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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social media encompasses two worlds, organic postings and paid advertising, and the two can work together nicely. In fact, some believe the two must be teamed up to make social marketing really pay off.
“Very often a company needs reach,” said Bill Strawderman, senior director-digital marketing and social media at AT&T Inc. “But if you don't have reach, what do you do with organic social posts—wait for something to go viral and hope? That's not a great strategy.”
Strawderman's approach to social marketing is heavily invested in content. To increase reach, he suggests repurposing original content as paid posts. Here, both organic and paid social posts can work toward their own particular social marketing goals while supporting other marketing channels, he said.
“We always want to think that search is a component of this, both organic and paid, and email,” he said. “And as you build up your follower ecosystem, you can change the balance of paid to organic. When your followers reach a critical mass, you can become less reliant on social ads.”
In an online survey by BtoB conducted in January and February with 432 respondents, 94% said they are using social channels as a marketing device. However, only 37% of respondents said they used paid social advertising. And among those, paid social ads command an average of just 6% of the total social budget.
Of the major social networks, LinkedIn remains b2b marketers' favorite channel for paid ads, cited by 59% of respondents; 53% advertise on Facebook and 28% on Twitter.
“The power of LinkedIn lies in its ability to target prospects in a niche way,” said Janet Driscoll Miller, president-CEO of search engine marketing company Search Mojo.
Miller's company uses LinkedIn text-based ads as well as video, sometimes on main pages and sometimes on LinkedIn group pages. She said she prefers LinkedIn's targeted self-service ads.
“LinkedIn self-serve ads are based on targeting by demographics, not keywords; and because there's no minimum budget, even a small company can do it,” she said. “Of course, it all starts with understanding your audience and developing marketing personas.”
YouTube advertising is also gaining traction among b2b marketers. According to BtoB's study, 18% of marketers that have paid social campaigns in place use YouTube.
Overall, combining both organic postings and paid ads, YouTube is the fourth most-used social channel, behind LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, according to BtoB's study.
Companies need to consider the type of product they want to highlight on YouTube, said Dane Atkinson, CEO of social metrics company SumAll.com Inc.
“YouTube is a great channel not only if your product needs to be seen but if it's highly differentiated,” Atkinson said.
“If your product is commodity-driven, competing against similar products, YouTube often is not a great platform to advertise on because the economics aren't ideal.”
When the product is appropriate, Atkinson said, paid ads on YouTube can pay off nicely even for companies with small budgets because of the heightened visibility and presentation the platform affords paid posts. He recommended supporting these ads with as many organic postings as possible.
“Unless you're a large brand, you won't have enough videos in the beginning to make a difference,” he said. “You need to do everything you can to spike up the number of videos. We've seen brands go out and buy Flip cams and send them out to their customers, asking them to film testimonials and send the cameras back so the videos can be posted on YouTube.
“Once that ball starts rolling, more and more videos will reinvigorate the channel,” he said.The Conversation: How are you combining organic posts with social ads?"