Paid social media marketing: it’s a buzzword in the marketing world, but what is it? Many organizations are now engaging in social selling and marketing to customers. Peer reviews, personalized Facebook ads and even fashion or food posts on Instagram are all examples of platforms with the potential for paid social media marketing. Have you ever followed an Instagram account that posted artsy pictures of meals from restaurants around town? Did you ever consider that those posts may have been sponsored by the restaurants themselves? It’s a subtle yet potentially very effective marketing technique – because most of us don’t see it and consider it marketing.
Millennials and Paid Social Media Marketing
Millennials hate advertisements. Although a sweeping generalization, our generation as a whole knows advertising when we see it. We consume overwhelming amounts of ads and we have for our entire lives – we see it as the norm. This is why we are so good at identifying not-so-subtle advertising. We know what companies are trying to do; what their end game is. So how have advertisers found a way around this millennial mindset against advertising? They’ve incorporated their message into platforms we’re already using: this is called paid social media marketing.
Twitter is a great example of paid social media marketing toward millennials. Twitter uses what are called “quality adjusted bids” to determine the quality of tweets. They use the “three R’s” – relevance, resonance, and recency – to calculate bids. Cost per engagement is an aspect of marketing that companies and advertisers need to pay more attention than they might think.
Demographic targeting is an essential aspect of paid social media marketing. Addressing a mass audience simply doesn’t work anymore – marketers have learned that targeting a specific and intelligently chosen audience is the only way to effectively communicate the desired message and accomplish an action taken by the consumer. So how do marketers use demographic targeting? Twitter and Facebook both have options to target users based on certain data points such as household size, level of education, income, “life events” and more.
Demographic targeting is something to keep in mind for both the marketer and the consumer – on the consumer end, we should remember that it isn’t a coincidence that the ads on our Facebook news feeds seem geared toward us – they absolutely are.
Have you ever wondered how companies advertise using the platform of Instagram? You may have heard of the Instagram model Essena O’Neill who announced that she was quitting social media because of what it did to her entire perspective on life. She had always hoped that reaching a certain number of followers would bring her an amount of happiness, but even after gaining nearly 800,000 followers on Instagram, she found herself feeling empty.
O’Neill exposed the truth about Instagram that many users don’t see on a daily basis. She admitted being paid $400 to post a picture of herself wearing a dress by the brand paying her. Her story went viral as an eye opening testament to the power of paid social media and the potential damage it can do.
What do you think about paid social media marketing? Does it communicate a false message to its consumers or should marketers continue using it? Let us know in the comments.