Want to take the promotion of your thought leadership to the next level but are unsure how? In this article, we’ll look at three platforms you can utilize to help achieve your organization’s long- and short-term goals.
In the world of marketing, paid promotion is a necessary evil. With organic reach plateauing and more and more firms willing to invest time and money into understanding and properly executing paid campaigns, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get on the paid promotion train, it’s a matter of when. And with the pressure of pulling off a successful campaign in the forefront of every marketer’s mind, comes the pressure of selecting the best platform to help make those successes a reality. With so many options available, each with unique solutions to select from, how do you choose which is right for you? Well, it depends on what you’re looking to achieve in these paid efforts and based on where you stand, there are many options to consider. And in today’s post, we’ll explore three: Google Ads, LinkedIn and Twitter.
#1. Target Moments With the Help of Google Ads.
Where’s the first place you go when you want to find out the name of that new juice bar down the street? Google. When you can’t figure out who that one actor in that one movie is, where do you turn for support? Google. And, of course, clients use Google as part of their daily business habits as well. When they’re looking to understand emerging technologies and big ideas, where do they turn? Google. When they’re searching for answers to pressing business problems they’re struggling to solve, where do they go? Google.
Almost everyone you know uses it and uses it all the time so as marketers, the first place we naturally look for help in paid promotion is Google Ads, and that’s okay. Why? You can use it to promote your firm or its thought leadership via search, static, rich and re-marketing ads on practically any budget and through several bidding strategies.
If generating traffic to your website is your primary goal, you can utilize a manual cost per click (CPC) strategy. This strategy allows you to set a maximum price on the cost of an ad click and is a great method because you only pay when someone takes action and clicks.
But, if you’re more interested in conversions, use of a Smart Bidding strategy might better suit your goals. For example, with a maximize conversions strategy, you can automatically set bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign. In addition to the above, Google Ads allows you to reach a mass targeted audience, determine what they’re actually searching for, and over time use what you learn to guide future SEO strategies.
While it’s great for getting your content seen by a wide audience, fast, giving you the flexibility to move with your clients (you can make changes quickly based on their behaviors), it does have its disadvantages. In comparison to LinkedIn and Twitter, the time needed to manage this platform is substantial. It’s complex and if you don’t have a good handle on it, you’re not going to get the best use of it. And because success is defined by the ability to successfully outbid competitors on the keywords and phrases your audience is searching for, keyword phrases can cost anywhere from pennies on the dollar to $15 per click. Depending on the topics you’re trying to own if you don’t have the budget to stay ahead, you’ll get lost in the clutter of competing messages. But, if you have the time and money to invest in learning who your audience is and how to target them, why not use the world’s most trafficked sites as your playground?
#2. Target Specific People and Profiles with LinkedIn Ads.
With over 560 million active users, all comprised of business professionals interested in learning, building specific networks and connections, LinkedIn makes an ideal B2B advertising platform. And because of its business-oriented nature, in comparison to other social platforms, it’s easier to cut through the clutter of selfies, viral videos and memes and get your content in front of the executives you want. But not only does it allow you to make your content more visible to those you want to attract most, once it’s in their hands, the easier it is for you to build personal, long-lasting relationships with them. And while the platform offers a variety advertising options, there are three core solutions to consider. They include:
- Sponsored Content, which allows you to promote the content you’re already sharing on your company page and reach a wider audience.
- Pay-per-click text ads that drive traffic to your posts, your LinkedIn company page or your website.
- Sponsored InMail, which allows you to send personalized ads to the inboxes of LinkedIn members and by doing so attract more leads, send/promote content and invitations directly to those who may be interested.
The upside of LinkedIn is it allows you to very narrowly target high value clients you seek. You can even target executives within specific companies, if you like. So, if you want to generate new, qualified leads specific to your business, LinkedIn can be a useful avenue for you. You can test various promotional methods and messages to determine what works best for the audiences you’re targeting. And as time goes on, refine that audience to get to exactly who you want. Marketers understand that people consume different content in different ways and LinkedIn allows you to address that head-on.
The downside of LinkedIn is often cost. In our experience, the cost per click on LinkedIn can be substantially more than on Twitter or even Google.
#3. Increase Reach and Engagement with Twitter.
Twitter is becoming increasingly popular amongst advertisers for a few reasons:
- You only pay based on performance of your chosen objective (clicks, followers, etc.) and the cost per engagement is low.
- You can get your message in front of users who are likely interested in your firm’s expertise and insight (you can target people who have used specific words or hashtags and have specific interests, or you can target people that follow specific companies or individuals).
- You can re-market to those who recently saw or engaged with your Tweet.
Unlike some of the other platforms, it provides opportunities for you to uniquely connect with your audience. If they’re following you, they’re doing so because they’re interested in what you have to say and often times, want to engage in conversation. And in doing this, you also provide them with direct access into the personality of your firm.
There are two central ways to promote via Twitter: Promote Mode and Promoted Tweets. With Promote Mode, any organic Tweet that passes Twitter’s quality filter are automatically added to a daily campaign targeting a selected audience, with the goal of driving visitors to your profile page and attracting new followers. Twitter estimates that accounts using this “set it and forget it” strategy are reaching an average of 30,000 additional people and gain 30 extra followers per month. While Promoted Tweets are more time intensive to manage, they give you the ability to pick and choose what content to promote, whether it be new or old. This allows you to be more specific about which topics and campaigns to prioritize in your efforts to expand influence and connect with new audiences based on your marketing objectives.
Twitter is a great way to test and learn what resonates with your audience at a low price. Based on a simple “Like” or “Retweet”, you can gauge whether or not the messages you’ve developed are working. While some shy away from it because it lacks in the one department most thought leadership marketers covet most – ROI. This is because the captured data in Twitter doesn’t offer clear insight into the click path of followers. That said, what it does do that most can’t is give you the ability to send out easily digestible messages in just a matter of seconds, which in turn allows people to engage with your content in a relevant, timely, and relatable manner.
So, Which Platform is Right For You?
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer. But it’s important to take a look at your goals and the means to which you can achieve them. Paid promotion, just like thought leadership, is more like a marathon than a sprint. It truly takes time to learn and understand, but over time and with a little bit of research and some testing, you’ll find what works best. A sound paid promotion plan can help you get your thought leadership in the hands of those you hope to attract most by targeting them individually, by targeting them in the moments they’re searching for your expertise, or by targeting the topics that interest them most.