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Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Ads

Last month, our social media team took to Instagram Live to share the ins and outs of social media ads. Jaden Slavens, Social Media Manager; Cassie Sullivan, Director of Marketing & Sales; and Heather Miller, Senior Advertising & Analytics Manager chatted about letting your goals drive your creative, the power of a boosted post, and more.

Keep reading for a snapshot of their conversation about social media ads!

I want to use social media ads, but don’t know where to start. Help!

We often hear this question from our clients! First, we always recommend a social media presence to build audience trust before beginning your ads. You don’t need a certain number of posts or followers. Instead, focus on two to three weeks of consistent posting. That way, when people see your ad and go to your profile, they know you’re real. They can easily get to know your brand and see the product or service that you’re selling in action. You don’t want to start ads with a ghost account because it may drive away potential customers.

From there, it’s important to understand your goals — what you want to achieve with a social presence — and how ads can support them. 

What is the difference between organic post and paid ad?

On social media, an organic post is simply any activity without paid promotion, like posting a Story or Reel that showcases your latest offerings. This post will be shared with your audience. A paid ad or sponsored placement is a post that’s influenced by advertising dollars. In other words you’re paying to reach an audience beyond your followers. 

On Google, you see mostly organic search results when you look something up. In the top left corner, you’ll see a small heading that says “Sponsored” to denote paid advertising.

What about boosting a post and running an ad? Is it the same thing?

Greta question! When you boost a post, you take an existing post — something you organically shared with your followers — and “boost” it with dollars to help it reach a certain audience beyond your followers for a certain amount of time. You can determine these parameters based on your goals and the focus of the post.

An ad is similar: You put dollars behind it to increase its reach. However, you typically use a different creative — something that “looks” more like an ad and introduces your company to followers who may not already know you. There’s a lot more customization available, which allows you to align it even more closely to your business goals. 

For best practice, we recommend sharing organic posts, boosting some of those posts, and running ads. You can combine them all to better support one another — “a happy little ad family,” as Heather explains!

You need eight to ten touch points before a customer is going to make a decision — so think about their path to find you and how you can reach them again and again.

Do you have any suggestions for designing an engaging ad creative?

A creative is simply the picture that you’re looking at as you scroll through social media. There are so many different directions and strategies to consider when designing your post! It really depends on your goals and your audience. For a boosted post, you know your audience and they know you. For an ad, you’re reaching a new audience, so you want to make it super clear who you are and what you’re promoting. 

Think about what catches your eye when you’re scrolling. As a viewer, it typically takes three to five seconds to decide if you’re going to click a post to learn more. Your design should be clean and simple to showcase your brand name and your offering. You want to very clearly convey how you can help your target audience and why they should choose you. 

Let’s talk about analytics. How do you measure ad performance?

At Carlisle & Co., we base our analytics reports on our clients and their goals. (We’ve talked a lot about goals because they’re that important!) For instance, if they’re looking for follower growth, we track engagements, which include links, comments, and shares. If they’re looking for website visitors or leads, we track link clicks and landing page views. And if they’re looking for sales or conversations, we track link and conversion tracking. 

If you’re looking to expand your online reach with digital marketing services, please reach out to our team today.

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Hi, I'm Whitney

A brand strategist with an editorial approach and a lot of cats, based in Los Angeles, California.

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