Giving your social media presence a boost with advertising

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Organic communities on social media are very important for us marketers, but unless your Facebook page is all about lolcats, there are limits on how large you can grow your page. You can give your social media presence a boost with advertising.

Social media advertising takes a couple different forms. One, is traditional (if anything in such a new industry can be called “traditional”) banner ads and pre-video commercials and the other consists of native ads (also known as “sponsored” content”).

An example of banner ads would be the small ads on the right side of your Facebook newsfeed which prompt you to “like” various pages. Banner ads are cheap and effective at building awareness of your brand, but they have limits.

First, all these can do is bring potential customers to your page—they don’t build much of a connection between your brand and your customers. Also, these ads are easily blocked using free apps like AdBlock Plus, (which create a largely ad-free web browsing experience for users). Despite limitations though, traditional banner ads in social media can do a lot for a brand in terms of creating awareness and quickly developing a large community.

The next step in social media advertising is native ads. Native ads would include things like promoted tweets on Twitter and promoted posts on Facebook. Besides the fact that ad blockers can’t block these ads, this type of advertising is very effective because it offers free content to a highly targeted population of potential customers.

Here’s an example: I recently saw this promoted tweet in my Twitter feed:  @hootsuiteDo you have a social media guide for your sales team? Download this one for free: 

Hootsuite sells a social media dashboard and it makes sense that their customers would be interested in all things social media, so they put together some free content for their customers about managing a facet of social media. Brilliant.

Both types of social media advertising can be very helpful for brands, because social media advertising is highly targetable and very inexpensive (especially in comparison to traditional print and broadcast advertising!). Also, social media offers the opportunity to “do it wrong quickly”—that is, try an ad campaign and adjust it midflight if it’s not working as you hoped.

Whatever type or blend of social media advertising you do try, make sure not to skimp on quality! If your ads are good, you will get more customers. If your ads area great, you may be the next viral sensation—like that hilarious “Poo Pourri” video that as of now, has close to 18 million views on YouTube!

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