*The following is an excerpt from the book Brands Win Championships*
Here’s a tip for those of you looking to build strong social media communities through media: invest in cost–per-click (CPC) advertising to build your communities with the right individuals. The best thing about social networks is the ability to target. If you want to talk to high school wrestlers in North Dakota, you can. CPC is also cost effective because you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, or “likes” your page in the case of Facebook—a win-win. CPC cuts out the waste you get from buying on a cost–per-impression (CPM) model, which will have you paying each time your ad is “served” or displayed (also known as an impression). No matter the audience seeing your ad, you pay for that impression, which is a much less controllable situation. Also, impressions can be a hollow metric. Your ad may garner one million impressions, but if only 5 percent of those impressions come from your preferred target, does it make sense? Was it effective? It depends on the goal. But with the impression model, you do “waste” impressions and money on those outside your target market who happen upon your ad.
CPC ads are not relegated to Facebook, however. YouTube also offers effective CPC models that allow you to buy pre-roll ads (an ad that runs prior to the video a user intends to watch) that only hit your budget if a certain number of seconds are seen by the user. More importantly, that pre-roll view contributes to your video’s total view count on YouTube. Why is that important? Because the more views you get on your video, the more likely that video is to show up naturally when people search anything related to it, giving you residual organic (and free) views down the road.
Another big company that’s been known to sell CPC ads is Google. You can buy search terms through Google on a CPC basis. So for instance, if you have a Heisman campaign running, buying the term Heisman would be an effective spend to support your campaign (although you have to realize you’re likely not the only one bidding on that term, which drives up costs).
Now let’s connect the dots. Once a user finds your Heisman campaign through search, you can then drive that potential click-through to one of the previously mentioned social platforms of your choice. Upon arrival, that user should find a Heisman hype video lauding your candidate, which is pulling directly from your YouTube account. This means that every visit to your social network, which is driven in part by traffic from your search campaign, is also a potential view of your YouTube video. At that point you have effectively closed the loop by connecting search, social, and video in one seamless campaign.
Social networking is a puzzle based around algorithms that I’m not smart enough to understand. But what I have learned is that the more you work with these channels, the more ways you learn to manipulate each, leading to a self-sustaining social ecosystem that feeds off itself whether you’re there to water it or not.