U.S. businesses spent more than $18 billion on social media ads in 2019.
As social media sites continue to enjoy substantial popularity, so do various types of social media advertising.
If you want to get in on the action, check out our seven-step guide to how to advertise on social media.
Social media advertising definition and examples
What is the definition of social media advertising?
Social media advertising refers to placing paid ads on social media networks. These ads differ from organic social media posts. Paid posts use a bidding system and can be targeted to specific audiences.
Here are a few social media advertising examples, including a KFC ad for Facebook:
And here’s a Twitter ad from Honey:
How to advertise on social media in 7 steps
Now that you know what social media advertising is, let’s look at seven practical steps for creating result-driving social media ads.
1. Define your goals
The best social media advertising strategies start with a well-defined goal.
Do you want to increase traffic to your site? Boost brand awareness? Generate leads or sales?
Define your goals at the start of the process, as they’ll inform the rest of your decisions.
2. Choose the right social media platforms
Another crucial decision is choosing the right social networks for your campaigns.
To determine where to advertise on social media, identify the platforms where your audience spends most of their time.
If your audience is mostly men, Pinterest may not be the best social media advertising channel for you, for instance. Only 15% of U.S. adult men use Pinterest, compared to 42% of U.S. adult women.
Also, be sure to choose social networks that fit your brand and message. If your brand has a professional style, and you sell career-related services, LinkedIn might work well, for example.
3. Choose the right types of social media advertising
Next, you need to choose the right types of social media advertising. Each network offers different ad formats.
Some social media ad formats include:
- Facebook: Image, video, and carousel ads
- Twitter: Promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends
- Instagram: Photo ads, video ads, stories ads, and carousel ads
- LinkedIn: Sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and text ads
- Pinterest: Promoted pins, promoted video pins, promoted carousels, and promoted app pins
4. Design your ads
The next step in the process of how to advertise on social media is to design your ads.
Do your best to make them eye-catching and engaging, while ensuring they fit with the style of your brand and organic posts.
Make sure they’re designed to look good on mobile too since 67% of users access social media on mobile devices.
5. Choose your ad settings
Once your ads are ready, determine how you want to run your campaigns.
To maximize your social media advertising’s effectiveness, you need to determine the optimal audience targeting. You can target ads to users based on various factors, including:
- Past purchase activity
- And more!
6. Set up a marketing funnel
One often-overlooked step is setting up a marketing funnel that helps turn social media ad views or clicks into sales.
The marketing funnel helps you visualize the customer journey, from when people first become aware of your brand to when they become loyal repeat customers.
Try creating different ads for different parts of the funnel. Create landing pages, the pages that ads take users to, for different parts of the funnel as well.
7. Measure your social media advertising’s effectiveness
To determine how best to advertise on social media, test several variations of your ads, and carefully measure your social media advertising’s effectiveness.
Use A/B testing, which involves testing two versions of the same ad to see which works better, to fine-tune your campaigns.
Continue measuring results and making changes as needed to ensure your campaigns don’t get stale. This helps ensure you’re always using the best social media advertising designs for your goals.
Consider working with a professional social media advertising company
While it’s possible to plan and run your social media advertising campaigns yourself, you may also want to hire a professional social media advertising company.
Doing the work on your own is a significant time investment. You’ll need to learn the ins and outs of various social platforms, create a strategy, and likely use some trial and error to figure out what works best for your business. This takes substantial resources away from other work and means you may not see results for some time.
Experienced social media marketing companies, however, know how to advertise on social media using methods tailored to your goals. They have the knowledge and resources to create and launch an effective campaign quickly. The best social media advertising companies also provide regular reporting so that you’re always up to date on your campaigns.
If you hire a social media advertising agency, make sure you choose one that has the right experience, offers the services you need, and provides transparent pricing.