It’s not breaking news that most digital marketing takes place on social media platforms now. Global social media ad spend was 41 billion dollars in 2017, up from 16.46 billion dollars in 2014.
At the same time, the general consensus recommends original content for building the most authentic engagement. But what if you’re not reaching a big enough audience?
With social media platforms developing increasingly sophisticated ways to advertise, promote and boost your own content, is it worth adding to your social media strategy?
The appeal of these functions is in the names itself: by using the platforms native promotion tools, you can “boost” your posts to a set audience for a set budget. This can be especially beneficial given new algorithms that deprioritize business posts to the point that a Facebook post today has a roughly 2 percent chance of being seen in someone’s newsfeed.
At the most basic level, promoted posts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are a simple and fairly low cost way to purposefully expand your content’s reach.
For example, Facebook’s minimum price for a boosted post is $1 per day. This is undoubtedly cheap compared to other digital ad services like AdWords. With $1 per day on Facebook resulting in an additional reach of about 4,000 people, that’s $0.25 per 1,000 people, whereas AdWords evens out to $2.75 for the same reach.
Boosted posts do achieve their goals. Select the content you want to promote, choose some basic demographic information about your target audience, including location, age and gender and your post is broadcasted to additional eyes for the duration and budget you set.
As simple as these promoting functions are, they might not be giving you the biggest bang for your buck.
Without a fully developed and focused strategy to begin with, promoting your current social content may not bring any marked increase in engagement or revenue for your business.
Furthermore, sometimes simple can be too simple. While promoting tools offer some targeting and customization options, they are limited in comparison to the full ad creation tools also offered through these platforms.
Especially on Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), the ad manager offers much more sophisticated campaign customization, with the ability to select from a larger variety of objectives including lead generation, sales and conversions. This is a step up from the more generic boost options of engagement and click-throughs.
The ad manager also allows you to choose if the ad is shown on mobile or desktop, which for some visual content can make all the difference!
When it comes down to it, the incredible amount of content being posted to social media sites everyday necessarily turns it into a pay-to-play situation, and paying to promote your content on social media is definitely worth it.
About half of B2C marketers use Instagram ads, Facebook promoted posts and Facebook ads, with marketers reporting 53 percent use of Instagram ads compared to Facebook promoted posts at 49 percent and Facebook ads at 43 percent. B2B marketers report greater use of LinkedIn and Twitter ad options.
Consider putting a bit more effort in by skipping the one-click-to-boost option and you’ll reap the rewards of the extra care.
Tips for Making the Most of Promoted Content
Condense Your Analysis – There are plenty of third-party services that track your social media content analytics and compile it into one location. Examples include HootSuite and SproutSocial. This is incredibly useful if you run multiple campaigns across different platforms or if you want to compare the performance of promoted to non-promoted content.
Run A/B Tests – Whether you boost a post or run a full social media ad campaign, it’s important to see what kind of content is most effective. Sometimes the only way to do this is to put it in front of a real audience. Before you put all your ad spend eggs into one basket, so to speak, run different content with the targeting parameters and see which one returns the lower cost per click.
Pay Attention – As easy as it may be, social media advertising isn’t just a set it and forget it kind of deal. Pay attention to what’s doing well and what’s not so you can make sure your money is going to the right places.
Don’t Just Make Another Ad – Even if you’re not boosting original content, your social media “ads” don’t have to be just ads, they don’t have to follow the same basic sales proposition that all of your other ads do. Since the platforms are so malleable, take advantage of other options and create value-offered content that drives your objective. The fact that it’s an ad just means that’s the way it’s reaching your audience, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve multiple purposes.