Tag Archives: social media ads

Written by Caroline Cox on Feb 7, 2022

Let’s break down two popular social media ad types to determine which one might be right for your brand and goals. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • The difference between promoted posts and paid social ads
  • How these social media marketing ads operate
  • When to use each type of paid social ad
  • Which social ad might be right for your brand

Social media is a huge part of consumers’ lives today. It’s where many of them get their news, stay connected to friends and family, and even research and buy products or services.  

Whether your customers like to tweet about social issues, spark conversations on Facebook, or post picturesque outdoorsy scenes on Instagram, having a business presence on the main social media platforms is a great way to connect with your target audience.

Of course, you want your brand’s posts to be seen by as many people as possible. Even more importantly, you want your social media posts to be seen by the right people. 

Influencers might make it look easy, but mastering the ever-changing realm of social media marketing is no easy feat. 

Many find it difficult to know the difference between terms that sound similar. Even once you have the jargon down, mapping out the right strategy can be an involved task.

When you’re delving into paid social ads, you may come across two different options: creating ads and campaigns from scratch, and “boosting” or promoting existing organic posts. You can see these options on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

But what do they mean? What’s the difference? When should you use each? Knowledge is power, so let’s dive into paid social ad types and see what we can discover.

facebook boosted posts

Facebook’s explanation of boosted posts. (via facebook.com)

What are boosted posts?

A promoted or boosted post is a social media post that you pay the platform to make more visible. To boost a post means to promote it to a wider audience. On Twitter, these ads are called “promoted” tweets. 

Basically, you’re boosting the post’s reach so it can be seen by more people. Depending on the platform, you may be able to set any of the following variables:

  • Target audience: Decide which people you want your post to reach. You can target followers, people who have liked your page, or friends of followers. You can also segment by age, gender, location, interest, or create your own custom demographics.
  • Location of focus: Choose where in the world you want people to see it. If you have a promotion in a specific country, you can target that location and people who have listed it as their home country. If you target the right audience, you can potentially maximize your return on investment (ROI) and save precious marketing dollars.
  • Timeframe: How long should the post be promoted? Maybe you have a sale, and you want to draw in as many people as possible. Once the sale is over, the post won’t be promoted anymore.
  • Budget: How much do you want to spend? The bigger the budget, the more people it will reach.

The general idea behind boosted or promoted posts is that you can either grow the reach of a well-performing organic post or create an ad from a post without creating a whole marketing campaign around it. 

hawk promoted social IG

The “Promote” option allows HawkSEM to get this Instagram post in front of a wider audience for a fee. (via Instagram)

What are paid social ads?

In general, paid social ads are any form of advertising or marketing on social media platforms that you pay to have shown to the target audience. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
  • Influencer marketing partnerships
  • Social media display ads
  • In-feed ads

Depending on the content, paid social ads could have more of a call-to-action (CTA) message, and be part of a larger overall campaign. This could be anything from a general awareness campaign to one focused on an event like a holiday sale or upcoming live webinar. 

The way these ads are displayed depends on the ad options you choose, and the platform you’re advertising on. 

For example, Twitter ads can be on a user’s timeline or under the “What’s happening” tab to the right of the feed. And LinkedIn offers an ad type that will send a private message to users who fit a certain audience targeting profile. 

promoted social tweet

Here’s how a promoted post looks on Twitter. (via twitter.com)

What’s the difference between promoted posts and paid social ads?

You may have noticed that, according to the above definition of paid social ads, promoted posts could technically fall under that umbrella. 

One of the main differences between the two is that paid ads were created as ads, whereas boosted posts were posted organically, for free (the boosting or promotion is where the budget comes into play). 

Some marketers feel like promoted posts are more natural and seamless than paid social ads. 

Another difference is the options available. With paid social ads, you have quite a few additional options that allow for more advanced customization. Depending on the platform, these may include:

  • Where on the platform or related media the ad will be visible
  • The ability to optimize for more and/or broader goals for the action generated by the audience
  • More ad types, formatting options, additional graphics, and ad features
  • What time of day your ad is seen
linkedin promoted

A look at the ads sidebar on LinkedIn’s homepage. (via linkedin.com)

When and why should you boost a post?

It’s important to know how to determine which organic posts are worth promoting. There are some specific goals that boosting a post can help you achieve. These include:

  • Growing brand recognition
  • Increasing post engagement
  • Fueling website traffic
  • Increasing the reach or engagement of an already high-performing post

As HubSpot explains, if you just want more eyes on a certain webpage, then promoted tweets might be a great option for you. For this option, they add, you pay a flat monthly fee for as long as you’re promoting a tweet.

All business accounts on the platforms with this feature should have access to a “boost post” or “promote” button next to the “publish” button or once their post is live. 

Pro tip: The platform may take time to review your post first, so be mindful when it comes to time-sensitive content. 

When and why should you create paid social ads?

Of course, paid social ads have several strengths of their own. They excel at accomplishing goals like:

  • Generating leads
  • Increasing conversion rates
  • Growing event RSVPs or newsletter signups
  • Encouraging a specific action (like app downloads)

Paid social ads may be the way to go when you’re looking for more ROI-generating results in a shorter amount of time. 

To build up your audience or grow your followers, you may want the added options that come with actual paid social ads vs. promoted posts. 

boosted paid social posts

While post boosting and paid social ads are similar in some ways, they also have key differences that allow them to specialize in different areas. (Image via Unsplash)

How can you determine which is right for you?

It isn’t always a matter of picking just one method that fits your business. 

Since each approach is best at creating different outcomes, it makes sense to use both, but in separate circumstances. Your goal will be the main factor in determining which technique is ideal for you.

Good reasons to boost a post include:

  • Inform followers of updates and new features
  • Highlight new content
  • Increase views for brand awareness
  • Promote one-time events

Good reasons to launch paid social campaigns include:

  • Inform a new audience of your product or service
  • Drive sales by convincing leads to make a purchase  
  • Compel the specific behavior stated in your CTA
  • Significantly grow your audience

For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices for ads for Twitter, InstagramFacebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

The takeaway

Ultimately, the aim of social media is to help people connect. And with so many consumers using these platforms, creating a thoughtful, strategic presence can be a game-changer for your business. 

Luckily, these platforms keep improving and simplifying their social media marketing tools to help you reach the most people and meet your goals.

While promoted social and paid social media ads are similar in some ways, they also have key differences that allow them to specialize in different areas. Knowing how to use them to their fullest potential is crucial. 

Armed with the knowledge above, you should be able to make the most of your social media marketing strategy and get the most ROI out of your marketing dollars.

This post has been updated and was originally published in September 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Jan 6, 2022

Feel like no one gets you the way your targeted Instagram ads do? You’re not alone.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How social media marketing can benefit your brand 
  • Tips to determine which platform is right for you
  • Missteps to avoid with paid social campaigns
  • Ways to make your social media content stand out

When it comes to digital marketing, few avenues are as adaptable and ever-changing as paid social

Particularly for younger audiences, taking advantage of social media marketing campaigns can bring brands big success by seamlessly fitting into the feeds people are already scrolling day in and day out. 

Whether your audience prefers the professionalism of LinkedIn or the fun, colorful features on Instagram, you can take your paid social campaigns to the next level in 2022 with these tactical tips and tricks. 

businesspeople using their smartphones

Make sure you’ve got your tracking pixels properly set up and firing, and the right codes embedded in the right places. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Ensure you’re tracking everything properly

Setting up proper tracking is one of the most important steps you can take when creating paid social campaigns (or any marketing campaigns, really).

Having proper tracking in place from the beginning ensures that you’ll have all the metrics you need at your disposal to analyze, report on, and use to improve your current strategies.

For starters, you want to make sure you’ve got your tracking pixels properly set up and firing, and the right codes embedded in the right places. From there, make sure to test your tracking so you know everything is operating as it should. 

When you’re setting up tracking, you also want to determine the most valuable metrics or KPIs for each campaign. Decide which data will be most valuable for your goals, whether that’s lead gen, brand awareness, conversions, or something else.

2. Have a plan for consistent testing

Sure, you know testing is a key part of creating the most effective campaigns. 

But planning for how often you’ll test (and conduct paid social audits) can keep this task from falling to the bottom of that ever-growing to-do list.

You may be able to find new copy, new imagery, or even a slightly different price point that could improve your campaign performance and get you a higher ROI.

Add a recurring note in your calendar or project management app to revisit your social media marketing metrics and see where you can make tweaks or improvements.

Pro tip: It can be tempting to eliminate a failed paid social idea without much thought. But before you start over, see if there’s a way to tweak the campaign or ad, like swapping out the image or call to action (CTA). A small fix may be key to turning a mediocre campaign into a successful one.

3. Don’t let personal bias get in your way

I know what you’re thinking: biased? Me? Never! But hear me out. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being so familiar with your product or service that you forget that those seeing your paid social campaign might not be. 

When you use too much jargon or assume users have a certain level of knowledge, you risk alienating your audience.

Keep both new and returning leads in mind. When creating paid social content, ask yourself:

  • Is the creative enticing enough to get clicks, even if they’ve never seen the product before, or would someone have to already be somewhat familiar with it?
  • Would someone unfamiliar with your product understand what it is or does from your ad copy? 
  • Does it discuss the benefits in enough detail? 
  • Is it persuasive enough to inform and convert the clueless non-believer, or are just preaching to the choir?

Got the resources to dig deeper? Get some uninitiated target audience members to go over your campaign and provide feedback. Ask about the wording, their understanding of terms, the level of interest the creative generated, and anything else you (or they) can think of. 

Alternatively, your target audience can surprise you. You may think the ideal audience for a new cookbook is middle-aged women, but you could be missing out on a whole segment of young college students who want to learn to cook as well. 

It’s all about being open-minded. Test and iterate to see what works best. Let data drive your decision-making, not your personal opinion.

person taking a photo of food for social media marketing purposes

For the best results, you want to use the platform where the majority of your customers are. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Consider your audience when choosing platforms

Ads can appear on multiple platforms, from Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook to Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and even TikTok. (Yes, TikTok advertising was huge in 2021 and will continue an important marketing channel.) 

When you’re determining which platform would work best for your paid social ad, consider your audience.

Some people default to opting for the platform they’re most familiar with. For the best results, however, you want to go to where the majority of your customers are. 

You can find this info through your own research, discussions with customers, and market surveys. And if you find the platform you chose isn’t working, test out a new one and see how it stacks up.

Pro tip: Don’t neglect social selling. Social media-based e-commerce has grown in popularity over the last few years, with more and more platforms adding features to make it a seamless process for consumers.

5. Set a high bar for your content

Millions of content pieces are posted online every day. WordPress users alone produce more than 70 million new blog posts each month. 

With so much out there, what you publish needs to be interesting, engaging, and eye-catching to compete.

With younger generations sporting short attention spans, it’s more important than ever to create paid social posts that:

Pay attention to the ads that catch your eye on social — what messages do they include? What’s the CTA? What visual elements do they have? This insight can help inform how you approach your own paid social.

Pro tip: Haven’t leveraged an industry influencer yet? Influencer marketing is a nearly $10 billion business, so now is a great time to explore if it’s right for your company.

6. Prioritize CTAs

Let’s circle back to testing. 

One area that can make or break a paid social campaign is your CTA. Many businesses will focus too much on the ad and not enough on what action they want the viewer to take next. 

When you’re creating paid social campaigns, spend time making sure your CTA is strong and drives the viewer to make the decision you want. For best results, A/B test a few and see which ones your viewers respond to.

Instagram lets you choose from several CTAs, such as:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Learn More
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More
  • Donate More (coming soon)
  • Shop Now
  • Watch Video

Looking for more ways to amp up your social media marketing plans in 2022? Let’s talk.

girl smiling for a photo on a restaurant patio

It may seem like a pain to hop on board the latest buzzy platform or feature, but it can give you an edge over your competition and get you seen as an industry leader. (Image via Unsplash)

7. Embrace new layouts and features

The trendy nature of social media means these platforms usually don’t stay stagnant for long. 

With growing competition and a handful of big platforms vying for the most eyeballs, there’s a near-constant stream of updates and changes.

It may seem like a pain to hop on board the latest buzzy platform or feature, but it can give you an edge over your competition and get you seen as an industry leader. 

Often, when beta versions of these social platforms are released, a site-wide change isn’t far behind. 

By trying out a new feature or interface when it’s first available to test, you can set yourself up to be a pro at the new way of doing things — potentially before the brands competing against you.

Better yet, these new tools could give you an extra boost, like refining your target audience or improving your return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Pro tip: Augmented reality is predicted to continue growing in popularity in 2022. If it applies to your product, use it!

The takeaway

Paid social campaigns certainly have a place in your digital marketing program in 2022. 

Not only do social platforms have sophisticated audience segmentation options, but they allow you to meet your prospects where they are in a way that’s targeted but feels organic.

By following social media marketing best practices like consistently testing, properly tracking, and creating engaging content, you can create best-in-class paid social campaigns that convert.

This article has been updated and was originally published in January 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 20, 2021

As a relatively new type of brand partnership, influencer marketing doesn’t seem to be falling out of popularity anytime soon.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What influencer marketing is
  • Types of influencers to consider
  • What campaign metrics to measure
  • Tips to ensure the partnership is successful

Influencer marketing was a 9.7 billion-dollar business in 2020, and it’s expected to grow to $15 billion by 2022, according to The Drum.

Influencer marketing is when a company partners with a person or group that is influential – often within a certain industry – to endorse, advocate, or otherwise spread the word about their brand.

Want to get in on this paid social avenue? Keep reading.

woman influencer taking a video of herself

Once you’ve nailed down your plan, you can begin seeking out influencers that would make sense to collaborate with. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Map out your plan and goals

It’s exciting to jump into a new partnership like this. But before getting ahead of yourself, make sure you’ve taken the time to codify your plan and determine your goals.

You can start by asking questions like:

  • What are we hoping to achieve — more followers? Higher engagement? Increased traffic to a landing page?
  • What metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) will qualify as a successful campaign?
  • What do we expect from our chosen influencer?
  • Are our expectations realistic for our budget?
  • How long will the campaign run?
  • How will we analyze the campaign once it’s over?

Creating a plan, much like you would with any other campaign, can keep you organized and on track, while also helping manage expectations when meeting with potential influencers.

2. Find key influencers in your industry 

Once you’ve nailed down your plan, you can begin seeking out influencers that would make sense to collaborate with. 

Ideally, you want to pair with someone who:

  • Has an overall voice or mission that you can get behind
  • Has enough followers to help you meet your goals
  • Can work with your budget
  • Has followers that more or less align with your target audience
  • Is reliable when it comes to completing the campaign ask and delivering metrics if needed

To find the potential influencers to work with, you have a few options. Of course, you can start by searching social media using hashtags and searching popular industry terms to see what profiles show up.

From there, it’s common to start with a quick search engine query and see which influencers, if any, show up for industry keywords and popular topics. These could be bloggers who also have a strong social media presence, for example.

You can also leverage special software platforms with features designed to help companies find influencers. Some of these platforms include BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, NinjaOutreach, ShareIt, and BuzzStream. 

Lastly, you can seek out agencies that specifically work with influencers. This option could save you time and resources, though influencers who work with agents often have a higher price tag, since their reps usually take a cut.

influencer post on Instagram

(Image via Instagram)

3. Determine the kind of influencer you want

“Influencer” isn’t a one-size-fits-all title. Under this umbrella, there are a variety of influencer types. These include:

  • Nano-influencer (500 to 10,000 followers)
  • Micro-influencer (10,000-50,000 followers)
  • Macro-influencer (500,000-1 million followers)
  • Celebrity influencer (high-profile famous people with millions of followers and known across various industries)
  • Industry influencer (prominent in a certain field or topic, such as marketing or vegan cooking)
  • Blogger influencer (creates sponsored blog posts)
  • Social media influencer (has a popular Instagram, Twitter, YouTube page, etc.)

Unsurprisingly, there are pros and cons to each influencer type. For example, those with smaller followings may not have the reach of an A-lister, but those who do follow are often more engaged and interactive with their content.

On the other hand, influencers with seven-figure followings are sure to garner some serious traction on your campaign, but you’ll likely be paying a premium price for those eyeballs. (OK, that sounds weird, but you get it.)

4. Brainstorm the content you’re looking for

After determining the influencer type that might work for your business, it’s time to focus on the content.

Influencer content can be any number of things, including (but not limited to) a:

  • Social media photo post
  • Status post on LinkedIn or Facebook
  • Blog post
  • Video
  • TikTok clip
  • Tweet
  • Story or Reel on Instagram

When brainstorming about the kind of content you’re looking for, remember that each type will have different metrics. For example, a Story is temporary content, so it will only have 24 hours to garner impressions. Obviously, you ideally want the post to be on whichever platform the person has the most followers on.

dk metcalf sponsored tweet

(Image via Twitter)

5. Align on expectations

This is arguably the most important aspect of your partnership. It’s key to be direct and clear about the terms, payment, parameters, and timeline of this influencer campaign. 

Have answers to questions such as:

  • Will you provide messaging or will the influencer be responsible for it?
  • If it’s the influencer’s responsibility, does he or she need to send you their copy? What’s the deadline?
  • Do you have minimum metrics you’re looking for when it comes to likes, engagement, etc.?
  • What qualifies as success in terms of this campaign?
  • How long do you expect the campaign to last?
  • Do you expect the influencer to promote the campaign other than through the agreed-upon content?
  • Do you expect the influencer to sign a non-disclosure agreement or a non-compete clause?
  • How soon after the campaign ends should the influencer expect payment, and in what form will it be delivered?
  • How soon after the campaign ends is the influencer expected to deliver post metrics?

If you’re working with an experienced influencer, they may already have many of these details outlined as part of their agreement before you all confirm the partnership. If not, it’s wise to flesh out these answers ahead of time so everyone is on the same page.

6. Make sure your brand’s own Instagram profile is optimized

When you create a stellar paid ad that leads to a poorly executed landing page? Congratulations, you played yourself.

Don’t let a similar thing happen during your influencer campaign. The last thing you want to do is have people discover your brand, click over to your social media profile, and be met with an experience that doesn’t properly reflect what you offer.

Before your partnership launches, make sure all of your social media pages are up to snuff. That means fully filled out profile bios, a consistent profile photo (like your company logo), up-to-date and accurate company info such as the link to your website, and at least a handful of posts that show your pages are active.

Pro tip: If possible, your social media profiles should always link back to a page on your website where people can go for more information or to connect with you further.

bekah ad post on IG

(Image via Instagram)

7. Review campaign performance

Once you’ve paid or reimbursed your influencer, it’s time to review campaign performance. 

As mentioned above, hopefully you and your influencer are in sync about when they’ll deliver the campaign metrics to you. That’s because, in the case of something like an Instagram post, the user posting may be the only one with access to the post’s data.

(Recently, Instagram has added a collab feature for posts and Reels that allows attribution to two accounts in one post.)

Check out the results and see how they measure up to your goals. You can analyze details like:

  • How much your followers grew from before the campaign to the end
  • The impressions and interactions the content received
  • How much website traffic came from the content
  • The number of demo or consultation requests resulted, if applicable
  • The number of clicks and conversions that resulted
  • Overall return on investment (ROI)

Once you’ve crunched the numbers, you can decide whether or not this type of partnership makes sense for your brand. If so, this data can help you optimize and tweak your future influencer campaigns.

Pro tip: Anticipate an influx of DMs coming to your Instagram page as a campaign result? Consider using an automated tool that works like a chat bot to gather info and send FAQ-type responses to direct people to the proper channels.

The takeaway

If you spend any time on social media, you’ve likely come across your fair share of influencer marketing. Influencing is an effective tactic because people often trust the influencers they choose to follow.

Once you know what to expect and how to best plan for working with an influencer, the better your outcome will be — and the higher ROI you can expect.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Dec 7, 2021

Create Twitter ads that fit seamlessly into your target audience’s timelines to garner attention, improve traffic, and more. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why you should consider Twitter Ads
  • The various types of Twitter advertising options
  • Twitter Ads examples
  • How to optimize your ads

Twitter began as (and, arguably, still is) a social media app to connect virtually with others, share thoughts, and have conversations. 

These days, it’s become a platform where users get breaking news, make jokes, post memes, and fire off random thoughts as well. 

Twitter is also one of the top platforms for social media marketing ads.

If you’re running Facebook and Instagram ads, you may feel like you’re set when it comes to paid social. But if you haven’t even thought about adding Twitter ads into the mix, you may be missing out. 

In fact, Twitter user numbers — and engagement rates — are growing. Whether you’re already aboard the Twitter Ads campaign train or just want to know more, let’s dive into the info you need to succeed on Twitter in 2022.

What are Twitter Ads?

Twitter Ads are paid tweets featuring text or multimedia. They show up on the Twitter platform as Promoted Ads, Follower Ads, and Trend Takeover via desktop or on the mobile app. 

You can usually interact with these tweets the same way you would an organic tweet (such as responding, retweeting, or liking), but they’ll be marked as “promoted.”  

Why Twitter Ads deserve your attention

People spend 26% more time looking at ads on Twitter than they do on any other social media platform. 

Not only that, but reports show the platform has approximately 206 million daily users across the globe. When these users are scrolling, some of the tweets in their timelines may be sponsored ads or promoted content. 

Your target audience may very well be active on the Twitter platform. According to Statista, men between 25 and 34 years of age are the largest Twitter age demographic (19%). 

The second-largest is 18- to 24-year-old women. However, Twitter users are hardly all young. More than 17% of them are ages 50 and up.

hawksem: twitter ads blog

When your Twitter Ads campaign parameters are standard, the platform evens out your spend rate throughout the day. (Image via Unsplash)

A few key benefits of Twitter Ads are that they’re:

  • Precise: The most effective ones are short and to the point
  • Unobtrusive: They blend into the news feed organically without jarring the reader
  • Cost-efficient: They allow you to build your campaign in a budget-friendly way
  • Tailored: It’s possible to tailor these ads precisely to target different audiences
  • Versatile: You can create an efficient retargeting campaign in just a few clicks

One of the best parts about Twitter Ads is that there’s no minimum campaign spend. Thus, they can be suited to virtually any budget.

Types of Twitter Ads

Twitter determines which audience your content is most suitable for. After that, the ads compete in an auction based on your budget. 

The more money you’re willing to pay and the more relevant your ads are, the more likely they are to appear where you want. 

Twitter Ads are a straightforward paid social media marketing tactic. However, the platform gives you multiple ad options for promoting your account and content.

Promoted Ads

These ads appear in the user’s timeline and look like any other tweet except for the “promoted” tag on the bottom. They come in several formats:

  • Text – Plain textual tweet
  • Single image – An image and a block of text
  • Video – Includes a video and a block of text
  • Carousel – A combination of 2 to 6 images or videos in a single ad 
  • Moment A combination of tweets with a title, description, and a cover photo

It’s also key to pay special attention to the specs of each format to ensure the highest quality of your ads. For example, you can add around 100 tweets to a Moment (curated stories), but the platform recommends fewer than 10.

Follower Ads

These ads show up in different locations on the platform, including the timeline, “Who to follow” section, and search results. They display your account to people who may find it relevant and interesting.

Twitter Amplify

This option allows you to pair your ads with premium video content from vetted publishers. In March 2021, advertisers gained access to some new Amplify options:

  • Curated categories – You can pair ads with the video content from 15-plus preset groups of publishers. These categories and publishers may change over time.
  • New design – Amplify ads have a specific look with a brand name and logo in the upper-left corner of the ad. You can also choose one out of several preset CTAs to appear next to the brand name.
  • More information – When creating Amplify ads, you can browse the list of publishers in the category to make better advertising choices.

You can also take advantage of the Amplify Sponsorships program which allows pairing with a single publisher for the duration of your campaign. According to Twitter, this option is currently unavailable to self-serve advertisers.

Twitter Takeover

This advanced approach to Twitter advertising allows you to create an immersive experience for the user. Your options for this ad type are:

  • Timeline takeover – Your ad is the first ad a user sees when they open Twitter.
  • Trend takeover – This puts your ads near whatever is currently trending under the Explore tab and on top of the Trends list for 24 hours.

The cost of Twitter Ads varies dramatically based on the industry, format, audience, and goals. The least expensive ads are generally the standard promoted ads. However, advanced options like Takeover are often more effective.

The latest Twitter Ads tips

Constructing a versatile Twitter Ads campaign can take time and practice. These are the latest tips to help your ads succeed in 2022.

Twitter Promoted Explore tab

An example of a Trend Takeover promoted ad in the #Explore tab (via Twitter)

1. Explore Trend Takeover and Trend Takeover+

In early 2020, Twitter introduced the Promoted Trend Spotlight global feature. It’s now called Trend Takeover, with the Takeover+ option including “immersive video creative.”

The feature allows you to place your ad at the very top of the “Explore” tab (for the first two visits per person per day), improving its visibility substantially. The option supports static messages as well as 6-second GIFs and videos.

2. Take advantage of accelerated delivery

When your Twitter Ads campaign parameters are standard, the platform evens out your spend rate throughout the day. So, if your daily campaign budget is $100, it’ll be distributed more or less evenly within 24 hours (approximately $4 per hour).

To speed up your campaign and achieve faster results, you can turn the standard delivery option off. When you do that, Twitter will start serving impressions and generating engagement as fast as possible until the daily budget is up. 

This is a perfect option for time-sensitive advertising campaigns that need to achieve high engagement during a certain timeframe.

3. Rethink your Twitter cards

Twitter cards appeared back when the character limit was 140 and companies were desperately wishing for more ad space. Since tweets with images often see an increase in leads, these cards are still trending.

When you post a link, Twitter automatically pulls the featured image from the page you’ve linked to and includes that image in your visual tweet, also known as your Twitter card. If there’s no established image, the card may be blank.

salesforce twitter card

An example of an in-feed promoted tweet with a Twitter card (via Twitter)

If you want to make a bigger impression with the cards:

  • Use summary cards with larger images to take advantage of higher-quality pictures (Twitter supports 560×750 pixels)
  • Leverage twitter:site and twitter:creator to pack two user names in one card for a more efficient promotional effort.
  • Use up all 200 characters to give value to the card. (The Title tag is a separate piece of text, so don’t double up on verbiage.)

Pro tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of the multi-image card option if it’ll improve your ad. This lets you post up to four images in one tweet, which expand when the user clicks on them.

4. Experiment with videos

Video content continues to gain momentum on Twitter and beyond. Create a video views campaign to take full advantage of this media and make your ads more appealing. 

These campaigns allow you to display your video in-feed and improve your engagement.

Here are the details for creating Twitter video views campaign:

  • Maximum video size: 1GB (ideally under 30MB)
  • Tweet copy: 280 characters (each link costs you 23 characters, so when you include one link, you’ll have 257 characters left)
  • Video length: the maximum is 2 minutes and 20 seconds (but the sweet spot seems to be around 15 seconds). If the video length is under 60 seconds, the video will loop.
  • CC: closed captions or text overlays are mandatory

Ready to run a successful Twitter Ads campaign? We can help.

5. Capitalize on retargeting

Retargeting features (also called remarketing) can help Twitter Ads stand out from other paid social media advertising options. You can use this feature on Twitter by setting the campaign to retarget those who:

  • Are past website visitors
  • Have engaged with your tweets
  • Are newsletter subscribers
  • Have abandoned their e-commerce shopping carts

Pro tip: The social media platform recently launched ​​a premium feature subscription called Twitter Blue. This gives users access to exclusive Twitter features. So far, this includes the ability to edit tweets up to 60 seconds after posting, filter important conversations with Top Articles, customize your icons and theme, and score early access to new features.

6. Be strategic with hashtags

Adding hashtags to your Twitter ad copy can have a significant impact on your campaign.

When using hashtags, aim to follow best practices, such as:

  • Creating and using branded hashtags, such as #yourcompanyname or a unique phrase related to your business or industry
  • Looking under the “explore” tab to find out which hashtags are trending
  • Checking to see which hashtags the competition is using
  • Not overdoing it — Twitter itself reports that “one to two relevant hashtags per [tweet] is the sweet spot”

The right hashtag could drive the potential customer to click your ad just as well as pairing with a publisher would without costing you a penny. Keep in mind that a hashtag is part of the character count.

“Who to Follow” section

An example of a promoted account under the “Who to Follow” section (via Twitter)

7. Experiment, test, rotate

Paid social ads, like all digital marketing campaigns, need regular testing and optimization to perform at their best. You can run a variety of Twitter ads, then analyze how well they work for your target audience and the platform after a significant period of time.

Experiment with elements like colors, multimedia, and text to see what provides top results. Designing several ads doesn’t just give you an opportunity to improve your campaign, but it also helps hold your audience’s attention. 

Running the same ads over and over again can annoy potential and existing customers. That’s why it’s a good idea to rotate your most successful pieces.

The takeaway

Twitter Ads can be a successful paid social avenue for a variety of brands and industries. These ad types give you an avenue for reaching your target audience in a seamless, creative way. 

Plus, with ever-changing social media trends, this is also an opportunity for you to have fun and create eye-catching, witty ads that garner double-takes. 

By keeping tabs on the latest developments, trends, and offerings, you can continue to improve your Twitter campaigns — and increase ROI as a result.

This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 14, 2021

Don’t let competitors have an edge over you on social media — conduct a competitor analysis to stay in the game.

Here, you’ll find: 

  • Steps for conducting a competitor analysis for social media
  • Why it’s key to understand your competition’s social strategy 
  • How a competitor analysis can improve your own social results
  • Top tools when doing a competitor analysis for social media 

Social media is one of the most popular ways to engage with customers and effectively reach your target audience. In fact, HubSpot reports 90% of brands now use it to build awareness and grow their reach, among other things. 

But, just like in search engine results, there’s competition for eyeballs and attention on social media. That’s why understanding how your brand stacks up against the competition is important for developing your social strategy and making it work best for you. 

Conducting a competitive analysis for social media can be crucial for enhancing your social media performance. Besides better understanding your competition, a social media competitor analysis will put helpful information in your hands on how to improve your brand’s strategy. 

Don’t get left in the social media dust. Use these 7 steps to conduct a competitor analysis like a pro. 

competitor analysis for social media

Before you get too far in your social media analysis, identify the purpose of running one in the first place. (Image via Unsplash)

Why should I track my competitors on social media? 

There are many advantages to conducting a competitor analysis for social media, from gaining inspiration for content to identifying mistakes to avoid. Understanding how the competition engages with its target audience can also help you identify your unique value proposition and ways to grow your market share based on their weaknesses. 

Knowing what your competitors are doing on social media is essential for building an effective social strategy that stands out. Here’s how to conduct a competitor analysis for social media the right way. 

1. Determine your top competitors 

You probably already have a good idea about who your top competitors are. If not, it’s worth taking the time to identify your top five competing companies. 

To identify your competition, using Google to search for keywords your target customers use to find your business is a good place to start. Once you’ve made a list, you can put on your detective hat and dive a little deeper to determine how active each of them is on social media. Of course, you want to focus your efforts on brands that have a social strategy, so you can effectively compare. 

Pro tip: Visiting your competitors’ websites is usually a quick and easy way to find their social media profiles, as they often link to them in their site’s header or footer. 

2. Set your goals

Before you get too far in your social media analysis, identify the purpose of running one in the first place. Without knowing why you’re conducting an analysis, it will be difficult to measure and evaluate your results. 

You’ll find a lot of data when digging into your competitor’s social strategies, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for to ensure you’re not wasting time gathering irrelevant data. 

Some common goals of conducting a competitor analysis for social media are: 

  • Improving organic reach
  • Determining the best social platform for your brand
  • Increasing engagement or followers
  • Optimizing social ads

3. Pick the social networks to monitor

Most companies stick to the main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They also may be more active on some than others. Look to see which social media platforms your competition leverages the most and why that might be.

Do they see the most engagement on Instagram or LinkedIn? The answer could indicate where your target audience is spending most of their social media scrolling time, which can help inform your own social strategy. 

4. Track key performance metrics

After identifying the social media platforms your competitors are most active on, you can work to gain a better understanding of how they engage with and grow their network. 

The following key metrics can help you examine and track their performance. 

  • Profile metrics: Note things like the number of followers, average weekly posts, and engagement 
  • Content metrics: Note the types of content shared, number of ads or boosted posts, and image to video post ratio
  • Brand metrics: Note the tone of voice, key issues most often addressed, and interaction from followers
  • Engagement metrics: Note the likes, comments, and shares of their content and the number of customers using their branded hashtags

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to look at the average engagement by post type (video, photo, text, link) to compare to your posts as well.

woman in hat looking at cell phone

Automating the tracking of competitors is the most effective way to get up-to-date data. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Determine the prime time for your social media audience

Ensuring your content is seen by followers at the best times of day and days of the week will help you work smarter vs. harder when it comes to social reach. While consistent posting is key to an effective social media strategy, it’s not enough to just post as you please. Rather, it’s helpful to know when the largest number of targeted users are online. 

Looking at each of your social platform’s analytics is a good starting point. From there, noting your competitor’s posting times and their engagement rating can help determine if adjusting your posting times will increase the chances of reaching more targeted consumers.

Need more help with your social media strategy? Let’s talk! 

6. Don’t forget about paid media

While it’s almost impossible to determine the exact amount your competition spends on paid media campaigns, you can try to determine if they’re paying for increased followers or post engagement. 

Plus, if you’re conducting a social media analysis without considering if they’re boosting or running ads, it could skew your results and have you setting unachievable organic goals. 

The tools in the next section can help you run an analysis or browse each social platform individually to look for any sponsored ads. Taking things a step further and conducting a full PPC competitor analysis will also give you more information on improving your paid reach. 

Pro tip: Facebook Ad Library is a helpful tool for checking if your competition is actively running ads on Facebook or Instagram. 

7. Find the proper tools to conduct a competitor analysis for social media

Automating the tracking of competitors is the most effective way to get up-to-date data. While you can conduct a competitor analysis for social media on your own, using the proper tools makes the process more efficient and allows for easy tracking of both your and your competitors’ results. 

Tools for running a competitive analysis and reports for improving your social strategy include: 

  • BuzzSumo
  • Brandwatch
  • Facebook Analytics
  • Facebook Ad Library
  • Sociality.io
  • Socialbakers
  • Sprout Social 

The takeaway

Comparing your social media presence and results to your competitors gives you insight into their social strategies and shows you the best ways to outrank them. 

With most of the data being public knowledge, conducting a competitor analysis for social media is easier than you might think. However, compiling the data is only the first step. 

Effectively analyzing the information and results requires using the top tools and understanding what it all means. From there, you can post more like-worthy posts, tweets, and Stories — and feel confident that you’re on the right track.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Sep 11, 2020

Odds are, your B2B customers are on social media — here’s how to make paid social ads work for you.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How paid social media marketing can benefit B2B companies
  • Which social media channels are worth your attention
  • The latest marketing tactics to employ for B2B paid social media
  • A breakdown of best practices on various platforms

The hype around social media marketing (SMM) doesn’t stop at the B2C level. In fact, more than 80% of B2B marketers reportedly use social media, making it one of the key digital marketing tactics to have in your arsenal.

B2B paid social media advertising can be an excellent lead generation and conversion strategy. Its ability to reach the target audience and point it in the right direction is highly advanced — and often underestimated.

Why you should consider B2B paid social media marketing

While many B2B marketers know all the staggering social media user statistics, they tend to focus on other strategies first.

Somehow, social media platforms earned a reputation for being places where people come solely for entertainment. The other myth is that it takes forever to achieve any results with social media advertising.

In reality, organic social media posting does take a decent amount of time and effort to show results. And B2B companies may not have sufficient time, resources, and patience to achieve the desired outcome. That’s where social media ads come in.

Paid social media advertising can achieve faster and more substantial results than organic posting, which is exactly what B2B companies usually want. Today, 72% of B2B marketers who use paid channels online take advantage of paid social.

b2b paid social media

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is widely considered to be the useful social media channel. (Image via Rawpixel)

The top 4 paid social media advertising channels to consider

It’s a good idea to use as many channels as possible when you’re first experimenting with paid social. That way, you can see which posts and platforms resonate most with your audience. 

However, we also know there’s a limit to how much you can stretch a marketing budget. These are the main social media platforms your B2B brand can start exploring:

1. LinkedIn

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is widely considered to be the useful social media channel. LinkedIn ad options include sponsored posts, sponsored InMail, and pay-per-click text ads. 

The platform also offers a variety of extensive targeting tools for reaching your ideal audience.

2. YouTube

Today, YouTube is much more than a video-sharing social media channel. Believe it or not, it’s the No. 2 search engine after Google

This video platform’s popularity makes it a top contender when you’re considering paid social. YouTube boasts a variety of paid advertising options, including display ads and bumper ads. You can promote both your videos and products through ads.  

3. Twitter

Twitter can be a highly productive social media channel when it comes to B2B marketing. Not only does it have hundreds of millions of users, but it’s also the second most-used platform for content marketing purposes after LinkedIn.

Twitter is also an excellent place for real-time interacting with clients and educating them about your products. The platform provides numerous opportunities for paid promotion of your tweets and accounts, and strategically leveraging hashtags can increase your exposure that much more. 

4. Facebook

While having immense outreach, Facebook has made it so that it’s nearly impossible to get significant traction from organic posts. Unsurprisingly, Facebook offers paid ad options, most of which are relatively cost-efficient. You can set a specific budget for running ads and promoting certain posts.

Even though this platform doesn’t have as many laser-focused targeting capabilities as LinkedIn, the 2.7 billion active monthly users make it a channel that’s certainly worth considering. 

b2b paid social media

Facebook determines how relevant your ads are to the audience you’re trying to reach. (Image via Unsplash)

Paid social media advertising tactics for B2B marketing

Best practices for B2B paid social media advertising change regularly. As these platforms add new functionalities, it’s vital to incorporate them into your strategy in a timely manner so you can stay relevant and competitive. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Target group members on LinkedIn

To generate the highest quality leads, pay special attention to LinkedIn Groups when selecting targeting options. The platform describes their groups as “a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.”

People are likely to join the group only if they are explicitly interested in the topic, ao you can advertise to group members while being fairly certain you’re reaching the right audience. To find relevant groups, simply type the keywords into LinkedIn’s “what group you want to target” section.

Pro tip: When targeting on LinkedIn, don’t forget to exclude competitors.

2. Explore promoting posts over text ads

When it comes to paid social media marketing, most platforms tend to give more attention to promoting posts, accounts, and channels over text ads. Promoted posts usually stand out better and fit organically into the users’ feed as well.

If you’re on a tight budget, leave the text for PPC ads. If not, you can use both text ads and post, channel, or account promotion on social media. Of course, that means you have to make sure your social media content is high-quality, which is also beneficial for your organic SMM efforts.

3. Use Facebook’s Ad Relevance Diagnostics tool

Facebook determines how relevant your ads are to the audience you’re trying to reach. The more relevant the ad is, the less it costs, and the higher chance it has of showing up in the right place at the right time.

Use the Ad Relevance Diagnostics tool to find out how well you’re doing when it comes to relevancy. While relevance isn’t necessarily the key indicator of an ad’s performance, it can help you increase the overall ROI of your campaign.

Need more help with your paid social strategy? Let’s talk. 

4. Leverage lead gen forms on Facebook and LinkedIn

Lead form ads are designed to collect information from the target audience, offer deals or promotions, and manage inquiries from potential customers.

By properly designing a lead form ad, you can collect valuable data not just from your current audience, but from lookalike audiences as well.

Pro tip: When uploading your CRM data to Facebook to find your clients on the platform and create lookalike audiences, don’t be taken aback by a low list match rate. Matching emails to accounts can be tough, since people usually use personal emails to sign up for social media.

5. Use website demographics on LinkedIn

It’s no secret that paid advertising on LinkedIn is more expensive than on other platforms. To cut costs, you need to focus on analytics. Luckily, LinkedIn allows you to monitor who is interacting with your ads.

With Website Demographics, you can check job titles, employers or companies, and industries of ad viewers to adjust your paid marketing campaign accordingly.

The takeaway

Paid social media advertising can be a highly useful B2B marketing tool. The ability to reach a wide audience coupled with an impressive variety of targeting options can help you improve advertising efforts substantially.

Once you’ve seen success on a platform or two, you can put more effort into those social media marketing ads and conduct tests to help you optimize accordingly.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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