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December 14, 2017

Simon Cowart


VP of Growth

This article originally appeared in the Hypepotamus.

Maximizing marketing dollars is a concern for all companies, especially startups with limited budgets and concerns over excess burn rate. Over the past few years, social media advertising has emerged as a low-risk, high-reward marketing initiative for young companies to reach prospective buyers and engage with key influencers without breaking the bank. Thanks to advanced targeting capabilities and different pay options, every social channel, from Facebook and Twitter to Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram, offer B2B and B2C companies viable options for investing in social advertising.

Most marketers today are aware that social media can play a role in helping to hit marketing KPIs and objectives. However, the sheer potential power of social media cannot be understated. Consider:

So how can startups leverage the power of social media through paid ads?

Leveraging the Power of Social Ads

Here’s a look at what social media ads can help you achieve:

  1. Brand Awareness — The more people who know about you, the more potential customers you gain and the more credible you are to potential investors.

  2. Perception Building — Social media gives brands the opportunity to help shape how consumers think and feel about it. Brands can position themselves as credible thought leaders and most importantly, build trust.

  3. Content Distribution — Social media is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing methods for syndicating content, and with social advertising, you can open up your content to a wider audience.

  4. Lead Generation — Promoting gated content directly to your target audience is one of the easiest ways to gather information about prospects. Unlike organic social media, social advertising allows laser-focused targeting so you can ensure your leads meet certain criteria. Pro Tip: Make sure your forms are mobile-friendly. Mobile accounts for nearly 80 percent of time spent on social media networks.

  5. Customer Acquisition — This is where you really maximize the value of social advertising. If you increase your business’ visibility and get your content in front of the right audience, you can turn prospects into leads and leads into customers.

Here’s an example of a well-done website clicks/conversions Facebook ad from startup Heal. This B2C campaign was targeting a wide audience of consumers with the objective to get them to take a desired action, making this platform and ad format an excellent choice. In addition to picking the right ad type and platform, this ad also hits the mark creatively. The copy is clear and compelling and makes the customer pain points a focal point in the messaging. Finally, there is a strong call to action.

Developing a Strategy for Success

Ready to harness the power of social advertising to reap the aforementioned benefits? The way you choose to advertise on social media should depend on your industry, audience and product. Before you even select which platforms to advertise on, you need to consider your audience and overall objectives.

Step 1 Know Your Campaign Objective — The first step is to determine your primary goal, which will help determine your campaign objective. Do you want to increase your brand’s visibility on social media? Consider running a campaign with an awareness objective. Do you want people to visit your website? Run a campaign with a website clicks or conversions objective. Have multiple objectives? Choose one to attack first.

Step 2 Carefully Select the Platform(s) — You should run your ads where your audience lives. If you’re a B2B company your first thought may be LinkedIn. But did you know Facebook has the greatest share of business decision makers (60 percent versus 22 percent for LinkedIn at last count)? Do your research and get into the minds of the audience you’re trying to reach. Here are five platforms to consider.

  • Facebook — As the largest social media platform on the internet, by far, this is a good place to start if you want to reach the masses. Facebook offers a plethora of ad formats as well as advanced audience targeting, and is generally one of the more cost-effective options, making it great for both B2B and B2C campaigns.

  • LinkedIn — This platform’s specific demographic of business professionals makes it ideal for B2B advertising. In fact, 80 percent of all social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn.

  • Twitter — Twitter is the world’s third-largest social network. If customer engagement and content distribution are your objectives, Twitter is one of your best bets.

  • Instagram —  Over half (59 percent) of Instagram’s over 800 million active monthly users are under 30. The platform’s highly-visual content make it best suited for B2C campaigns aiming to increase web traffic sales and drive awareness.

  • Pinterest — Although it has a smaller user base, this platform can be particularly advantageous to startups with physical products. 93 percent of Pinners use it to plan purchases.

There are other factors to take into consideration when building out your campaign including audience targeting, ad types, copy, design and of course, budget. And once you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll want to continually refresh, tweak, and test your content based on what’s performing best.

With limited resources, it can be challenging for startups and growth-stage companies to maximize their marketing potential. Fortunately, when done right, social media ads can be a powerful component of your go-to-market strategy.