Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about social media and how to be user-centered in your social media strategy, the benefits of using social media, and how it can add to your customer’s experience. 

Organic (or unpaid) social media is a great way to get in touch with those who already follow you, but how do you reach out to new users who may not follow you or know about your brand yet? Paid social media.

Paid social media is when you “boost” a post on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. to send your post out to people who are not your followers, but rather to a targeted audience that you set. This gets your content onto the screens of new or potential users effectively.

Now, what’s the big deal? 

Grow your audience– With organic social media, you build a community with those who are already aware of your brand, while if you do paid social posts you will expand that community to a new audience. 

Expand your user base– Organic posts only allow you to post to those who follow you, while paid posts can also help you get in front of users that you think would be a good fit for your product or service, thus building your brand awareness with that group and possibly expanding your user base. 

Specific Targeting– With organic social media you are limited to your audience that follows you and to whomever they share your post with, with paid social you are able to specifically target your posts to new audiences. Here is an example of the options you have for targeting in Facebook Ad Manager:

Using Facebook’s targeting parameters, I am able to create a custom audience with all these filters in order to ensure the right people are getting the posts. This allows you to hone in on the people that are most likely to become users of your product.

In the end, organic and paid social media posts both have their benefits and are best when used together in a social media strategy. When adding paid social posts into your social media strategy be sure to follow the guidelines I listed in my previous post (goals, knowing your audience, competitive analysis, etc.) in order to make the social media experience as best as it possibly can for your users. 

With paid social media you can test out new ideas to different audiences and see what the response is, and you can grow your reach to new users which in turn opens you up to more valuable information from these people. You can use social listening to see what the new audience thinks of a new idea or to realize the pain points they have with getting to know your product. 

Guidelines to Paid Social

Smart targeting– don’t do too much when targeting, with all the available options it can be tempting but be selective and identify what gives you the best reach while still giving you the best audience.

Use rich content– if you can, use videos! Content like videos and gifs get more shares and engagement than other forms of content.

Test, test, and test again!!– use A/B testing (if you don’t know how to do that check out the blog I wrote about it). A/B testing will ensure that you are using your dollars wisely and getting the most out of your posts. 

Monitor your paid posts– check your KPIs to see how your posts are performing and make changes as you see fit. One of the great things about social media advertising is how trackable everything is, so make use of that data!

Align with your user journey– be sure the content you are promoting aligns with your user journey and that you are giving the right information when users need it.


In the past, marketers used celebrities and characters (such as Progressive’s ubiquitous Flo) as brand ambassadors, but with the rise of blogging and social media regular people can create huge followings which results in a shift towards using influencers in social media strategy. 

People rely on people, we look to others to see how we should act and to gather information. The same goes when making the decision about a product. We even rely on people we don’t know to help us make our decisions.

Remember all those power users you have? They’re great people to have become your influencers.

When is it best to use an influencer? And how?

It is best to make use of influencers when you are trying to build brand awareness or to do research on a particular audience. 

The best kinds of influencer content? When you make custom content for them, content that drives participation to an event or contest, and live events such as live streaming. 

To find the right influencer it is most important to do the following: 

·     Identify the audience you want to connect with

·     Research the people with large followings within that community

·     Find your own power users and brand ambassadors

·     Look to industry leaders 

Success Stories 

Rational Interaction & Acer

Rational Interaction used influencers in with their work with Acer, they challenged users to answer a series of challenges over 21 days in order to win the world’s most expensive laptop. 

To spark engagement around the campaign they used a variety of methods, one of which being influencers. They used three key influencers to reach their target audience. The result? More than 75 million impressions, increased sales for the predator laptop, and more than 580,000 audience clicks.


Enterprise application software leader SAP even uses influencers, showing it is for the b2b markets as well. SAP uses executives and industry experts as their influencers. SAP’s use of influencers drove 50% of all the social media mentions for an event in Germany.

Influencer tips and guidelines

Follower counts– a large following does not mean an engaged audience! Be sure to measure the influencers following in other ways, such as likes and comments. 

The user journey– it all comes back to the user and their journey; make sure that your use of influencers fits in with your user journey well and is meaningful. You want this influencer to provide value to not only you but most importantly, your users. 

Be picky– be sure you are picking the right influencer for your goals, this means spending time and researching to find out who will be the most effective.