Paid social media: Which platform should you be using?

Posted by Maricelle Gouws

Social media marketing is rapidly evolving. How can we ensure we keep up with this new era of social marketing?

So, I know what you’re thinking… organic posting is more than enough and you get the required results you need from it, right? Nope, in order to increase brand awareness and make your brand stand out from the crowd, you need to enhance or augment this with a solid paid social strategy as social algorithms change almost on a daily basis.

But, how do you know which platform to use? This article will help you choose the best platform for social media advertising according to your business needs.

But, back to the beginning…


Why should your company use paid social media?

As mentioned, there’s a really big chance your organic posts won’t be seen by your audience if you don’t put some spend behind it. In reality, your followers will see less than 20% of what you post. If your company has a small budget, it can still help you reach more of your audience.

According to Meltwater, a media intelligence company, “Paid social media boosts trusted third-party content to those that benefit from the information...For example, a great hit in the Wall Street Journal for a B2B brand should be repurposed on LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform and amplified through a sponsored update.”

Unlike organic content, paid social media allows you to reach audiences not currently engaged with your brand and also gives you the opportunity to generate more followers, clicks, and interactions by simply promoting a page or post.

Which platforms should my business be using for paid social?

Social media platforms give you a variety of ways to pay for targeted advertising and there’s not really a ‘one-platform-fits-all’ solution. Here are some of your options:

1. Facebook Advertising

According to an eMarketer study, “96% of social media marketers consider Facebook the most effective social media advertising platform.”

Who should use it?

Everyone! Facebook Ads are most effective for B2C and B2B companies - it even works for individuals.

What type of ads are available?

Try experimenting with a variety of ads, but always keep the goal of the ad in mind. It wouldn’t make sense to run a Facebook Lead Ad to get an email address, if you already have that email address on your system, for example. Below is a list of Facebook Ads you could choose from:

Link Ads:

  • Post engagement ads offer you the opportunity to amplify your post’s reach.
  • Domain ads will help you promote your external website and send people to relevant landing pages or blog posts.
  • Video ads are just a different form of a domain ad, but your ad will feature a video instead.
  • Carousel ads let you select multiple images with different call-to-actions. I personally love this option, because it allows you to showcase your favourite photographs in one ad!
  • Page Like ads are ads for increasing your page’s Likes.
  • Event Response Ads can be used to promote awareness around your event and drive more event responses.
  • Offer ads are useful tools to target an audience already familiar with your brand e.g. website visitors or Page Fans.

Lead generation Ads:

  • Lead Ads are the perfect way for you to generate leads. It allows people to download your content or simply sign up to a newsletter.
  • Canvas is an interactive ad allowing users to engage with your content on mobile devices.

Dynamic Ads:

  • Dynamic product ads provide a way for you to showcase single or multi-product ads to people who have visited your website

If you still need confirmation as to whether you should run Facebook Ads or not, the below infographic from Invespcro, a company built on the commitment to deliver more conversions.

Facebook Advertising Statistics and Trends [Infographic]Click here to see the full infographic

2. Instagram Advertising

Instagram started out as a platform to post pretty pictures on, but has evolved into an engagement machine!

“Instagram is the breakout star of the family who everyone wants to sit next to at the Thanksgiving table. Instagram provides a platform to tell visual stories through various ad formats, and many advertisers have seen this channel yielding higher ROI in comparison to their other advertising campaigns,” says Wordstream, an online advertising company.

Who should use it?

If you want to target B2C companies and the younger generation, look no further than Instagram.

What type of ads can be used?

  • With Image Ads, marketers have the option to create sponsored posts featuring their products and services. They can also include calls-to-action that will lead the viewer to a company page
  • Carousel Ads showcase your most beautiful photos within a single ad including a link to your website.
  • Story Ads allow your business to reach and interact with other Instagrammers. Engaging with other bloggers, business owners, clients or friends are crucial as they will become your biggest supporters.

3. Twitter Advertising

Twitter Ads aren’t difficult to set up, but you have to literally count your words as it only allows 280 characters. Big Commerce, a privately held technology company, mentions: “On average, Twitter users shop online 6.9x a month, while non-users shop online just 4.3x a month. And there’s particularly good news for smaller businesses: Twitter reports that 60% of users purchase from an SMB.”

Who should use it?

Twitter Ads are generally used for businesses looking to connect with consumers.

What type of ads can be used?

  • Promoted Tweets are regular Tweets an advertiser pays to display to people not following them on Twitter. These Tweets can be retweeted, liked, etc.
  • Promoted Accounts allow you to get your Twitter account in front of targeted Twitter users to gain followers.
  • Promoted trends allow you to promote relevant hashtags of trending topics.

4. LinkedIn Advertising

Sprout Social, a private social media company says: “LinkedIn has proven itself to be a powerhouse for over 500 million professionals looking to network and uncover new career opportunities… After all, advertising on LinkedIn is definitely a different beast from the likes of Facebook. LinkedIn offers marketers a variety of options to put themselves out there, each with their own unique best practices.”

Who should use it?

B2B companies, recruiters and higher education should be using LinkedIn Advertising.

What type of ads can be used?

  • Sponsored Content helps you promote company updates, share pieces of your content and drive people to your landing pages.
  • Sponsored InMail allows you to drive more leads and engage with your target audience by delivering personalised, private messages to LinkedIn inboxes.
  • Text Ads are similar to Google or Bing search ads and can be found at the top or the right-hand side of the LinkedIn Desktop Feed. Depending on the text ad placement, images and logos may be omitted.
  • Lead Gen Forms allow you to capture quality leads on pre-filled forms and can also be used in Sponsored Content or InMail ads.

Ok, I know what your next question is: “what budget should we work with?” When it comes to social media advertising, it’s always important to have clear goals and a very specific budget in mind, but it differs across industries and companies.

Here are some general questions you can ask yourself before creating a social media budget:

  • What’s the goal of my ad?
  • Which social networks send the most traffic to my website?
  • What are my conversion rates?
  • Who and where is your target audience?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Where will my ad be placed?


While this information acts as a guide, it’s always best to start experimenting (with a small budget, of course) and then optimise as you get into the game. Ready to create your first ad? Get started today!

Any great social media campaign needs a good website to back it up. Request a website review and find out how your website is performing.

 

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