How to Make Paid Search & Social Media Marketing Work Together
Life is all about choices. Do we side with the Montagues or the Capulets? Do we prefer to eat ice cream, French fries, or waffles? Should we get a cat, a dog, or maybe a fish?
Overwhelmed by abundant choices, people often end up opting for one thing– and stick with it. That's why you see so many experts in online marketing specializing in one approach.
But why do we have to choose between PPC and social media? There are many ways for these two marketing strategies to go hand in hand.
After all, cross-channel efforts usually work best. For example, even when NewsCred discovered that every $1 spent on LinkedIn Sponsored Updates led to $17 in revenue, they still found that they had their best results when combining efforts across channels and focusing on the quality of the content they were promoting.
Don't view social media and paid search as if they're from different dimensions. You can leverage these two channels in a hybrid, complementary way that boosts website visits and drives sales by keeping the following tips in mind.
Your First Priority: Gathering Information
Insights from social media can feed PPC, and vice versa.
Twitter Analytics can be an excellent source of data
Neil Patel recommends using one medium—like Twitter—to discover which headlines are most effective, then using that information to choose the headline you share on LinkedIn. This method of optimizing across channels means that by the time you've finished promoting a link, you have a good idea of what type of tactic works.
Both PPC and social media are valuable tools for gathering information that can then be used across different channels. Here's how to start gathering info to inform your efforts:
Leverage the information already out there. Save the time running an A/B test for content ideas by using BuzzSumo to dig up the topics that are already resonating with people, and use the insights to fine-tune your campaign afterwards.
Track your ROI
“What gets measured, gets managed." In the aforementioned NewsCred case study, they found that LinkedIn Sponsored Updates outperformed AdWords at a rate of 17.6 to 3.1.
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates can be highly effective. Image via Sprinklr.
Wouldn't you like to know if one platform was serving you that well? It only happens when you track everything.
Observe the competition and identify the common threads of success
Don't steal your headlines, but do ask yourself what trends and insights they're using to boost both PPC success and enhance their social media followings. What is their brand doing right—that you can also do in your own way?
Where do you get most of your results?
Follow the Pareto Principle and remember that in most cases, a majority of your results comes from a minority of inputs. What are the strategies, blog posts, or social media headlines grabbing the most attention? Which ones are lagging behind?
Test, test, test
Successful PPC marketers know that testing is key. So bring that concept over to social media. For example, use Facebook Audience Insights to get a better handle of your best-performing demographics.
Facebook Audience Insights offers marketers an amazing
amount of data on their audience segments
When you use information across platforms to improve each part of your strategy, you'll spend less money chasing numbers and more money earning conversions.
Marry Your Brand Across Channels
Between the different headlines you choose, the difference in tone from blog post to sponsored ads, and even visual changes between link and landing pages, you'd be surprised at how quickly branding inconsistencies can sneak up on you.
Why is this important when merging PPC and social media? Because you don't want to look like two companies.
Brand consistency isn't just about being memorable. It's about building trust with your potential customers.
OpenTable defines its brand extremely well, and shows it off on its own domain. The site covers every last detail—the story of how the company came to be, what the logo should look like, the tone of its content, and what partners should use when they're talking about OpenTable.
How can you take a cue from OpenTable and improve your consistency across PPC and social media?
- Visuals. If your landing page looks different than your social media profile, people will notice. It's likely to confuse them, causing them to wonder if they've come to the right place. This can have a negative impact on conversions.
- Tone. You don't need to duplicate headlines or exact key phrases in order to be on brand. But try to pick a tone. Are you warm and professional? Quirky? Efficient? Minimalist? What's your style?
- Messaging. What's the “point" of your brand—the unique value proposition you have on offer? If you can't settle on that first, you might need to solve it before you start combining your PPC efforts with social media.
Put it together and you have more than just a campaign—you'll have a brand. One brand.
Use PPC to Grow on Social Media
All of this sounds well and good—but what if you don't have the social media presence to leverage your followers? In other words, what if one medium lags behind the others?
You can start by sending sponsored PPC clicks to your social media pages. American Airlines has no qualms about asking its potential customers to follow them on Snapchat and Instagram, and neither should you.
As long as you plan on offering valuable insights and interesting content on social media, you'll find plenty of happy followers.
It's also important to embrace trends. You can even buy your way into a trend by using PPC, which in turn drives traffic to your social media headlines talking about that very same trend. You'd be surprised how many followers you can pick up because of one viral story in the news, or one item trending on Twitter.
Use PPC to Drive Social Shares
Content is deemed valuable when it solves an existing question, need, or desire that your audience already has. With the right content, you can drive more social shares and even spark a viral post simply by getting enough people to actually engage from the beginning.
Remember this WordStream post on targeting early-stage buyers in PPC? Using the tool Answer the Public, we demonstrated how you can find the trends and topics to target with both your content's direction and the key phrases you aim for in your sponsored search efforts. Think about what people are searching for first, then craft amazing content that answers their same question.
Answer the Public is a powerful tool that organizes keywords
into relevant questions asked by real searchers
You also have to stay “share-able." Don't expect your audience to do all of the work when it comes to making your content go viral. Use compelling social sharing buttons, pick the style that complements your site layout, and make sure that they're not just “there." Make them stand out. Make them beg for a click—without ever getting in the way of your branding or the functionality of the site itself.
The key to remember: none of these tactics would work without quality content. Lean towards telling stories and answering the day's trends, not simply writing about whatever comes to mind. If your content solves a specific problem people are having, it's important to not only present that solution well, but to promote that solution effectively.
Use PPC and Social Media for Remarketing Efforts
Imagine this: a user sees you on Facebook, then keeps browsing. You no longer have a cold sale to make when it comes to clicking on your sponsored search or your social media posts. There's some brand awareness there–your prospect already has some exposure to your brand.
You can further build on this brand familiarity by driving prospects who found you via PPC to your social media accounts. This gets to the heart of this strategy: no marketing medium should exist in a vacuum.
Remarketing is a familiar phrase to PPC experts. But let's think about some ways in which you can use remarketing to combine both PPC and social media:
- Display PPC ads to past visitors and direct them to social media. Sound counterintuitive? Consider the earlier example of Newscred finding the most success on a specific social medium. Wouldn't you like to nudge your previous visitors in the right direction?
- Email list remarketing gives you the option of targeting PPC ads specifically at people you already know. This not only encourages repeat business, but can help you tailor your offerings along with your ad campaigns.
- Use remarketing information to benefit both PPC and social media. What gets people to come back? For example, if your analytics show an abandoned cart but frequent visits to your social media accounts, you can used sponsored advertising to remind people to hop back on over to your shop while they browse Facebook.
Simply put, “remarketing" means that you create a synergy among your advertising efforts across channels. And with PPC and social media influence combined, you can create new and powerful ways to target warm leads.
Take Advantage of the Synergy Effect
Synergy isn't just a corporate buzzword. It's a simple description of what happens when two different strategies don't just add success, but multiply it.
When it comes to online marketing, you're selling yourself short if you silo PPC, social media, content marketing, and email marketing. Instead, think strategically about how you can combine your efforts on multiple channels to reach your audience where they are.
About the Author
Paul Lentz is the SVP of Publisher & Business Operations at ShareThis, responsible for all aspects of growing and sustaining Publisher Network. When not doing what he can to support the publishers, he's taking a break from digital devices and experiencing nature through skiing, hiking, and running.