Making Sense of Social Media Advertising

Should I advertise my business on social media? That’s a question many small businesses are wrestling with today. The answer is – it depends. Specifically, it depends on your target audience and your marketing goals. Most small businesses can benefit from a well-designed social media advertising strategy. The key is to make sure that you use the right social media platform for your customer base.

Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages and people use them for different reasons. For example, people who regularly use LinkedIn may not be on Facebook and vice versa. Also, options for targeting paid ads are different for each platform. So don’t make the mistake of adopting a “one size fits all” social media advertising strategy. Instead, research your customer base to find out which social media platforms they use and how they use them. Then figure out how advertising on those platforms fits in with your overall online marketing plan.


Facebook advertising can be a great way to grow your Facebook fan base. During the vetting process, many people will check out your Facebook page, and when people “like” you on Facebook, it helps to build your credibility. For example, if you have hundreds of “likes” and your competitors only have a few dozen, it makes you look more connected and more entrenched in the community.

Another advantage of Facebook is that it allows you to target people based on age, relationship status, interest, or geographic region. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook tends to be more casual and personal relationship oriented, and Facebook users don’t want or expect a hard sell. To get the best results, keep your ad simple, make your product or service stand out, and have a clear call to action.


Twitter tends to be faster-paced and more news/current events oriented. It’s important to curate compelling content, as it positions you as a thought leader. Twitter ads allow you to draw attention to your thought leadership and promote your account to others who have similar interests. You can also pay to promote specific tweets to people who aren’t following you. Currently, people can’t access your website through Twitter ads, which is why it helps to use Twitter in conjunction with other social media platforms. However, you can get a lot of bang for your buck by getting people to retweet your Twitter posts.

Two points to remember with Twitter: people will only follow you and interact with your tweets if they’re interesting and relevant, and there’s no value in advertising on Twitter unless you’re actually using your account.


This is probably the best platform for B2B advertising because people are more ready to do business when they’re on LinkedIn. It also allows you to target individuals based on the companies they work for, specific job titles, or positions. Plus, targeting by job title allows you to narrow your ads to exactly the people who would be most interested in your B2B products or services.

Another benefit is that LinkedIn has its own self-service ad network, called DirectAds, with options for display ads and sponsorships.  To use LinkedIn most effectively, target your audience carefully, and create short, relevant ads with a specific call to action.


YouTube offers a unique advertising opportunity in that your ads can appear within videos or alongside them. Because the ads combine video and sound, they can be more engaging than other advertising platforms allow for. YouTube provides many resources to help you advertise more effectively on their site.

But be aware that viewers have short attention spans. If you advertise with videos, keep them short, to the point, and entertaining as well as educational. Be sure to deliver your key messages early, as viewers tend to tune out after only a few seconds.

Regardless of which platform(s) you use, remember that social media ads should never send people to your home page. Instead, have a landing page that clearly shows visitors what you want them to do next. Always include an option for providing their contact information so that you can build your email or social marketing list.


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