We’re in the era of content surpluses. Here are four ways to use social media ads to regain lost visibility for your videos, articles and other posts.
The volume of online content is overwhelming. “The Tao of Twitter” author Mark Schaefer has called the concept “content shock.” At the same time, the “big three” social media networks have updated their algorithms in ways that have caused organic visibility for content to plummet. Given this flood of competing social media content, yours will be DOA without paid promotion. Here are four tips to regain lost reach and amplify your content using social media ads:
- Be selective—buy social media ads for only your best posts. Native advertising via social media channels works best when promoting only top-performing content.
“My experiments have shown that native social media is not a good channel to promote all of your content at scale,” says Chad Pollitt, author of “The Native Advertising Manifesto” and co-founder of Relevance. “It’s too cost-prohibitive.” That’s why he recommends promoting only content that has already attracted higher levels of engagement.
Pollitt says Larry Kim of WordStream regularly uses this approach to earn widespread news media coverage for his content. “Larry selects his top two performing posts each month and spends around $50 on them using Facebook and Twitter ads. He targets those ads to journalists who cover his topics,” he says.
Watch PR Daily’s PR University webinar “Master Paid Social Media and Content Promotion: New Ways to Boost Reach with Ads and Sponsored Posts” to learn to buy ads on the top social networks and more.
- Set business goals first, so you choose the right type of ad. There are three types of social media ads: syndication, awareness and direct response.
“Your business goals will dictate which type to use,” says Christopher S. Penn, vice president of marketing technology at Shift Communications. For example, “You should choose syndication ads if your goal is brand building,” he says. “You should choose awareness ads if your goal is to drive website traffic, and you should choose direct response ads if you need leads.”
- Keep IAB visual asset guides handy—and have your assets ready. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has a set of image sizes for all advertisements that run on all social networks. Many are listed in the “Social Media Buyer’s Guide.”
“You must gather and build those assets before you log on to purchase or place your ad,” says Penn. The downside of not doing this in advance is that you can severely restrict which social media networks you can run your ads on if you don’t have the size on file. “You could also miss your campaign window waiting to get properly-sized assets created and approved,” he says.
- Practice due diligence—double-check what you’re being charged for. “Don’t simply sit back and trust the reports you get from social media networks,” Penn says. “Instead, track the results of all of your social media ads twice or three times on your own.”
He recommends using a service such as Bitly to verify reported clicks on any given social media network, and then comparing it against your own Google Analytics.
“I’ve seen Facebook mistakenly charge for 1,000 clicks when Bitly and Google Analytics actually showed 800 clicks,” says Penn. “So double-check everything to make sure you’re getting all the traffic you’re paying for.”
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Chad Pollitt, author of “The Native Advertising Manifesto,” and Christopher S. Penn, vice president of marketing technology at Shift Communications, will share more content and social media advertising tips in this PR University webinar, “Master Paid Social Media and Content Promotion: New Ways to Boost Reach with Ads and Sponsored Posts.”