Social media is an integral part of most people’s daily lives. It’s certainly grown in importance as part of the marketing mix. Though there are a lot of benefits to using free functionality on social media, paid social media is becoming more prevalent for law firms. Should you invest in paid social media? Here’s what law firms need to know about making the jump to paid social media.
What is Paid Social Media?
In simple terms, paid social media refers to a method of advertising where marketing messages or sponsored content are displayed on popular social media channels to a targeted audience.
Examples you might commonly see are pay-per-click advertisements, branded content, influencer-generated posts, etc. You can tell a post is a paid ad when you see a “sponsored” or “promoted” tag near the content. It’s worth noting that each social media platform is different, and the ways that their advertising works will vary. Twitter offers short-form content whereas Instagram is heavily focused on visual items. LinkedIn is much more geared toward networking and building relationships. That means you need to carefully consider all the elements of paid campaigns before getting started.
Reviewing the Major Social Media Tools
As we mentioned, each channel has unique features that make it different from the others. Additionally, each social media tool attracts a different audience and the way that people use it will be different. That being said, there are three elements that will be central to any paid social campaign, regardless of the platform. Those components are:
Let’s take a closer look at each of the major social media channels.
This platform is the one that is most ideally suited to legal professionals. With millions of users visiting the platform to expand their professional relationships, solve business issues, and learn more about things that impact their jobs, it’s a great place to connect with both clients and prospects. You can reach thousands of people that are applicable to your industry including thought leaders, potential partners, future clients, etc. LinkedIn is an optimal platform for B2B advertising and is the most popular social media tool for lead generation. Their targeted ads allow you to type in keywords and select audiences by category. For example, if your best clients tend to have a certain role in their organization, you can search for that role in particular and target those individuals. Plus, it’s a great way to share new thought leadership and build a following – which is crucial for legal marketers. Use LinkedIn to create ads that keep people on the platform (without redirecting them to a new site) and drive further conversation. Engagement is something that happens organically, so it’s important to put emphasis on your headline, copy, and captions so that you generate likes and comments.
Related: The Law Firm Guide to LinkedIn Advertising eBook
This tool offers the Facebook Targeted Ads program, which is one of the more robust advertising mechanisms out there. It’s run on a bidding system where advertisers bid on a number of ads based on their preferred target audience. That bid is then placed in a lottery for a chance to be chosen and displayed to that particular audience. Users love Facebook advertising because you can narrow your audience down based on several factors like geography, demographics, interests, and more. Additionally, Facebook Ads let you show your content to clients or prospects based on their behavior. This is really helpful for generating new leads and building ongoing relationships. One of the best features of Facebook advertising is that it keeps people on the platform – users are not redirected to a new site if they click on your ad. At the same time, it’s easy to create prompts that drive conversations. Ads are structured in a way where it’s really easy to see what the brand wants you to do next.
Sponsored tweets look so similar to regular tweets that many users do not even realize immediately that they are being advertised to. Twitter has 192 million monetizable daily users which present a large audience that can then be narrowed down based on demographics. Geographically targeted ads tend to perform well on Twitter, and their ads are especially helpful for driving traffic to a website. For example, if you’re trying to beef up your thought leadership strategy, investing in Twitter ads is a good way to get more eyes on your blog. Additionally, Twitter provides ad settings based on your own budget, which makes it easier to control your overall investment.
Traditionally viewed as more of a B2C space, Instagram has grown and now has a lot to offer businesses of all kinds. They boast more than one billion users, and you can take advantage of their advertising program to really expand your reach. To run ads on Instagram, you need a business profile. It’s also nice that Facebook owns Instagram, so you can run ads concurrently and everything is managed by Facebook. You can choose an amount of ad spend as low as $1. The amounts will vary based on your timeline and the size of your audience. Instagram is unique in that you get exactly what you pay for – your ad campaign will run for the exact amount of time you purchased. Effective Instagram ads tend to be visually appealing since imagery is really the foundation of the platform. Plus, you need to keep the call to action simple. One of the top features of Instagram ads is the ability to “swipe up” to get more information, so sharing a call to action in a short and sweet format is best.
So is Paid Social Media Worth Your Money?
The truth is that no matter how much you optimize your organic social media efforts, there’s no guarantee that you will reach the right people – or that you can ever expand that reach. With paid social media, you’re essentially paying to reach highly targeted individuals and attract their undivided attention. Does that sound like it’s worth some of your budget?
The great thing about the various social media advertising programs is that you can put in as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. Maybe at this point, there isn’t a business case for investing tens of thousands of dollars. However, it’s absolutely worth making minor investments and then tracking ROI over time. Each platform offers tools and reporting that make it easy to see how your ads are doing and what is working and what’s not. You can use this information to tweak campaigns and become more effective over time.
This post can really be summarized in one sentence: Is paid social media worth it? Yes.
That’s because there is so much flexibility involved in setting up campaigns. You don’t need to blow your entire budget, rather, you can make some small investments and continue to scale over time. The current social media advertising programs make it easy to scale and optimize campaigns, plus pull reporting to see what needs to be adjusted. Paid social media is a great outlet for expanding your reach, driving traffic to your website, and engaging future clients. In order to be successful, though, you need to carefully monitor your ROI and choose highly targeted audience segments. Then you’ll have a better feel for how much you really need to invest in order to move the needle.
Not sure where to start in building out a paid social media strategy? We can help you build campaigns that drive prime targets right to your website or blog. Contact us today for a free consultation.