Social Media Advertising For Small Businesses

September 18, 2021

Even before much of the world found themselves in a lockdown situation, social media advertising and usage has been increasing. And this situation is evermore so prevalent now. Especially since people are finding themselves at home more often than previously. This inevitably puts social media in even greater focus on the lives of many people. Thus, businesses and organisations are ever more incentivised to develop and maintain strong digital connections with their customers.

More than just being a communication platform, social media platforms are used by consumers to discover, learn and purchase products, services or brands. This should be a clear indication that social media is integral to your business success. 

Social media advertising is simply advertising your products or services on a social media platform. While the cost of setting up an account may be free, what you are paying for is the outreach of the platforms. This is called paid promotion. We’ll share with you some guidelines that will help you get started with planning your social media strategy. 


1. Choose Your Social Media Platform

It is not uncommon for small businesses to have small advertising budgets. That’s why this first step is the most critical as not all social media platforms are equal. 

For example, Instagram ads are usually pricier than Facebook ads. However, more than just costing issues, it is equally important for you to understand who your customers are. While Instagram might be costlier, it will be a worthwhile consideration if your products are lifestyle-based and your ads are very visual in nature. Additionally, this is a good go-to platform for a target market consisting of young adults. 

Meanwhile, Facebook is a great choice for brands who are looking for maximum exposure. This is because Facebook offers great diversity in audiences and is popular among all age groups. Facebook users usually cut across multiple generations, backgrounds, genders and ethnicities.

Other social media platforms for you to consider are Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Also, up and coming platforms such as TikTok is also an alternative way to build on your online presence in an organic fashion.  


2. Select Your Targeting Criteria

Now that you have a social media platform to work on, the next essential ingredient is to determine your targeting options. For paid advertising, all the platforms should be able to offer you specific targeting options. 

Targeting options simply refer to the list of criteria that helps the algorithm to determine who gets to see your ad. For example, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin allows you to define your audience based on these factors:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Relationship status
  • Geographical location
  • Job title
  • Hobbies & interests, and more

It is wise to do a bit of research work to see which type of demographic is the most receptive towards your products or services. Alternatively, you may want to conduct a small split testing testing experiment to help you better define your target audience. 


3. Selecting Your Campaign Objective

Now that you have selected your platform of choice and have an understanding of your audience, it is time to establish the purpose of your social media advertisement. Essentially, you will need to ask yourself what is your campaign objective

Some common campaign objectives are:

  • To build awareness of your brand / product / service 
  • To get people to sign up to your newsletter
  • To drive traffic to your physical store
  • To drive traffic to your website
  • To increase sales and purchases
  • To offer a limited promotion

Which objective you choose will differ from one campaign to another. Each objective is important in helping your business achieve great success. 


4. Determine Ads Payment Structure

The ads payment structure might differ slightly from one platform to another, and also from one objective to another. For platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin, 2 of the most common types of ad structure are the CPC (cost-per-click) model and the CPM (cost-per-impression) model

CPC Model

    • This model indicates that you will be charged for each time that a user clicks on your ad. For this to be successful, you will need to ensure that your target audience is accurately defined. It matters less who sees your ad, as long as the person clicking on it is of value to you. 
    • In general, the lower the CPC, the better. However, your ideal CPC is dependent on your ROI. A quick gauge for your business is to have a 5:1 revenue to ad ratio. This means that for every dollar you spend on ads, you receive $5 in revenue.

CPM Model

    • This model indicates that you will be charged each time that your ad is being displayed to a user. For example, if your CPM is $0.05, this means that you are paying 5 cents each time a user sees your ads. 
    • Usually, businesses use this ad structure when they are looking to build awareness for their brand. This is because an impression, or a display might not always lead to any revenue, or profit. 


5. Ads Creation

Ads creation is very closely tied to your advertising budget. Most platforms will provide you with various formatting options such as image or video. A general rule of thumb is that video ads tend to perform better in terms of ad engagement. This means that users are more inclined to interact with a video ad as compared to a static image ad. 

However, the content of the video ad is also critical to the performance of the ad. For instance, a visually impactful image ad can outperform a video ad with dated content. Furthermore, while video ads are recommended, they are usually costly and time-consuming to produce. Thus, for asset creation for ads, consider the time and effort invested into the ads before deciding on which format to commit to.


6. Measure Ads Performance

Lastly, once your ads are ready and your campaign has commenced, you should check on your ad to make sure it is running per schedule. Give your campaign a few days to a week before stepping in to analyse the results. While the platforms may show you a lot of numbers and data all at once, focus on the ones that are valuable to you. Here, we highlight 3 key metrics that can help you understand your campaign performance:

i. Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

This is a useful metric to track as it takes into account impressions and clicks at the same time. The CTR rate tells you how many people have taken action on your ad. Thus, the higher the CTR rate, the better. For example, if your CTR is 5%, this tells you that for every 100 people who saw your ad, 5 people would click on it. 


The conversion of each campaign is determined by you. It refers to the type of desired action that you wish your users will undertake. For example, the objective of your campaign is to run a promotion for your hair salon services. You invested $500 in your campaign. 25 people booked a service through your campaign. Thus, your Cost-Per-Conversion is $20. ($500/25 = $20)


The concept of Cost-Per-Acquisition is similar to Cost-Per-Conversion. The major difference between these 2 metrics is how far along in the conversion funnel the prospective customer us. For example, out of the 25 people who booked your service, 5 of them turned up and became paying customers. This means that your Cost-Per-Acquisition is $100. ($500/5 = $100) 

This is where you can accurately gauge your ROI. For this campaign to be successful, the average purchase for each customer must be above $100. 



Social media advertising is a fantastic way for small businesses to grow their business. It allows businesses to reach out to new prospecting audiences. With the right strategies in place, you can reach out to the ideal customers and turn them into customers. Additionally, it provides businesses with the control to measure their campaign performance against the business performance. 

Attain greater clarity for what works best for your business. We can provide you with a thorough review on how to achieve success in your campaigns. From providing advice on social media platforms all the way to coming up with a strategy and implementing the campaigns, we show you how you can benefit from using social media in a smart way. 

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