How to Set Up a Paid Social Media Campaign

The key to success with social media is making sure you don't skip past the basics of good marketing techniques and strategies. Utilizing best practices will create a social media strategy that maximizes your resources and helps you achieve your desired outcomes.


Bill Arnold

12/15/20235 min read

Paid Social Media
Paid Social Media

If you need to generate sales-qualified leads quickly, there are only a few options that can deliver. Of all the options, one of the most cost-effective is a paid social media campaign. In our last blog, Social Media Marketing -Is Pay to Play Worth It?, we shared that the average ROI for the industry is 250%. If you are willing to A/B test everything, and make optimization changes in real time, an ROI of over 600% is possible.

Why doesn’t everyone achieve such stellar results? Because very few utilize the right process, capture the right metrics, and employ an effective strategy. Like all skill sets, these must be learned and often the person with the least experience is put in charge of running the campaigns. Today, we are going to remind you how to develop a social media program that will achieve success.

Difference Between Organic and Paid Demand Programs

We previously discussed that organic social media marketing is best used for building long-term relationships and trust with your audience (The Case of Using Organic Social Media Marketing to Obtain Sales). For the most part, organic social media marketing is great for obtaining that first touch and nurturing clients with additional interactions that keep bringing them back to your website and product solutions.

While organic social media is a cost-effective way to introduce your brand and secure high-quality leads, it does have its limitations. Specifically, most social platforms limit the exposure and reach of organic traffic in favor of paid advertisements. For example: As of July 2023, the average engagement rate of an organic Facebook post ranged from 2.58% down to just 1.52% (Hootsuite). Only 15% of Facebook's feed content is recommended by its algorithms from a non-followed account. These limitations of organic content are not limited to Facebook. All platforms have the goal of transitioning organic contributors to paying customers.

Paid social media can serve two roles. It is ideal for expanding audience reach quickly and targeting specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. It can also be used as a bottom-of-the-funnel engagement that serves as the final touchpoint before they speak to sales, purchase the product, or engage in another bottom-of-the-funnel activity.

Elements to Setting Up a Paid Social Media Marketing Program

While both organic, and paid, social media may be the most effective way to achieve your marketing goals, paid social can quickly expand the reach and exposure of your brand. Where paid demand fails is when it is implemented without first returning to the basics.

Know Your Buyer Personas – Knowing who is your targeted buyer personas is foundational for any marketing effort. When engaging in either organic or paid social media, marketing the initiatives should be based on knowledge and information that was obtained through a well-orchestrated buyer persona program. You must understand and incorporate the messaging that will resonate with your target audience. You must then adapt the presentation of that messaging and your brand to the specifics of each social media platform.

Customize for Each Platform - To expand your reach, your content must be optimized for each platform you plan on utilizing. This not only means possibly modifying how you craft the message to reflect the user’s expectation, but also adhering to the image size or format preferences (e.g., video, pictures, text). There are some social channels whose algorithms will limit the distribution of content if it has the watermark of a competitive channel.

All this platform customization must be done while remaining true to the brand guidelines.

Omnichannel approach – If you want to get the reach and influence that paid social media offers, you also need to take an omnichannel approach to distribute it. The average user frequents 6.6 social media channels each month (Backlinko). If you want to capture their attention, you need to be posting your paid demand on all the channels your buyer personas use. As they navigate from one channel to another, seeing a constant reminder of the value your brand brings will reinforce why they need to do business with your company.

If you are not sure where to post your content, and you have a B2B client base, consider posting on the platforms used by most marketers as of January 2023.

Social Media Channel Usage
Social Media Channel Usage

Provide Value – ALL content (organic and paid) needs to provide value to the intended audience. Never create content for content’s sake. If you cannot clearly state the educational or entertainment value that will be seen as a benefit by your targeted audience, don’t post it. Distributing content that has little or no value is the quickest way for a brand to be devalued in the marketplace.

For every piece of content you create, you must be able to state who is the target, what benefit they will derive from it, and what the intended response you anticipate.

Use Behavior Science – We have spoken many times about the power The Laws of Influence have on getting your buyers to make a purchase. We require that EVERY piece of content that we release must have one or more of these elements incorporated. You have a few seconds to influence a person who sees your content. Incorporating behavior science into your posts, means that they are more likely to engage.

Metric-Driven – If you plan on creating a paid social media campaign and letting it run for a month to see how well you did, you will likely fail. The key to ANY marketing campaign is the continual optimization that is required to achieve the best outcome. You need to be A/B testing daily. Run two versions of your ad with different messaging or imagery. Within 24 hours, you should be able to see discernable results. Keep the version that does better, and use that, the next day, for another A/B test. Do this every day, and by the end of the campaign, you will have improved performance by up to 10% (Cialdini).

Be Relevant – One of the advantages of paid social media ads is the ability to target specific groups. The degree to which you can target an audience is quite amazing. If you can think of a category, you can create a campaign directed specifically to that group. For example, you can create an ad for umbrellas, for female college students who are at a conference center, when it is starting to rain. The better you target your message to a specific persona and their demographics, the more engagement you will receive.

Be Cost Effective – While all the ideas set forth above will help you be cost-effective, we found the best way to accomplish this is to use paid social demand strategically at the top and bottom of the funnel.

Amplification - At the top-of-the-funnel, during the awareness and consideration phases of the buyer's journey, we use amplification. We take a compelling piece of premium content, or a blog that seems to resonate with the targeted personas using organic traffic, and amplify it using paid demand. The cost is minimal, just a few hundred dollars to promote a piece of quality content on social platforms and paid keywords. This can deliver new and highly targeted eyes.

Retargeting - Retargeting should be an active part of any marketing efforts. When a person visits your website, or landing page, we will identify their persona, and for the next 72 hours after their visit, that person will see display ads on social networks they browse that will provide new and compelling content they can obtain if they return to your website. We picked 72 hours, because it is during this period they are most likely continuing their journey to find a solution.


The key to success with social media is making sure you don't skip past the basics of good marketing techniques and strategies. Utilizing best practices will create a social media strategy that maximizes your resources and helps you achieve your desired outcomes.

Tomorrow, we will continue our journey and examine a few case studies of programs we have utilized that delivered a huge return on investment.