How Small Businesses Should Approach Paid Social

Written by on 23rd April 2019

Most small businesses see the importance of advertising on social media, according to a recent survey from The Manifest.

  • 64% of small businesses invest in paid social, the top advertising medium
  • A majority of small businesses plan to increase paid social spend in 2019

These statistics should sound an alarm for small businesses who don’t yet have a paid social strategy: your competitors are accessing your target audience where you aren’t.

Paid social can help you target your audience, drive people to your website, and create an effective customer experience that increases your business.

It’s critical that your business approaches paid social media marketing strategically.  

Consider the following three elements for formatting your paid social strategy:

  • Which platforms to target
  • User preferences
  • Analytics

Which Social Media Network Is Best Advertising Platform for Your Business?

When it comes to choosing the best social network to advertise on, most marketers turn to Facebook.

The appeal of Facebook mainly has to do with its massive reach, which boasts:

  • 33% of all internet users worldwide
  • 2 billion monthly active users
  • 700 million daily active users

While reach is certainly important, you need to spend your ad dollars on the networks that have the highest concentration of your target audience.

According to the Pew Research Center, preferences for social networks break down according to demographics.

YouTube, for example, actually has a higher audience share in the United States, especially among young users.

Of course, demography isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing which platform to include in your social media marketing strategy.

For example, the most effective paid ads on YouTube are videos. If your company doesn’t have video production experience or isn’t set on hiring a video production company, advertising on YouTube may not be the best move.

In addition, you should also not keep your eggs in one basket – your target audience probably isn’t defined by a single age group or gender. So, to make sure you can engage high-value social audiences, spread your spend across multiple platforms.

Refine Your Targeting Based on Location and Social Data

Each social media network offers insights into their audiences you can use to narrow your targeting. These include:

  • Location
  • Likes and interests
  • Relationship status
  • Workplace/Industry
  • Education

For example, you can set the geographical parameters of one of your ad campaigns to engage people within your vicinity. This can be highly effective for local restaurants or consumer goods companies that rely on prompting their customers to desire their products.  

Demographic and geo-targeted social media ads decrease spending and increase the chances that your target audience will see your ads.

Use Analytics to Inform Your Decisions

Monitoring and measuring your paid social performance can be a labor-intensive task, but it helps you further refine your social campaigns for success.

Make sure to always collect data from your social campaigns and measure the performance of your efforts.

Ad campaign analytics can help you identify which content performed the best for which audiences, on which platform, within what locations, and during what time of day.

Using this data, optimize your paid media marketing efforts to engage with your target audience at the optimal time and location and with the content they are most likely to engage with.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to develop a baseline so that you can accurately examine audience trends. A proper paid social strategy should be analyzed over a 3- to 6-month period to provide the most useful data.

From there, target your audiences according to their behaviors and conduct campaigns that align with their preferences.

Use Paid Social Opportunities as Platforms for Targeted Engagement

Small businesses need to employ a strategic approach to paid social media marketing if they have not already.

Paid social media marketing strategies provide platforms to engage high-value customers in a targeted manner.

By considering the networks your target audience prefers, using geotargeting and demographic targeting, and measure analytics to inform your strategy, you can develop an effective paid social strategy.

Kristen Herhold is a Senior Content Writer for The Manifest, a B2B news and how-to site in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on social media marketing agencies and advertising.