Phone with Facebook on it and Scrabble pieces that spell out the words social media.

Social ads can make it easy to connect with existing or potential customers-but here’s what you need to know to run a successful paid social advertising campaign.

You know how to market your business using social media. And you’ve mastered the 3 rules of email marketing success. Another way to promote your business is with social ads. Social ads are when you pay a social media platform such as Facebook to display your business ad.

But will running an ad on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or other social platform work? Will you see a return on investment? Or, are you just funding some wealthy tech-worker’s 401k plan? Clearly, lots of businesses are trying social ads. In 2017, social ad spending exceeded $80 billion. By 2020, this figure is forecast to exceed $110 billion.

For some small businesses, social ads work dramatically well. As for businesses who don’t get a good ROI, the biggest common denominator is running an ad without putting any thought into design strategy, demographics and marketing objective.

Different types of social ads on Facebook

Facebook is the most popular platform for social media advertising. In fact, over 35% of display ads are run on Facebook. These days, social ad formats are varied. As opposed to a decade ago when the only social ads you saw were sponsored links on the side of your user feed on Facebook, social ads now appear directly within a news feed as a carousel/slideshow; a full-page “canvas” ad; or as video or photo ad (the latter of which according to Facebook, outperforms other ad formats in driving unique traffic.)

If you’re a small business owner that gingerly wants to test the social media advertising waters, your best bet is starting with a photo ad.

But before placing your ad, you should consider which demographics to target. For example, do you want to target existing customers so they’ll come back to your store? If you have customer phone numbers and/or email addresses you can target your existing customers on Facebook. You can also target a lookalike audience, which mirrors your existing customer base demographics (for example: location, gender, education level, interests, etc…)

What’s your goal?

Before blindly throwing money at Facebook, it also helps to choose an advertising objective. Do you want to boost a post? Promote a page? Reach people near your business? Increase brand awareness? Send people to your website’s homepage? Have people attend an event? Collect leads? Get people to visit your store?

Another thing to consider for social ads on Facebook is whether you want to run an “auction” ad or a “reach and frequency” ad. The former offers less predictable results, but offers more flexibility; the latter allows you to plan and buy your campaigns in advance, with predictable ad delivery and more control over your frequency settings. If this will be your first time trying social ads, the reach and frequency model may be a safer choice.

Setting a Budget

After selecting your target audience (demographics), before running an ad, you’ll need to determine an ad budget you’re comfortable with. Obviously, only you know how much money you can afford to spend. But the good news is you can set a daily spend limit so you won’t go over budget. If you can afford it, start small with a $10 a day spend cap.

Choose which type of ad to run

Currently, Facebook lets you choose from 3 types of ads. You can create up to 6 different ads with one image each at no extra charge (carousel); a single video or a slideshow, which is a looping video ad with up to 10 images.

For a complete list of Facebook ads, click here for the Facebook Ads Guide.

Photo Quality & Headlines

You’re going to be competing with other local businesses. That’s why the photos in your social ads must be nothing short of compelling and curiosity-provoking.

If you want a potential customer to click on your ad, give them good reason to. Say, for example, you own a neighborhood restaurant. Is a picture of your restaurant’s logo strong enough to get people to click your ad? Maybe a more effective click-bait image for your eatery would be a mouth-watering entree coupled with a headline offer of 50% off a 2nd entree?

Keeping with the example of a local restaurant, get creative with your ad copy. Perhaps the burgers at your restaurant are indeed the best in town. However, if your headline is “best burgers in [fill in name of town here]” it might not be compelling enough. A better headline (45 character limit) would be: “Our Burgers Are Awful…””. Use the description to turn intrigue into a click: “Awfully good that is. 2 for 1 limited time only.”

Social Ads on Other Platforms Besides Facebook

If you have mind-blowing photos, you may want to try promoting ads on Instagram. And if you have outstanding photos and want to target primarily a female audience, Pinterest may be worth a try. Finally, if you want to target a young audience, Snapchat might (briefly) get their attention.

Want to know more about how technology can improve your marketing? Contact us today to learn how the right point-of-sale system can help boost sales.

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