to know how RUNNER integrates content and social media into our successful inbound marketing strategies? Give us a shout.