If you don’t know the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising, it’s okay to admit it. The distinction can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the social media world or to digital marketing—especially since they’re sometimes used (carelessly) as interchangeable. There is a difference between social media marketing vs. social media advertising, and it pays to know that difference and to incorporate both into your overarching digital strategy.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a crucial facet of any digital marketing strategy today. It encompasses your business’s online profiles on social media platforms, along with the social media activity of those platforms: posting, liking, commenting, sharing, and so on.
Social media marketing begins with creating company pages or profiles on relevant social networks. The networks that you choose will depend on your industry; B2Bs will likely find LinkedIn to be the most relevant network, since they’re marketing to other business professionals, while home builders and developers might make use of platforms like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram to show off images of their homes and properties.
Again, this depends on the platform and your industry. Industrial manufacturers may not have much luck posting photos of their products on Instagram. (Are the insides of factories usually very aesthetically pleasing? No.) But, they’ll have more success posting content about their processes, sharing their blog content, sharing relevant articles and news from industry publications, and posting infographics on LinkedIn.
Twitter is great for sharing links, but because tweets are limited to 280 characters, it’s not the place for longform content.
Instagram is designed for sharing images, and while you can use an image to promote a piece of content, you can’t link from a post directly. You have to include the link in your bio, which might not be the most effective way to direct people to that link.
Why Do Social Media Marketing?
One of the major principles of inbound marketing is bringing your ideal customers to you. Since your ideal customers are using social media—everyone is—having a social media presence is a necessity if you want to draw in potential customers.
Creating a community through social media marketing has some major benefits, like building brand awareness and helping to establish your industry reputation as an authority in your field. Also, it can establish your company as enjoyable to interact with, which can result in people converting to customers when they do need your company’s products or services.
What is Social Media Advertising?
Social media advertising (also known as paid social) involves running paid ads on various social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. These can include banner ads as well as native ads and activities like boosting posts or like campaigns. Social media ads are often charged on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression basis.
You can use paid social to promote content, like a whitepaper or guide that your company or marketing agency has created. You can develop an ad around this content you’re offering, or boost the posts where you shared the content offer. This increases the reach of your content, which can lead to more website traffic and conversions of visitors to leads.
Why do Paid Social?
Promotional posts on social media don’t have a ton of reach on their own and aren’t likely to get a lot of organic engagement. Paid social allows you to specifically target audiences. This targeting is no joke, either. Depending on the platform, you can target audiences by criteria such as location, age, gender, search history, interests and activities, device use, even things like employer or job title.
Since you’re paying either by the number of clicks or impressions (views) your ad gets, you want to ensure that you’re getting the most for your social media ad budget. You do this through targeting, which ensures that only the most relevant people (aka, your ideal customers) see your ads. This makes paid social a high-ROI advertising strategy.
Additionally, the analytics that social media advertising platforms provide you can help better understand your audience and fine-tune your advertisements for better reach, engagement, and ROI.
Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising
Essentially, advertising is a form of marketing that uses advertisements, which are paid notices that appear on public platforms. Not all marketing is advertising, but all advertising is marketing.
Which is Better? Social Media Marketing or Social Media Advertising?
If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what we’re going to say: you need both.
Social media marketing helps you build a community and foster relationships with current and potential customers—it’s a long game.
Social media advertising puts your name/products/services/links in front of people who are looking for what you offer right now.
Both of these strategies can generate leads and sales, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Using social media for both its organic (unpaid) and paid methods of reaching your intended audience is simply the most effective use of the vast power of social media.
Everyone in business knows this cliche: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And though we might hate to admit it, sometimes, cliches have some truth to them. In today’s competitive market, if you’re trying to grow your business, not let it die, you need to use all possible tools and strategies to your advantage. One of these tools is growth-driven website design.
The goal of growth-driven website design to help your company grow. It achieves this through beautiful, functional design that is user-friendly and mobile-responsive, as well as through strategies for increasing calls, conversions, and leads.
Growth-driven website design incorporates various strategies for enabling visitors to get the information that they need, get in contact with your business, and convert to leads. It does this with simple design and logical placement of information and buttons, as well as easy ways to get in touch, like a call button or a live chat.
It also focuses on a smarter approach to launching a site than the long lead times of traditional web design. Growth-driven design gets your site launched quickly, so you can start seeing results sooner. Plus, growth-driven design is heavily data-based, using data to drive decision making and optimize results.
How is Growth-Driven Website Design Different?
When most websites are designed, the designers aren’t necessarily thinking about business growth. Instead, they’re thinking about user experience, mobile responsiveness, aesthetics, function, and layout. All of those are crucial aspects to a successful website and improving user-friendliness and the appearance of your site can help you convert more leads. But growth of the business isn’t a design goal in traditional web design. If growth happens, it happens incidentally.
Another way that’s different from a traditional website design: you know whether it’s working. Growth-driven design uses data to determine growth and to track progress toward growth goals. These metrics can help you to determine the ROI of your web design, as well as optimize your design for the most conversions, leads, and growth.
Why Should You Care?
Very few business owners are going to say that they don’t want to grow their businesses, and those who do aren’t concerned with website design. But for the majority of businesses out there, growth is a constant and ever-elusive goal.
You want leads, right? You want new customers and to make more sales? Well, if your website isn’t helping you get those leads, you’re relying solely on your sales and marketing team… which you can’t expand until you have a bigger budget… which you need to make more money to have… See where this is going?
You already have a website. (If you don’t, just, wow.) Orienting your website toward business growth is going to drive leads, conversions, and calls, which is going to lead to more sales, more profits, and business growth. Why wouldn’t you use all the tools at your disposal?
How Do You Get a Growth-Driven Website Design?
Don’t just ask your IT guy to build you a growth-driven website. He’s not going to know what that means, and there are a lot of other reasons why you shouldn’t ask someone in-house to hard-code a unique website for you.
A run-of-the-mill website design company isn’t going to cut it, either. Why? Because they aren’t going to know the best practices for driving business growth, even if they are skilled at designing beautiful and functional websites.
First, look for a full-service marketing agency that calls itself a growth agency. If an agency isn’t promoting itself as a growth agency, it’s probably because that’s not their focus. Here are some other qualities to look for in a growth agency who can give you a high-quality, growth-driven website design:
They have a proven strategy—proven how? Through testimonials, references, and case studies of how they’ve helped their clients grow their businesses.
They care about metrics—metrics are how you know what’s working… and what’s not. A growth agency should care about metrics, understand how to read them, and be able to provide you with real, specific, relevant goals based on data.
They know your industry—a growth agency should have an understanding of what growth looks like in your industry. The B2B space isn’t the same as the B2C space, and the needs of an industrial manufacturer are going to be different than those of a residential developer.
If you’re considering running any sort of PPC or other outbound marketing strategy, you need to be using Google Ads. It’s one of the best digital marketing tools available to any company and when used effectively, can yield huge results for boosting website traffic, generating leads, and making sales.
Here’s the complete guide on how to use Google Ads so that you can take advantage of one of the best advertising tools on the web.
What are Google Ads?
Search ads are a form of native advertising that appears on search engine result pages. When a user makes a query, search ads that are relevant to the keywords used in the query will appear at the top of the page as a sponsored result. These search ads look very similar to the organic search results that appear below them on the page.
Google Display Network
The Google Display Network is a network of sites from Youtube to Weather.com to your local news station’s website that partner with Google and host advertisements. Unlike paid search, these advertisements appear directly on sites in the GDN, in banners, sidebars, etc. Rather than appearing as search engine listings, they appear as clickable images, which you can design.
Google Ads has a lot of great features, including comprehensive and relatively easy to understand analytics so you can gauge the success of your campaigns, optimize future efforts, and measure marketing ROI. You can target very specific audiences and appear in searches for critical keywords, as well as selectively bid on cost-effective keywords and targeting options to maximize your marketing budget and ROI.
Not to mention, Google is the internet. Nearly all online searches in the US are performed using Google, and there are thousands and thousands of sites, local and national, in the Google Display Network. Google Ads will get your ads seen, no question.
Once you’ve entered all of this information, you’ll be ready to start your first campaign.
Create a Campaign
In Google Ads, a campaign is an overarching category containing ad groups. Ad groups are sets of keywords and associated ads.
If you’re creating your first campaign immediately after entering your business information and creating your account, you’ll be taken right to creating your first campaign. If you’ve already created an account, log in to your account and click the + icon on the Campaigns page.
From there, you’ll need to select the network you want your ad to appear on (i.e., search network or display network). Note that you can have your campaign run on both the search and display networks at the same time, or just one of those networks. You’ll also need to set a goal for your campaign (sales, leads, or website traffic are the options Google provides) and name your campaign.
Then you’ll select the locations where you want your ads to be shown. This can be general, like the whole US, or more specific, like the region, state, or city. You’ll also want to select the languages your potential customers speak.
Next, you’ll be prompted to choose a bidding strategy. Since Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads, each time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay for that.
Bidding allows you to limit the amount you spend on your campaign for maximum ROI. The interface offers you many different bidding strategies depending on your campaign goals, including maximize clicks, maximize conversions, target page search location, target outranking share, target CPA, target ROAS, enhanced CPC, and manual CPC.
Then enter a daily budget for your campaign, based on how much you want to spend on that campaign.
You’ll then be prompted to enter start and end dates for your campaign, as well as ad extensions.
Ad extensions are extensions of your ad: they allow you to include additional information like an additional sitelink, more business information (like hours or storefront location), or a phone number.
Keywords are the key to effective Google Ads, and effective PPC ads in general. You’ll need to select keywords that are:
The Google Ads platform has a keyword planner that can be useful in generating keywords. Under “Get keyword ideas” you can enter a related website or your product or service, and the keyword planner will suggest possible keywords.
If you’ve already been doing some digital marketing or updating your website, you may already have a keyword strategy in place and have some specific keywords, based on research, that you want to target.
Track and Review Metrics
In the Ads interface, select the tool icon in the top right corner, then select “Conversions.” Then select the + button, then select the type of conversion you want to track: website, app, phone calls, or imported from another system. From there you’ll define and categorize your goals, and add a global site tag and event tag to your landing page to track the conversions.
To review your ad performance, start at the Overview page. You can customize the line chart that appears to show you the data that is most interesting and relevant to you, such as clicks, conversions, conversion rates, and cost per conversion.
The tiles below the chart display useful information and data trends, such as which devices are accessing your campaigns, or your campaign activity today compared to the average number of clicks over the course of the campaign.
*Our Getting Started with HubSpot Series is written to help you understand what to expect when you sign on with a HubSpot Partner Agency. Over the next few months, we’ll work to cover everything from HubSpot onboarding to sales enablement and marketing and sales alignment. If you like these posts, and there’s a certain topic you’d like us to talk about, just let us know!
These days, it seems like everyone is talking about HubSpot. If your business is interested in making the switch to inbound marketing, and is looking for new ways to streamline marketing and sales efforts to promote overall growth, you might be looking at the HubSpot platform to help you do it.
But how to get started?
At this point, you already know what HubSpot is, and what — for the most part — it does. (If not, check out our Plain English Guide to HubSpot’s Software. That should help you understand the platform’s basics.)
The harder question is: how can you get your entire team set up on this software, and how can you get them to buy into actually using it every day?
Meet Brooke, our HubSpot Project Manager! She’s our HubSpot Onboarding expert, and we’re relying on her expertise to inform this post.
We call that process onboarding, and we’ve helped walk plenty of clients through exactly those challenges. As a HubSpot Gold Partner Agency and a HubSpot Certified Trainer, those are questions we’re qualified to answer.
In fact, we’ve talked to our HubSpot Project Manager, Brooke, who does the actual work of onboarding our clients onto the HubSpot platform, to tell us all about the HubSpot onboarding process.
Here’s what you can expect:
What Does the HubSpot Onboarding Process Look Like?
Before we get too far into this, it’s good to know that every agency works a little differently. We’re going to tell you how we onboard our clients, and what that process typically looks like for them. It should be similar to most other HubSpot Partner Agencies’ onboarding process, but it might not be exactly the same.
With that in mind, let’s go.
No matter which HubSpot service you’re looking for (their CRM, their Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, or Customer Service Hub), the onboarding process is much the same.
HubSpot Project Manager, Brooke, mentions, “the toughest part of onboarding is that people tend to get nervous about the change.”
And that makes sense. If your company’s been working one way for years, it’s tough to imagine doing business another way. But, if you’re committed to switching over to HubSpot, it’s worth it to put the work in now.
Plus, if you’re working with a HubSpot Certified Trainer, you’re going to have all the help you and your team need to make the move.
Here at HA Digital Marketing, the HubSpot onboarding process starts with a kickoff call.
Once you’ve decided that HubSpot is right for you, and you’d like to use some or all of their tools, we arrange a kickoff call. Here at HA Digital Marketing, you’ll talk to Brooke during your kickoff call. She’ll ask you questions about what your goals are for the platform, what your sales process looks like, and more.
During this call or face-to-face meeting, we’re looking to get an idea of what HubSpot tools will be most helpful to your team. We’re also going to help you set up your portal, and import in all of your existing contacts, so we want to know:
What are your goals?
This includes your sales goals
Overall goals for the HubSpot platform — what do you hope it will help you do?
What is your process?
Take us through your sales process. What happens after you identify a lead? Do you send them information, visit their site, just send a quote, or more?
Do you have a marketing process? If so, what does it look like?
If you don’t have a marketing process, that’s okay too. We’re always happy to work with you to develop one, or we can work as your own bolt-on marketing team.
Do your marketing and sales teams work together at any part of this process? Where are some touchpoints that might be beneficial to have your sales and marketing teams communicate?
While this might seem like a lot of questions, your answers give us the information we need to more effectively set up your HubSpot account in a way that will actually be useful to your company. We take all of the information gathered in this meeting, and we move onto the next step of the onboarding process.
Technical Setup (We Handle This Part)
After your initial kickoff call, Brooke, or one of our other HubSpot specialists, will get you all set up in the HubSpot platform. This part of the process can take about two weeks.
During this phase, Brooke handles all of the technical aspects of onboarding your company onto the HubSpot Platform. She’ll do everything from making sure your website pages are tracking in HubSpot to linking your social media accounts, blogs, and entire teams’ email accounts with your new HubSpot portal. Most importantly, Brooke will import all of your contacts into the platform. She’ll organize each of those contacts based on what she’s learned in your kickoff call.
HubSpot allows for custom contact fields. That means, if your sales team addresses leads in one industry differently than leads in another industry, Brooke will make sure each contact in HubSpot says what industry they work in. She can also include additional custom fields like:
This information helps her categorize all of your contacts into segmented lists based on their industry, their potential value to your company, and more. This way, you can easily and efficiently provide relevant marketing and sales content to every potential lead that comes in. It’s also the first step to automating some of your more repetitive marketing and sales tasks.
Integrate Your Existing CRM
Many of our clients who sign up for HubSpot marketing or sales tools are already using another CRM. That’s totally cool.
Your team will still be able to enter in and track leads as they have with their previous CRM, they’ll just have the added benefit of these new HubSpot Marketing and Sales tools.
What If I Don’t Have a CRM?
That’s totally fine, too. If you don’t have an existing CRM, we’ll still upload all of your existing contacts into the HubSpot platform, and we’ll organize them for you using HubSpot’s CRM (which is free). Still not sure about all of that?
Here’s what Brooke says to clients who don’t have a CRM:
“Think about if you were going to a conference. You meet tons of people and collect their business cards, but then what? Your CRM is a way to organize those people. You can make sure you have their names, their job titles, contact information, and you can put in notes to remind yourself about what you talked about at the conference, what they’re interested in, and more.”
The HubSpot CRM, as a whole, offers a simple way to organize all of your customers and contacts. From there, it’s easy to build and sustain the best possible relationship with each of them using tools offered by the HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs.
Once your contacts are imported and organized in the CRM, Brooke will also help you to define a sales process that makes sense for your team, too. We’re always looking to help our clients do business better. If there’s a tool or process your team is missing that we think you might be able to benefit from, we’ll let you know.
How Much Work Will This Be for My Team?
One of the most common questions we get about the HubSpot onboarding process is “how much work will my team need to do to make this happen?”
The truth is, your team is going to have to do some work. That said, they won’t be alone, and to be honest, our team will help do most of the heavy lifting as your team figures out how the platform works.
Brooke typically handles the lion’s share of moving your information over to HubSpot. She will:
Input your contacts
Customize lists of contacts
Help create reports until your team knows how to do it themselves
Teach every team member, step-by-step, how to use all of HubSpot’s relevant tools
Continue meeting with your team on a monthly basis to analyze your current efforts, and optimize them for future goals
Complete any necessary ongoing training as new tools and features are released to HubSpot
As for your team? Brooke reminds us of a commonly understood learning statistic:
“I usually recommend that team members just start using HubSpot for 5 minutes a day. Even just inputting contacts, and making sure you’re assigning the right qualities to each contact helps you remember everything that you’ve learned.”
5 minutes a day doesn’t sound too bad! On the whole, it’s a pretty small time investment, and once your team gets the hang of HubSpot, they’ll be so glad they used those 5 minutes.
The Benefits of Partnering With A HubSpot Partner Agency
When you partner with HA Digital Marketing to onboard your team onto the HubSpot platform, you really don’t have to worry that your team won’t understand the tool, or won’t end up using it.
We approach onboarding with a “walk/run” perspective.
First, we’ll teach you what you need to know, and we encourage your team to learn at their own pace (walking).
Once they start to get the hang of the tools, though, all of our clients pick HubSpot up pretty quickly (running).
The bottom line is, the tools that HubSpot provides are seriously useful, and they really do work to support the great work that your sales team is already doing. With HubSpot’s tools and metrics, and your sales team’s excellent effort, you’ll start to see some serious growth success in no time.
And best of all, if you’re working with a HubSpot Agency Partner, you’ll have a Certified Trainer like Brooke to help walk you through the entire process.
Interested in taking the HubSpot plunge? Evenbound is a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner, and we’re also a HubSpot Certified Trainer. That means we’ve helped tons of clients just like you learn everything there is to know about the sales and marketing tools HubSpot offers, and we’ve helped them use those tools to legitimately grow their company.
If you’d like to know more, just get in touch. Brooke, or our president, John, would be happy to talk to you more about your specific goals for HubSpot.