Paid Social Media Promotion: When Does It Make Sense?

This is a question we are often asked paid-social-media-promotionwhen starting wth new social media clients. First, this is a rather broad question, so I would want to do a little more digging in order to make an intelligent recommendation. Paid promotion of social media depends on a couple of factors, which are listed below:

  • How much of an audience has the company built to view content?
  • Is their brand recognized in the marketplace?
  • Is there historical data that has provided a benchmark for solid business results?
  • What are the goals of paying to promote content? Is it Sales, Revenue, or Cost related?
  • What is the time frame in which you need to achieve your goals?

Sample Scenario

A company has just started forming a social media plan. They are widely recognized in the marketplace, but their audience doesn’t know that they have a social media presence. Historically, they’ve relied on third parties to spread their content like news outlets, so they have some historical data on brand awareness, leads, sales, and customer retention.

Based on their monitoring research, they have found that the product category that they sell is being spoken about in blogs, forums, and Twitter, but they aren’t being mentioned. Much to their liking, they already have a ton of blog content based on the conversations that are already happening. They want to increase sales leads originating from online sources by 50% in 12 months.

My Suggested Strategy

Based on this information, I can now be fairly confident that they will need a strategy that involves paid promotion as a tactical element.

The strategy:

Increase sales leads by providing relevant blog information


  • Listen for product and industry related keywords in a monitoring station
  • Participate in conversations on social channels mentioning industry and products. Provide links to relevant blog posts.
  • Develop blogger outreach program for guest blogging.
  • Optimize blog for producing leads (Note: Nichole Kelly rightly points out that social media leads are often earlier in the buying process, so they might need to be nurtured with e-mail content)
  • Produce long form content for lead generation (e-books, tools, checklists, etc)
  • Develop e-mail nurturing workflows.
  • Sit down with sales team and figure out proper criteria for passing over marketing qualified leads.
  • Deploy paid promotion of blog content on forums, blog newsletters, banner advertising, blogger affiliate programs, and Promoted Tweets.
  • Determine monthly budget of paid promotion based on monthly leads goals.

What do you think? This is still fairly high level, as there are countless other details that would need to be taken care of.

photo credit: venturebeat

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About Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson is the Director of Client Services for Social Media HQ. He has a strong background in web development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. His professional experience with the web dates back to 1997 when he coded his first Geocities website. When not burning the midnight oil, you can find him on the lacrosse field, playing or coaching. The best place to interact with him is Twitter - @socialrobinson or Google+.
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