Social media makes up a significant portion of today’s marketing activity, with paid social media advertising representing a large chunk of marketing budgets. In fact, in 2022, ad spending on social media reached over $173 billion. As you can see, lots of companies have invested in paid social media. Are you one of them? If not, are you trying to decide if it’s worth it? We have some thoughts, which we’ll detail here.
A Refresher: What is Paid Social Media?
Paid social media refers to the method of displaying advertisements or sponsored marketing content to users on popular social media platforms, often targeting a specific audience segment. Various forms of PPC, branded or influencer-generated content, and display ads are all types of paid social media. They normally have a “sponsored” or “promoted” tag near the posts. While every social media channel is different, they each have their own form of paid advertising. For example, Twitter offers sponsored short-form content while Instagram focuses on paid visual content. Each platform has its pros and cons and caters to a unique audience, so your paid strategies should differ and be tailored to the tool’s particular users.
Your Objective is Key
In order to determine if paid social media strategies are right for your firm, you need to have a clear understanding of the value of each. Think of each platform as a unique journey for your potential clients. They start by noticing your firm in their newsfeed and end up at a desired destination – such as an email subscription, content download, or pursuing your firm’s social media profile. One of the great things about social media is that there are a lot of tools available that can help you to get smarter about your audience and what they’re doing so that you can plot this journey. There are a variety of settings, filters, and other criteria to help you narrow down who is most likely to engage with your firm. Here’s a bit of information about the most common platforms:
This is the best platform for professional sectors, allowing legal marketers to reach thousands of people who could be potential clients or partners. Their paid advertising function helps you connect with targeted individuals on behalf of your firm. Targeted ads are keyword based, and you can select audiences by category. LinkedIn offers sponsored content options that encourage people to engage with your ads at a deeper level and are great for capturing leads. LinkedIn is ideal for:
- Driving action that generates leads – LinkedIn uses in-app form fills to make it easy for users to exchange information with you without clicking away. This is particularly helpful for getting people to register for events, for example.
- Encouraging engagement and conversation – Even if you spend a lot of money on ads, you can’t guarantee engagement. Comments, likes, and shares still need to come organically and they can be hard to come by. You have to make the most of the text, headlines, and other elements available, and LinkedIn ad formats make it easier to do that. You can learn more about getting traction with LinkedIn ads here.
If you’d like an in-depth look at how to master LinkedIn ads, check out this free eBook: Law Firm Guide to LinkedIn Advertising.
Facebook Targeted Ads offer the most robust ad platform available. It’s run on a bidding system where advertisers bid on a number of ads based on their preferred target audience. The bid is then put into a sort of lottery for a chance to be chosen and displayed. Facebook ads are great for narrowing down your audience based on geography, interests, demographics, and more. You can even show ads based on certain behaviors. Facebook ads are best for:
- Keeping users on the platform – You can create ads that don’t click through to an external website. You can take advantage of in-app forms so the user doesn’t experience disruption when they engage with your ad.
- Driving conversation – The ad formats on Facebook help to make it clear what the next step should be. They can download things directly from the ad, for example.
Sponsored tweets tend to look similar to regular tweets, which usually means more eyes on your content. You can also target your ads to a specific demographic. They’re particularly effective at geographically targeted ads. Ads on Twitter work because:
- The ads get more traffic – Continuous advertising on Twitter can significantly expand the reach of your thought leadership. Unlike Facebook which keeps people on the site, Twitter allows people to click through which can encourage them to engage with your website.
- Ad settings are based on your budget – Things like how often your ad will be seen and which ad type you’ll use factor into the overall budget, so you have a lot of control.
84% of people discover new products on Instagram. While this statistic is obviously referring to consumer goods, it demonstrates the fact that Instagram is a place where people are used to uncover new things. It’s a good place to get in front of people who may not be familiar with your firm yet. To run ads on Instagram, you need to use a business profile. You can also run ads concurrently on Facebook since they own Instagram. You can choose an amount of ad spend that works for your budget, as low as $1. The amount is based on the timeline of your campaign and the scope of your audience. Instagram is pretty straightforward in that you get what you pay for – your ad campaign runs during the amount of time you pay for it. Instagram is known for:
- Visually appealing ads – Graphics are the most important part of Instagram ads. If you choose to advertise on this platform, just having an impactful message won’t be enough. Neutral colors and a clean design that draws the eye to your message are helpful.
- Simple calls-to-action – One of the best features of Instagram ads is the ability to swipe up to learn more. When you’re done viewing that content, you can simply click out and continue your Instagram browsing. For that reason, it’s easier to make a direct CTA that fits your ad.
At the end of the day, your investment in paid social media is likely to pay off – if you are strategic about which platforms you use and how you create messaging. To get the most from this form of paid advertising, you should narrow down your goals and work toward them. Paid social campaigns can be cost-effective, but they need to be well-thought-out and require ongoing maintenance. You’ll get the most value out of your paid programs if you choose the proper targets, craft smart ads, and set an appropriate budget.
Law firms should consider paid social strategies in order to expand their reach and generate more leads. There once was a time when your organic presence on social media was enough – but those days are over. Now, you need to take extra steps to ensure your content gets the attention that it deserves. Paid social allows you to reach new people who are not yet familiar with your firm – and significantly increase your ROI. For more advice on paid advertising in all of its formats, have a conversation with our digital marketing experts. Contact us today for a free consultation.