One of the biggest things that businesses need to be doing right now is paying attention to their customer base.

They need to understand who their customers are, where they are, and what they’re looking for. All this information put together can help them grow their business. But how can business owners gain access to details like these? Social Media.

The idea behind social media for business is to engage with your audience and use social media platforms to build relationships and gain customers.

As a business owner, it is your choice whether or not to use social media. However, you should know that there are tons of studies that show how beneficial social media is to business growth.

What about paid social media, is it worth it?

This article will look at the advantages and disadvantages of paid social media marketing, so you can make an informed choice when deciding where to focus your marketing budget.

What is paid social media?

Social media refers to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on. These networks are used by individuals and businesses to interact with each other and form relationships.

Paid social refers to anything on social media that is influenced by advertising revenue and is sponsored by a company. In other words, advertising or sponsored posts that companies pay a social media network to broadcast to audiences other than their own followers. The cost-per-click (CPC) model is one of the most often used techniques of pricing for this form of advertising and marketing.

Paid social media differs from organic social media in several key ways.

Organic social media material is posted for free, whereas paid social media content is paid for. You use paid social content to expand your reach by investing in paid ads on your social media platform of choice.

Individuals who have previously subscribed to your feed will see your organic social media posts. As your audience shares and participates with your content, they will be seen by more people.

Paid social on the other hand will appear in the News Feeds of the people you are targeting with your campaign. It’s possible to target your audience based on demographics, geography, interests, and other factors.

Additionally, the worlds of sponsored and organic content can overlap. For instance, you can pay to “promote” an organic post in order to increase its visibility. This is frequently a good method for high-performing organic content.

Why should businesses use social media?

The obvious reason that businesses use social media is to reach a broader customer base. The idea is that a business can market products and services in a way that isn’t expensive or invasive. The idea behind social media is to engage with customers and increase sales.

Social media can assist you in engaging with your clients as well as discovering what others are saying about your business. Advertisements, promotional offers, and mobile applications can all be done through social networking platforms.

All in all, some of the benefits of social media to businesses include:

  • Attracting consumers, soliciting client feedback, and fostering customer loyalty
  • Increase the size of your market, including overseas markets.
  • market research and cost-cutting marketing initiatives
  • Increasing revenue through opportunities and growth and advertising
  • Establish your company’s brand
  • Share thoughts on how to enhance your company’s operations
  • Enhance the amount of traffic that comes to your website and help it rank higher in search engines
  • Keep a close watch on your competitors’ activities.

What to Consider With Paid Social Media

When you’re just getting started with paid social media, you should start small in terms of the financial investment and number of channels.

The following considerations may work for you:

Establish a budget

Often, one of the most significant obstacles is getting the budget for paid ads. Once you’ve established a budget, it’s critical to set aside a quarter of the cash in case you need to modify bid levels to remain competitive during the campaign’s duration.

Establish a goal and select a platform

This is a critical component of your sponsored social media advertising. To get the desired outcomes, it is critical to describe your campaign’s objective precisely. If you have multiple objectives, I’d recommend you focus your efforts on a single overall objective. Make a note of it and organise your whole campaign around reaching that one objective.

Define your target audience precisely

Your sponsored social media strategy should be structured around targeting the individuals who matter to your business. As a result, it’s critical to conduct extensive research and outline all parts of your buyer persona, including region, age group, ethnicity, and hobbies and interests.

Define ad duration

This is a critical component of your sponsored social media marketing plan. How long do you intend to run your campaign?  Establish clear start and finish dates for your campaign.

Create the “ad”

The following step is to upload your ad’s creative content. This can be images, a video clip, a click-through link, and the post message itself.

After your ad is accepted, you may formally launch the campaign, at which point your advertising will begin to appear at the campaign’s chosen start date and time.

Monitor and track outcomes

Once your campaign is online and running, it’s critical to check in on a continuous basis every. You need to reply to any comments made on your post! Additionally, you may discover that one advertisement outperforms another or that you wish to alter the initial bid price to bid more or less.

Remember that social media is ever-changing, and what might have appealed to your audience one day may not appeal to them another. Take advantage of the ads and channels that drive conversions and keep an eye on them.

Paid Social Media Strategy

You don’t have to struggle to build a paid social media strategy. An important step is to analyse the individual merits of each platform. You can then begin thinking about how to create, schedule, and post targeted ads.

The most popular social media platforms with the best ad structures are the following:

On Facebook

One of the first platforms to introduce paid advertising was Facebook. With the addition of Instagram under their banner, you have the chance to really broaden your horizons. When it comes to Facebook ads, targeted ads are the best platform to use.

New and existing facebook customers can place bids on a variety of ads based on a target audience’s preferences on this platform, which works like a bidding system. Once that ad has been picked, it is entered into a lottery and run.

By using their platform, you can show ads to your customers based on their search and click behaviour. In this way, you can really dig down into how best to reach them, as it allows you to generate leads very easily.

Twitter

In contrast to every other social media platform, with Twitter, you barely notice that it is a paid advertisement. As a result, your ad is more likely to be viewed by your audience as it does not appear like a sponsored tweet.

Twitter reports that 41% of buyers would purchase within one month of seeing an advertisement. As a result, focusing on demographics should generate some revenue.

Age, location, gender, as well as interests could be included in the demographics. This lets you customise your advertisements. You can run many different ad formats with Twitter as well. If you wish to attract a broad audience with different demographics, then this is also very important.

Instagram

With Instagram being one of the largest social media platforms in the world, businesses aren’t in short supply. The platform is very competitive, but there are ways you can attract your audience. One of the best ways is to set up a business profile on Instagram and boost it using paid ads.

Since Facebook acquired Instagram in recent years, you can now run ads on both platforms and manage them through the Facebook advertising platform. Having the ability to compare two platforms at once makes it easier to compare the ROI of each.

Instagram focuses heavily on media content, which the younger demographic category find interesting. These can be images, videos, slideshows. With Instagram, it is possible to tailor your paid ads to reach the audience you are trying to reach.

On LinkedIn

As a platform, LinkedIn includes millions of networking professionals, making it the ultimate business networking tool. LinkedIn is a business owner’s paradise, with over 600 million professionals, including over 10% in decision-making positions.

Linkedin’s targeted ads allow you to target keywords and also select audiences, much like search engines. As a result, you can create a more targeted marketing campaign, and not just generic, like on other platforms. You can grow your audience and engagement on LinkedIn when done correctly, and LinkedIn caters to all types of businesses.

What are the benefits of paid social media?

With paid social media, your content, be it sponsored messages or organic posts, is seen by more people.

Listed below are 7 reasons to include paid social media campaigns in your marketing mix:

Raising brand or product awareness.

To raise awareness through organic posts, you need to put in a lot of effort. Paying for social media can increase your brand’s visibility. Although you might not reach consumers in the market for your services at that time in the same way as you would with, say, organic social posts and PPC advertising, you will reach your target audience nonetheless, and probably more quickly too.

Reach out to an engaged audience

You will be able to target your ads to people who are already likely to show interest in what you have to offer. A well-designed post will integrate seamlessly with a social media users existing feed so that they’re more likely to like and share it since it looks like what they’re already interested in.

Discover new insights

It is easier to tailor your posts to your audience when you know more about them. Pay per click advertising provides you with data you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, such as reach and in-depth demographics. As a result of these valuable stats, both your paid and organic social marketing can be refined.

It is especially useful when it comes to A/B testing, which allows you to test different messages on different audiences. Your messaging can be refined if one group responds better than the other, and your efforts can be focused on the group that responds best.

Drive conversions and get speedy results

When it comes to seeing results, paid is much faster than organic. The reason for this is that your post is suddenly exposed to a brand new audience and featured prominently on their timeline. You may be able to reach a much larger audience with this audience, depending on your budget.

Develop your brand voice and personality

With a bigger reach, you get more engagement and more opportunities to interact and demonstrate your brand’s personality. To build trust in your industry, it is crucial to have a cohesive and likeable brand voice, and paid media gives you a better opportunity to do so.

Target users by location

Targeting audiences can be done by using location targeting. For example, you can use Facebook to target cities and towns. Imagine running a plumbing business and wanting to let everyone in your area know about what you do. If you use LinkedIn, you can select a few major cities to target. When you run paid posts during an event or conference, the city will have a high concentration of a specific type of professional for you to target.

Make use of retargeting ads

You can retarget existing customers or visitors via retargeting. All you have to do is embed a tracking pixel on your website using Google Tag Manager. Using this method, you can then create a list of people who have visited your site but did not complete checkout and target them with ads enticing them to return.

How to Improve Your Paid Social Media Results

Increase the quality of your content.

Brands are spending more and more on social ads. Across all social platforms, Social media advertising spending is expected to reach US$153,974 million in 2021. It’s no wonder that brands are finding it harder to stand out as more and more money is invested in paying for the social media channels.

To stand out from the crowd, your content must be exceptional. Make sure your short-form content is top-notch. Consider lots of long-form content, and where possible, invest in influencer generated content.

A/B testing can be used to improve ad performance.

Even if you have brilliant technical skills, great content, and a thorough understanding of your target audience, you won’t always succeed. The key to finding out what works is to be open to getting it wrong.

The results will remain the same if you run the same old campaign to the same audience, time after time. As a result, your performance will deteriorate over time, since people get bored of seeing the same ads over and over again.

You can improve paid social media performance by A/B testing to see what works (and what doesn’t).

Research your audience before choosing a platform.

You probably cannot focus on all social channels simultaneously. In addition, you probably shouldn’t advertise on every channel; instead, focus on the ones that produce the biggest impact.

Understanding where your target audience hangs out online can help you reach them. Analyze your customers (or create multiple profiles, if you have several types of customers) using tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Smart Insights, considering factors like:

  • the gender
  • the location
  • industry and job title
  • education level.
  • status of a relationship

This will help you identify the people that matter to your business and reach them the right way.

In conclusion

Is paid social media worth the investment? Absolutely!

Paid social media ads are a great way to increase your social media following, generate brand awareness as well as drive more traffic to your website.

To make a success of it, you need to understand how much money you need to invest (this is your ad spend), as well as the potential return on investment. Observe what your competitors are doing, the best ad tools to use, and also make sure you understand how each social media platform works.

About Chris Norton

Founder of Prohibition, listed in the world's top 30 marketing bloggers and an award winning online PR and crisis management specialist. Co-author of Share This Too.