Tag Archives: social media marketing

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Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 17 , 2022

Use this handy guide to determine which marketing conferences and events deserve a spot on your calendar.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How conferences have evolved in the last few years
  • 9 innovative marketing conferences worth attending
  • What to expect from each event
  • The types of sessions and speakers at each conference

Industry conferences give you the opportunity to learn more about your field, stay up to date on the latest developments, and gather inspiration (and ideally a to-do list) you can bring back to your team. 

But since we first started highlighting marketing conferences back in 2019, the world has changed. With the pandemic shaking up safety measures, travel logistics, and all in-person gatherings, many marketing conferences moved online or ceased operations. 

These days, there are still varied feelings among attendees when it comes to the safety of large-group gatherings. MarTech reports that “interest in virtual events is likely to remain high, as the timeline for a return to in-person events remains uncertain.”

As a result, many brands have brought back or continued hosting their events virtually or in hybrid form, rather than fully IRL. 

Here are the top marketing conferences worth traveling — or simply blocking off your calendar — for. 

Image via Unsplash

At the end of the day, marketing is about connection. (Image: Unsplash)

1. Inbound

HubSpot’s highly anticipated marketing event is part conference, part festival. Each year, the brand brings together a mix of industry leaders from big-name brands and celebrity entrepreneurs to share their knowledge. 

With interactive booths, live entertainment, a buzzy food truck lawn, and hundreds of sessions across multiple venue spaces, expect valuable lessons and takeaways for every type of marketer at Inbound. 

This year, for Inbound’s first hybrid event, expect inspiring talks from the likes of President Barack Obama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Viola Davis, and Glennon Doyle.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Sept. 6-9, 2022

Where: Boston, MA

2. Brandweek Summit

Adweek bills its annual conference — back in person in 2022 — as an opportunity to “experience an unparalleled array of intimate sessions and exciting activities designed to educate, entertain and foster new connections with industry power players.”

More than 1,000 senior-level brand marketers and industry leaders are slated to gather for this 5-day event covering all things advertising in today’s marketing climate and beyond. Expect speakers and session leaders from brands including Chobani, Hyundai, Uncommon James, Marriott, Gatorade, and the Harlem Globetrotters. 

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Sept. 12-16, 2022

Where: Miami, FL

3. Content Marketing World

Content is a key part of any good digital marketing strategy’s foundation. This conference wants to arm attendees with creative ideas, organizational tools, and effective insights to ensure their content marketing is top notch.

With both in-person and virtual attending options available, there’s no excuse not to take this opportunity to gather insights that’ll take your content efforts to the next level.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Sept. 13-16, 2022 (in person), Sept. 21-22, 2022 (online)

Where: Cleveland, OH

4. SearchLove

Looking for insight into SEO best practices, mobile search, Google algorithm updates, and PPC for inbound marketers? Distilled’s SearchLove conference has you covered.  

This conference covers all things search. Expect sessions on topics like how to sift through analytics data, integrating PR and SEO, finding your brand voice, and much more. Past speakers have come from the likes of Moz, Microsoft, Unbounce, and HubSpot. 

How to attend: In person or virtually via a video ticket 

When: March 13-14, 2023

Where: San Diego, CA

marketing conference

Many brands have brought back or continued hosting their events virtually or in hybrid form, rather than fully IRL. (Image: Unsplash)

5. Social Media Marketing World

Get the lowdown on the latest in social media marketing at this results-driven conference. Over the course of three days, expert speakers will cover social strategy, social advertising, content marketing, video marketing, analytics, customer advocacy, and more.

With plenty of sessions, workshops, and after-hours parties to choose from, this is the go-to conference for many social media marketers, digital marketing managers, agency owners, consultants, network marketers, and corporate marketers alike. 

Those who register get the chance to attend IRL or livestream via any device. They also get access to video recordings and presentation slide decks of all available content included.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually via livestream

When: March 13-15, 2023

Where: San Diego, CA

6. MozCon

Stay ahead of the curve while learning next-level tactics on everything from ranking higher to making better data-driven decisions at this three-day search marketing extravaganza.

MozCon describes itself as “summer camp for marketers.” Hear from a variety of knowledgeable session leaders while networking with those well-versed in SEO, content marketing, paid search, social media, and agencies.

How to attend: In person or virtually via a video ticket

When: Aug. 7-9, 2023

Where: Seattle, WA

7. Industry Preview

Find out what’s new, next, and on the horizon in the world of marketing technology at this AdExchanger conference.

In the past, the event has billed itself as “an intimate and exclusive one-day conference for senior executives in the data-driven digital media and marketing technology ecosystem focused on what to expect in the coming year.”

Attendees can expect dozens of visionary speakers and session options in between mingling and networking with hundreds of fellow industry pros. 

How to attend: In person

When: 2023 date not yet announced

Where: 2023 location not yet announced

8. DigiMarCon

For those looking to leave a conference with pages (whether actual or digital) of actionable insights, look no further than one of the famed DigiMarCon events. 

With a program designed to help attendees build and develop their audience, expect to learn about growing traffic, creating brand awareness, leveraging the latest tools, and plenty more.

No matter your region, there’s a DigiMarCon gathering for you: they host location-specific events in 40 cities worldwide. In the U.S. alone, look for conferences in the East, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, the South, Silicon Valley, and beyond.

How to attend: In person, hybrid, or virtually

When: Dates vary

Where: Locations vary

taking notes at a marketing conference

Industry conferences give you the opportunity to gather inspiration and create a to-do list to bring back to your team. (Image: Unsplash)

9. Digital Summit

Digital Summit wants to empower attendees to go from just another fish in the sea to becoming marketing leaders. Their multi-city events offer engaging info sessions on all aspects of marketing: content, search, email, mobile, UX and design, social, and strategy.

The success of the Digital Summit series has caused the event to grow, spanning various dates and cities throughout the year. Not only that, but they’re proactively working to continue making this in-person event as safe as possible. 

Look for these conferences to pop up in cities including New York City, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and more.

How to attend: In person or virtually via video ticket

When: Dates vary

Where: Locations vary

The takeaway

At the end of the day, marketing is about connection. 

When you attend marketing conferences that let you connect with ideas, strategies, and people who are passionate about the same things as you, amazing things can happen.

And now, with most of these events offering virtual options, it’s easier than ever to learn from the pros and gain game-changing insights that’ll help you and your company soar.

This article has been updated and was originally published in November 2019.

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 Jul 25 , 2022

Learn the most effective ways to create winning social media ads on the app built for professionals.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why LinkedIn Ads are worth looking into
  • The different LinkedIn ad options at your disposal
  • Tips for leveraging the social media platform properly
  • What elements make up a successful LinkedIn ad

Got a target audience of professionals? Then they’re likely on LinkedIn.

With more than 830 million members from all corners of the globe, LinkedIn is simply too big a marketing opportunity to ignore. 

Since launching back in 2002, the platform has grown from a place to connect and network to one of the most effective social media tools for connecting with your audience.

What’s more, LinkedIn’s advertising options allow you to reach your ideal clients in a way that’s strategically targeted and direct.

How effective are LinkedIn Ads?

This platform has a ton of potential when it comes to B2B paid social

LinkedIn has more than 61 million senior-level influencers. They also boast 65 million decision-makers across various industries with twice the buying power of the average web audience. 

This presents an unrivaled opportunity for marketing experts to link up with potential clients. No wonder it generates nearly three times the revenue of other social channels.

Nearly 80% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn delivers the best paid social results. It also generates more than double the leads of other platforms, and its platform-exclusive Lead Gen Forms reportedly convert 5 times better than landing pages.

Even if social media doesn’t typically top your ROI, it can bring significant results with the right strategy. Let’s cover some of the most effective approaches to generate leads via LinkedIn Ads.

woman holding "like a boss" mug

Today, two-thirds of B2B buyers expect personalized engagement from their vendors. (Image: Unsplash)

How to turbocharge your 2022 LinkedIn Ads strategy

Want to compete in today’s digital marketing climate? Then you’ve got to invest in what works, get rid of what doesn’t, and stay on top of the latest and greatest updates when it comes to ad platforms. 

Here’s how you can attract more leads and grow your business with LinkedIn advertising.

1. Create tailored ads

Targeting the right audiences in the right way will be one of your LinkedIn ads’ top success factors. Luckily, LinkedIn lets you easily tailor your content and ad format to match their interests or requirements. 

You can choose from a range of criteria when targeting your audience, including:

  • Industry, company name, or size
  • Job title or position
  • Institutions attended
  • Age or gender 
  • Skills
  • Level and field of study

These are the main targeting categories, but they get more granular from there.

2. Choose the right ad type for your campaign

When running LinkedIn sponsored ads, you have several types to pick from for your campaign. These include:

Sponsored content

Sponsored content is a type of native ad that appears directly on the feed as users scroll through. They’re seamless, appearing like any other posted content by users. They can help build awareness, nurture relationships, and drive leads. 

Pro tip: Sponsored content gets the best engagement when the text adds up to less than 150 characters.

Message ads

Formerly dubbed Sponsored InMail, these ads are especially effective at reaching people directly. The unique format allows you to build personalized ads so you can deliver relevant content to qualified leads.

The ad goes straight to a user’s inbox as any other text-based professional message if the user is active. Message ads can reportedly work more than twice as well as traditional email marketing.

Text ads

These ad types appear on the site’s sidebar. You can choose between PPC or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) payment options, meaning you pay when a user clicks on the ad or whenever 1,000 people view it.

Text ad campaigns are generally the most successful with audience sizes between 60,000 and 400,000.

3. Pick the appropriate ad format

Once you determine the best ad type to leverage, you can select the best format for your campaign. Options include:

  • Text ads – These only include text phrases and are located on the feed sidebar.
  • Single-image ads – These ads should feature an engaging, high-quality photo paired with short text. Single-image ads are ideal for sponsored content and are among the most common ad formats.
  • Carousel ads – This format is used for sponsored content. You can add several images, ideal for showcasing multiple products.
  • Video ads – Video ads are one of the most popular ad types these days. LinkedIn allows video ads in sponsored content to get your message across, attract attention, and garner clicks.  
  • Follower ads – These ads help promote your LinkedIn page to attract followers. This is a good option if you’re looking to grow your audience so more users can potentially see your content. 
  • Spotlight ads – Advertisers use these to showcase their overall brand. Whenever a user clicks on the ad, they’re taken to a landing page. These ads are only available with sponsored content. 
  • Job ads – This is the appropriate ad format when you’re looking to hire new talent. They can be used in Message ads or sponsored content to help connect you with qualified candidates. 

Pro tip: LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share videos, and B2B brands get twice the engagement and 3.5 times the conversions on video ads vs. static posts. 

4. Personalize your ads

Seasoned marketers know personalized ads can get your target audience interested in your brand in a way more generic ads just can’t. A customized ad experience delivers tailored messages to specific audiences that match their unique interests. 

Today, two-thirds of B2B buyers expect personalized engagement from their vendors.

Of course, not every user will be interested in your brand or in the market for what you offer. But by creating different campaigns that target different ideal client personas at the various stages of the buyer’s journey, you can be better positioned to attract the right leads. 

5. Post strategic content

LinkedIn offers you up to 1,300 characters for a personal post. When it comes to the content that sees the most success on this platform, it turns out longer is better

By using long-form updates, you can earn much more visibility than you would with a short post or embedding an article link. 

When you want to post a link to a blog, ensure you provide value in your post by writing context on what the content is about and why they need to read it. You can do this by offering a teaser or a quote that previews the topic. 

Creating new content for your LinkedIn advertising strategy can be time-consuming. You can cut costs and capitalize on your existing assets by repurposing content. Use content from your blogs, knowledge base, and lead magnets by editing it to fit the LinkedIn format and audience.

You can also take advantage of third-party content, like breaking industry news. Simply sharing the news may not be highly effective, but if you add your insight and provide an original opinion about the situation, you can get high-quality content without writing a long-form post.

6. Monitor key LinkedIn Ads metrics

To take full advantage of your LinkedIn Ads campaigns, it’s crucial to measure them properly. These metrics can help you evaluate your effort and adjust your future tactics:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Cost per click 
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Engagement rate

The numbers vary depending on the ad types you run as well as your industry. While keeping an eye on your metrics is important all the time, the most effective way to ensure your strategy is working is to conduct regular social media audits.

two men outside on laptops using linkedin

To err on the safe side, it’s wise to keep your LinkedIn ads polished, professional, and on-brand. (Image: Unsplash)

7. Optimize your video ads

On LinkedIn, video ads earn 30% more comments per impression than images in the news feed. That’s why it’s important to pay more attention to this ad format.

Depending on your current marketing goal, you can take advantage of the top practices listed below.

Goal: Brand awareness ads

  • Include storytelling and branding content at the end of the video.
  • Focus on real-life human experiences to make your product and services relatable.
  • Try to keep videos under 15 seconds — these are more likely to be watched in their entirety.
  • Don’t aim for conversions with a brand awareness video — analytics should focus on different metrics.

Goal: Thought leadership ads

  • Be sure to introduce your brand at the beginning of the video ad.
  • Use industry buzzwords if you’re targeting a warm audience.
  • Add captions to your video to be more inclusive and mindful of those who can’t or don’t want to have their sound on.
  • Take advantage of words that suggest growth, potential, and profitability: “thriving”, “successful, “growth,” “progress,” “rewarding,” etc.

Goal: Lead Generation

  • Make sure to introduce your brand at the beginning of the ad.
  • Use the combination of video ads and lead generation forms.
  • Make lead generation ads more dynamic, especially at the beginning of the video.
  • Communicate your key message in the first 5 seconds of the video.

Pro tip: Remember to make sure your video ads render properly for mobile devices as well as desktops.

8. Take advantage of Matched Audiences

To widen your campaign’s reach, you can leverage LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences option. It’s available for all of the platform’s advertising products, including Message ads and sponsored content.  

Matched Audiences offers:

  • Retargeting — Helps market products to people who visited your website, clicked on a LinkedIn ad, or participated in your LinkedIn Event
  • Contact targeting — Allows you to market to LinkedIn members on your contact list
  • Account targeting — Helps you set up an account-based marketing (ABM) campaign by matching target companies against other LinkedIn pages
  • Lookalike targeting — Allows you to find audiences similar to the current audience you work with

Users of Matched Audiences saw sizable increases in their CTR (30% to  37%) and post-click conversions (32%).

With the third-party cookie phase-out still slated to go into effect in 2023, these targeting tools can help keep your marketing strategy afloat.

For more, check out our articles on advertising best practices for Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok.

9. Keep it professional

Knowing the voice and tone your audience responds to best is, of course, key to a strong marketing strategy. But it’s also important to keep the ad platform in mind.

For example, a short bit of pithy copy with a GIF attached might do really well on Twitter, but it could fall flat on Instagram.

Think about what’s bringing your audience to this specific platform. For LinkedIn, the intent is usually professional, networking, or job-related. Because of this, creating an ad that could be deemed too edgy or wacky may not resonate in the same way it would on a platform like Twitter.

To err on the safe side, it’s wise to keep your LinkedIn ads polished, professional, and on-brand. 

10. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s extras

There are certain LinkedIn features that aren’t necessary but can certainly help improve your metrics. These include:

  • Custom URL: Having a custom URL allows you to simplify the web address to be short and easy to remember.
  • LinkedIn resources: There are a number of tools available to help you use LinkedIn to your advantage. LinkedIn courses and tutorials can help you improve your LinkedIn Ads strategy using insider info. They even have magazines aimed at marketing
  • Polls: Not only are polls great for engagement, but they also help you glean vital data from real customers in your target demographic.

Pro tip: Another extra you might consider is upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium account. LinkedIn has two relevant account upgrades that might be helpful, depending on your needs.

The takeaway

When developed correctly, LinkedIn ads can deliver targeted, quality traffic to you. 

Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking to fine-tune your campaign to achieve optimal results. 

 This post has been updated and was originally published in July 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 Sam Yadegar on Jul 1 , 2022

Social media is a place where food and beverage brands can showcase their offerings, promote themselves, and let their personalities shine.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to leverage social apps for your F&B brand
  • Why influencer marketing is worth exploring
  • Expert tips to improve your F&B paid social tactics
  • How to save on social media strategies

I remember the first time I saw someone take a smartphone photo of their food at a restaurant before digging in. (Probably because the eatery was pretty dark and the flash was momentarily blinding.)

These days, it’s pretty common to see people snap their plates and beverages. In fact, some restaurants now craft their dishes, drinks and decor specifically to be Insta-worthy.

Since advertising for the food and beverage industry leans heavily on visuals, it’s no surprise that social media is one of its top digital marketing channels. 

In fact, a recent survey shows up to 30% of millennial diners actually avoid restaurants without a strong Instagram presence.

While growing an organic following on social media is a great way to support your overall F&B marketing plan, it takes a significant amount of time and effort. Without paid social tactics, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a presence that will bolster your marketing goals.

Luckily, there are a handful of F&B paid social strategies that can help promote your brand.

Bud Light’s Twitter feed

This dark-post ad doesn’t actually show up on Bud Light’s Twitter feed. (Image: Twitter)

1. Take advantage of “dark posts”

Many of the main social platform players, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, allow you to publish “dark posts.”

These posts don’t appear on your organic feed. Instead, you pay the platform to place them inside the feed of your target audience.

Dark posts look like regular social media posts, so they don’t disrupt your audience’s scrolling experience. Instead, they capture the reader’s attention while maintaining the feel of an organic post.

The key benefits of using dark posts for your F&B brand include:

  • Highly specific targeting
  • A seamless in-feed appearance
  • A/B testing opportunities

Not only that, but you can experiment with these posts without worrying about how they’ll look on your permanent profile.

2. Make the most out of Facebook Ads

Over 90% of restaurants use Facebook for marketing due to its incredibly diverse targeting and placement options. 

Facebook Ads come in a variety of shapes and sizes to help you spend wisely while promoting your F&B brand.

To make the most of these ads:

By using insights from Meta Business Suite (Meta runs Facebook and Instagram), you can analyze your existing audience and use that data to design assets like lead generation ads.

3. Set the right goals

No marketing campaign is complete without realistic goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).

If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you could start with dark posts, as mentioned above. 

Depending on your goal, you may have better luck with a regular paid social ad (though types vary by platform, of course). F&B brands that want to attract more foot traffic or promote a refreshed menu or banquet room may want to spread the word via an influencer (more on that below).  

It’s also worth keeping in mind that most people don’t just use a single social app, so you may want to leverage at least two channels to achieve your desired results. For example, since Meta runs Facebook and Instagram, you can create ads that’ll surface on both platforms.

@spinach4breakfast on Instagram

A sponsored post by influencer @spinach4breakfast (Image: Instagram)

4. Leverage influencers

Social media referrals can be a highly effective way to attract new visitors to your F&B business. 

Today, 37% of Americans decide which restaurant to visit based on word-of-mouth recommendations. With paid social, you can put word-of-mouth endorsements in the driver’s seat of your ads.

While organic UGC created by customers can do wonders for your restaurant’s reputation, it’s usually hard to come by. That’s where influencer marketing comes in.

Influencers promote your F&B brand, offering, or campaign to their audiences. While influencers span nearly all industries, the F&B space is one of the most common. Because of that, chances are good that there’s a F&B influencer in your area.

Influencers range from nano-level (up to 10,000 followers) to A-list celebs with followings in the millions. Because of that, the chances are good that you can find an influencer to work with nearly any budget.

Social media accounts of micro-influencers may not have a huge reach. However, they take advantage of high organic engagement. In fact, the average engagement rate of micro-influencers on Instagram is 3.86%. Meanwhile, mega-influencers have a 1.21% engagement rate.

5. Host a social media contest

Contests can be a creative way to capture attention, grow your audience, and even score content or testimonials in the process.

You can give away a cookbook, a dinner for two, or a case of your brand’s beverage in exchange for a comment, share, follow, or post.

This F&B paid social tactic isn’t expensive, but it can be highly effective. It can bring new visitors to your location while re-engaging existing clients.

person taking photo of pastries on smartphone for F&B paid social

It’s key that your social profiles have content that’s consistent and updated, such as your logo, phone number, address, and website. (Image: Unsplash)

6. Don’t ignore the organic presence

You wouldn’t want to create a stellar paid search ad that goes to a subpar landing page. The same goes for your social media profiles.

While paid efforts can get you faster results, your organic content is what people will see when they land on your profiles. These posts help you showcase your brand’s personality, ethos, and style.

If this sounds like a lot to take on, don’t worry. You don’t have to invest a ton of time into maintaining your organic presence. Simply creating a schedule for consistent posts and having a few parameters you keep in mind should suffice. 

Posting parameters can include things like:

  • A mix of graphics, videos, and photos
  • Captions that follow your established brand voice
  • Timeframes for when your posts are likely to be most visible
  • Not overly editing or filtering posts

Along with a posting plan, it’s key that your social profiles have content that’s consistent and updated, such as your logo, phone number, address, and website. 

The takeaway

F&B paid social media tactics can bring about serious benefits for your business.

These strategies can help you grow your audience, increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and get more people in your doors or buying your products.

Leveraging even a few of the above strategies in 2022 can streamline your digital marketing efforts and keep you competitive without breaking the bank.

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 Caroline Cox on Jun 15 , 2022

Here’s the 411 on social media marketing, from LinkedIn to TikTok.

Here, you’ll find:

  • A breakdown of the main paid social platforms
  • How these social platforms compare
  • Best practices for audience targeting
  • Steps to building a successful paid social campaign

Whether you’re a constant Twitter feed refresher or barely remember to check your LinkedIn messages, social media’s influence on current culture can’t be denied. 

As a society, we’re more connected than ever through the internet. For better or worse, the share of U.S. adults who now report that they go online “almost constantly” has risen to 31%, up from 21% in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.

Social media platforms help us keep up with friends and family, stay informed about current events, foster professional connections, and offer glimpses into our real lives — filtered or not.

So it’s no surprise that paid social, also known as social media marketing, can be a huge boost for digital marketing programs — if you know how to do it right. For tips, best practices, expert advice, and more, read on.

What is paid social?

When we say “paid social,” we’re talking about ad campaigns via sponsored or promoted posts on social media platforms. These posts are a form of advertising that appear in a social media feed, timeline, or on a page. 

Brands often use paid social to expand their reach and target their audience in a way that’s both hyper-focused and seamless. 

Since most audience types already use at least one social media app, paid social posts can be a highly effective way to meet your ideal personas where they already are.

HawkSEM: Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

A paid social ad on Twitter (Image: Twitter)

The main players in paid social media marketing

The paid social platforms you choose to advertise on will depend on a few main factors: your product or service, the type of ad, and your audience. 

While the list isn’t stagnant or set in stone, the main players in this space include:

As with many other parts of creating a digital marketing strategy, knowing your target audience is key. 

If you don’t already have your ideal client persona mapped out, start with creating 1-3 profiles using resources like market research and the demographics of your current customers.

For a paid social ad campaign, you also want to know which platforms your audience gravitates toward. 

Generally, professionals favor LinkedIn. Gen X and Boomers tend to spend more time on Facebook than others. Pinterest is mostly visited by women. Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter all tend to skew more Millennial, while basically all generations (particularly Gen Z) use TikTok. 

Perhaps your audience overlaps multiple generations or other demographics. If so, you can always begin with the more affordable platforms, conduct a few A/B ad tests, see how your audience reacts, and iterate accordingly.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

A sponsored post above an organic post on HawkSEM’s Twitter feed (Image: Twitter)

How is paid social different from organic social media?

One benefit of paid social ads for the brands leveraging them is how seamlessly they fit into a user’s existing social feeds. 

These feeds are mostly populated with what’s called organic posts, which are free posts published by people you follow and brands whose pages you like or subscribe to.  

Basically, organic content is what you post on your business or personal page, whether directly or through a scheduling platform like Hootsuite

This content is seen by your followers and subscribers, though the exact percentage of followers who see this content varies by platform. These posts can also be shared by other individuals and spread further than just your following. 

With sponsored content (which can be a form of paid social), you’re paying the advertiser (the social media platform, in this case) to put your post or ad in front of people beyond your current following. You choose the audience you want and the platform places the ads accordingly, per the parameters you set. 

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

After you’ve determined the social media platform you’ll leverage for your campaign, you can start the work of actually building it. (Image: Unsplash)

Which paid social platforms should my company leverage?

As mentioned above, the social platform your company opts to advertise on will depend on your audience.

It’s good to have an understanding of what people use each platform for (we’ll get into that next). 

Once you understand your demo (age, gender, etc.), check out the breakdown of their profile or subscriber averages per platform. Sprout Social has data that breaks down demographics by platform. 

After deciding on the app, you’ve still got to determine which ad type you want to go with. Luckily, platforms like Facebook have ad managers that make it easier to decide which ad is right for you.

What are the paid social ad format options?

The ad types you can choose from will depend on the platform. The most common social media ad types include:

  • Text ads
  • Video ads
  • Multi-image carousel ads
  • Animated GIFs
  • Image ads
  • Product ads
  • Collection ads
  • Interactive ads
  • Lead form ads

Tips for creating a successful paid social campaign

After you’ve determined the social media platform you’ll leverage for your campaign, you can start the work of actually building it. The must-haves for a good social campaign include:

  • Determine your goals: There are a lot of options for the type of campaign you can run. Begin with deciding what you want from these efforts, whether it’s purchases, profile follows, subscribers, or something else.
  • Keep user intent in mind: What is the user’s purpose on these social channels? Keep this in mind when choosing the audience you want to target — and what you want from them. 
  • Content is the key: No surprise here: The content of your paid social ad is the most important factor in its success. Make sure the imagery is high-quality, the copy speaks directly to your target audience, and it links to a consistent landing page with a clear call to action (CTA).

Pro tip: Know the parameters of the social media platform you use. Some are more strict than others when it comes to image or video quality, for example. Different ads may require varying specs, text lengths, video length caps, and more. Check out the platform’s website to learn more about each and find the one that best fits your campaign creative.

Instagram ads 2022

The powerful targeting capability is one of the biggest benefits of leveraging paid social as part of your digital marketing strategy. (Image: Instagram)

What are the latest social media marketing stats ?

Social media stats change as frequently as the platforms themselves. Here’s a handful of recent paid social facts and figures.

  • Facebook is the most-used platform by marketers worldwide (93%).
  • Responses to TV ads are higher in terms of both engagement (+40%) and memorability (+28%) when Twitter is included in the experience.
  • Instagram crossed the 2 billion user mark In 2022.
  • 40% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads.
  • More than 50% of marketers plan on increasing their investments in Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok in 2022.
  • 39% of Gen Z consumers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced directly by what they see on TikTok.
  • Social media recently bested paid search as an advertising channel, growing 25% year over year and exceeding $137 billion (vs. paid search’s $135 billion).

What are the benefits of paid social campaigns?

The powerful targeting capability is one of the biggest benefits of leveraging paid social as part of your digital marketing strategy. 

You can reach people based on their interests, hobbies, past internet usage (cookies), demographics, locations, and more. You can also target those in different stages of the buying cycle.

Another paid social benefit is the robust analytics these platforms offer. Not only can you see who clicks your ad, but you’re also often privy to metrics like impressions, likes, shares, and other related, relevant actions.

Some of the more overlooked benefits, according to Sprout Social, include:

  • Uncovering industry trends in real-time
  • Comprehensive competitive analysis
  • Improved customer service
  • Humanizing your brand
  • Access to user-generated content (UGC) related to your brand

HubSpot reports that paid social campaigns are also great for:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating leads
  • Boosting conversions
  • Fostering customer relationships
  • Inspiring brand loyalty

While awareness may be seen as easier to achieve but less valuable than these other benefits, it’s the first step to turning a person into a prospect.

Pro tip: While most platforms have campaign tracking capabilities, it’s a good idea to independently track performance as well (you can use your host site’s tracking or a program like Google Tag Manager). This ensures your tracking is accurate and offers a true set of data once your program is fully ramped up.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

There’s no one-size-fits-all trick that’ll apply to ads across all social platforms. There are, however, best practices that do. (Image: Unsplash)

Audience segmentation options

Your options for audience segmentation will vary by platform. Let’s break it down.

LinkedIn – segment by:

  • Job experience & skills
  • Education & degrees
  • Age & gender
  • Company industry & size
  • Interests
  • Location & language
  • Job function, title & seniority
  • Years of experience

Facebook – segment by:

  • Core audience
  • Customer audience
  • Lookalike audience
  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Connections
  • Interests
  • Behavior

YouTube – segment by:

  • In-market audiences (interest or topic based)
  • Affinity audiences (interest or topic based)

Twitter – segment by:

  • Age or gender
  • Username
  • Interest (including TV targeting)
  • Conversation
  • Event
  • Tailored (from your website visitor and/or CRM data)

Instagram – segment by:

  • Location
  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Behaviors
  • Lookalikes
  • Automated
  • Custom (remarketing)

Pinterest – segment by:

  • Customer list
  • Previous site visitors
  • Previous pin engagements
  • Actalikes
  • Third-party data (U.S. only)

TikTok – segment by:

  • Lookalike
  • Custom
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Device
HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

YouTube’s Find My Audience tool gives you a selection of categories to target by interest or industry. (Image: Google)

Success secrets for each social media platform

Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all trick that’ll apply to ads across all social platforms. There are, however, best practices that do. These include:

  • Prioritizing your campaign’s creative components (copy and imagery/graphics)
  • Copy that is concise and easy to understand
  • A message that’s appropriate for the audience you’re targeting
  • The platform that’s appropriate for the audience you’re targeting
  • A clear CTA

On the back end, you also want to double-check that the destination link (the URL the ad links to) is correct and working. 

You also want to set up good tracking to ensure you’ve got accurate analytics from the beginning — most platforms have an in-house pixel you can place on the ad.

Pro tip: It can be tempting to hop on the bandwagon of every emerging social media app. While it’s good to snag your company’s username on new platforms, it’s often better to allocate your budget to more established ones. Keep an eye on what’s trending by subscribing to social media-focused newsletters to see what might be worth your ad dollars down the line.

HawkSEM - Paid Social 101: What You Need to Know

LinkedIn’s ads let you target different funnel stages as well as demographics. (Image: LinkedIn)

Should my company explore influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a company partners with an influential person or group (often for a certain industry) for a campaign to endorse, advocate, or amplify the brand.

These days, nearly all industries have influencers in their space — even the ones you may not think of as influencer-heavy, such as healthcare.

If you’re not sure whether influencer marketing is right for you, conduct some research to see if you can find influencers in your niche. It’s also wise to see if your competitors have leveraged them in the past.

Once you’ve decided to test out influencer marketing, set yourself up for success by:

  • Mapping out your campaign plan and goals
  • Identifying a few potential influencers
  • Determining the level of influencer you want (it ranges from nano to A-list celeb and will depend on your budget, obviously)
  • Nailing down the type of influencer content you’re looking for

How to test paid social ads

Just like you (hopefully) would with any other digital marketing campaign, testing and iterating should be baked into your process. Consider testing out varieties of copy, visuals, and mediums, such as an image vs. a short video.

It’s worth noting that some industries may naturally perform better than others, and some platforms are harder than others to achieve success. But there are things you can do to set yourself up for maximum return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Let’s talk about visuals. You don’t have to blow through your budget on movie-quality vids, but you may have to get creative.

Sometimes a stock photo — possibly overlaid in your brand’s colors — can be the perfect complement to get your point across. 

And, again, it’s about knowing the intent of each platform. LinkedIn may not be the place for a goofy video, and trying to get template or whitepaper downloads on Instagram might be a bust.

Lastly, if your business has a creative team in charge of ad design, make sure they have the proper specs for each platform you’re using. If you’re running a video ad, you should know how long it can be before it cuts off.

Budgeting and goal-setting for paid social ads

Remember what we said before about determining your goals?

You should have goals figured out before you create your campaign. Having the goals you want — whether that’s a certain number of purchases per month, a certain ROAS percentage, or something else — makes the process go much smoother. 

Some platforms, such as Facebook, optimize your campaign to your goal. Awareness campaigns, for example, are more broad and thus harder to track, so knowing that from the beginning helps you create realistic goals.

The bigger the platform and audience, the more homed in on your goal you’ll want to be. You don’t need to worry about being as targeted on a comparatively smaller platform like LinkedIn as you do on a larger, more globally used platform like Facebook.

When it comes to goal setting (also called the campaign’s objective), start small. We don’t suggest running a giant $2,000 a day campaign straight out of the gate.

You can also experiment with targeting different locations instead of trying to blanket the entire country — your budget will go much further this way.

Ready to take your paid social campaigns to the next level? Check out our list of tactical tips and tricks you can put into action today. 

Facebook’s ad objective breakdown for the Consideration stage

Facebook’s ad objective breakdown for the Consideration stage. (Image: Facebook)

Depending on your product or service, the platform may be able to guide you towards the ad type that’s best for your goal. Try out their recommendation, then you can better optimize from there as the data comes in.

When you’re building your campaign, most platforms have an “audience reached” metric on the back end that will tell you the approximate audience size for your chosen parameters, as well as what you can reach with your chosen budget.

The takeaway

With the popularity of social media growing exponentially by the year, it’s definitely worth exploring as part of any robust digital marketing program.

Those who find success with paid social do so by having a solid strategy laid out and an idea of the right platforms for their brand before they start building.

By recognizing that content is key, remembering each platform has different requirements, understanding your audience, targeting properly, and budgeting appropriately, you’ll find that social platforms can be a fun and creative way to connect with and grow your audience.

This article has been updated and was originally published in February 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 Jun 2 , 2022

Search engine marketing and paid social have their place in your marketing strategy — but it can be tough to know how and when to leverage each.

Here you’ll learn:

  • Key differences and similarities between SEM and SMM
  • When to use search engine marketing
  • Common social media marketing goals
  • Best practices for both marketing types

Digital marketing is all about connecting with people by going to where they spend time online via their computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Two of the most popular online spaces? No surprise here: Search engines and social media.

That’s why both social media marketing (SMM) and search engine marketing (SEM) are integral to most modern-day advertising strategies. 

They allow you to reach as many people as possible while collecting valuable information for further lead generation, conversion, and retention efforts.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences and similarities between SEM and SMM.

man looking at smartphone

Your website is your digital first impression and online HQ. (Image: Unsplash)

What’s the difference between SEM and SMM?

Search engine marketing generally encompasses paid search or PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. Some people also include search engine optimization tactics like content marketing as well, since search engine optimization (SEO) is also all about search engines.

Social media marketing can refer to both organic (free) and paid social efforts, such as promoted posts or social media ads.

While different tactics, search engine marketing and social media marketing have plenty in common. Their key similarities include:

  • Versatility  Both provide options for paid and organic marketing (paid search ads + SEO in SEM, paid social ads + social media optimization in SMM)
  • Reach – They give you an opportunity to reach a wide target audience (4.3 billion people use Google worldwide, while 3.6 billion people use social media)
  • Budget – While social media marketing doesn’t necessarily need to cost money, if you want them to reach maximum success, it requires some budget
  • Efforts  Both can bring about seriously impressive ROI if leveraged properly

On the other hand, a few important differences between SMM and SEM include:

  • Personalization – Social media marketing provides more opportunities to interact directly with the audience, which can help foster loyalty and trust
  • Costs – Social ads usually cost less than paid search ads (though ROI still depends on the quality of your strategy)
  • Goals – social media is more often about awareness building, while paid search is generally aimed at traffic and conversions
  • Choices Different audience segments have different social media app preferences, while most people leverage Google or Bing as their search engine (though there are others, of course).

When to use SEM

Your website is your digital first impression and online HQ. 

It’s where you want people to land, regardless of how they found you. So it’s imperative to keep it in tip-top shape, regardless of the marketing techniques you use. 

SEO

Paid ads and SEO go hand in hand. The latter helps get you more visibility in organic results, helps more people find you, and adds legitimacy to your online persona.

The higher your website ranks, the more credibility you achieve, both from your audience and in the eyes of the search engine.

SEO takes time to build, and it alone may not be able to get you to the top of page 1 search results, but it’s a necessary part of a well-rounded digital marketing plan.

PPC

PPC can not only help you shoot to the top of the search engine results page (SERP), but it allows you to target specific audiences to boot.

When you want to achieve quick results and bring more traffic to your website, PPC works best.

Paid search metrics are often very straightforward and easy to analyze. Plus, PPC tools can help you plan your budget, see what works and what doesn’t within minutes, and change your strategy in real-time

Overall, SEM best practices include:

  • Create high-quality content based on your audience’s pain points.
  • Target keywords depending on your budget (small budget = keywords with buying intent, larger budget = keywords for all stages of the buyer’s journey).
  • Choose the type of paid ads offered by search engines wisely since the CPC depends on it.
  • Build detailed buyer personas to base both SEO and PPC strategies on.

Bottom line: Use SEM when you need to drive traffic, increase exposure, gain credibility, and leverage specific targeting.

person looking at paid social on a tablet

PPC and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly. The same can be said for SEM and SMM. (Image: Pexels)

When to leverage SMM

While it’s possible to achieve results without social media marketing, these popular apps can help you reach a wider audience without blowing your budget.

Unlike a search engine, social media ads usually reach people who aren’t seeking something out. Rather, they’re probably just scrolling through their feeds.

That’s why social media ads are perfect for companies looking to build their brand, grow their following, and increase awareness.

Another reason to use SMM is to get to know your audience. Creating business profiles gets you access to metrics and helpful info about your posts and followers. In turn, this data can improve your understanding of your buyer persona.

What’s more, social media ads provide stellar targeting options. Since platform users share information about themselves willingly, they’re much easier to segment. 

The best practices for SMM include:

  • Choose the best platform for your efforts (aka the ones your audience is most active on)
  • Prioritize the visual element, whether it’s an image or video
  • Ensure your profiles are fully filled out, accurate, and consistent
  • Post content regularly
  • Conduct A/B tests with your social ads

Bottom line: Social media marketing is a great tactic for building brand awareness, refining your buyer personas, and letting your brand’s personality shine.

The takeaway

We’ve talked before about how PPC and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly. The same can be said for SEM and SMM.

To beat the competition, it’s wise to take advantage of all the resources and methods at your disposal — that includes search engines and social media marketing.

Struggling to get your digital marketing plan in shape? We can help.

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.

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Written by Caroline Cox on Apr 13 , 2022

Your leads could be browsing on Pinterest — here’s how to get their attention on the popular platform.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What Pinterest Ads are
  • Steps to create a business Pinterest Ads account
  • Best practices for creating paid social ads on Pinterest
  • This social platform’s latest business features

More than any other social media platform, Pinterest is where people go to be inspired. 

With 400 million people reportedly active on Pinterest each month, a reported 89% of Pinners in the U.S. use the site on their path to making a purchase. 

Anyone can publish content on Pinterest by uploading images or videos.

As a brand, you can connect a product feed that’ll turn every product into a Pin, or publish from your site by linking your RSS feed to have Pinterest automatically create new Pins. 

With all that purchasing intent, it stands to reason that Pinterest Ads are worth exploring.

pinterest ad manager

A look at creating an ad from an existing Pin on Pinterest

Using Pinterest Ads Manager to promote your content

Pinterest has made it pretty easy to get up and running on their ads platform. 

Once you create a business account, you go to the Ads dropdown menu on ads.pinterest.com and select “Create ad.” Then you’ll choose a campaign goal based on the action you want people to take from your ad.

Next, you’ll enter your ad group details and make selections for things like your budget, targeting, and the run dates of your campaign. After that, you’ll select the dates for your campaign, add your budget, and set a maximum bid. 

From there, you’ll decide which Pin you want to promote in your campaign (make sure the Pin’s name is accurate and that it links to the proper URL). Once everything looks good, it’s time to launch your ad. 

Pro tip: All ads are reviewed by the Pinterest team to ensure advertising guidelines are being followed. This process can take up to 24 hours, so don’t panic if it takes a day for your ad to be live.

pinterest feed with promoted pins

An example of how ads look when browsing the Pinterest site (Image: Pinterest)

1. Prioritize the visuals

Much like Instagram, Pinterest is all about the visuals. If your image isn’t high quality and engaging, you risk getting lost in the shuffle. 

It’s wise to keep images simple and vertically aligned so they’re easy to see on mobile. Experts recommend an aspect ratio of 9:16, with a minimum size of 1080×1920.

For Pin titles, you can enter up to 100 characters, with the first 40 actually showing in feeds, depending on device. (It’s wise, of course, to use keywords in your title.) 

For description, you get up to 500 characters, but know that “descriptions do not appear when viewing the Pin in the home feed or search feed,” according to Pinterest. “Additionally, descriptions do not appear for ads when viewed up close.”

The platform explains that descriptions are used by its own algorithm to determine relevance.

Pro tip: With the limited amount of characters in mind, some brands add text to the image itself to maximize the amount of words you can pair with your visual.

2. Determine the right format for your goal

There are five main Pinterest ad formats. The one or ones you opt to use will depend on your overall goals. These formats are:

  • Static – A basic ad that allows you to showcase your products and content via a vertical or square image format
  • Video – Use a looping video clip to grab viewers’ attention and tell a story (these ads come in standard and max width options)
  • Shopping – Easily convert Pins of your products into their own ads that can be clicked on to take the user right to the purchase page
  • Carousel – Showcase multiple images in a single ad that viewers can swipe through
  • Collections – A stylish way to mix individual products images with a larger image showing the items in context (like a living room image above individual photos of a lamp, couch, and coffee table)

Depending on your offering, you can play around with various ad types to see which ones resonate most with your audience. 

Fun fact: In March 2022, Pinterest announced the addition of $1.2 million to its Creator Fund specifically set aside for people from traditionally underrepresented groups: people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

pinterest ads budget

How it looks to manage your Pinterest ad budget (Image: Pinterest)

3. Figure out your budget

When it comes to pricing, Pinterest makes setting your budget pretty simple. 

You can determine how much you want to spend daily, the duration of your campaign, and which audience action you want to pay for. These actions could be views, engagement, or clickthroughs. 

Plus, it’s easy to turn your ad off anytime if you’re worried about blowing through your budget too quickly. As a reminder, your ad groups are where you determine things like targeting, your schedule, and your budget.

Pro tip: New to terms like “flexercise,” “pearlcore,” “barkitecture,” and “nailscapes”? Pinterest’s 2022 trend forecasting report will loop you in.

4. Take advantage of the targeting options

Speaking of targeting, you can choose one or multiple segments from the following targeting options:

  • Audiences – Combine your own data with Pinterest’s to reach those who have previously made a purchase on your site or have engaged with your Pinterest content in the past 
  • Actalike audience – New people who have similar habits or interests to one of your existing audience segments
  • Demographics – Allow you to reach users by specific location, device, gender, age, or language
  • Interests – Targets users who have created boards, engaged with Pins, or have shown interest in a relevant topic
  • Keywords – Allow you to reach people who are searching for a specific topic on Pinterest 
  • Placements – Choose if you want your ads shown in Pinterest search results, while users browse, or both
  • Expanded – Pinterest populates additional interests and keywords based on the ones you’ve already chosen along with your ad content and audience

All of the ad decisions you make should take your target audience into account, from the language in your copy to the visuals you choose. Once you’ve nailed down your ideal client persona, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine what’s bound to appeal to them most.

Need a bit more help to get going on Pinterest Ads? You’ve come to the right place. 

pinterest promoted pins

How to add existing Pins to an ad group (Image: Pinterest)

5. Keep an eye on performance

You may be surprised by how much success you find through Pinterest ads. 

Alternatively, you may find that the platform simply isn’t used by enough of your target audience. The only way to know how successful your ads are is to track their performance.

Pinterest encourages brands to promote Pins they’ve created that are already popular, since it’ll be easier to get these Pins more exposure. From there, you can check out the Analytics section in your account to gauge performance. 

And, of course, you should test a few different strategies and ad elements to ensure your campaigns are optimized. 

E-commerce brands with active accounts can take things a step further by enrolling in the verified merchant program, which adds a verification check symbol to your account and allows you to have a “Shop” tab on your profile page. 

Pro tip: Pinterest offers two ways to create ads: one is more automated, while the other is more manual and customized. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the advanced tool settings that let you build and edit campaigns, ad groups and custom targeting in Ads Manager.

create pin

Pinterest offers tools to create the most effective Pins for your audience. (Image: Pinterest)

The takeaway

Pinterest is where people go to find inspiration — whether it’s for their home, career, wardrobe, or next meal. Take advantage of this visual-centric platform to target those who are browsing or searching the site for something that aligns with your product or service.

By being mindful about your content, targeting your audience, setting the right budget, and leveraging the proper ad format, you could gain access to a whole new segment of future customers. 

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

This article has been updated and was originally published in July 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 Mar 11 , 2022

TikTok has taken the social media world by storm. Find out how to advertise successfully on this mega-popular platform. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • What TikTok ads are
  • Why businesses should explore this social media app
  • Best practices for creating video ads on this platform
  • How trends should factor into your TikTok content

“It’s basically the most underrated ad platform right now.” “It reminds me of Facebook in the early 2010s – super low CPMs and a lot of growth potential.”

This is what our marketers are saying about TikTok — and they’re not wrong. In the last few years, the app has taken over not just the social media landscape, but it’s transformed the shopping industry as we know it.

A recent study found 84% of TikTok users say it’s a source for discovering or learning something new, and users are 1.5 times more likely to immediately buy something they discovered on the platform.

TikTok’s success lies in its highly sophisticated (and mysterious) algorithm. The more you use it, the better it becomes at understanding what kind of videos to serve you. The more you like or follow a certain type of content, the more of that type you’ll see.

The data is clear: brands who leverage TikTok successfully have a good chance of seeing increased sales and a positive return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Curious about whether TikTok advertising is right for your business? Scroll on.

1. Understand the TikTok ad platform

TikTok offers in-feed ads, which show up in the same place and in the same way as organic content. While these are the most popular and affordable ads, the platform also offers:

  • TopView ads, which appear as soon as someone opens the app
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge ads, which is where brands create and promote a unique hashtag
  • Branded effects, where users have the option to post a video using your branded video filter or effect 

Similar to Instagram, TikTok allows you to create special ads or to pay to promote organic content. As Shopify reports, “TikTok’s self-serve In-Feed ads allow you to set your own daily budget, starting at $5 per day.”

Here are the steps to getting started on TikTok as a brand:

  • Download the TikTok app and set up a business account
  • Click around to get familiar with the TikTok Ads Manager
  • When you’re ready to create an ad, choose your goal from 3 options
    • Awareness (reach)
    • Consideration (traffic, interaction, lead gen, etc.)
    • Conversions
  • Decide on your audience segment
  • Determine your budget and campaign length
  • Create your video ad content
  • Submit your ad for review
  • Monitor the results and iterate as necessary

Pro tip: Hootsuite has laid out tips to increase TikTok engagement along with an easy-to-use calculator to determine where yours currently stands.

person holding a smartphone with tiktok homepage pulled up

You want your videos to fit seamlessly into the viewer’s For You Page. (Image: Unsplash)

2. Identify your audience

If you think Gen Z is the only audience on TikTok, think again.

While this age range may be the majority, those 19 and under only make up one fourth of the platform’s millions of users. Spend enough time on the app, and you’re bound to see a range of demographics.

Once you’ve zoomed in on your audience, you can start following and interacting with their content. This will surface more of that content type, giving you a window into what’s resonating most with this audience segment.

This will prove immensely helpful when you’re creating content yourself.

Pro tip: Along with thinking about your audience, keep the funnel stage in mind. Is your goal more geared toward awareness, traffic, or conversions? This will also inform how you approach your brand’s videos.

3. Create & edit within the app

You want your videos to fit seamlessly into the viewer’s For You Page. (This is the main section of the app where people scroll through algorithm-selected videos to find new accounts to view, interact with, and follow.) One of the best ways to do that is by creating natively in TikTok.

Rather than struggling to repurpose content you’ve used on other platforms, it’s generally a best practice to create your videos directly in the app. This will also make it easier to edit and post the content when it’s ready.

Videos created elsewhere may render poorly or not fill the specs properly.

Pro tip: HubSpot reports that “the three best time frames to post on TikTok are 6-9 PM, 3-6 PM, and 12-3 PM, in that order.”

4. Start strong

The addictive nature of TikTok comes from the fact that you can endlessly scroll. But while the app recently announced they’ll be launching a 10-minute-long video option, don’t be mistaken: you’ve got 1-2 seconds to make an impact.

You need to hook your audience fast to keep them from scrolling on by. If you don’t? Your video will get deranked by the algorithm, effectively sealing your campaign’s fate. 

Through our team’s experience creating successful TikTok ads, we’ve seen that capitalizing off of existing app trends (more on that below) and using popular songs and audio clips are great ways to make those first seconds count.

Pro tip: TikTok began to roll out ads within its search results in March 2022. According to Search Engine Land, this could help brands attract more qualified traffic and get valuable keyword data in the process.

5. Play off of trends

This may be hard for marketers to hear, but it’s nearly impossible to predict TikTok trends. They come from out of nowhere (case in point: the Celine Dion challenge featuring her hit song from 1996) and fizzle out just as quickly.

But it’s also true that this is one of the best ways to get your ad seen by as many people as possible. When playing off TikTok trends, your best bet is to jump on the bandwagon when the trend is still pretty new — that means you haven’t seen tons of other brands play off the same trend.

Trying to capitalize on a trend that’s losing steam will likely result in viewers having a kind of “trend fatigue” that causes them to see or hear the trend and keep scrolling.

Video content creator dancing with friends in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

While it’s common for people to use almost all other popular social media apps without sound, TikTok is decidedly a “sound on” environment. (Image: Rawpixel)

Pro tip: There aren’t a ton of evergreen trends on the app. But one that’s proven to have some staying power is the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt tag. If you’re an e-commerce brand in particular, this tag could be worth perusing for inspiration.

6. Focus on storytelling

Successful ads often have some sort of storytelling element to their content. Whether it’s a “day in the life” type post (those tend to perform well), someone speaking directly into the camera, or something more, keep storytelling top of mind.

When you look at high-performing ads in TikTok’s ad library, it’s clear that videos telling a story using real people and real-life settings (vs. overly stylized or graphic-heavy videos) are the ones that see success.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to break the proverbial fourth wall. Talking directly to the viewer, even asking them a question, has been shown to help people connect with what they’re watching.

7. Leverage audio

While it’s common for people to use almost all other popular social media apps without sound, TikTok is decidedly a “sound on” environment. 

Captions are helpful, especially for making your content as accessible as possible. But, as Social Media Today reports, “brands need to consider sound as a key part of their overall branding effort.” The app itself reports that 100% of TikTok auction ads feature sound.

In late 2021, TikTok launched an audio library with royalty-free music, citing a study that found “TikTok was the only platform where ads with audio generated significant lifts in both purchase intent and brand favorability.” 

Brands can use this library to explore hundreds of thousands of recordings and filter by preferences such as:

  • Region
  • Usable placements
  • Themes
  • Mood
  • Duration
  • Genre

8. Test with organic content

If you’re new to the platform, want to see if it’s right for you, or have a limited budget, you can start off by publishing organic, free TikTok videos.

This way, you can test a few different strategies out and see what resonates. From there, you can use ad options to amplify your content. This is also a great way to grow your presence and following. 

Basically, aim to create good TikToks, not ads. 

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to have fun and try new things with your organic videos. A great example: The language learning site and app Duolingo gained a ton of visibility (over 62 million likes and counting) for posting funny, ridiculous videos that played on trends and featured a person donning the company’s mascot owl costume.

9. Keep your messaging direct

From your caption to your calls to action (CTAs), less is more. As with most marketing copy, you want to be direct, concise, and appealing right out of the gate.

Plus, if you’re going for a goal other than brand awareness, you’ve got to have a strong enough message that’ll inspire viewers to navigate away from the app. If you’ve used the app, you know that’s no easy feat. 

Pro tip: When creating TikTok ads, Search Engine Journal recommends best practices such as balancing promotion with entertainment, using partnerships to boost awareness, using a 9:16 video format, and having captions.

smartphone on table with tiktok account pulled up

You’ll likely continue to see more brands joining in and creating TikTok content. (Image: Unsplash)

10. Keep iterating

As mentioned above when it comes to TikTok trends, it’s nearly impossible to predict what videos will hit their stride on the app. Because of that, rather than throwing in the towel on a campaign that’s not getting views, it’s best to keep iterating.

Changing up the first few seconds, speeding up the video, or changing out the music could be just the tweak a video needs to start performing well. So if you have a good feeling about what you’ve created, keep fine-tuning it to see if performance improves as a result.

Pro tip: Creating TikTok-specific landing pages can help you track how many people are coming to your site from the app, since tracking is currently limited on the platform.

The takeaway

When compared to other popular social platforms, TikTok’s current growth just can’t be beat. That’s why you’ll likely continue to see more brands joining in and creating TikTok content.

If you want to reach your audience in a new, direct way, create fun organic content that shows off your brand’s personality, or simply keep up with the competition, TikTok is where you want to be.

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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[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS]
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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[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS]
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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[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS]
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.

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