Starting with Social Media Ads for Your Small Business

13 min read
Starting with Social Media Ads for Your Small Business

Social media advertising can be a great way to help your small business succeed and grow. Getting started can seem intimidating, but with the right strategy, you can quickly and effectively reach your target audience.

Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Benefits of Social Media Ads for Your Small Business

Investing in paid online advertising is a successful approach for connecting with potential customers when their interest is at its peak. Advertising on social media enables you to reach out to a very specific target audience without having to wait for them to find you. 

Generally speaking, advertising broadens your reach and bolsters brand awareness, yet social media offers its own unique benefits:

  1. Providing social proof and vetting. Consider an ad for a promoted page on Facebook with over a thousand likes, ten or more of which come from your contacts. That’s social proof. A thousand other people with the same interests and even some of your personal contacts like it, too. People always seek social proof regardless of where they are in their customer journey. On social media, engagement from your own network is powerful social proof. 
  2. Improving brand loyalty through targeted audience exposure. By targeting your audience effectively through social media advertising, you can increase their exposure to your brand and build a stronger connection with them. By consistently delivering high-quality content and advertisements that are relevant to your target audience, you can establish trust and credibility. The key is to understand the needs and interests of your target audience and tailor your social media advertising efforts accordingly. This way, you can create a lasting and positive impression that keeps your customers coming back for more.
  3. Building engaged brand communities as a result of 1 and 2. Building engaged brand communities on social media is crucial for creating strong relationships with your target audience. By fostering a sense of community, you can increase engagement, build loyalty, create a space for customers to connect with your brand and each other, leading ultimately to the growth of your business.

If you remain unconvinced of the advantages of social media ads for your small business, you should keep the following figures in mind: 

  • Social media is the #1 marketing channel in 2022 (according to HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report 2022)
  • 80% of brands employ paid social media advertising (HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report 2022)
  • 49% of online users are more likely to purchase from brands advertised on social media (according to a report from GWI)
  • Social media is deemed the most effective channel for acquiring new customers in 2022. (HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report 2022)

So, social media ads can outperform other channels when used properly, AND it’s also great at supporting other campaigns such as content marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing, lead generation, and more.

Is Social Media Advertising Right for Your Business?

Advertising can be costly, especially for small companies with tight budgets. 

Many owners are uncertain about which channel to put their money in. For instance, Facebook Ads or Google Ads. 

The answer is to know how your target audience behaves before investing in ads. For example:

  • Google Ads are great when consumers are actively looking for something
  • Facebook Ads are ideal for items that people may not have thought about until it’s advertised to them.

This is why keyword targeting is central for Google ads, while demographic and interest targeting, and retargeting are crucial for social media ads.

Explore All the FREE Options

Be active on social media. 

A majority of marketers are taking advantage of organic social media initiatives. For instance, over 90% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, and 82% of B2B content marketers are tapping into Twitter for their organic social media campaigns.

As a small business owner, it is essential for you to take advantage of all opportunities that come without a cost. So, maximize everything you can do for free:

  • Optimize your social media pages
  • Post regular updates
  • Proactively display products or services
  • Actively network and join relevant communities (especially local groups)
  • Gather reviews to publish on your pages

Organic promotion is a valuable component of any social media advertising strategy. By leveraging the power of organic reach, you can increase brand awareness, build trust with your target audience, and ultimately drive more engagement with your content and advertisements. Organic promotion is also cost-effective, allowing you to maximize your advertising budget and see a high return on investment. 

By leveraging organic promotion in conjunction with paid advertising, you can achieve a well-rounded and effective social media marketing strategy.

Extra tip: take advantage of free resources, courses, and even new user coupon codes for ads.

How to Choose a Social Network for Your Business

Choosing the right platform for your social media ads as a small business can be a daunting task. According to Hubspot’s latest report, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube were the leading social media platforms for marketers in 2022. It also unveils that:

  • Facebook is the top choice for businesses that are looking to purchase social media ads.
  • Facebook offers the best ROI for social media ads versus other platforms.
  • 62% of marketers intend to increase their spending on Tik Tok.

Overall, there is no single “best” social media network for small businesses. 

It really depends on a number of factors. 

You need to consider the nature of your business, the demographics and interests of your target audience, the goals you want to achieve, the available features, and the cost of running ads on each platform. 

Here are some examples:

  • Type of product/service. If you market products with visual appeal such as jewelry or clothes, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are great choices. 
  • Industry: B2B marketers have had more success on LinkedIn than those in the B2C space, however, both have seen success on TikTok. It is still suggested for B2C companies to focus their efforts on Facebook, though they are allocating more resources to Twitter.
  • Age: TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat are popular amongst younger audiences, so this is a great pick for reaching out to Generation Z. On the other hand, if you’re aiming at older audiences, then Facebook and Twitter may be better options.
  • Geographic location. Some platforms are more popular in Asia, others in Europe and the US. The right platform for you can depend a lot on your target audience’s location. 
  • The cost of using each platform. Different platforms have different pricing models, so it’s important to understand what you’re paying for and how much it’s going to cost you in the long run. Despite LinkedIn being the foremost B2B platform, there are certain industries where Facebook would prove to be more beneficial for businesses. Moreover, the cost of each result would be less than what it would be with LinkedIn.
  • The available features. Different platforms offer different features and tools that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your ads such as targeting options, available goals optimization, ad formats, creative tools, etc.
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Learn Relevant Platform Features and Best Practices

It’s easy to start with small business social media advertising given that each platform offers decent support.

Facebook, for instance, helps with social media advertising ideas and the process itself. Meanwhile, LinkedIn offers ideas to promote your business on social media. A lot of free resources across the web pertain to social media ad ideas and how to market your small business. You’re reading one right now!

Make Use of Some Social Media Tactics to Your Advantage

You don’t need an entire process document with a SWOT analysis — just the broad strokes:

  • Know what to promote and when. Use the principle of seasonality to create a strategy for the best times your ads should be shown to your target audience.
  • Create strategies that leverage retargeting. Grow your social media audience and then retarget followers and extended networks who’ve engaged with you before. Additionally, you can run remarketing campaigns targeting website visitors and existing customers for repeat business. Your ROI here can be much higher. 
  • Combine two campaigns to reach a wider audience. For example, launch campaigns for increasing in-platform followers and another to drive website visits, and link them together. Connected campaigns often deliver better results.

These initial social media strategies are meant to direct your effort. Later on, you’re going to go through a performance monitoring and campaign optimization cycle to maximize highs and minimize lows – this will also inform a more detailed advertising strategy.

Choose Your Campaign Objectives

These are the usual objectives in terms of how to promote a small business on social media using ads:

  • Reach: The total number of people who have seen your social content.
  • Engagements: When a user likes, comments, or shares a business’s post.
  • Followers: Total users who follow your account.
  • Website traffic – Get more people to visit a specific landing page on your website. it’s helpful when you want to create awareness about a new product, service, or your brand in general.
  • Leads/Conversions: Potential customers that make contact with the company expressing interest in buying products or services they offer (via email sign-ups, form submissions, etc).

Extra tip: Conversion isn’t a good objective for small businesses with limited budgets, or those who are new to ads.

Take Meta, for example. Social media ads in Meta go through a learning phase when an ad is first launched or edited, during which the system is still learning who to show ads to. Generally, campaigns need fifty optimization events to exit the learning phase. If you have a limited budget and you pick “Conversions” as your campaign’s goal, your campaigns may not get adequate optimization events and become stuck in the learning phase. This might lead you into thinking your effort is not working, when in fact the system’s still learning and you just need to switch to a different goal that would be achieved more frequently.

Stay within Your Ad Campaigns Budget

Social media ad campaigns can be made more cost-effective by:

  • Utilizing certain features of the platforms you’re using, such as the Meta Advantage campaign budget for Facebook. Previously known as Budget Optimization, this feature optimizes a set budget at the campaign level to favor high-performing ad sets. You can also do this manually by monitoring current and past ad performance.
  • Pay attention to your bidding strategy and plan targeting accordingly. When a platform pays per impression (CPM/CPV/OCPM), narrow down the targeted audience so that only people similar to your buyer persona are included. If you pay per result (followers, clicks, engagement, etc.), target wider audiences instead, but make sure your copy is specific to your users.
  • Make ads mobile-friendly, such as by using a vertical over a horizontal video, for example. Mobile-optimized assets generate 1.9x the ROI of non-mobile-optimized assets.
  • Leverage A/B and multivariate testing, ensuring campaigns are run for a sufficient period of time before drawing conclusions.

Target the Right Audience

Widen or narrow down your target audiences through:

  • Geo-targeting  – small local shops and contractors that serve only certain areas or regions can benefit from ads targeting a particular city/county within a certain kilometer radius.
  • Install social media tracking pixels on your website to monitor visitors referred by ads. Then, retarget them.
  • Leverage custom and lookalike audiences created using profiles of current clients, competitor followers, and page or ad engagers. And again, retarget them!
  • Launch two campaigns concurrently – one focused towards increasing engagements (such as educational content/videos) and a second retargeting the engagers of the first to acquire clicks through promotional offers.

Craft Your Creatives and Ad Copies

Time to get creative:

  • Keep your copy punchy with clear calls-to-action and relevant trending hashtags.
  • Use head-turning audio-visuals, with particular attention to how colors and images impact audience perception. Visuals featuring people exhibiting feelings tend to generate higher conversions than other types of images. Some colors such as orange and red have demonstrated better performance.
  • Choose the right ad format. Different platforms offer different options (videos, images, carousel, etc).
  • Invest in Video ads: For the third year running, video content is the most popular type of content marketing.
    Short-form video content such as TikToks and Instagram Reels are the most effective type of social media content. (HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report 2022)
    Video ads are 35% more effective than static ads, according to a Meta-commission report “Video Advertising Essentials: Best Practices For Boosting ROI”. 

Note that you’ve gone through a lot before you even reach the creative phase. This reflects the reality of social media marketing for small businesses: there’s a lot of foundational work first!

Monitor, Optimize, and Re-optimize

Fine-tuning ad performance boils down to a well-oiled cycle:

Regularly Refresh Collateral

Use the best-performing creatives and ads as references with which to refresh your campaigns. Some automated features on social platforms can help you with this, but even without them, with the right analytics setup, you can track and leverage top-performing creatives easily.

Invest in What Works

Don’t just use your best-performing ad sets as inspirations — invest in them to expand their footprint. You can do so by expanding your geo-targeting or targeting more audiences bit by bit. This way, you’ll also know the boundaries of the efficacy of your top-performing ads: essentially where new ads and creatives are needed!

Drop What Doesn’t

In the same way, you invest in what works, you need to be ruthless in cutting potential losses and drop what doesn’t. Your lowest-performing or most expensive ad sets typically won’t give you enough data to understand why they’re underperforming. You’ll get those insights from the metrics of your best and middling ad sets.

Refine Your Audience Targeting

Your ads aren’t the only thing that requires refining. You need to tweak your audience targeting as well. Some platforms like Twitter and Facebook can give you insightful granularity to work with, such as types of devices, attitudinal data, and precise locations. Of course, remember to refine in moderation and don’t make changes too often. Note the learning phases and the length of time it takes for A/B and multivariate testing to generate statistically significant data.

Consult and Work with Professionals

There’s a lot to digest here, and understandably, it can be quite daunting. That’s why it’s important to consult and work with professionals who can show you how to use social media for small business ads properly. Their main job is keeping you on budget consistently so your ads generate positive ROI.

Of course, one major road bump is that small businesses might not have the leeway to hire professionals in the first place. It’s still recommended to at least book an initial consultation to get some general direction on strategic refinement and implementation. Remember the tip about maximizing what you can get for free? Some professional experts offer free consultations.

You can get in touch with Presitely, for example, by booking a free consultation! We can help you with your social media ads strategy from setup to optimization.

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