Social Media Advertising Channels For Small Business

Small Business Social Media Advertising: It’s Not ‘If,’ It’s ‘Which’

Social media advertising has increased exponentially in the last two years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. As social media platforms respond to demand from advertisers, it’s important that small businesses understand the options and choose the platform(s) that best fits their marketing goals. We’ve put together some social media advertising tips to help you make good decisions when setting your small business social media marketing goals and deciding on an effective social strategy for your business.

Social Media Advertising and Its Growing Popularity

Worldwide, between 2014 and 2016, social media advertising budgets doubled, growing from $16 billion to $31 billion. By the end of 2017, it’s expected to increase by another 26%. According to Forbes, four million small businesses were advertising on Facebook in 2015.

As social media’s impact continues to grow it can’t be denied that social advertising is a vital way to support your multi-channel and omnichannel marketing strategies. Social media advertising allows for brand personalization, loyalty, engagement, and data analytics—all important components of a multi-channel and omnichannel marketing strategy.

Social Media Advertising Platforms for Small Business


Facebook ads allow you to create custom advertisements targeting specific markets. These ads will appear in the newsfeeds of your target audience or in the right-hand side bar. Facebook Insights allows you to collect data to improve your ads, as well as your targeting, to provide a more effective advertising experience.


Twitter allows you to choose promoted tweets, which are a good way to build brand awareness. Promoted tweets appear in a user’s timeline and in “Who To Follow” suggestions. In addition, Twitter offers conversion campaigns that use a tracking code for the specific type of conversion you want to track and targets users by keyword. Finally, there are Twitter lead generation cards that allow users to opt-in to sign up to a newsletter, for example, with one click.


LinkedIn provides the ability to create sponsored updates or text ads, both of which are linked to your website and allow audience targeting options. You can also choose between cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) based on whether your goal is to get click-throughs or build exposure. LinkedIn provides analytics allowing you to quickly compare results from sponsored updates and text ads, as well as different variations of your ads.


Pinterest ads are known as promoted pins—they’re really just regular pins that you pay to promote. Pinterest offers three types of ad campaigns. The first is an awareness campaign, designed to help you build your brand. Pricing is based on every 1,000 impressions. Next is an engagement campaign to encourage users to interact with your content by either pinning it to a board or clicking on the link. You pay according to user actions—a closeup, repin, or click. Third is a traffic campaign, designed to increase traffic to your website, priced on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis.


Instagram offers three types of ads. Photo ads allow businesses to tell their story and feature products targeting a specific audience. Instagram video ads can be up to 60 seconds in length and allow users to download and share. Instagram carousel ads provide the user with the ability to view multiple images and also includes a CTA that will take users to your website. In addition, since the purchase of Instagram by Facebook, Instagram advertisers now have access to the same analytics available on Facebook.


YouTube offers in-stream ads, in-display ads, and in-search ads. The type of ad you choose is dependent on your advertising goals.

  • In-stream ads are effective at increasing the number of impressions
  • In-display ads are for increasing subscribers or views
  • In-search ads are for promoting your YouTube channel in a less disruptive way

The recently launched YouTube Community allows brands to directly engage with the target audience.

3 Social Media Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Social media advertising offers great consumer targeting options. Knowing the audience you intend to target is integral to the campaign’s success. Discover who your audience is—their lifestyle, behaviors, needs, desires, etc.

1. Choose the Right Social Media Channel

Choosing the best platforms is also important. If your target customer is active on Facebook, but not on Twitter, don’t waste your money on Twitter ads. Base your advertising decisions on facts and research.

For example, if you’re targeting a particular age demographic, it’s important to consider where they’re spending their time on social media. The following chart shows the percentage of users, by age, on four popular social media platforms.

social media platform, usage by age

Facebook may be a good choice for reaching all age ranges. However, if you’re targeting an older demographic, advertising on Twitter or Instagram is not likely to achieve a good ROI. If your target audience is younger, under age 29, you may get more bang for your buck by advertising on Instagram. You should also consider similar comparisons of other demographics such as income, education, and location.

2. Stand Out

The best strategy for success with social media ads is to offer great content. On Facebook, for example, ads show up in a user’s news feed based on how relevant the content is to your target audience. If your relevance score is higher, your ad is more likely to appear in the news feed of your target audience than ads of other businesses targeting a similar audience.

In addition, the effectiveness of your ad content is closely tied to how successful your ad will be. Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared. To increase ROI, test various content types in organic posts.

Other social media sites offer advertising that may be more cost-effective than the ones cited above. Tumblr, for example, offers sponsored posts, sponsored video posts, and even a sponsored day which enables brands to pin their logo and tagline to all users’ dashboards for 24 hours. Quora, the question-and-answer site, only very recently began offering advertising opportunities. Ads are non-intrusive, text-based, and priced on a PPC model. Snapchat offers three types of ads, one of which allows you to use its popular geofilter, and has a three-tiered pricing model. Advertising on Reddit allows for audience targeting and engagement opportunity and is priced based on CPM.

3. Keep Mobile Top of Mind

More than 80% of social network users are accessing platforms via mobile. Mobile advertising accounts for 86% of all advertising revenue on Twitter. Your social media ads must be designed with small mobile screens in mind. Also, take advantage of mobile features such as hyper-local ads and the popularity of video on mobile. On Twitter, 90% of promoted video is viewed via a mobile device.

Social media advertising for small business has become an essential part of marketing in today’s business environment. Ensure that you understand which social media platforms are most effective for reaching your target audience, as well the types of ad formats that will work best. Develop a strategy for using the performance analytics from each social platform and modify your ads to improve effectiveness and increase your ROI.

Use These Tips to Develop Social Media Advertising for Your Business Today

  • Set your advertising budget
  • Define your target audience
  • Determine which social media channels relate most to your target audience
  • Create great content that will stand out in social feeds
  • Use eye-catching visuals and video
  • Optimize your content for mobile
  • Track your social media advertising efforts
  • Analyze your campaign performance and readjust ads when performance wanes to achieve optimal results

Need help deciding which social channel would work best for your small business? Contact your local Valpak consultant for solid social advertising advice.

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