In today’s episode, we dive deep into the topic of paid social media campaigns. Listen in as co-hosts Shaheen Samavati and Kyler Canastra chat with VeraContent’s new head of project management, Joana Aina Sánchez, who has vast experience in digital communications and marketing.

Mallorca-native Joana describes herself as a journalist turned marketer. Over the past eight years, Joana has been building successful marketing strategies that focus on paid ads on social media, and she shares some great insight on the topic! 

Their conversation touches on why paid online marketing is necessary for all brands and how to create effective content for paid social media campaigns. They also talk about the differences between organic, promoted and paid ads, and why the content you create should differ per platform.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

How important is paid online marketing in a brand’s overall strategy?

If you already have a killer content strategy with good organic reach, then paid online ads can boost your conversions even further and help you reach the right target market. 

Also, if you struggle with getting your social media content seen due to the tricky algorithms, paid social media ads will get more eyes on your content and help you connect with your audience.

As Joana puts it:

“Social media platforms are like the motorway to your goals. Your content is the car and paid ads are the fuel.”

Should all companies use paid social media ads?

Yes! A paid social strategy is a must for large companies. But Joana also urges brands with smaller budgets to consider investing even a small amount into paid social media as it can really help to boost your results.

That doesn’t mean forgetting about your organic content strategy:

“Organic content will help you engage with your existing customers and grow your audience. You need good organic content for when the paid social media ads do their magic and send people to your profile—because if the content isn’t good, they won’t stay.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

What makes paid social media campaigns successful?

The perfect paid strategy has great, relevant content that is targeted at the right audience, at the right moment and on the right platform.

Joana stresses that it’s important to understand what your audience is busy doing when they get served your ad. For example, are they browsing LinkedIn at work, scrolling on Instagram while waiting for the metro or binge-watching videos on TikTok at home? 

The content you create needs to be relevant to the platform and how that platform is used.

“For example, on Instagram, the user is ready to tap or scroll and will jump to the next post within seconds. So you only have one second or less to catch their attention.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

Also, don’t underestimate the importance of creating high-quality content for paid ads. Even with the perfect target audience, you won’t get impressive results if your ad isn’t captivating.

“Now that we’re quickly advancing towards a cookieless world where users are opting out of being tracked, advertisers need to stay very creative and think outside the box to ensure we keep our ads relevant.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

Is there a different approach to writing content for paid vs. organic social ads?

Organic content is usually created for branding purposes, while paid content is more aimed at driving sales or leads—so there is a slight difference in how you write the copy for each.

For organic posts, your aim is generally to get your audience to save or share your post, while on a paid ad, your goal is to drive action

While the copy for both should be kept short, catchy and relevant, paid ads should also include a very clear call to action.

“For paid ads on social media, it’s a good idea to fine-tune the organic content that has already worked well for you, adapting it to share the most important information first to quickly gain the audience’s attention and include a clear call to action.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

When does it make sense to do a promoted post vs. a specific paid ad?

Promoted posts are great if you want to grow your audience. They’re also a helpful way to remind your existing followers that you’re there and encourage more engagement on your posts.

However, for any other goals, Joana recommends creating specific paid ads: 

“If you invest too much in promoted posts, you’re missing the chance of achieving better results than you would when investing that same money in a specific paid social media campaign.”

Where does retargeting come in?

Social media should always be part of a broader strategy. Joana mentions that social media ads work well when combined with a retargeting strategy.

Retargeting allows you to interact with someone that has already shown interest in your brand—making it extremely effective. For example, you can use an ad to see who is interested in your content by tracking how long they viewed your ad or if they engaged with it in any way. You can launch a retargeting campaign a few days later to offer them something further, like a 10% discount voucher. 

However, remember that new privacy policies and laws may come up and limit how much information you’re allowed to gather from your audience. 

The days of retargeting may be numbered, so take advantage of still being able to run retargeting campaigns for the time being—you never know when the rules may change!

What social media platforms should you focus on?

For a while, Facebook and Instagram have been the most popular platforms for brands to focus on, but it’s worth checking out other platforms as well. Obviously, not all platforms are relevant for each brand, but it’s important to also consider TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn, for example.

TikTok is highly relevant to younger audiences. LinkedIn should be your go-to for professional services, and YouTube, while quite expensive for paid ads, offers an excellent opportunity to run creative ads with a higher chance of capturing your audience’s attention.

“Compared to social media ads, you can get five to 20 full seconds of your audience’s attention on YouTube. This allows you more time to be creative and produce great content.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

What type of paid content works best for each platform?

When creating content for paid social media campaigns, it’s important to be aware of how each platform is used and what content works best.

For example, since you don’t get much time to capture your audience’s attention on Instagram and Facebook, your ads need to get to the point straight away—that’s why graphics work best.

“I prefer a slideshow on Instagram stories, for example, three images in a row, as you get to show three different messages with the cost of one click. People usually binge-watch Instagram stories, and they’re in the rhythm of tapping through to each story.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

Animations also tend to work well on Facebook and Instagram, as the movement from the auto-play feature gets people’s attention and helps to provide enough information in a flash.

YouTube is the best platform to get really creative with video ads:

“On Facebook, it’s best practice to use video, but most people have their audio turned off. But on YouTube, you’re getting their full attention on your video, and they’ll have their audio on.” – Shaheen Samavati

TikTok only allows videos and, while LinkedIn is quite expensive for paid ads, it works really well as a lead generator tool by promoting lead magnets.

Is it necessary to have a localized page for every language you advertise in?

Yes, having dedicated language pages for each market that you run paid ads on social media allows you to take the engagement and results to a whole new level.

“To sell your product, a user needs to have at least seven interactions with your brand. So, most likely, they’ll see your ad and then visit your social media profile. If your profile isn’t in their language, you’re likely to lose them—and that’s a waste of money.” – Joana Aina Sánchez

As Shaheen puts it, if you create a paid social media ad in a language, you have to go all-in—from creating content in that language on your website to your social media pages, operations and customer service.

“If you’re creating an ad in a specific language, you’re creating an expectation that you’il be able to do business with that client in that language. So you have to go all-in and the language should be part of your overall strategy.” – Shaheen Samavati

You can connect with Joana on LinkedIn and also check out Shaheen and Kyler’s speaker profiles if you’d like to have either of them speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

Check out more posts on social media marketing:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.