It’s no secret that social media plays a major role in any small business’s marketing strategy. However, in today’s digital world, organic posting isn’t enough to get your business in front of the right audience.
Instead, small businesses are now having to turn their attention to social media ads.
Now, we know that social media ads are something that often stresses small businesses out—but, if used correctly, they have the power to take your small business to the next level.
In this week’s episode of Priority Pursuit, we are once again joined by Angel Tobey—Treefrog Marketing’s content director—as she explains why small businesses should invest in social media ads and provides some tips and tricks you can use to help your business get to the next level by utilizing social media ads.
Why Small Businesses Should Invest in Social Media Ads
Social media advertising can be majorly beneficial to any small business if used correctly. Let’s break down their impact.
They give you more visibility.
First and foremost, social media ads give you increased visibility and reach on social media. Back in the day, organic social media—meaning just posting to social media without backing your content with money—got you far. But, unfortunately, with changing algorithms, just using organic social media alone is no longer enough.
For the record, changing algorithms aren’t a bad thing. Social media platforms are businesses, and they both want to serve their users well and make money. So, it isn’t surprising that these platforms—especially the larger platforms like Facebook and Instagram—are essentially charging low fees for reach.
Basically, we recommend using social media advertising because when you put money behind your posts, promotions, and other content, you’ll be much more likely to reach your ideal audience.
They are affordable.
While we know that some might be disappointed to hear that organic social media is no longer enough, the good news is that social media advertising is pretty affordable. In fact, another reason social media ads make sense for small businesses is because they’re relatively cost-effective.
Promotions on social media tend to be much cheaper than traditional media promotions—like radio, TV, billboard, or print ads. For example, the average billboard ad costs somewhere between $1,200 and $15,000 per month and that’s for a single sign. And when was the last time you saw a billboard and took action?
Plus, with social media ads, you can also set your own budget. While there are minimum ad spend limits on most social media platforms, they are relatively low—meaning you can scale your ad spend to wherever your business is financially.
You can target your audience.
Another reason we recommend that small businesses utilize social media advertising is the fact that you can also make your social media ads highly targeted.
Social media ads actually make reaching your ideal customers easy. With most traditional media options—take print ads for example—you don’t have a lot of control over who sees your advertisements. Yes, you can choose specific publications or outlets that your ideal customers consume and send direct mailers. But, to an extent, with print ads, you invest in an ad and then have to hope and pray the right people see it and take the next step.
With social media ads, however, you can specifically target your best customers and ensure your ads only appear to the people you want to connect with. For example, as you set up your ads, you can specify things like age, gender, interests, and more so that you know that every dollar you spend is helping you reach your ideal clients.
However, there are exceptions. Depending on our clients’ ideal customers, we will still recommend print ads and other things, but at least 95% of the time the strategies we design for our clients include investing advertising budgets into social media and Google ads because they can be so targeted.
They give you immediate feedback.
Another great aspect of social media ads is the immediate feedback you get on their performance. Ad analytics are easily trackable, and they allow you to quickly update campaigns if they’re not working or put more budget towards campaigns that are working well. This allows you to make informed decisions when it comes to how you’re spending your ad budget.
They put you where your customers are.
Last but not least, we recommend using social media ads because social media is likely where your ideal customers are spending their time.
People spend a lot of time on social media. In fact, the average person spends 2.5 hours on social media per day. It’s part of our culture.
Social media is likely where your current and potential customers are, and it would be a shame for you not to meet your customers where they’re already spending their time.
What Kinds of Ads Should Small Businesses Run
As a small business, you can promote all kinds of things on social media. But because a good social media ad strategy largely consists of promoting the content you’ve already created for your sales funnel, it might be easiest to break down your options by the stages of the buyer’s journey.
Need a breakdown of how the buyer’s journey fits into content planning and what kinds of content fall into each part of the buyer’s journey? Check out “Episode 110: A Proven Content Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses”!
As a quick recap, the buyer's journey is the process a customer goes through to purchase a product or service. It has three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. Essentially, you want to use social media advertising to drive traffic to the content you’ve created for your sales funnel.
For example, ads that focus on the awareness stage will be used to reach people who have a problem but don’t know what to do about it. They’re looking for answers, resources, and education on a topic. Basically, they need to be made aware of something.
These ads will lead the viewer to a piece of awareness content that you’ve developed, such as an awareness blog. You can use social media advertising to drive traffic to your awareness blogs which allows you to connect with and educate prospects and lead them into your sales funnel.
In addition to promoting your awareness content, you also want to promote your consideration content. As a reminder, the consideration stage is the part of the buying process where someone is researching or considering ways to get something done. And in this phase, it’s important to get prospects’ email addresses.
In the flywheel marketing method, content for this phase includes an opt-in of some kind. This can be an informational download, a coupon code, a quiz, or anything else that your audience can gain access to in exchange for their email address.
Collecting email addresses is important because once you have a prospect’s email, you can continue the conversation and nurture your potential buyer as they make a decision about how to solve their problem.
And, by using social media advertising, you can help more prospects find and take advantage of your opt-in.
Last but not least, you can use social media ads to promote your decision content. In other words, you can use social media ads to sell your products and services.
With decision-based ads and content, you need to show potential customers that your product or service is the best choice to solve their problem. With this in mind, decision ads are typically going to lead to a product or service landing page or a shop where customers can buy through your store.
Either way, the mission of this ad is to sell your product or service outright.
Essentially you want to use social media advertising to promote your content, get prospects into your sales funnel, and drive traffic to your website.
Budgeting for Each Phase
On that note, something else we’re often asked is, “How much of our budget should a small business put toward advertising in each phase of the buyer’s journey?” And the answer is, it depends on the business and its audience.
You see, every small business, its customers, and their buyer's journey are different. As a result, every business’s awareness-consideration-decision ad ratio is likely going to look very different.
For example, if you operate a boutique and you have a collection of clothing specifically to sell for the Fourth of July, you probably want to start running decision ads that showcase these pieces a month or two before the holiday.
In this situation, prospects likely don’t need to be fully educated on why they should buy a Fourth of July outfit. This is something that they already know that they “need,” and they will be happy to click on an ad that features a cute outfit and takes them to a product page where they can make a purchase.
On the other hand, at Treefrog, our flywheel marketing service—which is our primary service and includes our team implementing the flywheel marketing strategy for small businesses in full—is a big investment, and we typically have to educate prospects about this strategy before they’re ready to invest.
As a result, we don’t tend to run a lot of decision ads for ourselves. Instead, we spend much of our ad budget either driving traffic to awareness or consideration content so that we can connect with prospects and help them see the value of flywheel marketing.
Long story short, we recommend running awareness, consideration, and decision ads, but the ratio among these ads should depend on your customers and how they want to engage with your content.
How to Get Started
If you aren’t familiar with running social media ads, we can definitely see how opening the ads manager on Facebook, Instagram, or another platform for the first time would be overwhelming. Luckily we have some tips that will help you get started!
Focus on Specific Platforms
The good news is that you don’t have to learn every platform’s best advertising practices. In fact, you only need to focus your efforts and energy on the social media platforms that your ideal clients use.
Listen to “Episode 119: A Simple Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses” for a breakdown of how to determine which platforms your ideal clients are using.
Basically, if you know who your ideal client is—which you should know from developing your messaging and Marketing Guiding Statements—then you can determine which platforms they’re most active on and choose to use those platforms accordingly.
After you decide which platforms to utilize, get familiar with the ad options available on these platforms. There are now video ads, carousel ads, and too many more to even name.
We aren’t going to go into the nitty gritty of ad options now because, to be honest, if we got into specific tactics or how-tos, our advice would likely become outdated quickly simply because the major social media platforms roll out new ad options all the time.
But, to see success with social media advertising, you need to choose your social media platforms and then learn their ad options inside and out.
However, in case you’re frustrated that we aren’t giving specific how-tos in this episode, we do want to share some resources with you. At this point, all major social media platforms have advertising education resources, and there are educators who specialize in specific platforms.
They’re a great resource for learning how to utilize best practices including graphic sizes, copy, and more. You can find links to helpful ad courses for the most popular social media platforms in the “Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode” section at the bottom of this blog.
Measure Your Results
We have to about the importance of looking at data and results. When you run social media ads, it’s important to measure your results so that you can see what’s working and not working and make changes accordingly.
Regardless of what social media platforms you advertise on, they should have tools for viewing your analytics. There are also third-party sites that allow you to collect and review analytics.
Now, some analytics you should really keep track of are:
- Ad Impressions—the number of times your ad is displayed on the screen. This is a good number to review when you want to know how many eyes have been on your content.
- Clicks—the amount of clicks your ad received.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)—a percentage that reflects how often people who saw your ad actually ended up clicking it. By tracking your ad click-through rate, you can determine if your copy and graphics are compelling to your target audience. Basically, the more relevant your ad is for your target audience, the better your click-through rate will be.
There are a ton of other great analytics you can review for ad performance—but those are a few important results to look over for each ad.
That said, don’t just look at your results. Instead, use your analytics to improve your ads, and don’t be afraid to A/B test copy, imagery, and more depending on the capabilities of the platform you’re using.
How Much to Invest in Social Media Advertising to See Results
As we discussed before, your social media ad budget can be pretty flexible based on how much money your business is able to allocate.
Like with almost anything, the more you put into social media advertising, the bigger the results you’ll likely see. But, our clients have had success with budgets as low as $100 to $200 per month with their small, targeted, local campaigns.
How much you spend on social media advertising simply depends on your budget, the amount of competition you’re up against, and the results you want to see.
Who Should Handle Your Social Media Ads
This really depends on two things: time and money.
On one hand, if you have your Marketing Guiding Statements and great content to share, you have everything you need to write social media ads yourself.
Social media platforms also do a lot to make social media advertising approachable, and as we mentioned, there are quite a few educational tools out there to help you create social media ads on your own.
If you do take the time to develop and run your own ads, you can likely also put a significant amount of money toward social media ad spending because you won’t need to pay a professional.
On the other hand, successful social media advertising can be complex, and it can feel overwhelming to small business leaders who don't have the time to dedicate to learning all the ins and outs of social media marketing, which makes outsourcing ad creation a great option.
If you’d like to learn more about whether or not you need to start outsourcing important marketing tasks that take up a lot of your time—like social media ads—go back and listen to “Episode 098: 3 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Small Business’s Marketing.”
The Worth of Social Media Advertising
As a blanket statement, we would say social media advertising is worth the investment. In fact, it’s so worth it that we utilize social media advertising for all of our flywheel marketing clients.
As a quick recap, social media is where people are. And, according to reports, a total of 76% of consumers have purchased a product they saw in a brand’s social media post.
Also, investing in social media advertising and doing it successfully can help you raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your website to create and convert more leads. And, again, it’s relatively cost-effective—especially compared to other forms of advertising.
The Power of Social Media Ads
Let’s use one of our clients as an example to showcase the power of social media advertising.
Now, it’s not uncommon for small businesses to see very, very little engagement on organic, unpaid posts on Facebook and Instagram, especially with the way algorithms are making a point to suppress business posts.
However, with a paid ad with a budget of just $100, we were able to generate more than 1,300 clicks, more than 38,000 impressions, and a 3.45% click-through rate. Now, we know 3.45% might not sound like much, but that’s actually almost three and a half times the national average click-through rate!
To put that in perspective, that’s about 1,300 website visitors that we never would have generated with an unpaid, organic post. And, for just $100, that’s 1,300 potential customers visiting a small business’s website. Wouldn’t you pay $100 for 1,300 prospects?
Long story short, if done correctly, you’ll start to see ads really up your social media game and turn into sales and promising leads.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Meta Blueprint’s Facebook Ads Courses
- Meta Blueprint’s Instagram Advertising Courses
- Pinterest Academy’s Pinterest Advertising Courses
- LinkedIn Marketing Labs’ LinkedIn Advertising Courses
- TikTok Business Learning Center’s TikTok Advertising Courses
- Twitter Flight School’s X (Formerly Twitter) Advertising Courses
- Receive 50% Off Your First Year of HoneyBook
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
Did you enjoy this episode?
If so, pin it to save it for later! Follow us on Pinterest for more marketing, business, branding, and boundary-setting strategies!