With 71% of global internet users on social media, it isn’t surprising to see 96% of the businesses get on networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, the competition is stiff and reaching. And with organic reach dwindling by the day, reaching your target audience will only become harder. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on social.

One benefit of social networks becoming a mainstream marketing channel is that social platforms now have the features you need to cut through the noise and get noticed. And in this post, we will explore how paid social media ads can help you do just that.

The PROs And CONs Of Social Media Advertising

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s take a quick look at the biggest benefits of social media ads along with the pitfalls you need to steer clear of.

The PROs

  • Getting the ball rolling is easy, and you can start driving traffic and conversions right away, especially if you’re intimately familiar with your customers.
  • Tracking campaigns and measuring ROI is easy. The amount of engagement, traffic, or leads (depending on your objectives) are all available in plain view.
  • Excellent targeting options, such as age, interests, net worth, location, and more. Other networks like Facebook even offer retargeting options to keep your brand on top of the minds of undecided prospects.
  • Affordable! At least, compared to most advertising channels. Running a TV commercial may be out of reach for most small businesses. But you can run a social media ad campaign for as little as $5/day.

The Cons

  • Your campaign can run into ad fatigue. With millions of marketers on social media, your audience may have grown blind to ads.
  • The ease of ad creation may lull you into running campaigns without tracking performance and split-testing. And when you don’t track campaigns, you lose money!
  • While social media ads are affordable, running a successful campaign requires a lot of time and effort. You need to create outstanding content (including visuals and copy) and engage with new followers and audiences to boot.

The Basics Of Setting Up Social Media Advertising Campaigns

Running an advertising campaign on any of the major social networks is pretty straightforward.

To start:

Login to your account or business page, and navigate to the dashboard where you create ads and fund campaigns.

Next…

You will have to define your audience using the network’s targeting options.

As far as targeting is concerned, Facebook has the most robust features among social media platforms. For starters, you can refine your campaign by filtering users based on demographic data such as:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests

However, savvy digital marketers can target potential customers more accurately by basing their campaigns on:

  • Recent purchasing behavior
  • Life events (ex: pregnancy, graduation, wedding)
  • Custom audiences made up by people already buying from you
  • Lookalike audiences that mirror your fanbase
  • Layering multiple targeting options

Do note:

Other social networks don’t have the same super-granular targeting features offered by Facebook. But their ad platforms pack enough punch to make campaigns worthwhile.

Done defining your audience? If so, you can now create the content you will promote and pick the type of ad you will run. Again, different networks will offer different formats.

For example:

Facebook allows you to run:

  • Boosted posts where you promote an existing organic post on your business’ page
  • Domain ads that link back to your website
  • Carousel ads to give prospects a range of products to click on
  • Offer ads which are handy for retargeting site visitors that didn’t buy
  • And many more

If you’re on Twitter, you can promote…

  • Your account and pay for every follower you gain
  • Tweets to a broad audience and pay per impression or engagement
  • Videos where you pay per view

You can also promote tweets and pay based on website clicks, conversions, app installations, and leads generated.

And if you’re big on visual marketing, Instagram lets you showcase images/photos and run eight different ad formats to:

  • Generate awareness for your brand
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Engage with target users
  • Have users install your app

With the format, content, and target audience well taken care of, you can now add a budget and create a schedule for running your ads.

Social Media Advertising Best Practices To Keep In Mind

Setting up a social media advertising campaign is simple. But making sure your campaign turns up a profit requires finesse. In the following section, we will look at the best practices to always keep in mind when advertising your brand via social.

Set Clear Objectives

Without a clear-cut objective, you will waste money on social media. The right objective for your campaign will, of course, vary depending on the current state of your business.

If you’re a new kid on the block and are hardly getting any traffic to your website, increasing visits and pageviews to your homepage, blog, or landing page is a worthwhile goal.

On the other hand…

If you have already built awareness for your brand, you will want to focus on boosting engagement with your prospects.

Do they like how-to posts on your blog? What type of content gets them talking? One way to find out is to run a social media campaign where you track engagement metrics like retweets, shares, and comments.

And if your business already has an engaged audience…

Paid social ads can help you boost your bottom-line. You can offer exclusive content in exchange for names and email addresses, while certain ad formats can showcase your best products and allow users to buy from you without leaving the platform.

Establish A Budget For The Campaign

You can easily overspend when you don’t set a budget for your campaign.

And since we’re on the subject of budgeting, be sure to have a maximum budget. By defining the maximum amount of money, the platform will stop spending once your advertising cost reaches the limit. Particularly handy for when you forget to pause or switch a campaign off.

Don’t Skimp On Visual Quality

You will use images, photos, or videos in your social media campaign. After all, getting noticed with text alone is near-impossible. So you might as well go all in and offer the best visual content you can afford.

Grainy images and photos can do more harm than good for your business. Like a website with terrible UX, low-quality visuals will leave a bad impression.

If you are creating visual assets for the campaign, you will want to learn the basic design principles like contrast, alignment, and color combinations.

Prioritize Mobile In Your Ad Design And Creation

Did you know?

Users spend almost 80% of their social media time using smartphones and tablets. So if you want to rock social advertising, you better prioritize mobile access in your design.

You will want to use images that are easy to view on a pocket-sized screen. Run campaigns during peak mobile usage hours. And don’t forget to use responsive design in your website, especially the landing pages.

Use Retargeting To Your Advantage

So you just increased brand awareness among your customers. More important, however, your advertising campaign is now driving high-quality traffic to your website or blog.

Fantastic!

But now what!?

To make the most out of your excellent start, use retargeting to turn more of that traffic into leads.

We all have visitors went to a specific page or post, read the contents, but didn’t convert into a subscriber or customer. Retargeting puts your brand in front of users who bounced off of your website so you can convert them later.

You can invite them to an upcoming webinar, offer downloadable goodies like ebooks or checklists, or encourage them to sign up for a free trial.

And since these people are already aware of your brand and what your business offers, they are more likely to sign up for your offer or hand over their email address.

Split-Test And Rotate Your Ads

We’ve touched upon ad blindness and fatigue earlier. And as more and more businesses get on social, consumers will only grow even more resistant to marketing messages.

One way to ensure your paid social ads work as intended is to split test. You can slightly vary the heading, copy, images, and other elements to maximize conversions from your campaigns.

Rotating ads is also a must if you want to get noticed by prospects. Repetitive messaging may work in TV advertising, but not in social media. Instead, you want to take the opposite route – provide fresh content.