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Amy Post
by Amy Post
on July 12, 2017


Even though we’ve been saying it for years, some professionals still don’t believe us, so we’ll repeat it: social media for business isn’t free. The free stuff is when you see pictures of Aunt Lucy’s last vacation or read your Uncle Al’s latest political rant. When you’re looking to leverage social for business, that’s when it costs money. Paid ads are a key element of a holistic inbound marketing solution, and although they are still pretty cheap, they certainly aren’t free. They are, however, more important than ever as more eyes stray away from television commercials and onto mobile devices or tablets. And yes, these ads can work for your business when you do them right.

Here’s some help getting started:

“How does it work?”

You may have noticed when you scroll through your personal social media sites, gone are the days of posts coming up in the order they were published. Instead, those with higher engagement and relevance to you show up on the top, pushing the lower engagement posts lower or even worse - gone altogether. And not to knock businesses or anything, but they historically receive less interaction than Uncle Al’s rant about gun control, so businesses today need a little boost to get themselves back in view.

“Where do I buy?”

There are a lot of social networks these days, so you might not be sure which one is best for your particular business.  Here’s a quick reference guide to selecting the platform(s) that might be a good fit:

  • Facebook: If you're not sure where your buyers are lurking when it comes to social media, start with Facebook because they’re probably around there somewhere. This advertising is efficient and still relatively inexpensive. However, most people utilize Facebook for personal use, so it can be a little less useful if you are a B2B organization.
  • LinkedIn: For those of you B2B folks that are looking for a more targeted approach for your industry, LinkedIn might be a great solution. This network herds professionals of all types and even selectively targets them into specific groups for more targeted advertising opportunities.
  • YouTube: This video platform is one of the most trafficked and searched sites online, so it’s a great place to promote your content. From banner ads to full online video commercials that play before videos, there’s a ton of different categories to cater to your needs. The data also syncs with your Google AdWords account for simplified tracking and management.
  • Instagram: The parent company, Facebook, incorporated many of the same easy-to-use features ad management capabilities into the Instagram platform. For example, you can create Instagram ads right through the FB Ad Manager and you don't even need a business account to post them.  However, advertisements look a whole lot different than you see on Facebook. You can select photo, video, story, or carousel advertisements depending on your time, campaign, budget, and resources.
  • SnapChat: Even though this platform remains dominated by the millennial audience, the folks behind this photo-filtering machine are working to make advertising more appealing to those looking to cash-in on those younger eyes. They are launching a new ad management tool this summer that will work on both mobile and desktop to help track and monitor results more efficiently than the previous, third-party solutions. However, this is all video-based advertising, which can be tough for tight budgets.

You may be wondering, "What about Twitter?" Well, right now things aren't looking so hot for Twitter, at a rate of $700,000 in loses per day, the network may just be getting too crowded and oversaturated for business ads to perform as well as they do on other networks. 

“How do I track results?”

As mentioned above, many platforms have different ad management solutions, but they all should provide you with some key data points. Here are the most common metrics to track:

  • Engagement: It doesn’t matter how many people see your ad if people like Uncle Al or Aunt Lucy don’t do anything after seeing it. Engagement measures what content is working best so you can shape your strategy around it. Keep in mind; each network will measure engagement differently based on the features of the platform. For example, on Facebook, engagement includes clicks, shares, likes, and comments. For LinkedIn, follower and share numbers carry more weight.
  • Conversion Rate: This metric defines the amount of desired actions happened as a result of the advertisement. A conversion could mean a download, trial sign up, webinar view, or even a purchase. Conversions help to define the ROI of the campaign because it shows how your campaign led to the desired action.
  • CPM/CPC/CPA: Also known as cost per impression, cost per click, or cost per action. With CPM you pay only when your ad is viewed, which can become costly without a high conversion rate. Cost per click is for display ads, and you are only charged if someone clicks on it. Lastly, cost per action, which pays only for specific actions such as, page likes, application downloads, link clicks, or whatever you deem most relevant for your campaign.
  • Lead Cost: Once that conversion takes place, how much money did it cost to get it there? The CAL number is the amount you spent to acquire that lead. To get this data, all you have to do is divide your advertising spend total by the number of leads you generated during the campaign timeframe. The most successful campaigns acquire the highest quality leads at the lowest cost.

Sidenote: Having HubSpot is another great way to monitor traffic coming to your website from paid advertising efforts. Learn more about the HubSpot tool right here. 


Social advertising unlocks endless possibilities for organizations who are looking for ways to capitalize on the growth of social media. To get started, it takes a few trial runs on platforms of relevance and the results start flooding in. Keep in mind, social advertising is just one small element of a holistic inbound marketing strategy. To properly leverage new leads, the website behind those links you are publishing ads on must meet the expectation of the potential customer or your efforts will quickly fall flat.

Looking to learn more about leveraging inbound marketing to increase leads and grow your business? Click below to watch our complimentary webinar that gives you all the basics about implementing inbound for business.


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