Pay to Play is a Prize not a Penalty

Social is dead, long live media. Although bordering on a fake news headline, the fact that paid is now the de facto means of ensuring your content is seen by your community cannot be ignored. The simple truth is that the ‘media’ part of social media is important to anyone managing Pages, creating content or running campaigns designed to create traction in the newsfeed. However, it doesn’t need to be seen as doom and gloom. At Brazen, we believe it’s the opposite as we draw attention to the word ‘play’ in ‘pay to play’ because it’s in play that we are our best selves and that’s rich territory for any agency selling paid social as part of their comms services. So, let’s play and get to the bottom of how you can leverage paid media to turbo charge your next piece of content or campaign.

Start with Objectives

 It seems obvious but before you start thinking about carousels vs. videos or thinking about Facebook vs. Instagram, you need to agree what you want your ad to do. No clear objective will only lead to wasted time and money in the long run so quickly get to the goal. The most common paid goals will most likely be to increase site traffic, increase visibility/reach, increase engagement, increase lead generation or increase sales. Social ads are capable of delivering against all of the above so choose your objective and let’s go.

Paint Your Target

Regardless of demographic, location, interest or profession, your current or target audience can be reached through one of the popular social media channels, but no one is targeting everyone who uses social media, so be specific. At a basic level, you need to understand the demographic makeup of your target audience so think about gender, age, location, income, education, family, etc. From there you need to go deeper to understand your user. People are complicated creatures so start to paint a picture based on passion points and behaviours across digital.

Pick Your Platforms

With goals and audiences set, it’s time to pick a platform (or platforms). Facebook will always be a catch-all platform for all the objectives outlined above but its important to know that each has unique reasons to invest in paid ads. Just consider Instagram’s ability to drive awareness via highly-visual content that engages or LinkedIn’s ability to target business professionals or Snapchat’s ability to drive engagement with younger audiences…take all these factors into account when choosing where to invest your budget.

Choose Your Content

Now it’s time to get creative. The days of ‘text and link only’ PPC are long gone with all platforms offering advertisers with rich media content formats and fully immersive mobile experiences (everything from Stories to Facebook Canvas). Your only limit is your own creative. If you’re looking at video, consider the style or length of your content. You need to grab attention within the first 3 seconds, and you need to consider shorter edits based on the platforms you choose to use, whereas photo needs to standout alongside other content in the newsfeed. Think babies, cats, your competitors.

Optimise For Future

With your first – or first perfect – campaign built, you need to look ahead. Each campaign is an opportunity to test the market, test your audience, test the platforms, test and then LEARN. Paid social is going to be always-on for every brand who is marketing its products or services via these active platforms so ongoing optimisation is key. Keep learning from your ads – both success and failure – and reap the benefits in the newsfeed for years to come.

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