Social Media Advertising for Small Business

Published July 15, 2020 Est. reading time 12 Minutes Author Nadeem Amin

Social Media Advertising for Small Business


Which sites should you advertise on? What should your content look like? How much should you spend?

The Definition of Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising refers to paid content on a social media website or platform. This includes an advertisement for your products on Facebook, a commercial before a YouTube video, a promoted post on Instagram, and so on.

Social media advertising allows businesses to reach users during their prime time and in a pleasant, entertaining, and engaging ways. Find out which platform suits your needs.

Social media provides a useful and entertaining experience to its members for free. In return, social media platforms monetize user data by providing powerful digital advertising solutions to advertisers. Many businesses are using free social media accounts to build their brands, connect with customers, advertise promotions and events, and so on. There’s no cost associated with setting up a Facebook Business page, creating an Instagram profile, making a Twitter account, and so on.

But the problem with sticking solely to free?

You probably won’t reach many people if you run a small business, you might be wondering whether social media advertising is a good fit, especially if your current advertising budget is stretched thin. What ad types will be most effective for your business? Which network has the greatest potential reach? Which platform has the most competitive CPA? These are all important questions for people who are thinking about paid social media advertising.

Benefits of advertising on social media

It can be a great way for small business owners to connect with prospects and customers. Done right, it can make sales skyrocket. Some entrepreneurs have even built an entire business on a social media platform, like Rachel Dunston, the founder of Rachel Bakes More Cake, who built a thriving cake business on Instagram. But if you’re not careful, it can be a distracting time suck, or even backfire by alienating customers and prospects.

One of the great benefits social media provides to businesses is the establishment of a direct relationship between you and the user. Advertising through social media creates, extends, and activates these relationships.

Let’s look at social advertising benefits for businesses.

1. Audiences can be precisely targeted

Users enter their data into social platforms: names, photos, job titles, location, marital status, friends, and much more. Social platforms monitor behavior and interest.

This data enables advertisers to reach the right audience and create targeted ads for it. If an advertiser has a well-defined target market, they can deliver it via social media advertising. Advertisers no longer target media channels; they target audiences via media platforms.

2. Social ads address “awareness”

The “hierarchy of effects” model, often used in marketing and advertising to describe the mental stages a user moves through before purchasing a product, contains three stages:

  • Cognitive (awareness and knowledge)
  • Affective (liking and preference)
  • Conative (conviction and purchase)

Social media advertising is good at addressing the cognitive and affective stages. This makes advertising on social media complementary to direct mail, search marketing, or retail media, which have their strengths at the conative stage.

3. Everything is measurable

Every social media ad impression leaves a digital trace. Every click can be tracked. User characteristics and user behavior can be related to each instance of advertising within a social platform.

So much data exists that it becomes challenging to figure out what is significant and what isn’t. Once advertisers choose the right social media metrics, however, this data will be easy to track and optimize via the social platforms.

4. Social advertising is scalable

Social media advertising costs for a campaign can start as low as $10, and the advertiser has control over time span, targeting, and creative. It can also cost $10 million and cover the globe. Between the two, advertisers have ample room to test, learn and adjust.

Marketers, mainly using social media advertising to boost and enhance their content strategy, can monitor and manage it directly through their favorite social media management tool.

5. Social ads can trigger actions

Whereas social media advertising is often used for building awareness, it can also trigger actions. It generates likes and follows, and can also generate clicks to your website and create leads for your sales and marketing teams.

There is even a rising social commerce trend, where social media advertising feeds directly into the conative stage: users can buy products directly on social media.

How small businesses can build a social media Ad strategy

Establish your goals

The first step to building your strategy is identifying what you want to achieve. Here, you’ll want to consider both business goals and social media-specific goals.

For example, maybe you’re a manufacturer and you want to sell more products. That’s a business goal. Now, your social media advertising goal can be to generate more traffic to your website where you’ve built an offer for clients, or to have leads sign up through Facebook.

Whatever your business goal is, you’ll want to make sure your social media goals support that. Some other examples of goals for your paid social media advertising could include:

  • Increase brand awareness, to support business goals like growing your customer base or attracting new high-profile partnerships.
  • Re-engage existing customers to increase customer lifetime value.
  • Drive traffic to your website or storefront. This can support the business goal to increase sales.
  • Create buzz about a launch or event. Your business goals may be to simply have high attendance or conversion numbers for the occasion.
  • Generate leads, which is a business goal in its own right, but also helps to increase sales and your customer base.

Write your goals and attach milestones, deadlines, and numbers to them. This will help you hold yourself accountable for progress towards those goals, both with social media and the rest of your business.

Know your target market

If you’re advertising on social media, you need to have an idea of who you want to reach. This can either be broad and wide-reaching, or specific and targeted, depending on your goals.

Build a persona for your target customer. Customer/buyer personas are fictional characterizations of your target customer(s) which are based on insights gathered through market research. Personas help you create hyper-targeted messaging and marketing strategies.

It’s important to understand your persona’s specific pain points and how you can help them absolve those challenges. You’ll then craft your social media advertising approach based on this premise.

Choose the right platforms

When it comes to deciding where you’ll run your social media ads, it’s important to refer back to your goals and personas, and then figure out where you’re most likely to reach them. Each channel has its own unique benefits, capabilities, and users — it comes down to leveraging the ones that help you meet your goals. Let’s examine these platforms.

The 5 best social media platforms to advertise your small business

Platform 1: Facebook Ads: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger

Facebook controls the most powerful advertising platform in the world, as it combines Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger together on the same infrastructure.

Most advertisers, however, will consider Facebook and Instagram to be two advertising platforms, and WhatsApp and Messenger to be additional features.

Characteristics of the Facebook ads platform:

  • Massive reach
  • Very powerful targeting
  • Innovative and adaptive ad formats
  • Machine learning used to improve performance
  • Most controversial use of user data

Facebook Ads by, itself, is probably the strongest social ads platform and is now also the backbone for advertising on Instagram. Depending on your campaign objective, the platform can activate one or more of its advertising channels.

Platform 2: LinkedIn Ads

The LinkedIn advertising platform stands out for its strong business focus. It’s increasingly integrating with the Microsoft Advertising platform and has access to a powerful technological backbone in its mother company, Microsoft.

Characteristics of LinkedIn Ads:

  • Clear business focus
  • Strong targeting of professional audiences
  • Maturing platform
  • Reputation for high cost

Why LinkedIn

  • 546+ million members in over 200 countries.
  • 2 minutes spent per visitors
  • 2 new members joining per second
  • 20+ million companies
  • 7+ million opinion leaders
  • 4x more visits than other social networks
  • High-quality professional network

Platform 3: Twitter Ads

The Twitter advertising platform is not as powerful as the two above platforms, but Twitter has an interesting positioning as a great add-on for other social networks. The quality of its user data is not as good as the other platforms, but it is strong on topical and thematic targeting and for events.

Characteristics of the Twitter ad platform:

  • Lower volumes
  • Strong topical targeting
  • Specific communities and events
  • Reputation for low costs
  • Complementary to business activity on Twitter

Why Twitter

  • Twitter is what’s happening
  • Engine of mass influence
  • 62% of Twitter users have shown their friends something from twitter in the past week
  • On Twitter, people are in a discovery mindset
  • 35% more likely to remember a Tweet than another social platform

Platform 4: Google Ads: YouTube and Google My Business

Google never created its own social network despite the efforts put into Google Plus and other initiatives. However, many consider YouTube to be a social media platform, and the more recent Google My Business platform also has some social media resemblance.

Characteristics of the social media dimension of Google Ads (YouTube and Google My Business):

  • Massive video reach on YouTube
  • Low cost per view on YouTube and innovative ad formats
  • Strong integration with the Google advertising technology stack
  • Effective social-local advertising on Google My Business

Emerging platforms: Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat

The social media landscape is constantly changing. Recently the video-driven social media platform TikTok has entered the scene in a significant way. Its closest competitor, Snapchat, had experienced spectacular growth.

The emergence of new players like TikTok and Snapchat makes it hard for existing players like Pinterest or Twitter to keep growing because they are all fighting for the attention (and dollars) of the same audience.

Emerging social advertising platforms:

Pinterest: The creator of pinboards where users can gather images from around the web thematically and share with others, is still going strong. It’s finding itself a positioning on social commerce, as it has the power to inspire users for their purchases. If the platform can generate sales and connect to its advertising, it has strong arguments for attracting more advertisements.

TikTok is reaching a young audience massively and strongly influences this group. Its recent advertising offering is creative, including formats like stickers, filters, and overlays.

Snapchat has also seduced a large young audience which can be difficult for advertisers to reach. Its creative, innovative, and fun use of digital media shines through in its advertising formats.

Which platform is best for me?

Facebook & Instagram

  • Ideal when your primary objective is to drive mass awareness and reach at an efficient cost.
  • It can also be an efficient channel at generating conversions/leads.


  • Perfect channel for campaigns where you want to tap into live moments or relevant conversations.
  • Not ideal for mass reach, leads or conversions.


  • Primary channel for B2B audiences or higher education students.
  • InMails can be an easy solution to test email marketing through a social channel.


  • Pure brand channel to build mass awareness across a specific segment of the population.
  • Unique formats (Lenses & filters)
  • Expensive channel, but less cluttered


  • Great channel to target life moments (weddings, babies, etc.)
  • Paid content is not as intrusive & users don’t mind ads as much as in other channels.


  • Second biggest search engine
  • Great for longer videos
  • Various formats available based on the objective
  • More viewability & audibility

Social media advertisement logistics

Paying for Ads

Social media platforms allow you to spend your ad budget differently based on your objective.

CPC: Cost-per-click shows how much money you’re paying, on average, for one person to click on your ad. The lower this number is, the better. Your ideal CPC depends on the ROI you’re aiming for. A five-to-one revenue-to-ad ratio is considered effective, so for every dollar you spend on advertising, you receive $5 in revenue.

CPM: Cost-per-impression tracks how much you’re paying for one view. If your CPM is $0.05, for instance, you pay five cents on average for someone to see your ad in their feed. The problem with CPM? An impression doesn’t necessarily lead to any profit. It’s a good way to spend your ad budget if you’re trying to drive brand awareness.

Creating Your Ads

Venturing into the vast land of social media can be daunting for any business and leave you feeling overwhelmed with more questions than answers.

What is a Facebook algorithm? There’s a character limit on Twitter posts? Can I post more than pictures on Instagram? What in the world is Snapchat?

Social media marketing can be a highly effective way to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences who could be converted to customers, but only if it’s used the right way.

That’s why it’s better to leave it to the professionals and hire a social media marketing agency. You need to have someone who fully understands the technology, terminology, and tools and can guide you down the right path.

Hiring the right social media marketing agency should be your first step. Before you know it, the shares and likes will pour in, and then come the leads.

Benefits for hiring a social media marketing agency

1. Agencies know best practices and how to maximize your budget

2. Gain expertise and someone who will think outside the box

3. Gaining outside perspective adds value

4. You don’t have the resources to get the job done

Social advertising has transformed the ways in which brands interact with their customers. Just because big brands were early adopters of social advertising doesn’t mean that smaller businesses cannot benefit from leveraging the power of social media in their promotional efforts.

Integet has specialized social media services to suit small, medium to larger businesses, being nimble and flexible we work dedicatedly and quickly. We offer services on a retainer basis as well as a project basis whichever suits your needs and budget. Talk to us and let us put you on Social Media today!


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