Paid Social Media Marketing Works
Just in the last year or so, the team has hit a groove with our paid Social Media Marketing.
Primarily we use Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
Our content team, led by Erin Harris, is the engine that drives our social. Our social media expert, Becky Benishek, makes it happen by posting a great mix of links, including our blog, helpful content across the web, and on special occasions, our free resource landing pages.
Mainly, our Facebook and Twitter followers get a steady diet of CPI blog content. Most of the content posted is new, but we also have a strong list of evergreen content that we post.
We want to get our content in front of our markets to establish most trusted advisor status. And, once that happens, the idea is that when the time comes our visitors will feel comfortable filling out a form in exchange for a free resource.
Our blog template has two callouts for a related free resource: one in the sidebar and one at the bottom of the post body. We get a steady stream of leads from these.
In fact, in May 2015 our blog initiated 318 inquiries from 29,120 sessions (1.09% conversion rate).
Once a link posts to our Facebook page, I go to my trusty Facebook Power Editor in the Google Chrome browser, and “amplify” that content.
I have several different audience options for promoting the content. One is a campaign with an ad set that only targets connections to our page.
Reports state that Facebook only shows 5-11% of your followers your posts in their news feed on average. If you want to reach a bigger chunk of your page fans, you have to pay. So, I amplify the Facebook posts that link back to our blog. I usually let these run a day or two, until the next blog post pops up.
Next, I look at the content of the blog post. If targeted to a specific market, I launch an ad loaded with an ad set that targets precise interests related to that market. For example, we work with educators, human service workers, health care workers, and those who care for people with dementia, among others.
If the latest blog post is education specific, I’ll show an ad for that post to my educators ad set. I usually select “existing post” so Facebook pulls the image and copy straight from the Facebook post. This gets uploaded and now we’re targeting educators with our education specific content. Very nice.
Another targeting option in Facebook is “custom audiences.” This is a pretty awesome option as well. You can import a list of your customer and/or prospect emails or phone numbers to Facebook. Facebook will cross match those with their database, and if there are matches, you now can show them ads.
I have the lists broken down by market, but I usually show content on general topics to the full lists.
Facebook also has a “behaviors” targeting option. Here you can select from pools of people broken down by different demographics and psychographics. Not a lot of these are useful for connecting to our audiences. There is a job role option in there where I can reach both medical professionals and educators, which is useful.
Finally, I have ad sets that target bloggers and media members. If we post something newsworthy I put that in front of media and bloggers who might share it with their followers or, even better, write about our stuff (linking to us of course).
In May 2015, for our two main specialties (Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Training and Dementia Care Specialists) we spent $1,781.10 for 8,037 clicks and 235 page likes. If you just boil it down to clicks that’s $.22/click, which is a very reasonable cost for us.
We also happened to get 285 leads ($6.25/lead), which is excellent considering generating leads isn’t our main social advertising objective.
I use Twitter ads the same way I use Facebook ads. I amplify tweets to specific markets. Twitter also has an option to import your customer/prospect lists and match back, so that you can target those people in Twitter.
And, like Facebook, every once in a while I will link directly to an offer landing page. More often than not that doesn’t work well, but I keep trying because sometimes an offer will resonate, and the Tweeters seeing our ads fill out the form for a free resource.
Pro Tip: One of the ways you can target in Twitter is building a list of Twitter accounts that target the same markets as you. Twitter allows you to select 100 per campaign. They will then target followers of those accounts with your ads.
You can build great lists of Twitter accounts by searching bios and tweet text in Followerwonk. Sort by social authority, add the Twitter handles of the best matches to a text file or spreadsheet, then bulk load those into Twitter ad interface.
Twitter also allows you to target by keyword and interests. Plug in your keywords and start showing people your targeted messages. Twitter even offers up suggestions for related keywords. I set up the followers, keywords, and interests all in one campaign because each bucket of targeting adds to the potential number of people that will see my ad. In Facebook, if you layer precise interests on top of behaviors you actually reduce the list size, because each target must match both criteria rather than one or the other. This is great for highly targeted ad impressions, but if you want a broader audience, Twitter makes it easier.[Note: just got off the phone with my Twitter rep and she said this is true, but you can get more exposure and clicks if you break out the different targeting options into their own campaigns.]
Facebook uses “AND” instead of an “OR” for you Boolean search nerds out there.
For May 2015 we got 1,197 clicks, 1,173 engagements (replies, retweetts, mentions, and favorites), and four conversions. That conversion number isn’t good, but again, leads are not our most desired result from social. Exposure and content delivery is.
I run my Youtube Ads straight out of the video advertising area in Google Adwords.
You can target keywords, watchers of specific videos, and specific demographics. I only use in-stream video ads. This offers four different types of placements, including…
- on Youtube search results
- on Youtube related videos
- as a Youtube overlay
- on partner websites
I skip the in-stream option. If you have a compelling short video ad to roll inside videos it would be worth a shot. We haven’t produced anything like that…yet.
My favorite way to target Youtube visitors with my ads is remarketing. I cookie visitors that visit specific pages on my website (and don’t convert). Then show them a related video ad when they visit Youtube. I especially like doing this with visitors to our dementia care content. The president of our dementia care team is dynamic, passionate, and delivers helpful information whenever we capture her speaking on video. Delivering her message to people that have already been to our site, is a great way to keep the conversation going.
I really dislike the LinkedIn ad interface, and the clicks are expensive. None of the campaigns I’ve launched have pulled in leads under our target cost, which is important here because the prohibitive expense keeps exposure low.
I want LinkedIn ads to work for us. They should work for us. We’re a B-to-B company. But, it doesn’t.
I have floated the idea to one our writers, who specializes in more evidence-based research, and case studies, that he should start writing articles about outcomes on LinkedIn, which would allow me to amplify that content to decision makers. This might turn out to be a cost effective approach.
I’ll let you know.