paid social advertising

The Basics of Paid Social Advertising for Engineering Firms

Social media is a tricky platform. The algorithms that impact impressions, reach, and even engagement are constantly changing. The audience on social platforms is highly focused on the latest trends, and the tone of your social posts is quite different than your typical professional website or pamphlet.

When it comes to paid social for engineering, another level of complication is added. How do you break down the complicated world of engineering to a level that is attractive to your customers? While tone could be a whole separate post in itself, paid social media advertising is a relatively easy way engineering firms can reach more of their audience and increase their brand awareness.

For each of the following platforms, we’re going to look at the budget, advertisement types, targeting, and audience.


Facebook is probably one of the most well-known social advertising platforms. Ads cover the platform from the sidebar to the native feed. And as the world’s third-most visited site, the audience on Facebook is huge. However, it’s not an extremely diverse audience. While 68% of Americans use Facebook, only half of American teens are using Facebook, a significant drop from three years ago. Because Facebook trends towards an older audience, it’s a good choice for paid social for engineering.

Facebook offers eight different types of ad formats. These include photo, video, stories, messenger, carousel, slideshow, collection, and playables. For the majority of advertising, you’ll use a photo or video ad. Stories appear when viewers play the “stories” at the top of their feed. Carousel and slideshow are a combination of video and photo advertisements, while collection is geared specifically towards shopping and playables focus on gaming advertisements.

Facebook is probably second-best, underneath LinkedIn, when it comes to ad targeting options. Core audiences focus on targeting by location, demographics, behavior, connections, or interests. However, you can also create custom audiences through contact lists, app users, or site visitors. Lookalike audiences allow you to target users that are similar to your already-existing audience.

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Instagram uses the same advertising platform as Facebook, although I wouldn’t recommend it for paid social for engineering.


Twitter is a very unique platform. It’s faster-paced than either Facebook or LinkedIn and focuses on the news cycle within your industry. If you’re looking into paid social for engineering on Twitter, it’s a good idea to have an already-established organic presence to build off of.

Nearly 50 million monthly Twitter users live in the United States, and most of them live in urban or suburban centers. Twitter attracts a younger user base than either Facebook or LinkedIn, with 40% of U.S. adults who use Twitter between the ages of 18 and 29. However, 43% of 30 to 49-year-olds use Twitter with a focus on reading the news. This is where your average engineering company can capitalize on Twitter. If you focus on sharing and engaging with industry news, you can quickly grow your follower base.

Twitter focuses more on various objectives versus ad formats. Objectives include awareness, engagement, followers, clicks, and installs. One common process is to select four to five tweets that you’ve already created on your account and sponsor them. It’s important to use strong calls-to-action and avoid hashtags and mentions.

Twitter has some unique targeting options as compared to Facebook and LinkedIn. While it has the basics such as language, gender, interest, behavior, location, and device targeting, it also offers follower targeting, where you can target the followers of a specific account, and keyword targeting.


LinkedIn is the classic B2B platform that focuses on the professional world. While it tends to be the most expensive platform for paid campaigns, it does have the audience that is most tailored toward the business world, making it a good choice for paid social for engineering.

There are 590 million LinkedIn users with 40 million of those acting as decision-makers in their organizations. LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites. 50% of Americans with a college-degree use LinkedIn, and that rate is higher within the 25 to 49-year-old crowd. If you need a platform with a professional, college-educated, decision-making audience for paid social for engineering, you can’t beat LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has a large amount of targeting options. The targeting criteria are broken into six sections that can be narrowed down even further. These six sections include Location, Company, Demographics, Education, Job Experience, and Interests. Some of the most interesting targeting options include company connections, which allows you to reach the 1st-degree connections of employees at companies you select. You can even narrow your audience’s education down to field of study, member schools, and degrees.

LinkedIn does not offer as many ad types as Facebook or objectives as Twitter.  LinkedIn offers just three types of ads: text ads, sponsored content, and sponsored InMail. Sponsored content runs ads as native content that blends in with viewers’ feeds. They are very similar to promoted tweets on Twitter or Facebook photo and video ads. Text ads appear in the right-hand column on the platform and are quite small. As the name would imply, they are mostly text-focused. Sponsored InMail is similar to Facebook’s Messenger ads. With Sponsored InMail you can direct message connections who match your targeting criteria.

Grow Your Engineering Firm with Paid Social

No matter what advertising platform you choose, you need to work with a team who understands both paid social and engineering. At New North, we specialize in paid social for engineering. We know what it takes to grow your engineering firm. And we know how to do it through paid social. We pride ourselves on our ability to guide you through clear communication with clients, reach the right companies through effective tactics, and establish your firm as a leader in the engineering industry.

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If you’re ready to take the next step with your paid social advertising, contact us today.

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