You’ve heard me say it over and over, organic reach is dying. And maybe my last post finally got you to take the leap and start putting some cash behind your social content. So, you logged onto your brand page, made your way to the ad manager and then had this realization: Shalee Hanson completely convinced me that organic reach was dying, and then gave me no idea how to approach paid social media advertising.

Guilty. But, I’m here to make it up to you. Last week, I attended a webinar featuring Larry Kim that shared some great insights on how to get the most out of a social media landscape that’s constantly changing. Today, we’re going to walk through three of the most important hacks I walked away with and how you can start using them in your strategy.

  1. Promote Posts That Perform Well Organically

It sort of goes against human nature, right? Why promote the posts that are doing well organically, instead of the posts that need a little push? Let’s be frank, not all your content is gold – let’s be even more frank, most of it isn’t. According to Larry Kim, 10 percent of your content generates more than 60 percent of your total engagement – that means that while you may be pushing 20 pieces of content a week, only two of them are driving the bulk of your engagement. So, capitalize on that top 10 percent. A higher organic engagement rate means a much lower cost per click (CPC), which means you’re getting the most out of your money while promoting content that’s actually resonating with your target audience.

How to implement: Choose a timeframe, once a week, once a month, once a quarter – go through your channels, review your content and boost a few of your top performing posts.

  1. Customize Your Audience

Speaking of your target audience – customize it. Every platform from Pinterest to LinkedIn offers you a mass amount of targeting tools to specifically reach your desired audience. If you just thought to yourself: “But everyone is my target audience,” consider yourself currently receiving a virtual side-eye from me. “Everyone” is not your target audience. Yes, I know that you want everyone to be purchasing your product/service, but that does not make them your target audience. Your target audience is the specific set of people most likely to interact with, purchase, promote or further your brand in some way. If you skip the audience customization step of building your promoted posts, you may as well throw your money in the garbage; better yet, send it to me, I’ll put it toward my student loans, at least then it will be doing some good in the world. Please trust me when I say a smaller, more targeted audience isn’t limiting you and forcing you to reach fewer people, it’s enabling you to reach the right people. Quality>quantity.

How to implement: Spend some time with your team this week and talk about what your products are and who your target audience is. Quite honestly, depending on the content you’re pushing, you may have a very different audience from post to post – but have a brainstorm to figure out what that looks like. Who are they, what are their interests, how old are they, what hobbies might they have, what kind of work to they do? Define your target audience(s), and start promoting content to them on purpose.

  1. Try a Pyramid Scheme

Did your eyes just fall out of your head? Understandable. Mine did, too. In the spirit of transparency, let it be known that I haven’t personally tried this approach, but I thought it sounded interesting.

Basically, what Kim was suggesting was you use your channels to help your content audition for your ad budget. What does that mean? Think of it like a pyramid. Twitter should be at the bottom of your pyramid. Share a lot of content organically to Twitter, watch how the content performs and take your top performing posts from Twitter, and move them into your second most important channel(s), and then take the most popular posts from there and move them to your priority channel. Let Twitter be your guide to the most engaging content, and then move that content to the top (most targeted) part of your pyramid. Once you’ve taken your content onto your priority channels, boost the posts that are performing the best. This is a simple way to learn a lot about your content and your audience, and takes the actual decision-making off your shoulders.

Every audience is different, so you may find that this approach doesn’t fit with the volume of content you’re producing, the types of followers you have or even your timeline. But it does offer a new way to look at your content and how you’re presenting yourself on each of your channels.

How to implement: You could try this for a month, moving content through your pyramid weekly, and see if you notice any changes in your audience’s behavior. Pay attention to the types of content you’re sharing that your audience is responsive to, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Bonus tip: Video ads

I’m not going to harp on video ads, because your eyes probably glazed over when you saw the word “video” – you know video is important, it’s king, it’s the “it” thing, it’s necessary blah, blah, blah. So, I’m just going to say it and we can move on: Video ads increase your ad relevance score by 2 points and can cost less than $0.01 per video view. So, if you’re not using video in any capacity, start.

There you have it. Three hacks to help get you started down the path of a paid social media strategy. If your social strategy needs more than three hacks and you need some professional help – let us know. We’d love to talk to you.