Contrary to what you may have heard, paid social media ads – on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – are not a waste of money your programs.
In fact, they often are an inexpensive way to make sure your lifelong learning, community education or other program-geared content is reaching more of the right people.
Your average, unpromoted Facebook post only reaches about 16 percent of fans. That means fewer than one in five of the people who already like your organization are seeing that clever video or white paper you spent tme and money creating. Ugh.
But there is hope! Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all offer paid solutions to help your message reach more people in your target audience, and because these platforms have tons of data on their members, segmenting has never been easier.
Facebook allows business page users, i.e. your university, organization or otherwise, to take advantage of two forms of paid services: Paid ads and promoted posts. If you're looking to increase your progran's presence on Facebook, a paid ad or promoted post will help make sure your message reaches more people, and because some of these services are very inexpensive, you could see a large ROI.
Businesses that use Facebook ads and promoted posts report an increase in traffic to their website, to their physical locations, and increased visibility.
The cost of promoting a post, which could mean promoting a video, special offer or event, varies depending on your geographic location and how many people you're reaching. You can learn how much it would cost to promote a post by clicking "Promote," which appears at the bottom of all your past posts.
A promoted post will appear higher in the newsfeeds of your followers and their friends, or to select people you choose through targeting.
Paid ads on Facebook also vary in price depending on the size of your audience and your budget. Facebook's paid ads appear in the right column of a person's Facebook page, not in their newsfeed.
Just like Facebook has paid ads and promoted posts, Twitter offers to promote your accounts, and Tweets to help you reach more of your targeted audience. That means the ads will be targeted to people who likely are interested in your program or courses.
With Twitter's paid services, you can choose to target a local audience, or to have a national or even global reach. Twitter also allows you to set a daily spending limit for promoted Tweets, accounts or both, which means you pay only when users follow your promoted account or when they retweet, favorite, reply or click on a link in your promoted Tweet.
A promoted account campaign, which is done by targeting interests or using geo-locators, aims to help you add more influencers and advocates to your brand's followers. When you choose to promote your account, it appears on a Twitter page as a promoted entry in the "Who to Follow" box.
Promoted Tweets are displayed to your target market, and help amplify conversations and drive engagement. Promoted Tweets have longer shelf lives than regular Tweets because they appear in Twitter streams that contain similar keywords.
Most promoted posts or ads you'd place on Twitter and Facebook likely will have a different impact on LinkedIn, but that's ok, as long as you're strategic about what you're paying to promote on the most professional of the three platforms.
Because people on LinkedIn generally are looking to advance their careers, or find a new job, the best way to spend your money here is by promoting a new course, seminar, conference or other material that will help the targeted audience succeed.
Like Facebook and Twitter, there isn't a set cost for LinkedIn ads, but you can set a daily budget as low as $10 or as high as $1,000, depending on the length of your campaign and the audience you're hoping to reach.
Have you found success using paid advertising on any of these three platforms?