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You can just call me queen of the millennials. I brush my teeth with a Quip toothbrush. I wash my hair with Function of Beauty shampoo. And I straighten my teeth with Smile Direct Club. What do all of these brands have in common? I found them through social advertising and bought them because of positive media relations and influencer reviews.

That take isn’t groundbreaking. In fact, most marketers and PR professionals in the 101 class can tell you to post your media coverage to your social channels. The 102 class may even suggest paid spend behind that coverage and whitelisting to promote influencer content. After all, authentic reviews often convert better than the brand’s own website. But check out the headlines of these Buzzfeed articles:

“I Kept Seeing Ads For Personalized Shampoo And Conditioner, So I Tried It”

Hello, world, Lara here, and like many of you with Facebook accounts, I often get sucked into targeted ad marketing. On one beautiful day a couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad for personalized shampoo and conditioner through Function of Beauty. As someone with hair, I was immediately intrigued.

“I Tried The Hipster Toothbrush That’s All Over Facebook And TBH I Loved It”

I try to avoid social media ads as much as the next gal, but every now and again, the creepy, all-knowing internet presents a particularly persistent and perfectly targeted ad, and I can’t resist clicking on it. This is how the Quip toothbrush came into my life.

According to the reporters themselves, Facebook advertising resulted in this editorial coverage. Now that is graduate level work.

Is it possible that Buzzfeed’s writers, famously comprised of millennials, just happened to be in the products’ target audience? Of course. But Facebook also allows advertisers to target by employer, alongside demographics and interests. Increasingly, including target publications in your social media objectives, strategy and, yes, ad targeting is a complement to your media relations pitch.

Paid spend is no longer exclusively pushing shared, earned and owned content out. It can also complement an earned strategy, and itself help to create the content it will then amplify. To achieve this result, your PR and digital teams must have a deeply integrated strategy. 

Are you a PR team looking for a digital partner to drive the best results across your efforts? Drop me a line at [email protected]. And be sure to sign up for our newsletter and check out our work.

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