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Learning Paid Social Media is a Critical Skill for College Students

Learning paid social is a critical skill that college students must embrace when pursuing a PR, marketing or journalism degree.

By: Michael Brito

Category: Content

It used to be that paid media was a “nice to have.” Sadly, brands today need to pay to promote their stories and reach audiences who have already opted in to receive your content.

An image of learning paid social media

What is paid social media?

In the past, if you had 100 fans on Facebook and posted content, all fans would see that content in their feed. Today, if you have 100 fans and post, three to five people will see it in their feed. Paid social media promotes content and ads across social media platforms to reach a larger audience.

According to the 2021 Gartner CMO Spend Survey, marketers allocate 11.3% of their marketing budget to paid social media marketing. It’s a big deal.

Why is it important for college students to learn paid social media?

Well, first, let me say that it’s not just college students that should learn paid social. Everyone who works in marketing and PR should understand the basics. As a lifelong learner, I still need to learn some things about it too. But for college students, here are a few reasons why it’s important:

  1. It’s become a necessary skill for many jobs.
  2. It’s a great way to gain experience while in school.
  3. You can make some extra money by freelancing.
  4. Learning paid social will make you smarter about the organic content you post and help you better understand how social media works.
  5. . Finally, understanding paid social media will help prepare you for when you need to promote your products or ideas later in life.

What are the different types of paid social media?

There are four main types of paid social media–sponsored content, promoted posts, social media advertising, and influencer marketing. Let’s take a closer look at each type:

  1. Sponsored Content: This is when a brand pays to have its content featured on another site or blog. For example, a clothing company might pay a fashion blogger to feature one of their dresses in a blog post.
  2. Promoted Posts: This is when a brand pays to have its content seen by more people on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  3. Social Media Advertising: This is when a brand pays to place ads on social media platforms. These ads can be in the form of text, images, videos, or even interactive ads.
  4. Influencer Marketing: This is when a brand partners with an influencer to promote its products or services.

So, now that you know the basics and different types of paid social media, it’s critical to understand the process of how to launch a program. When launching a paid social media program, you need to learn these six things.

1. Know your marketing goals. Before you start paying for social media ads, it’s essential to know what your goals are. What do you want to achieve with your ad campaign? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, get more leads, or drive more sales? Once you know your goals, you can create ad campaigns more likely to achieve them.

2. Choose the right social media platform. Not all social media platforms are created equal. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right platform for your needs is essential. For example, if you’re looking to reach a younger audience, Snapchat or TikTok might be better than LinkedIn.

3. Target your audience. One of the great things about paid social media is that you can target your ads to specific audiences. This means that you can ensure your ads are seen by people interested in your offer. You can target by location, age, gender, interests, and more.

4. Create compelling content. Just like with any other type of advertising, the content of your ad is essential. It would help if you created something that would grab attention and persuade people to take action. Ensure your ad copy is clear and concise and includes a call to action that is easy to follow.

5. Learn the PESO model. The PESO model is used to understand the digital ecosystem and how all the disparate media channels can work together to reach audiences.

5. Monitor your results. Once you’ve launched your ad campaign, monitoring your results and seeing how well it’s performing is essential. Most social media platforms have built-in analytics to track your progress. This will help you determine whether or not your campaign is successful and make necessary adjustments.

Paid Social Media Definitions

You must also understand a few definitions if you learn paid social.

  • Paid search: Sometimes, this is referred to as PPC, which means pay-per-click. The result of paid search or what you see in the search engines after you Google something. Typically, the top 3 to 5 posts say sponsored and ads.
  • Display advertising: These are the banner ads you see on websites. There are different types of display advertising.
  • Social media platform: A website or app that allows users to create and share content or participate in social networking.
  • Ad campaign: A series of ads designed to achieve a specific goal, such as increasing brand awareness or driving sales.
  • Target audience: The group of people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
  • Call to action: A statement or question encouraging people to take the desired action, such as “click here” or “learn more.”
  • Click: The action of clicking on an ad or link.
  • Impression: The number of times an ad is displayed, whether clicked on or not.
  • CPC (Cost per click): This is the amount you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
  • CPM (Cost per thousand impressions): This is the amount you pay each time your ad is displayed, regardless of whether it’s clicked on.
  • CTR (Click-Through-Rate): This is the percentage of how many times someone clicks on your ad. It’s calculated by taking the total impressions. This is the percentage of how many times someone clicks on your ad. It’s calculated by taking the full images and digital clicks by the total clicks.
  • Video View-Through Rate: The number of times your video ad is watched is divided by the number of impressions it receives.

As a college student, you must understand these definitions because you will see them a lot. Additionally, you will want to add these skills and keywords/definitions when you write your personal brand statement. Also, if you want to get a job in social media or marketing, you need to know these terms like the back of your hand.

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