enhance your MOFU 10 ways to advertise on socialSocial media advertising is a great way to enhance the reach of your brand message and to help influence prospects at the evaluation, or middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU), stage of the buying cycle. Interestingly, Facebook’s marketing plan for advertisers is almost entirely focused on helping influence buyer purchase decision by facilitating MOFU offers. This makes sense, as it during this evaluation stage that buyers clarify what they want or need and begin to actively search for a solution provider. It is also in the MOFU stage that users are most likely to socially-share information throughout their networks, whether through a like, re-tweet, or pin.

What is a MOFU offer? Product webinars, case studies, data sheets, FAQs, and free demos are example of evaluation-stage offers. With MOFU enhancement in mind, here are 10 prevalent social media advertising options for businesses.

Facebook Sponsored Stories - With this tool, you can pay to highlight a post or action from a Facebook fan (business pages have “fans”) of your business. By doing so, the post is shown to all of that person’s friends, either in the sidebar or News Feed. This allows you to highlight positive feedback from a fan of your business. The most popular form of Sponsored Story is a page “like,” although the tool can be used for check-ins or any other type of user action.

Facebook Promoted Posts - Your business is can extend the reach of any post on your Facebook business page, such as photos, status updates, offers, videos, and questions. Promoted Posts have the ability to reach not only fans of your business but also the friends of people who have shared, commented, or liked the post. NB: your business must have at least 100 fans to use this option.

Facebook Page Post Ads – A great way to promote your best content or an event, Page Post Ads are advertisements that begin as posts on a fan page but get additional paid distribution among fans, friends of fans, or even non fans within the sidebar or News Feed. 

Facebook Offers - With Offers, your business can send coupons or other promotions directly to the News Feed your fans. When a fan obtains an Offer, a story about it is added to his or her timeline, which by default is visible to the fan’s friends. Fans can share offers with whomever they choose by clicking the “share offer” link beneath the story. Though initially free, Facebook now charges a minimum of $5 on related ads to promote each Facebook Offer to your targeted audience of fans and friends of fans.

Twitter Promoted Tweets - This versatile tool allows you to target users when they are searching on Twitter, or to amplify specific tweets from your own timeline to your followers or users like your followers. By doing the latter, you can extend the reach of your brand to users who are, in theory, similar to your followers.

Twitter Promoted Accounts - You can use this option to quickly build up followers interested in the type of product or service your brand provides. Each Promoted Account is featured in both search results and Twitter’s “Who to Follow” account recommendation engine.

LinkedIn Ads - The nice thing about this tool is you can really micro-target who sees your ads. You can define your audience by job title, job function, industry, geography, age, gender, company name, company size, or LinkedIn Group. You only pay for the clicks or impressions that you receive.

Google+ Social Extensions - Google offers an indirect way of social advertisement on its Google+ social search platform. Companies with a Google+ Business Page can include a social extension to any Google Adwords campaign, which adds the red “+1” button to selected advertisements. According to Google, search ads with the +1 recommendation button average 5-10% more clicks.

YouTube Ads - Many people don’t realize this, but YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine on the planet behind Google. Broad consumer adoption of mobile devices is proving to be a big driver of video consumption. According to new statistics, YouTube has more than 1 billion unique visitors a month watching over six billion hours of video (up from 4 billion hours just last year). Businesses are taking notice of this trend. According to a post from eMarketer, digital video advertising spending in the U.S. will hit $4.14 billion this year, up from $2.93 billion last year.

YouTube’s best social advertising offering for SMBs is probably its TrueView suite, which is actually part of Google’s Adwords for video. By doing so, Google has streamlined the process of advertising on YouTube, integrating it with business’ Adwords account. One nice thing about TrueView is that you only pay when a viewer actually chooses to watch your video. The service also provides four options for advertisers, In-stream, In-slate, In-search and In-Display; here’s a link to YouTube’s advertiser page that provides more information on each option.

Yelp Ads - The location-based social search app and website has grown by leaps and bounds - now boasting over 84 million unique monthly visitors. Yelp’s success is largely attributed to its massive collection of user-generated reviews of local businesses. Yelp Ads allow your brand to appear at the top of its search engine in your category. They also give you a chance to advertise on the business pages of local competitors and remove competitor ads from your Yelp page.

Using one or many of these social media advertising options, you’ll be able to not only increase brand awareness, but also capture prospects in the critical MOFU evaluation stage. Good Luck.