Social Media Advertising: Is It Worth the Money? Five Things to Consider

Between managing your various different social media platforms and generating enough content to keep them current and delivering traffic to your website, you’d be forgiven for feeling sceptical about spending more time and money on social media advertising, sponsored content and Facebook ‘boosts’.

Most social media platforms offer paid extras such as adverts or just paid extended reach of existing content (called ‘sponsored’ or ‘boosted’ posts). The question many businesses are asking is are they worth the investment – and how can you measure their ROI?

There are a few factors to take into consideration before you assign a budget to social media advertising or ‘sponsored’ social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other platforms.

1. Will paid posts work for your type of business?

There is no one size fits all social media solution for all businesses. Just as the tone and style of delivery on social media will vary between a B2B and a B2C business, paid posts will work differently for different businesses – so you need to know what type of paid social media boost will work best for yours. For example, will a paid post get your content in front of your desired audience – are your audience even active on social media? Do you wish to drive e-commerce, recruitment or just general brand-awareness?

2. Which platform is best for your audience?

If you’ve been measuring your organic social media performance, you probably already have a good idea of which social media platform gets you the most engagement and click-throughs. I advise clients to assign their budgets proportionally – so if LinkedIn performs best for them in terms of organic ROI I usually recommend apportioning more of their paid post budget to LinkedIn, then measuring the results. The only time this differs is when a business is trying to increase its following on another platform with an aim to reaching a larger or different audience.

3. Who will you be able to target?

One great aspect of social media paid posts is that most platforms give you the opportunity to target your audience. This means that you can control whom every post is put in front of, from age through to location and even personal interests. It’s also a very controlled way of advertising where you get to set your exact budgets and decide how much to spend – most paid ads will give you the option to pay per click or per number of impressions. It’s a lot more targeted than a billboard outside a bus stop, and as a result could deliver you better ROI than certain other forms of advertising.

4. What kind of content should you promote?

Just because you’re throwing money at a social media post doesn’t mean you can skimp on content quality – you still need to provide viewers with engaging content or there’s no incentive for your viewers to click through. Including an image is a no-brainer, but also ensure the content is benefits-led. For ideas about how to create compelling content, click here.

5. How will you measure it?

Finally, you must measure the ROI of your social media advertising, to ensure that it’s delivering you the results you want. Social media paid posts are generally very measureable, with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all offering decent analytics. You can also create goals in Google Analytics which allows you to track specific URLs, which you can for each post link using Google’s URL builder.

If you’re just starting out with social media paid posts, take an experimental approach with small budgets, and test out different types of content and targeting to work out what kind of paid posts give you the best engagement.

Measuring the performance of this is key, and don’t just rely on social media analytics – Google Analytics gives you one of the best free platforms for comparing ROI, which can in turn inform your on-going budget.

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