Perception is everything. In the business world, people are naturally attracted to the biggest names, whether you call them influencers, experts, or [insert industry here] rock stars.
But what if you aren't a big name yet? What if you're just starting out and looking to make a name for yourself? How can you get on the radar of people you want to do business with in the future?
Social media advertising makes it super easy to appear superbad. You can bias the way people think about you and make yourself (or your company) appear bigger than you are.
Here are six crazy ideas that will help you look like a really big deal using social media ads.
1. Target Ads at Specific Company Employees
Is there a company you want to partner with? Before you even get to that first meeting, you want to make sure some important people who work there have heard of you.
How do you accomplish this? Start bombarding employees who work at that company with Facebook Ads.
Because Facebook Ads have super specific targeting, all you have to do is target people who work at the company with certain job titles. You don't want to target every employee at a company, especially really large ones. You just need to make sure the right people see your ads (e.g., people with "marketing" job titles).
The goal of these Facebook ads is simply to build brand awareness for you and/or your company. You'll want to start this process about 90 days ahead of time.
You'll know if you've achieved your goal when you finally talk to them and you hear the magical words: "I've heard of you guys."
2. Promote Your Guest Posts
One way to gain some exposure with a new audience is to do a guest post for a large, established industry publication. When you finally get this opportunity, you need to make the most of it.
Spend no more than $50 for a promoted post on Facebook and a promoted tweet on Twitter. Send some targeted traffic to your inaugural guest post.
Why spend money promoting your guest post and driving traffic to someone else's website? Because the editors will notice how your article performed. If your first post goes nowhere, you might not get a second chance.
So amplify your post to help it become a unicorn! Help juice the numbers so the odds are in your favor. You want the editors to be thinking, "Holy crap, this guy's post got thousands of views, we need to do more with him!"
Most publishers live and die by pageviews. Unless they're crazy, the editors will try to lock you up and make you a regular contributor in the hopes you'll keep sending them thousands of pageviews every month.
3. Do an Engagement Campaign
Want to really make someone take notice of you on social media and appear more influential than you are? Tag someone in a Facebook post or tweet and then pay to promote it.
For example, let's say you're trying to get the attention of an editor at a publication where you want to become a contributor. You could tweet: "Great post by [insert Twitter handle here]" also making sure to include the headline and link to the story.
That might catch their attention when they get the notification from Twitter – for a couple seconds. But once you start promoting it, you'll REALLY grab that person's attention as it starts getting retweeted and liked hundreds or maybe even thousands of times.
"Wow, this guy is kind of a big deal," they'll think. They'll want to work with you. And you'll be like:
4. Spike Your Medium Posts
Are you publishing on Medium yet? You should be. It's a great way to grow your audience and expose your best content to more people.
To get really big on Medium, you need recommendations. If you can get 200 people to click on the Medium heart on your post within 24 hours, it's extremely likely that your story will be one of the top posts for the day and featured prominently, both on Medium and in the Medium Daily Digest they send out to users via email.
How do you get that many hearts in 24 hours? By spending no more than $50 on social media ads.
Facebook and Twitter ads that are targeted to people who have a Medium account will help send some great traffic to your posts. Hopefully this will be enough of a catalyst to turn your post into a unicorn that gets lots of hearts and reads.
5. Get on the Front Page of Reddit
Of all the ideas in this post, getting on the front page of Reddit is the most difficult. But when you do manage to get there, you'll get tons of traffic.
Basically, if you do nothing proactive, the odds that a redditor will discover and submit your post are about 1 in a-very-large-number-with-a-lot-of-zeroes-on-the-end. Also it's not easy to identify redditors on other social media sites because they have random aliases.
What you can do is try to get on the radar of Reddit power users. Results aren't guaranteed, but here's how you do it.
Let's say you work for a company that sells home and gardening products. You'll want to create social media ads that target people who are interested in the home and gardening category and Reddit.
Chances are good that someone who is authoritative on Reddit will follow Reddit on other social platforms. They're always looking around for interesting things to submit.
Although it may seem like you're still sort of blindly hoping a high-profile redditor will submit your post, this technique has actually been surprisingly successful. Basically this will narrow your odds from 1 in a gazillion to something more like 1 in 10.
Before trying this out, my posts had never made it to the front page of Reddit. Since using this tactic, I've managed to successfully get to the front page about 10 percent of the time.
6. Become a Trending Story on LinkedIn Pulse
The biggest factors in the LinkedIn Pulse algorithm are traffic and engagement. Pulse will highlight posts have gotten the most views, likes, shares, and comments in the past few minutes.
There are two things you can do to help your LinkedIn posts start trending.
Become Associated With A Channel
LinkedIn Pulse has more than 100 channels for topics including entrepreneurship, leadership and management, productivity, and marketing and advertising. No matter what you write about, you'll find a channel that's right for you.
If you want to help your LinkedIn article become a unicorn, more people need to see it and engage with it. Your personal network is limited, but some of these channels have millions or hundreds of thousands of followers.
So in addition to doing some basic optimization as you write (using the right keywords to help Pulse as it analyzes and categorizes your article), you'll want to tweet to @LinkedinPulse and ask them to feature your post in a specific channel.
Use Social Media Ads
Being featured on a Pulse channel isn't enough to start trending. You also need a catalyst to drive lots of traffic and engagement to your post.
This is where Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn promoted posts come in. You can use these ads to quickly drive lots of traffic to your LinkedIn article.
Again, you don't need to spend a lot of money on these ads. You can even target your ads so they only show in countries you normally don't care about to make it even cheaper – all LinkedIn cares about is traffic, not where that traffic is coming from.
You just need to spend a few bucks until the ads provide enough of a surge to push your post to the top. Once your post starts trending, it will be self-sustaining as people visit the channel and read the day's top stories. Yours!
If you're lacking in influence or name recognition and want to appear bigger than you currently are, try out these ad ideas. For a small investment, social media ads will help you get noticed and viewed as a serious force in your industry so you can grow your audience, influence, and business.