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Social Advertising: Which Method is Right for Your Business?

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With the growing number of possibilities for advertisements across social networks, it's easy to confuse who offers what within each platform. Luckily, we've got you covered. We're breaking down the top advertising methods for social media marketing on each social network to help you find the best investment options for your business.

Social Advertising on Facebook

To begin, we'll start with the ringleader of all social advertising, Facebook. This platform offers a variety of options for both large and small business owners alike, making it an affordable means for any brand looking to expand their reach.

The breakdown:

Facebook currently offers eight different objectives for your advertising campaign.

Facebook Objectives for Advertising Campaigns

Once you've narrowed down what sort of traffic you'd like to see, there are several methods available to achieve your goals.

Sponsored Stories are built around user activity. In other words, when advertisers pay to highlight an action (like, comment, share) it is an action that a user has already taken. The action is then shown to their friends - and that's why sponsored stories cannot be used to reach an audience not connected to the page. This practice is best suited for pages looking to acquire new fans and followers.

Page Post Ads are advertisements in the form of links, photos, videos, events, and statuses, which allows a great amount of room for creativity. Page Post Ads receive additional paid distribution among fans, friends of fans, or non-fans within the Newsfeed or Sidebar, as a result of creating campaigns and determining target audiences within Facebook's Ad Tool. Unlike Sponsored Stories, these ads can be shown to anyone on Facebook, even if users are not directly connected to the page themselves. If you're a business that wants to increase your engagement rates, Page Post Ads are ideal.

Similar to Page Post Ads are Promoted Posts, or Boosted Posts. Promoted Posts are page posts that get additional paid reach in the Newsfeed, among fans and friends of fans and originate as a piece of content on a page. They are ideal for reaching more of a brand's existing fans or their friends. The primary difference between Promoted Posts and Page Post Ads, is that for Promoted Posts the advertiser pays a flat rate (a "boost) to reach a given number of users, while on Sponsored Stories and Paid Post Ads, they pay per click. Boosted Posts are an excellent tool for business owners who want to both increase engagement on a specific post, as well as make certain posts visible to a larger audience.

Facebook Boosted Posts

Social Advertising on Twitter

Facebook isn't the only platform with a variety of advertising options available to users. Since 2010, Twitter has offered Promoted Tweets for users and the availability of advertising methods has been growing ever since. Currently, the platform has three primary forms of advertising:

Promoted Accounts are a great way to increase the number of relevant followers to a Twitter profile. The ads are featured in Twitter search results and within the "Who To Follow" section. Promoted Accounts are suggested to users based on ad targeting methods on desktops and mobile. This is a great investment for any business, large or small, as long as the internal goal is to increase follower numbers.

Twitter Promoted Accounts

Promoted Tweets appear directly in the timeline among non-paid tweets. Twitter regularly analyzes the engagement rate of the advertisers tweets to identify five of the most engaging posts to create an ad to serve to users automatically. Advertisers can also select specific tweets that can be changed anytime. Promoted Tweets have the added bonus of reaching both current and potential followers you target. This is a great method to quickly build an active community of fans and influencers for your business. The bigger your follower base, the more people there are likely to engage with and spread your message. This method is ideal for any size business with any goal in mind.

Twitter Promoted Tweets

Trends are popular topics happening in-the-moment on Twitter. Because these Trends are placed prominently next to a user's timeline, they get mass exposure. Promoted trends are tailored for users based on location and who they follow, the feature is not as popular as Promoted Tweets or Accounts, and would be best used by larger brands.

Social Advertising on LinkedIn

Once you've tackled the most "social" of social platforms, it might be in your business' best interest to explore LinkedIn advertisements. LinkedIn is suited for B2B as well as B2C advertising, however given the nature of the platform - we suggest this method for the primarily B2B advertiser.

LinkedIn advertisements are fairly simple, and with a clear objective and concise call to action, your goals can easily be reached. The platform offers a variety of targeting methods allowing the user to truly customize who they wish to see their ad. Categories include - job title, job function, industry, geography, age, gender, company name, company size, or LinkedIn Group. Once you've determined your audience, set a budget for your advertisement and you're on your way to success. The following posts are excellent examples of diversifying a message through multiple campaigns.

LinkedIn Advertisements

Social Advertising on Google+ and Pinterest

Rounding up the social rodeo, Google+ and Pinterest are still in the early stages of advertising, Pinterest being the newest to the game with aggressive ad bids from big name investors starting at $1 million rolling out sometime this month. However, Google+ offers a fairly interesting approach for businesses looking to expand their reach. Its "+Post" ads run on the Google Display Network, which encompasses 2 million sites. The ads look just like Google Plus posts but appear outside the network.

For example, if you're in the market for a new sedan, you might see a Toyota ad pop up on AutoTrader or another car enthusiast site. In that sense, the ads behave much like Facebook's promoted posts. The Google+ ads don't include recommendations, though - only public posts from Google+ users. We recommend this approach to all advertisers.

Now that you've got a complete rundown of all that's available, what avenue will you pursue? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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