Introduction

Let’s be honest. When we all started playing around with social media the general consensus was that it was going to drive a bunch of free traffic to our websites. Sure enough, social media can drive traffic to our websites, but it’s getting harder and harder all the time. For one thing, there’s more competition for people’s attention. On top of that, platforms like Facebook only serve your posts to about 6% of the people following your Facebook page.

What steps can you take to use social media to drive more prospects to your website?

The answer, of course, is to hunker down and to start using paid media in order to attract more visitors. That’s right – you should run paid ads in order to generate awareness and drive engagement for your business.

Before you decide that paid media isn’t within your budget, here’s an insider secret – it’s not all that expensive.

That’s right, paying for additional traffic to your website can be quite cost-effective. In fact, if you play your cards right and know how to measure the value of a prospect or customer, then driving more traffic to your site should pay for itself.

So, what tools should you use for a paid ad campaign? The primary tools are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And even though running a campaign might seem a little complex at first, once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it’s not all that difficult.

With that in mind, let’s dive in and get started.

Facebook: Build a Fan Base Of Future Customers

As mentioned, in the old days you could post something on your Facebook page and potentially reach everyone who was following you. Sadly, those days are gone. In fact, if you post something on your Facebook page today, only 6% of your potential audience will see it in their feed. (Your personal Facebook Profile still gets a lot of reach, but your business Facebook page only gets about 6%.)

Since reaching people who follow your Facebook page is ineffective, your only choice is to start using paid ads to increase your reach. The good news is that Facebook has made it pretty darn easy for you to do just that.

One of the best things about a Facebook ad campaign is that they’ve greatly improved the ability to target people over the past several years. You can target people based on age, gender, or location. You can target people based on an interest like sports, cars, or cooking. You can even target people who are in your prospect database and who are already familiar with you or your business.

Here are the steps you can take to use Facebook advertising to drive more prospects to your business.

Step 1 – Set your budget: Most people like to pay for Facebook ads on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. This means you only pay for an ad if someone clicks on it. A click costs anywhere from 15¢ to $1.50 or more per click, so figure out how many clicks you want and adjust your budget based on that.

Step 2 – Run a test: You’ll want to run an A/B split test on your ads to be sure you’re running the most effective one. With that in mind, create several versions of your ad and run them congruently. Facebook makes it easy to track your results. After that, use the best performing ad as your control and then test new variations against the control to see if you can beat those results.

Step 3 – Rinse and repeat: There is no such thing as a final Facebook campaign. In other words, all Facebook campaigns are in a constant state of evolution, so keep tweaking and improving your campaigns as you move forward. That’s the only way you’ll be sure to generate the results you’re looking for.

PRO TIP:

When running an A/B split test on Facebook, it’s a good idea to test only one variable at a time. If you change more than one variable (e.g. the call to action, the visual, the headline, etc.), then you won’t know which change improved the ad. A best practice is to test one thing at a time to get a clearer picture on what works and what doesn’t work.

If you’d like to learn more about advertising on Facebook, be sure to check out their in-depth guides by clicking here.

Instagram: Build Awareness, Encourage App Downloads, or Drive More Traffic

If you’re running a campaign on Facebook, then it’s super easy to run a campaign on Instagram, too. Instagram is part of the Facebook family, so they make it super easy to use both at the same time. But even if you’re not running a Facebook campaign, you’ll want to consider using Instagram, especially if your product or service is visual in nature. There are four primary formats that Instagram provides to advertisers.

Here they are:

  • Photo ads: These can be uploaded in a square or landscape format. They’re the simplest to execute and are a great starting point if you’re new to Instagram ads.
  • Video ads: Ready to move up to the next level? Next up are video ads. They add sound and motion to the mix and provide a great way to stand out from the crowd.
  • Carousel ads: Let’s say you’re selling widgets and you have them in green, blue, and yellow. Carousel ads allow prospects to see and scroll through all your different colored widgets before clicking through on a specific one.
  • Stories ads: Over 250 million people use Instagram Stories every day. Wouldn’t you like to connect with them? If so, then Stories Ads are just what you’re looking for. They drop right into your feed with ads that can resonate with your prospects and customers.

Ready to explore Instagram a little more? Here are the steps you can take to use the platform to drive more prospects to your business.

Step 1 – Define your goals: Before doing anything, you’ll want to identify your goals and objectives. Do you want more clicks to a landing page? More mobile app installs? Or do you simply want to build awareness for your brand? Identify what you’re trying to achieve before moving on to step #2.

Step 2 – Match your landing page to your ad: Studies show that the more your landing page matches the message on your ad, the more likely you are to convert prospects into customers.

Step 3 – Relax and have fun: Instagram is more casual than other platforms like LinkedIn or even Facebook. With that in mind, try to have some fun – studies show that the more emotionally engaged people are with your ad, the more effective it will be.

PRO TIP:

You don’t have to be at your desktop to buy, run, and track ads on Instagram. You can do it within the app, Ads Manager, Power Editor, or Instagram Partners. Instagram has done everything possible to make it easy to run a campaign on their platform.

Interested in learning more about using Instagram for advertising? Check out their website for more details.

Linkedin: Reach B2B Prospects

In most cases, the CPC on LinkedIn is higher than Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. But if you have a mid- to high-priced product or service, it can be a good fit.

There are three ad formats you can use on LinkedIn. The first, and probably the most commonly used, is called Sponsored Content. It’s similar to a Facebook ad in the sense that you can promote your product or service from within the LinkedIn feed.

The second is called Sponsored InMail. With Sponsored InMail you can reach prospects and customers right in the LinkedIn inbox. It’s as if you were already connected via LinkedIn. The only difference is that you’re not, which is why some people use Sponsored InMail to reach people they might otherwise struggle to connect with.

The third, and most cost-effective, approach is to use Text Ads. These are the small ads on the right hand column that have a headline, a description, and a 50x50 image. They’re super easy to set up so you can dive right in and be running a campaign in a matter of minutes.

If LinkedIn seems like a good fit for your business, these steps will help to get you started.

Step 1 – Choose your format: If you want to make a big splash, Sponsored Content ads might be just what you’re looking for. If you’re in it for the long haul, you can use Text Ads, which aren’t as flashy, but have proven to be more cost effective. And finally, if you want to give your ads a one-on-one feel, then you can opt for a Sponsored InMail campaign.

Step 2 – Set your targeting: One of the advantages of LinkedIn targeting is that people update their professional information on LinkedIn more frequently than they do on, say, Facebook or Twitter. This makes targeting your audience based on job title, company, industry, or seniority much more effective than on some other platforms.

Step 3 – Consider using matched audiences: Want to target LinkedIn members who visited your website? How about people who are in your contact database? Or would you like to target decision makers at specific companies? All three of those options are available to you when you use the Matched Audiences feature on LinkedIn. It’s an advanced feature, but worth checking out.

PRO TIP:

It’s one thing to track whether or not someone clicked your LinkedIn ad and landed on your website, but that’s only half the battle. The second half is to see if that click converted into a customer. When you use LinkedIn’s conversion tracking feature, you can record website conversions that are tied to your campaigns. Conversion tracking is a great way to improve your campaign effectiveness.

Want to learn more about running ad campaigns on LinkedIn? Just visit this page on their website and you can take a deep dive into their offerings.

Twitter: Extend Your Campaigns

Twitter has more than 340 million active users and has reasonably good targeting capabilities. It’s a good platform for businesses that want to extend their campaigns past Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Twitter ads can be tailored for a variety of business goals, from driving website traffic to increasing brand awareness. If you want to drive website visits, make sure your ad has a compelling reason to click through on the link. Alternatively, you might simply want to grow your Twitter following. If that’s the case, then you can run a Follower campaign that’s specifically designed to increase the number of followers. Or, you might want to get people talking about your business with an engagement campaign. You can do this by running ads designed to start conversations or stir things up a little.

If Twitter seems like a good fit for you, here are some tips on getting started.

Step 1 – Start with the end in mind: The best way to succeed in just about anything is to start with a clear vision of what you want your outcome to be. Will it be to gain new followers? Build brand awareness? Drive clicks to your website? Figure that out and then move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – Analyze your results: Once you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll want to watch the data and derive insights from what you see. Look for patterns that would indicate success, and be sure to remove the ads that perform worst from your campaigns while continuing to optimize the winners.

Step 3 – Rinse and repeat: Over time, you’ll start to see results that make an impact on your bottom line. Optimize your campaign over the course of 30 days to see if you can make it work.

If you can’t seem to make Twitter ads work, then maybe they’re not a good match for your business.

PRO TIP:

Tweets that are under 100 characters get an 18% higher click through rates, so keep your promoted tweets short and sweet. Also, tweets with graphics in them usually perform better than tweets without graphics, but you won’t know for sure until you test your own campaigns.

Want to learn more about advertising on Twitter? If so, then click through to their website.

Wrapping It All Up

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just do a bunch of social media posts and drive massive amounts of traffic to your website? It sure would. Unfortunately, those days are over. Today, you need to enhance your organic social media campaigns with paid social media campaigns.

By using that one-two punch (organic and paid), you’ll be able to supercharge your campaigns and drive more prospects to your website. And once you drive more prospects to your website, it’s only a matter of time before they become customers.

About the Author

Jamie Turner

Jamie Turner is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and CNN contributor who has been profiled in one of the world’s best selling marketing textbooks. He is the CEO of 60SecondMarketer.com and runs a marketing consultancy and advisory group called SIXTY.