Creating custom, informative, intriguing content is critical to the successful growth of your business. Not only does it boost your website’s SEO, but it also helps to establish you as an experienced leader in the financial services industry. In part 1 of this article, I focused on free ways to spread the word about your firm’s valuable content. Here, I focus on paid ways to effectively share content. While paid promotions can cost some money, they cost far less than traditional avenues and allow you to cast a far wider net.

Social ads allow you to specify your target demographic by not only age, gender and location but also family life, job title, interests, relationship status and businesses connections. This feature ensures that only people who may become potential customers see your message. For example, if you had a new white paper about college financial planning strategies you wanted to promote, you could target your ad to men and women in your city between the ages of 30 and 40 and with children between the ages of 4 and 19. This type of targeting can yield leads of quality instead of just quantity.

Unlike running ads in newspapers or spots on the radio and hoping people notice, social-media advertizing provides you with the option to pay only if your ad is viewed. This means that social-media advertizing can be significantly less costly than other types of marketing. These ads also work on a bid system, which means that you are in control of how much you want to spend. Each platform lets you set your daily budget, and once you reach that cap, your ad stops appearing. Having control over how much money you spend can be very assuring.

1. Promoted posts on Facebook and LinkedIn. Promoted posts allow you to place a post you have made on your Facebook or LinkedIn business page directly into your prospects’ newsfeed. This will broaden your reach significantly, because people beyond your Facebook fans will see your post. Promote a post with extra-special content: a free download offer, a new video on your YouTube channel or a recent research report.

Facebook gives you two options when promoting your post. You can choose to promote your post to a specific, targeted audience or you can promote your post to friends of people who already like your page. The fact that a prospect’s friend has already liked your promoted post lends credibility to your firm. An added benefit of promoted posts is that once they appear in a newsfeed, they remain there, unlike traditional right-side page ads, which can disappear when the user leaves or refreshes the page.

2. Twitter ads. An ad on Twitter is known as a promoted tweet. This is a regular tweet which shows up in the newsfeed of a user beyond your network. This promoted tweet can be re-tweeted, replied to and favorited (just as a regular tweet can) even though the user has not chosen to follow you. This ability to share information outside your network creates more engagement and impressions than a regular tweet. A promoted account is another feature recently added to Twitter. It can help you grow your followers and community faster than you could organically.

Remember, just as with a traditional advertising campaign, you need to track the progress of your ads and promoted posts. Successful ads have enticing images, attention-getting headlines and strong calls to action. Use the analytics feature to test several ads to see which images, headlines and keywords are most effective. You can also keep track of which days and times offer the most traction. And Facebook and LinkedIn will continue to promote ads only from your best-performing campaigns, making it easy to see what works and what doesn’t.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.