When Esultants started in 1999, we built single-page websites with a contact form that would fax customer information to our clients' businesses.
At the time, any type of digital marketing was on the cutting edge of advertising. Today, those sites would be completely ineffective.
Just as simple websites superseded ads in the yellow pages, social media is revolutionizing how consumers interact and shop online. Ads are a way for businesses to enter the social media space to reach specific online audiences with their brand's products and services, like a digital billboard along a customer’s commute.
In this article, we’ll discuss why paid social media ads are important, which businesses benefit most from social media ads, and how you can get started.
Social media has two categories for reach: Organic and paid. Organic reach is how many people see your content without any money behind it. Paid reach is how many people see your content because of advertising. In the early days of social media, high-quality content was all you needed for a high organic reach. But today, organic reach is getting harder for brands to achieve for two reasons:
1. More businesses are on social media, which means more competition. Social media has been around for over a decade now, and the majority of the US population has some kind of social media profile. As more and more businesses follow their customers to their favorite platforms, over-crowding makes it hard for you to connect with your customers.
2. Social media platforms are prioritizing content from family and friends over brand content. As it turns out, social media users didn’t love brands invading the online space where they interacted with friends. To keep users from deactivating their accounts, major social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram changed their algorithms to prioritize content from users' friends and family. As a result, businesses were pushed into buying ads to stay in the feed.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get results on social media without advertising. Last month, we had a client reach over 6,000 people without spending a single dollar on advertising (more about the power of social media giveaways here).
However, a complete social media marketing plan should include some advertising to turn potential customers into loyal fans.
Any type of business can benefit from social media ads because all types of audiences are active on social media. However, social advertising will be different for each company.
For example, you need to decide which social media platform works best for your business. In nearly all cases, you will advertise on the social media sites where you are already active and successful.
If you do most of your sales in a physical store, you can target customers who live in a location or people recently near your business. Create an awareness ad with a "Get Directions" button or an offer/sale ad to get people in the door to see what other products you have to offer.
For eCommerce companies, you can link directly to the web pages for products, eliminating as many steps as possible for your potential customers.
Create an audience of homeowners near your business, and offer them a deal on your services, such as $9 off an oil change or 25% off grass seed in the spring or fall. You can also create an awareness ad showing off your positive reviews with a professionally designed graphic.
Run ads to people who live near your location with special deals. Target a specific demographic group for each ad, such as college students or parents of young children, and build the ad around their specific needs.
You should be running different ads to people who are existing customers and those who are less familiar with your business.
For your current customers, try advertising deals on a favorite dish or promoting your lesser-known services such as event catering, party room rental, or live music events.
If you are trying to reach new customers, advertise the menu item that made you famous or promote an irresistible discount.
PRO TIP: Even if you want to reach new customers, create an audience of the friends of people who like your page or people who have visited your website so you aren’t marketing to a totally cold audience.
Businesses which market to other businesses need to think more long-term in their advertising. Typically, these products or services are more expensive and include a lasting relationship with the business. Your advertising should focus on building up trust first, and then selling only to those followers who have a loyalty to your brand.
To start, promote yourself as a resource. Answer a question or solve a problem through a blog post or video and boost that post to your targeted audience. Once you build an engaged following, you can start mentioning how your paid services or products can provide an even bette
Before you spend any money on advertising, you need to be set up properly:
You can manage ads yourself or assign an employee to learn social media advertising, but it takes months of trial and error to start running successful ads consistently.
Another option is to hire an agency to create social ads for your business. When you go this route, you get the research and experience of an expert without spending the time or money on learning a new skill which you may never use again.
When Esultants runs a social media ad for a client, we always start with a client meeting to define the goal and audience for your ad. We offer tips if you need them, but we also realize that you know your business better than anyone and that we serve you best by listening first.
Then, with your goals and audience in mind, we create the ads and landing pages, manage your predetermined budget, and measure the campaign results for you.