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Is Boosting Social Media Posts The Same As Advertising?

Social media has become a staple of marketing, albeit an incredibly complicated one. Social media management is a marketing service that uses unpaid methods of interacting with your target customers, like posting blog content, sharing information with followers, and commenting in social media groups, unlike advertising where you are buying ads on Twitter or Facebook.Boosted social media posts are a highly effective marketing tactic. Understanding the different types of posts can help you leverage them to reach record numbers of engaged customers in a cost-effective way.

What Are Boosted Social Media Posts?  

A boosted social media post leverages the post by having it displayed as sponsored content on the timelines of non-followers to expand your reach. You can boost the visibility of well-performing posts by choosing to have them show up higher in threads and for longer periods of time. Essentially, the more you pay, the more non-followers are likely to view your post. Boosted social media posts are an excellent way to increase conversion if you use the right posts with high engagement and a clear call to action.  

So, if social media marketing is differentiated as non-paid tactics, why aren't boosted posts considered paid ads? They fall into somewhat of a nebulous grey area between standard engagement through a posting strategy and paid ads. Depending on the channel, the line can be blurred. Though they do require a budget, the company already has definitive proof of engagement of the posts they want to boost, unlike paid ads.  

What Are Social Media Ads?  

Social media ads are a highly profitable way to deliver relevant, personalized content to a large number of people on social platforms. The design elements of your social media ads like the images, text, and context work together to entice users to click on them. These ads are a relatively low-cost, versatile tool that can serve a variety of business goals, including but not limited to:

  • Amplifying your reach 
  • Expanding brand awareness
  • Driving website traffic or store visits 
  • Increasing your social media following 
  • Improving sales of  a particular product 

Social media ads differ by platform and one of the ways to determine the cost is by reach or impressions. For instance, current rates per 1000 impressions range from $6.46 on Twitter to $7.91 on Instagram and $9.68 on YouTube. Each platform offers different ad options depending upon your goals, where you want to influence your customer in the buyer's journey, and the actions you want the viewers to take. While they give you more control over how you reach your audience, you must know how to optimize the ads for each platform to resonate with your audience and achieve the desired results.  

How Can I Use These To Engage With My Audience?  

The simplest way to encourage social engagement is by posting engaging content regularly. Using a content calendar and observing the performance of your posts helps you keep a consistent stream of content to interest and engage your followers. By identifying your top-performing content, you can use it for boosted posts to further increase their efficacy by extending their reach to non-followers. Boosted posts can enlarge your customer base and increase conversions. 

You can take it a step further with paid ads that increase relevancy by guaranteeing your ads reach those who are most interested in them. Like posting your own content, paid social media drives sales and facilitates audience targeting. However, paid social can amplify your online engagement, essentially doing much of the work for you. Paid social ads have the advantage of increased frequency with retargeting, sustainability, and speed to market, without losing time waiting for the algorithms that drive unpaid social media posts to work.  

Social Media Marketing Made Easy 

While social media marketing is highly effective and accessible to all budgets, it isn't for the faint of heart. There are many different platforms and types of content that can serve to support a variety of business goals. Unfortunately, it isn't just about posting great content. An effective social media marketing strategy requires understanding who your target audience is, where they spend their time, what content resonates most with them, how to optimize content for each platform, how to leverage your most popular posts, and when to use organic versus paid social.  

Social media is a useful, cost-effective ad platform. It can be made more manageable with the right tools and techniques, such as content calendars, automation software, and analytics software to monitor engagement metrics. When you think about all that goes into executing a highly successful social media campaign, from the right tools to experience with different platforms and types of ads to best practices, one of the most cost-effective steps you can take to increase both engagement and ROI is working with an experienced media partner.


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Katie Martin

Written by Katie Martin

Katie Martin is a Senior Digital Campaign Manager for Federated Digital Solutions. She has over 9 years in both sales and marketing. With experience in the radio industry, Katie found her passion working in the digital realm for the past 5 years. Her knowledge not only comes from both branding and lead generation solutions but also the experience she brings to problem solve and strategize from what the raw data is telling.

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