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How Paid Social Media Advertising Can Work For In-House Programs

In-house search marketers are often struggling to find ways to grow their responsibilities. For many, the search engine marketing program itself will only get so big or complicated before it settles into a healthy size for the organization that runs like a well-oiled machine.

In-house marketers who are looking to grow their skills, expand their responsibilities and experiment with something new should make a case for testing paid social media marketing. Here are some ways you can put in-house marketing skills to work on campaigns to drive direct sales, fans, likes, and followers!

Test The Waters With Facebook Ads

Facebook advertising is definitely maturing with the advent of more sophisticated reporting on pages data and bulk upload tools for advertisers. Last year, the in-house column published Facebook Advertising: An In-House Guide to Getting Started, which is a good introduction to running Facebook advertising campaigns.

Experimentation with direct marketing campaigns or other off Facebook advertising is certainly worth testing, but also running campaigns to increase fans and likes on Facebook is worth trying.

Facebook’s greatest asset is the targeting options. Targeting competitor names, product affinities, likes and interests are all powerful targeting areas for advertisers to explore (along with corresponding ad text and images).

Additionally, new ad formats like Facebook Story ads have much higher click-through rates than the regular Facebook text ads and are great vehicles to test promoting a page to friends of people already connected to you.

Success metrics for Facebook ads could be direct sales from a promotion advertised or new fans or likes gained from the ad campaigns.

In-house marketers can work on valuing Facebook fans based on total referrals and sales from Facebook and having a Facebook fan only sale or promotion is one method for determining a direct revenue value for Facebook fans.

Advertising On Twitter

The Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts programs from Twitter are still in a beta phase which potential advertisers can apply for via Twitter’s Business site.

Advertisers can pay on a Cost-per-Engagement basis to promote their tweets. An engagement may be a Retweet, a reply or a click on a link in the promoted tweet.

The Promoted Accounts program is very straightforward, featuring a Twitter account in the “Who to Follow” section and priced on a per new follower basis from the promoted links.

Promoted Trends are also available, but very expensive, most in-house marketers will find much more interesting and easier to test Promoted Tweets or Accounts.

Success metrics for Promoted Tweets could be direct sales from a promotion advertised in the tweet, direct traffic to a site from clicks via the tweet or gauging new followers gained from the tweets. In-house marketers can determine a valuation for a Twitter follower based on total referrals and sales from Twitter.

Running a Twitter-only sale or promotion is a great way to gauge success and aid in establishing a follower valuation. Also, Promoted Tweets are a great way to advertise a contest or a big company release (like a website redesign or similar).

Get Started With Google Twitter Ads

Last fall, the in-house column also featured How To Get Started With Google Twitter Ads,  an article outlining Google AdWords’ Twitter Ad format and how to get started testing it.

The Twitter ad format still appears to be in beta and the impression and click volumes are not terribly high, but still worth experimenting with as part of a broader Twitter campaign strategy.

Paid Discovery On StumbleUpon

While many may think of StumbleUpon as a flash in the Internet pan, the website discovery service is still going strong with over 10 million users. StumbleUpon offers Paid Discovery, which promotes a page to be shown targeted to the audience that correlates to interest categories selected by an advertiser. A fee of $0.05 is charged for each display of the page.

For fancier reporting options and preferential promotion, advertisers can upgrade to higher fees, but generally the $0.05 level will get quite a bit of traffic from people interested in your category.

While StumbleUpon might not be the best option for driving deep engagement and sales with a website, it is an interesting way to promote a Facebook page or Twitter profile to gain fans and followers.

There’s a fairly low threshold to becoming a follower or fan of a site that is in a category of interest to you and StumbleUpon works quite well as a tool to facilitate that at a very low cost.

A Word On Budgets

In-house search marketers looking to add to their repertoire with one or more of these ideas might find it easiest to lobby their organization for a regular, modest monthly test budget (a couple thousand dollars will go far here), set aside for experimenting on new ad opportunities like these and not directly tied to an ROI metric.

As the programs grow and clearer ROI valuations of their performance arise, the experiments that proved their value can then move into their own dedicated budgets. This strategy often helps speed up internally getting some of these ideas off the ground and avoiding the budgeting bureaucracy that can sometimes occur in organizations. By the time new efforts need a bigger budget, everyone will have seen the preliminary results and the merit of awarding more to the program.

Experimenting with paid social media marketing is a great opportunity not only for organizations looking to grow their social media footprints, but for in-house marketers looking to enhance and expand their online marketing expertise.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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