When designing a marketing strategy for your business you may consider paid social media advertising, but should you? Read on to find out.


Just a few short years ago, paid social media advertising wasn’t on a marketer’s map. Any business could reach their earned social media followers by simply creating great content and hitting “post”.

Wow, how times have changed.

Ever since social media sites started implementing algorithms that only show your posts to a select (and small) number of your followers, paid social media advertising has become a necessity to reach a large audience.

The reality is that in today’s landscape if you want to maximize the results of your social media campaigns, you’ll need to have a credit card near you.

Any expert marketer will tell you the same. Before we start, let’s discuss the differences between paid social media advertising and organically viral posts.

Then we’ll take a close look at how to make the most out of the money you spend on paid social media advertising. Now let’s jump in.

Paid Social Media Advertising vs. Organic Reach

When you hear the word “organic”, what’s the first thing you think of? Maybe the organic fruits section of the grocery store?

In the world of social media, organic means something very different. It’s quite the opposite from paid social media advertising.

But how do they differ?

Let’s take a brief moment to understand the terminology of each.

Your overall organic reach on social media references the number of followers that happen upon your posts that you haven’t paid for or promoted.

A person was browsing their Twitter feed and saw your post about the upcoming sale you have. You didn’t spend a dime to be seen by this person. You posted, and they scrolled across it.

That’s organic social media reach, and it used to happen for businesses on a much higher scale than it currently does.

New Algorithms Are Now the Norm

In recent years, major platforms like Facebook have introduced algorithms that keep business posts and fan page posts from landing in user feeds. This has made large-scale organic reach difficult, if not impossible, for many businesses.

A paid (sometimes referred to as “promoted”) post references social media content that businesses have chosen to “boost” by laying down a credit card for a one-time or ongoing payment.

Paid posts can be geared toward demographic-specific users and have a much larger audience than organic.

You can pay as much, or as little as you want to reach the number of users you choose.

Even a small investment will typically have a much larger reach than traditional organic posts.

Now that you understand the difference between paid and organic posts, let’s take a look at how they work across the most popular social media platforms.

Facebook Is Still King

With more than 2 billion active monthly users (yes, you read that right), Facebook is by far the king of the social media hill.

But it’s not only a place to keep up with family and friends. It’s a powerful marketing tool when used strategically.

There are few better places to build long-term relationships with customers than on the Facebook platform.

This sounds very exciting to business owners looking for new customers. However, most everyday Facebook users don’t necessarily care to see their news feeds filled with advertising and sales pitches.

Because of this, several years ago Facebook users requested a change.

The Facebook Algorithm

When Facebook implemented their new algorithm awhile back, it began to change what people were viewing in their newsfeeds.

Basically, it prioritized posts based on how relevant they are to each user.

Almost overnight, posts by family and friends were put on the top of news feeds, while content posted by brands and fan pages were placed at the lowest priority.

Because of this change, the chances of a user seeing content posted by brands and fan pages became extremely low.

For the vast majority of brands, this made the hope for organic reach nearly disappear. It also made it difficult to build an audience or gather potential leads.

Pay to Play

So what did Facebook introduce to counteract this change? Welcome to paid social media advertising, sometimes referred to as “pay to play”.

By using paid posts, you can guarantee a certain number of eyeballs on each post based upon how much you want to invest.

In 2017 alone, total social media marketing spends are expected to soar over $35 billion.

By the end of 2018, Facebook alone is expected to surpass that number.

But don’t worry. You don’t need to break the bank to be seen.

A Little Can Go a Long Way

For an investment of as little as $5, you can boost the reach of your posts by up to 1,000 views. That’s a pretty cheap way to reach 1,000 people.

Spend some time on Facebook playing around with what spend amounts will bring in the best number of views for your campaigns.

But before you start spending, you’ll want to take a look into whether targeted ads or boosted posts will best help you meet your marketing objectives.

If you’re still not convinced that paid social media advertising on Facebook makes sense for you, don’t stress!

Focus on keeping your fan page active with organic posts. Consistently encourage others to like and share your content.

You may end up with an organic post that surprises you and goes viral.

Paid Twitter Posts

While Facebook is the most popular social media site for marketers to spend money, Twitter is up there too.

In fact, in Q3 of 2016, Twitter brought in $545 million in ad revenue.

Until quite recently, the timeline on Twitter was completely chronological. Organic business posts were on an equal playing field as posts from friends and family.

Currently, the Twitter timeline uses a feature they call “Show me the best Tweets first“. This allows you to see popular tweets that you may have missed while away from the website or app.

Once a user reaches that page, content appears in real-time. This allows a business to reach their audience organically by posting engaging information. If you have enough engagement from users, your brand will routinely show near the top of a user’s feed.

The Basics of Paid Twitter Posts

When it comes to paid Twitter posts, Twitter introduced a featured they call “promoted tweets”. They are offered in a variety of types depending on the goals of your campaign.

When you’re looking to build your first paid social media advertising campaign on Twitter, they offer easy-to-follow processes.

With a few simple clicks, you can target your audience based on criteria like:

  • Platform
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Device used
  • Service carrier

But remember, the more specific your target audience, the higher price you’ll pay.

In general, expect to pay anywhere between $0.50 to $10.00 per engagement.

The Power of LinkedIn

You may have never thought to use LinkedIn to promote your business.

If you never have, you may have been wrong.

While it might not be the absolute first place to go when it comes to paid social media advertising, it definitely needs to be high on your radar.

Think about it. If you can present yourself as a top expert in your field of expertise, you’ll quickly rise above your competition and become an authority.

This, by default, will bring you new leads and more customers.

It’s good to know, then, that LinkedIn has several ways to help you get your business noticed to the world.

As with Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn users post organic content directly on their business pages. The content then appears in the timelines of their network.

While it’s great to have a large LinkedIn network that is actively and organically engaged in your content, it can be hard to build.

Building a LinkedIn Following

The question then is how to start building a large, engaged network organically when starting from ground zero? After all, without an existing LinkedIn network, nobody is going to see your content.

To answer this, LinkedIn has come up with several types of paid social media advertising options to get your content seen. These are known as LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

As an advertiser, you can choose to have your content appear directly in user timelines, via direct message or on sidebar advertisements.

You can also choose between:

  • Text Ads
  • Dynamic Ads
  • Programmatic display Ads

LinkedIn’s paid social media advertising options are quite versatile and should help you achieve your long-term goals.

Take a look at their site for more details on the solutions they provide.

While we wouldn’t recommend starting out your paid campaigns on LinkedIn, it’s definitely an option you’ll want to consider as you get more comfortable with paid social media advertising.

Wrapping it Up

Many marketers wish that social media marketing was still free like it was just a few years ago.

Unfortunately, times change and growing businesses need to do the same.

Other marketers feel that using paid posts is sort of “cheating”. It’s not. In fact, it’s your best option to reach thousands (or even millions) of customers who would have never known about you.

If you’d like personal training on how to maximize your paid social media advertising with the lowest spends possible, get in touch with me today.

Together we can help send your business to the next level.