I don’t think I’m the only one to say, I actively follow at least one influencer on social media. If you watch closely, be it an influencer, a YouTuber, a TikToker, they all have a genius pattern. And as a successful remote worker, I’ve begun following even more. They get us hooked with their content. Their story. Then, they introduce a brand, maybe merchandise. They lure us there, and it works, because we are emotionally invested. We like them. It is advertising at its finest. And adding the social media promotions, they have an active income (through their brand, their products, and merchandise), and they have a passive income (their ads and promotions, often work on a pay-per-click basis). Most of these people didn’t start this with the intention of making money, so if you are a person who “subscribed before she/he got famous”, you are also a person, who most likely saw the process firsthand.
In the past decade, social media has taken marketing by storm. Most people are linked to their phones at all times, scrolling, clicking, reading, liking. Not a lot of these people pay attention to what is an ad, and only a few of them know that most people they follow make a living off their clicks and likes. These days a company can’t function without using at least two active social media platforms. And social media is good for more than just exposing yourself to the world and introducing your business. People use social media to sell, market their products, and more. One very effective weapon in everyone’s pocket is paid promotions.
So what exactly are paid social media promotions?
You can see this every day, maybe without even realizing it. Youtubers and influencers make a living off of these paid promotions. That is how they can have a full-time job in this area, that at one point or another, we all envied. But how, and why does this work in the long run? How do YouTubers and TikTokers make a living without actually asking for money from the people who are actively watching their content?
Why is it worth it?
First of all, you have complete control over who sees your ad. Each platform offers a plethora of parameters you can choose from, including demographics, hobbies, interests, sex, personality types, and more. This leads to being exposed to a bigger and more active customer base. So if let’s say your desired customer base is broken down to one ‘avatar’, you can directly target ads and messages to said ‘avatar’.
Right now, the top advertising and marketing platform is Facebook. Facebook is the must-use platform for any type of business, as it attracts both B2C and B2B audiences. This means that whether you target brands or customers, Facebook is currently the most efficient in both. Fiscally it is also the least risky investment, for it attracts customers fast, and ads don’t cost a lot.
But looking at another example, Instagram is growing more and more by the hour, for it seems all Gen Z youngsters migrated there from Facebook. Therefore, Instagram became a concentrated hub of influencers, who are looking to broaden their horizons. Slowly, but surely, Instagram created features allowing these trend-setting leaders to advertise and market their content or products more efficiently. Because of this, in just a few years, Instagram blew every other social media platform out of the water, starting with the 2016 introduction of business accounts.
A lot of different social media platforms have the same algorithm, that operates off of an acceleration/virality factor. This means that if your post gets off to the right start, it starts a snowball effect: a more focused group of people are willing to like, comment, click.
Advertising vs. promotion
First, what is advertising? In just a few words, advertising is the paid placement of a message. Promotion, on the other hand, is conveying a message without paying for a space in media outlets. For example, coupons, free products, special events, etc.
These are all things that require investment on your end, but you attract a wider range of potential long-term customers.
Promotion is mostly brand awareness, which Instagram values a lot. So going back to the example of Instagram, here’s how it works:
Instagram works on a cost-per-1000 impressions basis. This means that you pay per 1000 people that see it.
Other platforms, like Google Ads, work on a cost-per-click basis, therefore you have to pay per click.
So, is it worth it? In the long run, I’d say yes. It is a genius way to attract awareness towards your brand, and with that, attract more viewers, fans, customers, therefore securing a passive income next to your active one. Paying for a secured spot on a social media platform, meaning advertising, could mean less investment, but at the same time, less exposure. Take yourself as an example. If something has an “AD” stamped on top of it, I’m more likely to scroll through, or maybe click, but rarely buy any products or make a long-term investment on my part.
Promotions, on the other hand, are smartly placed controlled messages that speak to a specific demographic (AND, is genuinely going out to that one specific demographic thanks to social media algorithms), and achieves emotional, or fiscal investments on the viewers part.
So having said, that an advertisement is a carefully placed message for all to see, and promotion is brand awareness, I stand by my statement. If you want to attract the right views, and the right customers, go with promotions. It’s gentler for the viewer, you get a controlled demographic, and from that maybe even you can learn something about your brand. Influencers and sponsors love using it, meaning that they too might promote brands and products for just a small investment.
Being a person who uses promotions on several social media platforms, and is not a tech genius, I can also say that it is super easy to use, is to the point, and very comfortable.
So in conclusion, I hope this helped you aspiring entrepreneurs, and I can’t wait to see your promotions as I scroll on the bus on my way home.