Engagement vs Conversion: The Paid Social Media Conundrum

    3 minutes read
    John - 16.05.2016
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    We know a lot of people whose ambition in life is to go viral on the internet. And that’s a good thing; However, your paid social media campaigns need a lot more thought and planning behind them, especially if you want to stay relevant to potential customers and get a good return on investment.

    Getting internet famous

    Warhol famously said that everybody would have their 15 minutes of fame. Thanks to the incredible growth and refinement of social media over the years, his prediction looks to be more accurate than ever.

    Going viral can open up a world of opportunity for people. Zane Lowe’s Rude Tube is a testament to that, and you only have to look at the likes of Darren Farley to see the potential benefits. The scouse funnyman gained a following online a few years back because of his impressions of Rafael Benitez and Jamie Carragher, and is now the face of Coral’s ad campaigns.  

    Brands that perfect their inbound lead generation strategy see falling marketing costs, better quality leads, greater client engagement and other benefits that outbound methods simply can’t provide. If you want to know more about inbound lead generation read our guide “Everything you need to know about Inbound lead generation”

    The internet can be a gateway to stardom, and it’s interesting to see how many commercial enterprises plan ‘going viral’ into their marketing efforts. A lot of companies have actually gone viral with their marketing efforts, too; the bear taking his fur off to put in a Samsung washing machine instantly springs to mind, and was very cleverly done.

    Old Spice’s campaigns years back helped to reinvent the brand online, and numbered among many well-produced creative spots from Wieden+Kennedy. However, for every campaign that does manage to go viral, there are thousands of others from companies across the globe falling by the wayside.

    Paid social media is the key to success

    There’s nothing wrong with brands trying to go viral - but unless they have knowledge of how content aggregators like Reddit work, experience of the majority of social media networks, and a clever creative campaign, their chances of viral success are slim. There’s another element to include too: luck.

    A lot of viral success stories come down to luck and little else. Someone may find a quirky video on YouTube, post it on a content network, it explodes in popularity and makes mainstream press the next day. It can be as simple as that. Who would have thought a man crying and shouting at people to “leave Britney alone” would still be making national headlines?

    There’s a serious point that small businesses need to consider if they’re concentrating their energy on going viral. That drive can be admirable, but may also shift focus away from the social media efforts that are actually attracting people to your website and helping your business to grow.

    This is especially the case if you’re running a paid social media campaign. It’s so easy to imagine an idea that you think stands a chance of going viral, wrap yourself up in it and spend your allotted social budget trying to make it happen.

    What are the best paid social media channels?

    For startups and SMEs to grow and get a positive ROI from social, we fully recommend a paid social media campaign that covers the most relevant channels for your business.

    Social media is a fantastic way to reach out to specific groups of people and target those who might come back to your brand time and again. But to truly unlock its potential, you’ll need a budget in place (as small or as large as you want, depending on resources ) to make the most out of social’s biddable targeting features.

    Profiling your target market, discovering their interests and online movements is essential to social media success. For instance, different groups of people use different social networks at different times. Women dominate Pinterest, while 55% of online adults aged 18 to 29 use Instagram according to Pew.

    The art of conversation

    Carefully targeting your chosen audience with a creative campaign is one of the most effective ways to introduce them to your brand and the sales process, and see some returns. If you spend your social budget in an effort to go viral though, there are dangers to consider other than losing money.

    If you’re convinced that an idea is viral-worthy and continue to present it to your carefully-researched audience, they may not like it as much as you, meaning you’re essentially paying for people to be turned off from your brand.

    Instead, it’s important to spend your budget wisely to get in front of the right people on the right networks. Rather than blanket broadcasting, learn the art of conversation, and complement with other creative inbound tactics to improve conversions and let your business grow. That’s the best way to really go viral amongst your potential customers. 

    Brands that perfect their inbound lead generation strategy see falling marketing costs, better quality leads, greater client engagement and other benefits that outbound methods simply can’t provide. If you want to know more about inbound lead generation read our guide “Everything you need to know about Inbound lead generation”

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