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Social Media Advertising – A Primer

Social Media Advertising – A Primer

In a perfect world, social media should provide you with free, organic traffic and leads for your business. In reality, sooner or later you will need to advertise to fully profit from the value of social. Advertising your business on social media platforms can be expensive, complicated and downright scary at times. But the benefits can also be great when it’s done right. One of the simplest ways to get started is to promote content that already exists, such as a post on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter or a pin on Pinterest. That way you don’t have the added headache of creating a separate ad.

Here are the first steps you should take:

Set a Goal; Craft a Message.

While creating awareness for your business or brand is a worthy goal that alone will not necessarily get people to click on your ad. You need to decide what you really are trying to achieve. Do you want visitors to your website, sales of a product or an increased email list? This will determine the type of call-to-action you will include in your ad. Call-to-actions can take many forms such as “Learn More”, “Buy Now” and “Visit Website”. And don’t ignore the power of the word “FREE”. Giving away a free report or sample is without a doubt the best way to increase clicks, email opt-ins and interest.

Target Carefully.

It’s a big Internet out there but insofar as your business is concerned there is a finite number of people you would want to pay money to attract. These are otherwise known as customers and leads. On most platforms you can direct your ads to a particular market by age, gender, location and interests. You can also find your buyers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by targeting those who already like or follow a competitor or any other business that you believe have followers who would be interested in you and your business. And do not forget to use relevant keywords as #hashtags. This will expand your ad reach beyond those who you are paying to attract.

Test, Test and Test Again.

As the famous department store mogul John Wanamaker said many, many years ago (see the actual quote above) it’s difficult to know how, when, where or even IF your advertising efforts are worth the time and money. But it’s much easier today with all the data and analytics available, right? Well, here’s a little secret: Even the most experienced and successful marketers have had to test various ad messages and strategies before they arrived at the winning formula. Typically, marketers conduct what is called “A-B testing”. That involves running two exact same ads while changing only one aspect of one of them; the visual, the offer, the call-to-action, etc., while everything else remains equal. Then you take the winner of that A-B test and test for another element, and so on. In the end you will know what strategy works best and gives you the most return on your investment.

The truth is you could be wildly successful on your first try, by accident. You might be satisfied with results that could have been better had you tested and perfected your ad. Or you could waste a lot of money for little or no results at all. That’s why I strongly recommend that you start out with a very small budget and no expectations. Social media advertising is a learning experience – for everyone!

As I said above you can promote existing content on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, but you can also run ads on LinkedIn and YouTube, or even promote your Google+ content across the web (but not on Google+). Each platform has a link on its homepage to describe the process of creating and purchasing an ad. Every platform has different specifications and limitations. And then there’s bidding on keywords, just to make your decision as to how much you need to spend even more confusing. Oh, you also need to know that these platforms change the rules and process periodically.

Did I mention that social media advertising could be complicated and scary? It doesn’t have to be. Contact Content+ Creativity at or 610-937-5187. We are here to help!