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Paid Social Promotion

Paid Social Promotion vs. Social Selling—the results are in!

By Sander Biehn | Mar 9, 2017

Promoting content on social channels has become an integral part of many B2B marketing budgets. Paying to promote blogs with a target audience around specific keywords is the bread and butter of many marketing departments and the agencies that support them.

But just how effective is paid promotion?

Our experience tells us the following:

1. Getting relevant prospects is not easy. Unless you target an audience of 10,000 or more, you are not likely to get any response and often the social channels balk at sharing your content to tiny audiences

2. Consistency matters. One social promotion campaign may not drive lots of click-through, but one per month will yield results in less than a year.

3. Social media prospects are much more likely to click through when a post is shared by a sales person than when the same content is shared by a brand.

These observations are helpful when deciding what to do.  In many ways, it seems like a social selling program could be much more effective than just paid social for the reasons outlined above.  But how do you compare the cost of a paid social media promotion versus embarking on a social selling program? At first look, they appear to be apples and oranges. However, it is not as difficult as you might think.

Assumption: Both programs require content that has a specific call to action. This means you will need to have content writers and also product landing pages in both scenarios.

Finding the cost of paid promotion: We looked at several industry specific keywords for our clients. In this instance, the keywords cost about $500 per 10,000 impressions in social media reach.

What would it take to place the same content in front of 10,000 eyeballs using social media sharing by the sales force? If you have 10 sales people who all have greater than 1,000 connections on social media, it wouldn’t take much. By just sharing the post once, the same reach could be accomplished.

It may even be better than what the advertising algorithm can achieve when you consider the fact that sales people are tightly connected with buyers who have either purchased in the past or are evaluating your products and services right now.

Let’s run the numbers

1,000,000 in Paid Social Media Impressions: Assuming $500 for every 10,000 impressions, the cost would be $50,000.

So, if social selling cost less than $50,000 for the same time period, it provides the same if not better ROI. This is what makes social selling programs so tantalizing for business.  We have seen impressions with our clients of more than 1.5M per month.  But not every social selling program is capable of driving this type of reach. Having a plan to get sales people to adopt social sharing and helping them to increase their relevant social media following is not as easy as it might sound.  Mandating the use of social rarely works with sales teams.

This is why creating a targeted and effective social selling program is so important.  Sales teams need to answer, “what’s in it for me?”  In addition, the program needs to ensure adoption and consistent sharing by sales. Lastly, there needs to be a solid content strategy and way to measure the sharing by Sales to create ROI.


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