Keys to Simple Social Media Advertising on Facebook and Twitter

  •    Barney runs a digital marketing consultancy and writes about technology, startups, music, movies and business, as well as his hometown in the UK.

Social media is a fantastic way to reach your customers and share latest updates, industry news and product information. It is also an excellent method for finding new customers and keeping current customers happy.

While it is possible to build up a thriving community of followers on social media by just sharing great content, you can accelerate the process and expand your business by running simple advertising campaigns.

Let's take a look at some simple social media advertising strategies for two of the most popular social advertising networks, Facebook and Twitter.

Before you get started, take a step back and think about your overall marketing and communication goals. Ask yourself some questions — what are you trying to achieve, who are you trying to reach, and what are you going to measure to define the success of your advertising efforts? This will help you focus on which type of targeting and ads to use.

Basic Facebook Advertising

Recommended starting budget: $50-$200

Facebook is often one of the first choices for businesses experimenting with social advertising. Many small and medium-sized businesses are already active on Facebook — the platform is popular because of its huge reach and range of targeting options.

You can start your Facebook advertising efforts by boosting one of the posts on your page. If you have an important announcement, sale, offer, event or product launch, then boost the post and reach an audience beyond those that already like your company page.

Facebook Social Advertising

When you have great content like Paiwen Paddleboards, give it a boost!

​Click on the boost button on a regular post and a series of targeting options will open up. You can choose where to target geographically, from just around your business address to your whole city, region or even country. Select the age and gender of the people who you want to see your boosted post. Lastly, you can add a number of interests to further define your audience — a wedding dress shop might choose women who are engaged, a shop for children's clothes might focus on parents or a sports retailer might choose those that are interested in sports teams and clubs.

Image of Target Audience Selection on Facebook

Choosing the right audience on Facebook.

One of the best things about Facebook advertising is that as you define your audience and fill in your budget amount, the number of people you can reach will change on the page automatically, so you can get an estimate of what you will get for your money. To effectively target the right audience, make sure to choose one that is neither too large or too small. It is possible to start with a reasonably small budget of less than fifty dollars and still reach a decent amount of people. Facebook also offers many creative ad options from text and image ads to video and a variety of mobile ads.

Once you become more comfortable with Facebook targeting, you may choose to move beyond basic post boosting. Other possible targeting methods include uploading an email list to find your customers on Facebook and targeting them with ads. You can also consider re-marketing, where you shows ads on Facebook to people who have previously visited your website. One way to think about the wide range of advertising options on Facebook is that all the personal information that users share, plus their behavior, interests and the pages or brands they like can be used as targeting by advertisers.

Basic Twitter Advertising

Recommend starting budget: $100-$300

Image of Babies at the Barre on Twitter

A great image can explain your business perfectly on Twitter, like Babies at the Barre.

Twitter is also a very popular way to reach customers in real-time, react to current events and share concise updates. On Twitter, you can build up a community of followers interested in your business and interact with them regularly. Like Facebook, the platform allows you to promote what you post to a wider audience.

It is as simple as choosing an existing tweet or writing a new tweet, which will then be featured more prominently on the network. You can have tweets appear in the newsfeed, as a promoted trend or within search results. You may choose to include photos or video — this will help your sponsored tweet stand out and engage the targeted audience.

One interesting strategy to try is to target the followers of competitive businesses on Twitter — they will most likely have the same people following them that you are trying to reach. Alternatively, you can choose keywords, categories or even target certain upcoming events that you know will be talked about on the network.

It is important to start with a test budget that is neither too cautious, so you don't give enough of a chance to see some response, or so large that you could waste a lot of money. Set goals and measure your first campaigns carefully, so you can understand the effectiveness as you learn more about how the advertising works.

Twitter provides full reporting of paid campaigns and it is always worth regularly checking Twitter Analytics at https://analytics.twitter.com, even when you are not running paid campaigns. This will show you how well your Twitter posts are doing and who they are reaching.

Social media advertising is a cost-effective way to both build your social following and get your message out to a wider audience. There are many sophisticated ways to target your ads, plus the options to use video, photos and reach people when they are using their mobile phones and tablets. Make sure you identify your goals and audience, and measure your campaigns. With these strategies and tips, social media advertising can help you grow your business and connect with existing and potential customers.

Stay tuned for part two where we talk about advertising on LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.