As part of the requirements to finish my degree, I took a college course in news writing. Being a public relations student, I felt somewhat out of place in the newsroom; however, I quickly grew to enjoy the interactions I had with my editors and advisors.  On various occasions they would try to convince me to change majors from public relations to print journalism.  I would smile and politely decline, but internally I scoffed – everyone knew print journalism was dying!

Everyone was right, but everyone was also wrong.  While countless newspapers around the country closed their doors, others began thriving in the digital world.  That’s what so many of us failed to predict – instead of giving up, print journalists adapted and moved forward into the Internet Age.

It should come as no surprise then that the rest of the industry followed suit.  According to Hootsuite, Internet advertising surpassed newspaper advertising spending for the first time last year.  Traditional marketing companies are adapting to this new world, and—at least where I live—it feels like you can’t throw a rock without hitting another online marketing agency.

With all of these different options available, it can be hard to know how to spend your advertising budget.  E-mail campaigns, web ads, videos – the choices can be overwhelming.  A good online marketing agency can help you find the right blend of marketing platforms for your business. If you want one area to focus on right now, I suggest social media advertising.

Social Media Advertising: Big Business

Social media advertising is the way of the future.  Research shows that the click-through rate for Facebook’s desktop ads is 8 times higher normal web ads, and mobile ads are 9 times more effective. That’s a huge difference!

The research also shows that $23.68 billion will be spent on social media advertising worldwide in 2015, an increase of 33.5% from 2014. An estimated $8 billion of that will be spent in the U.S. alone. Additionally, social network ad spending will reach $36 billion by 2017. Clearly social media advertising is big business.

Blended Together

A recent article from AdAge suggested, “There is no more social media, just advertising.” Because of my training and background in public relations, I tend to think about social media differently from AdAge’s usual readers.  When I first read that, I had a similar reaction to my advisor’s suggestion to switch to print journalism.

Social media isn’t dead, and it’s not just advertising, I thought to myself. Great social media should be a conversation, not one-way communication.

Once again, everyone is right, but everyone is also wrong.  Obviously, social media isn’t dead, and you have to communicate with your followers in order to have meaningful engagement.  However, with every tweet and post you are advertising your brand’s reputation even if you’re not overtly selling a product or service.

Trial and Error

The simple way to enter the world of social media advertising is trial and error.  Facebook is a great place to start, considering the research says their share of social ad revenue in the U.S. will remain at about 70% until 2017.

If you’ve ever managed a company page on Facebook, you know that you will be prompted to turn all of your posts into ads.  This is exactly what Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes suggests – use free social media to beta-test your paid social.  Find out what works, then pump some money into your better performing posts.  It’s really that easy.

Get Some Help

If you’re still unsure of what to do with social media advertising, look for an online marketing agency that can help you.  At Digital Flavor we can help you with your social media ad strategy as well as the design and implementation of your campaign.  Learn more about our services to see if we’re the right fit for your company!