Pay to Play: Sponsored Social Media Posts

Connecting with your social media followers isn’t always straightforward.

Facebook’s algorithm changes, for instance, have heavily impacted the numbers of people who see posts by corporate Facebook pages (as of this writing, about 16 percent of a Page’s followers will see any give post by that Facebook Page).

Twitter works differently: if a person follows a Twitter account, that account’s Tweets absolutely will appear in the person’s news feed. But what if that person is away from Twitter for a few hours, a weekend, a whole week? It’s not very likely he’s going to scroll all the way down to see every single Tweet he missed in his absence.

We’ll just come right out and say it: it can be tough to ensure that your posts are landing in front of your followers.

And that’s where paid services like “boosting” or “sponsoring” a post come into play.

Facebook and Twitter both offer opportunities for sponsored social media posts (i.e. advertising). Are they right for your insurance agency?

Facebook and Twitter both offer opportunities for sponsored social media posts (i.e. advertising). Are they right for your insurance agency?

Facebook Sponsored Social Media Posts

Facebook offers a couple of options that could provide you with a bigger audience for your digital outreach. One is boosting a post, and the other is creating an ad that could spotlight your Facebook page, your website, or your business itself.

To get your feet wet, you might want to start with boosting a post. You’ll see the blue Boost Post button on the lower right of your post, just above the Comments, Likes, and Shares that that particular post has received. You will want to choose a post that has important information in it—a post that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise—or a post that is already performing well.

Once you select a post to boost, the ad will be created automatically. You simply have to select who you’d like to target: your followers and their friends, or others (you can select their geographic locations, ages, gender, and interests). You also choose how much you’d like to spend boosting this post. And then you’re done! That boosted post will appear higher up in the news feed of your target audience. (Facebook offers more pointers here.)

Another option is creating a Facebook ad that could accomplish any one of several goals for your agency: sending people to your website, reaching local people, even getting people to claim a special offer or attend your event (perhaps you’re offering a seminar to try to attract new clients). The process is very similar to boosting a post, except you have significantly more input. You get to choose even more characteristics of your target audience, you get to select images and text to include in your ad, and you can include a call-to-action button. To take a look at some of the options, go to the Ad Manager.

Twitter Sponsored Social Media Posts

Twitter ads have evolved, and now offer many of the same options as Facebook Ads. You can choose an advertising goal of sending people to your website, growing your Twitter followers, even collecting emails from people who want to claim your special offer. Or, if you prefer, you can “boost” a tweet (the older form of pay-to-play on Twitter).

Either way, you get to customize your outreach in ways very similar to Facebook, selecting how much you want to pay per day, location, gender, even the device your target is using. But you can also select particular keywords (#insurance, anyone?), followers, even behaviors (and guess what? Insurance is one of the behaviors you can choose). Check out all the options here.

Create or select a Tweet, and you’re off and running.

To Pay or Not to Pay

The biggest question is: is a sponsored social media post worth your time and money? Well, only you will be able to answer that. Here are points to consider:

  • Are you striving to increase your Facebook likes or Twitter followers? How much is one new follower worth to you?
  • Are you striving to drive people to your agency’s website? What do you want them to do once they get there?
  • Are you hoping to grow an email list for direct e-marketing? How much would you be willing to pay for a list? How much are you willing to pay per email address gained with this method?
  • Do you pay for advertising in other venues (local publications, signage, local event sponsorships)? What is your return on investment for these ads? Could targeting the audience for your ad, as you can on social media, get you a bigger return?

Still struggling to decide? It may be time to give social media advertising a try. Remember, you get to set your own budget, so you can keep a firm control of costs. And one small test ad could give you important information to decide whether sponsored social media posts should be a permanent part of your marketing arsenal.

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