Now that your business is growing, you may want to look at advertising on your social media platforms. All of the major social networks offer advertising options. The key is to decide which networks will be a good fit for your business marketing strategy.

When beginning to research advertising on social media, you may want to study other popular ads which are getting great results and follow their lead.

To choose where to place your ads, you should always look at which networks match up with your target audience. For example, Snapchat attracts a younger audience base (according to Hootsuite, 78% of Snapchat’s user base is 18-24 years old), so you would of course only place ads there if that demographic fits your strategy.

When considering the demographics of online platforms, you should consider your target audience’s sex, age group, race, ethnicity, income, education, location, and more.

Also, the social media platform where your brand currently has the largest presence with content that consistently sparks the most engagement is often the best place to begin your campaigns.

All of these factors considered together will help determine which social networks are your business’s best fit.

Let’s look at the top 5 social networks and what ads they offer:

  1. FACEBOOK – Ads on this most popular of social networks are designed for broader campaign objectives such as awareness, consideration and/or conversion, and audience.
  • Awareness: Increasing reach or building brand awareness.
  • Consideration: Increasing engagement, sending traffic to your website, lead generation, people communicating with you on Facebook Messenger.
  • Conversion: Increasing or creating online conversions, sales (online and/or retail).
  • Audience: Facebook is popular across many varied demographics, so you are able to use their targeting options to match your needs. This makes it a good place to begin your social media advertising.

Facebook has a Facebook Advertising Guide which gives step-by-step instructions on how to set up your ads. Some of the ads offered by Facebook are:

  • Photo ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Slideshow ads
  • Lead generation ads
  • Collection ads
  1. INSTAGRAM- Being that Facebook owns Instagram it is no surprise that their ads support the same four campaign objectives as Facebook.

One objective to keep in mind when using Instagram is their audience. Instagram is very popular with both Millennials and Generation Xers, so if this is your target market, Instagram is a great place for ads.

Instagram ad types mirror those of Facebook: photo, video, and carousel. Within Instagram, you can create ads designed around your feed or stories.

  1. TWITTER– Twitter’s two ad campaign types are Twitter Promote and Twitter Ad Campaigns. Within these ad types, there are six business objectives to consider when creating an ad:
  • Website Clicks/Conversions – Tweets to your audience encouraging them to visit and take action on your website.
  • Tweet Engagement – Tweets with the goal of striking up conversations about your brand.
  • Gaining Followers – Promoting your Twitter account.
  • Increasing Brand Awareness – Tweeting to a broad audience.
  • Video Views – Videos to targeted audiences.
  • App Installs/Re-engagement – Pay-per-click to open or install your app.
  1. LINKEDIN– LinkedIn ads help you promote your business to a more serious, business-minded audience. LinkedIn has three objectives when designing ads:
  • Drive website traffic
  • Build brand awareness
  • Lead generation and prospect conversion (rated the “best platform” for B2B lead generation)

LinkedIn also offers demographic targeting options based on professional qualifications.

LinkedIn Ad Types:

  • Sponsored Content – These ads appear in the news feed on mobile and desktop users. They showcase your brand and get your content in front of larger audiences.
  • Sponsored InMail – Very similar to email marketing, except that messages go directly to users’ LinkedIn inboxes.
  • Text Ads – Small ad units that appear at the top and right of the LinkedIn news feed. These ads only appear to desktop users.

LinkedIn also has step-by-step instructions in their LinkedIn Advertising Guide.

  1. YOUTUBE – YouTube is the only social networking site that is used by more men than women. The difference is not huge (75% American men vs. 72% of American women), but it is something to consider when choosing to place ads here. The YouTube audience is of course overwhelmingly there to watch entertaining videos, so consider your audience’s moods when they view your ads as part of an overall strategy.

YouTube ads are geared towards the following business objectives:

  • Lead collection
  • Drive website traffic
  • Increase product consideration
  • Attract new viewers
  • Build brand awareness and extend your reach
  • Increase your subscriber base

       YouTube Ad Types:

  • TrueView In-Stream Ads – These ads automatically play before, during or after other videos. Users have to option to skip your ads after 5 seconds.
  • TrueView Discovery Ads – These ads appear in the YouTube search results, YouTube homepage and next to related videos. The user must click on your ad to view the video.
  • Bumper Ads – These ads are similar to TrueView in-stream ads as they play before, during and after another video. The user cannot skip bumper ads.

When it comes to social media advertising, the 8 main guidelines to follow are:

  1. Know your budget
  2. Understand your business objectives
  3. Know your target audience
  4. Let organic posts help with ad placement
  5. Pay for what matters – engagement or impressions
  6. Remember design ads to include both mobile and desktop
  7. Test ads to optimize their performance
  8. Measure results (all social networks have analytics)

There are so many social networks that can work for your business. The best thing to do is to research and understand which ones make the best fit for your business needs.

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