So by now, you’ve probably seen various advertisements sprinkled into your Facebook or Instagram feed while scrolling through to look at photos of friends and families. You may have liked what you saw, you may have not even noticed you were looking at an advertisement, or you may have even purchased something from one of those ads that really captured your interest. Regardless of your reaction, like most business owners, you probably began to wonder and ask yourself “why is my business not doing this already?” If you’ve reached this point, then this is the time for you to begin learning the ins and outs of social media advertising. In this article, we’ll give you a brief overview of what social media advertising is and in later articles we’ll really dive into each segment to help you with your marketing endeavors.
The Breakdown Of Social Media Advertisements
In its simplest form, social media advertising consists of uploading an online flyer that promotes a business, product, idea or event on a social media site.
Here are the 5 basic steps to begin advertising on social media:
- Choose the social media platform you want to advertise on (we’ve provided a list of commonly used sites below).
- Create an online flyer about your product or service, this is called an advertisement (or ad for short).
- Decide what people you want to see your ad, this is called targeting. Typically you would ‘target’ people who would be interested in becoming a customer of yours. To reach your ‘target audience’ quickly you can pay the social media company to do so.
- Set a budget so the website knows how much money you are willing to spend over a fixed amount of time.
- Lastly, ‘post’ your ad or in other words, you upload it to the social media site. Then that site shows your ad on their website to this group of people you have chosen.
Each social media platform has their own advertising platform so be sure to create different ads if you’re using multiple social media sites; it most definitely is not one size fits all. Since each site is different, it’s best to stick to one site until you’ve mastered it and feel comfortable taking on another project.
Some of the most popular social media sites to advertise on include:
Here is an example of an ad on Facebook.
What Social Media Site is the Best to Market on?
Here’s where things get a little more complicated. There will be marketers that swear by Facebook being the absolute best and only social media site you need to market on, while others say you need to be on almost every popular social media platform. Our school of thought is that you should be on the social media site or sites that fits your customer demographic the best. For example, Facebook is great for an adult demographic, Instagram is great for a young adult and older teen demographic, and Snapchat is great for teens and preteens; so if you’re targeting grandparents, Facebook is your best choice. However if you’re targeting young families, i.e. young adults, and you’re selling a product such as a diaper bag, both Facebook and Instagram are good options. Be sure to keep in mind there are other factors that come into play when choosing which social media platform to advertise on, such as customer income, industry, where your customers shop, and much more but we’ll get into that another time.
Maybe at this point you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering where you’ll find the time to learn all this. The reality is, the further you dive into the social media advertising sphere, the more research and time is needed to be sure your advertising budget is being well spent. This is why most people who are busy running a business and need to dedicate their full attention to their company, end up hiring professionals to oversee their social media advertising. If you’re interested in learning about the advantages and disadvantages of doing it yourself, hiring an agency, or hiring a contractor click here to see our list.
Why Spend Your Money on Social Media Advertising?
With the huge shift from in-person to the online world, consumers just don’t respond to traditional means of marketing any more. Most people now read their news online instead of in a newspaper, they ignore the extra coupons and postcards in the mail, and almost instantly toss out flyers handed out to them or just completely reject them all together. So the most effective way to spend your marketing budget is to focus on where your customers spend their time and that is most definitely online. The average American spends about 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media sites per day, and keep in mind this is just time spent on social media, this does not include all the other time spent online, watching funny cat videos, researching, looking for new local restaurants, checking emails, shopping, etc. Bottom line, if you’re not on social media, you are truly missing out.
Well that just about sums up the beginners breakdown of what social media advertising is. Be sure to check out our other posts for a more in-depth explanation regarding everything you need to know to get started with digital marketing. Thanks for reading and good luck!