In the past few years, digital marketing has gone from a sliver of the overall marketing budget to a significant piece of the pie. What once might’ve been a one-person job at a mid-sized company now has likely evolved into an entire department.
Small business owners often don’t have the option of having an in-house social media team, or even an in-house social media person. While contracting out to a company is often a wise choice, many small businesses prefer to have the control over their digital marketing, for any number of reasons.
Promoting social media posts, whether on Facebook or Twitter, is one of the most efficient ways to gain new leads and customers. According to this LinkedIn post, there was between a 42 percent and 57 percent rate of lead generation last year due to social media and content efforts.
While step one for small business owners looking to create a social media marketing plan would be to simply create social media profiles, step two is to build up enough relevant followers on those profiles to make your social media efforts worthwhile.
Not every business owner understands or has the time to be “popular” on social media to naturally gain followers. In this case, you can often gain followers via paid promotions to promote relevant following of your account, like on Twitter.
You can also gain followers by promoting high-quality, relevant content. Of course there are many ways to go about this. Choose the wrong way and your efforts will not produce the right results. But done properly, paid social media promotions can generate a good return and boost your brand’s presence. Let’s discuss some best practices when it comes to selecting which posts to promote.
Choose Which Posts to Promote
Initially, it can be easy to overthink and overanalyze which posts might be good to promote. With time and some trial and error, you can determine the best strategy. No matter what, always try to remember the three R words:
Relevant – Is the social media post relevant to something that happened recently? News? An event? A holiday? Is it crafted around something recent, or does it stand alone? What sort of relevancy does this post have?
Relatable – Who or what does this post relate to? Does it relate to just your followers, or a wider-audience? Will a random internet user understand the post if it appears in his or her timeline or feed?
Results – How has this post been received organically? Has it resulted in a lot of shares, clicks, impressions or sales just from being created? Did the post garner a lot of attention? What sort of results did you get with the post?
While a lot more than just these three considerations should go into whether or not you promote a post, this is a great place to start.
There are several “types” of content that one can promote. Let’s discuss some of the more popular content types for social media promotions.
Promoting Giveaways and Contests
Who doesn’t love a good contest? If you’re seeking significant engagement that could result in a lot of lead generation, promoting a giveaway or running a contest is a great place to start.
The amount you invest in creating and promoting a contest will be returned to you significantly. The “prize” you offer doesn’t have to be anything incredibly substantial, but it’s important to make sure it’s worth it and eye-catching to potential customers.
There are various apps that small businesses can use to help them run contests on social media. Some of these apps will help you manage the contest via your website, and some will essentially act as a full service suite that integrates with your social media accounts.
Here is a list of social media contest management apps. Remember that they each have their pros and cons, so do your due diligence before choosing one:
Ask yourself these questions when considering promoting a contest:
- What do I hope to gain by promoting a contest via social media? More followers? More purchases?
- Who do I plan to target? My own followers? New followers?
Promoting Sales or Specials
Another great strategy for small business owners is to promote sales or current specials to existing and new customers. While it doesn’t have quite as much glamour as a giveaway might, it’s a great customer acquisition tool to find potential customers who may not already know about your product, and who may be interested in learning more about it.
Promoting these sorts of posts is a great way to find new customers who may have been interested in trying your product or service, but hesitant to pull the trigger for whatever reason. Additionally, it’s a fantastic strategy to gain long-term customers for subscription-based services, such as the example offered above. Offering a free month or discount on a multi-month commitment gives potential customers a reason to finally sign up for your service.
Ask yourself these questions when considering promoting a sale or special:
- Is this special geared towards existing customers? Or do I want to target potential new customers?
Clickbait is a term commonly thrown around these days. Clickbait, meaning, “content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page,” is a wise strategy used quite frequently, specifically by sites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.
Why use clickbait? Because it works. Buzzfeed attracts over 10 million visitors a day!
While the ethics of clickbait has been debated, it’s still an effective strategy. Promoting posts that are created with a clickbait style in mind will get you clicks. And from those clicks, potential customers.
The above example is a good example of how to use a clickbait-style post without being overly obnoxious. It’s showing something that a user might find interesting, but just offering a tease. Targeting these posts to potential customers is a great start if you don’t have the budget to offer a discount or giveaway.
When creating a clickbait post, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the copy/image leave the potential customer wanting more?
- Would you be inclined to click the link?
Upcoming Event or Seminar
Promoting an event or seminar is an excellent way to help grow your followers and drive traffic to your website. Promotion is also a great way to help gain more attendees at the event or seminar, whether that’s a virtual seminar or in person.
Make sure that when promoting an upcoming event or seminar, you keep lead acquisition in mind as well. Don’t simply promote the event, but ask people to RSVP to the event using an email address. You’ll want to be sure to add as much information as possible to the social post so it’s easy for users to determine when and where the event or seminar will be taking place.
When promoting an event, ask yourself these questions:
- Is event information clear?
- Is there an easy way to RSVP?
- Is there a description of the event that someone unfamiliar with your business could understand?
Ready to Get Out There and Start Promoting?
Remember, the backbone of any promoted social media post is a solid social media strategy. Creating good content is what you need to start with in the first place, because without it, the promoted post won’t be successful.
Also, consider the fact that paid social media promotions can and do have a positive impact on your organic traffic. By increasing your brand awareness, you will drive organic searches.
And be sure to look for paid advertising options on other social networks. For instance, if your target clientele skew heavily toward Pinterest users, there is a good promoted ads option for you there.
Hopefully the above ideas offer a good start into the world of successful social media promotion. Whether you’d like to try one to start, or want to give all of them a whirl, trial and error will eventually lead you to a successful social media post. Let the customer acquisition start flowing!