5 Ways PR Firms Can Generate Revenue From Facebook and Instagram Advertising

The best public relations firms have the ability to generate messaging, positioning, earned media coverage, packed-out events — and even execute influencer strategy for their clients. Here are 5 key ways leaders of PR firms can also add driving revenue to that list: by using paid Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn advertising.

The public relations industry is changing. Fast.

According to a 2018 report by Annenberg USC, 87% of PR professionals say that the term “Public Relations” will not accurately describe the work they do in five years.

In an ultra-competitive field, PR firms large and small are transforming their traditional offerings to also include marketing services that drive revenue for their clients — and themselves.

Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn advertising platforms are (potentially) perfect tools to do just that.

Convert Traffic from Media Placements into Sales Using the Facebook Pixel

Every time you get a client on a morning show, a digital magazine clip, influencer hit, or even a printed pub, it generates a wave of new website traffic for your clients. How do you turn that traffic into sales?

Enter The Facebook Pixel.


Or, as we like to call it, “a line of magic, money-making code.”

In short, this is a line of code placed on a website that allows you to capture site visitors from any source — and then retarget them with Facebook ads, offers, or content.

Make sure you have a Facebook website pixel placed properly on your client’s sites and that you have access to their Facebook ads account (because you are running their FB ad campaigns too, right?).

818 Agency corporate workshop instructor and Facebook ad expert Jennifer Spivak advises:

“By having a robust Facebook ad retargeting strategy in place, PR firms have the ability to continuously market to the influx of traffic from media placements — and leverage that traffic from media placements into sales.”

Facebook even allows you to capture traffic to specific URLs in order to really fine tune your audience and increase your lead quality.

A nifty tip for your brick-and-mortar retail clients:

We suggest adding Facebook pixels to their customer-facing WiFi login sites to capture those audiences as well.

Use Every In-Real-Life Event to Capture Warm Audiences You Can Retarget

Events and event activations can be the lifeblood of your PR firm’s client work. And chances are, you’re already using events (and lots of them) to support a digital brand.

Facebook’s world-class targeting tools enable you to leverage offline activities — store openings, conferences, PR events, and festivals — into warm “custom” audiences you can then retarget on Facebook and Instagram.

Two great ways to do this:

  • Always collect email addresses from your event attendees that you can upload into Facebook for future retargeting (note: be transparent with your attendees that this is your plan).
  • Shoot and post real-time event video on your clients’ Instagram business profiles and/or produce a Facebook Live of your event. Why? Facebook allows you to retarget anyone who interacts with an Instagram business profile or who watches a certain percentage of a Facebook Live video — a perfect way to reach anyone you may have missed.

For a more in-depth tactical look on how to use Facebook for events, read our Event Executive’s Guide to Facebook and Instagram Advertising or watch our video: 

Use Video Content to Build Warm Audiences Ready to Act

Video has obviously taken center stage when it comes to content strategy and building warm audiences of potential customers ready to take action.

Jennifer Hawkins, president of Hawkins International PR, a firm that focuses on luxury travel and wellness, says this about how her team uses Facebook video for clients:

We found that using compelling video on Facebook helps capture an engaged audience, and performs 5x better than photos on Facebook.”

Each time a user engages with your videos on Facebook or Instagram (both use the same ad manager) they become part of a video “custom audience” you can retarget again with ads in the future.

It’s fairly easy and cost-effective to create a target audience based on the percentage of a Facebook or Instagram video someone watches.

For example, anyone watching 75% or more of your videos is probably a great prospect for your future offers!

Reframe Client Conversations Around Revenue, Customer Acquisition, and Conversions — Instead of Followers, Likes, or Impressions

You already have a solid stable of clients for your firm — now it’s time to upsell them on your Facebook and Instagram advertising services. The best way to do this is to discuss Facebook ads with a very clear focus on making $$$ and tracking success.

Our visual assets are only as good as the call-to-action,” Hawkins adds. “We’ve found great success in creating tracking links and unique booking codes for the ads we run. Last year alone we helped clients collectively sell upwards of 500 room nights on Facebook.”

In other words, by showing potential value (i.e. how much your clients stand to profit), you can reframe your fees as an investment, rather than a cost.

What are your clients’ specific bottom line goals?

Ask your clients to describe their current sales funnels — what happens to leads when they come in and how long is it before they get contacted?

Use LinkedIn Paid Ads for Your B2B Clients (Along with Facebook)

LinkedIn advertising is usually more expensive than Facebook, but the top-of-the-funnel B2B lead quality tends to be a lot higher. This can pay off in a big way if you use both platforms together when you create your “funnels.”

Start paid ad campaigns on LinkedIn that drive traffic to your site — using several pieces of very audience-focused content.

When set up properly, this will drive super high-quality traffic to your site content via Linkedin — and then you can start delivering more content, video, offers, etc. much more cheaply by using website retargeting to reach these same people on Facebook (you have a FB pixel on your websites remember!).

In a nutshell, you’re buying more expensive yet higher quality clicks on Linkedin and then retargeting those same people via Facebook and Instagram much more cheaply.

PR Firms Are Actually Customer Acquisition Agencies-in-Waiting

By using the above tools to build and capture warm audiences —and making sure website pixels are properly placed — you’re always in a position to spark an avalanche of warm leads for your clients. And yourself.

by Jed Wexler

Featured Image Credit: Tim Mossholder via Unsplash


“Jed and his team at 818 helped us sort out proven strategies from all the hype to get the most out of our Facebook spend.” – Jim H., Senior Director of Audience Development and Insight, HarperCollins Publishers

Inquire HERE about the social advertising workshop we designed specifically for PR leaders and their teams. Learn ad creation, testing, targeting, budgeting, contracting, strategy, reporting, funnels, and tips on reselling Facebook ads as a service to your clients.

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