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Boosting Delivers Social Media Posts to New Eyes

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Companies have more tools than ever to market themselves on social media.

Advertising on mass media succeeds in reaching the target audience but many more outside the range of qualified buyers, which makes it expensive. With tools developed by social media platforms, marketers and companies can choose who they want to see their posts and more efficiently spend their marketing dollars.

The first step to promoting social media posts – that is, paying the platform to get more eyes on it – is choosing the right post to boost. Marketers agree that whatever a company boosts must be original content, whether video or picture or a text post.

From watching the industry and paying attention to best practices, Roy Mikolaj Jr. has seen that it’s videos that gain the most traction and are shared most over social media that text posts.

“Posts with images on Facebook and Twitter get more than those that don’t. You want to make regular posts and not everything can be what you’re trying to sell,” says the digital marketing strategist for The Prodigal Co. “You want to focus on the posts that you know will fit with the overall social media strategy.”

What’s most important is giving viewers, customers or not, something to engage with. What Mikolaj often sees that could help in the short-term, but is unsustainable in the long run, is companies boosting posts that aren’t doing well.

“A lot of times you’ll see people boost posts that they think will be less successful to keep a number up,” he says. “If it’s something that [customers] want to engage with, interact with and read, then that’s something you want to boost.”

Beyond that, make sure the post is something unique that tells customers what distinguishes a company from its competitors. It isn’t enough to boost a post that says, “We sell Product X for $9.99.” It’s crucial, explains Jeff Ryznar, owner of 898 Marketing in Canfield, to let potential customers know more about your business.

“It’s content that makes you stand out from everybody else who’s screaming in the marketplace, whether it’s a unique project you worked on or something special you do that no one else understands in the way you do,” he says. “That’s a clear and easy way to understand what you want to promote versus what you just want to put out for general purposes.”

When a company spends money to promote a social media post, whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other platforms, it’s important to make sure that you get something out of it, too. Ryznar advises providing an engaging call to action, whether it’s linking to your website, filling out a form or even liking and following social media accounts.

Beneficial to online marketing in recent years is the addition of targeted advertising to social media. While Facebook’s tools – which allows a company to narrow its advertising by interests, age ranges, income, ZIP codes and more – are considered the best, LinkedIn and Twitter provide similar tools.

“From a business perspective, LinkedIn has the capabilities Facebook has and it’s a very useful tool if you’re a [business to business] customer or client trying to attract business,” Ryznar says.

Adds Mikolaj, “The analytics tools aren’t as robust [on Twitter], but they are still enough to let you know what’s working and what isn’t.”

With those tools available, it can seem overwhelming when it comes time to choose who to target with boosted posts. At Palo Creative in Boardman, owner Rob Palowitz encourages going with a broad scope. He cites the Mahoning Valley’s population as the primary reason.

“There’s only 340,000 people living here, so when you look at that picture of all these different segments, suddenly that drops to 20,000,” he says. “You’re limited for local advertising.”

But if a business serves a niche market or sells across the country, then getting into specific targeting can be useful, he adds.

“It depends on your industry, what it is you’re selling and who you’re trying to speak to. A general rule is to know your audience,” says Mikolaj. “Know who likes your page. That will give you an idea of which posts have the language they like and the content they like.”

Budget constraints should also play a role in the decision of whether to go broad or narrow. On Facebook, for example, when targeting a small geographical area or a specific profession, the cost per click – the standard unit for pricing – can increase. A clothing store will have a lower cost per click than a business-to-business software company because the former has a wider audience.

That doesn’t necessarily require more spending – putting $20 into a campaign works the same for both – but it does affect the number of people who see a promoted post.

For a company to make the best use of its advertising budget, Palowitz suggests testing and analyzing the boosted posts. Creating a few variations of similar posts and seeing which ones social media followers respond to best can help improve future posts and save money on boosting by knowing which types of posts have the greatest impact.

“We’ll boost posts if we see them start to get some traction. That’s when we decide to spend $20 and extend it,” he says. “The advantage of social media is you can look at it every day and make changes on the fly.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.