• Social Media Advertising Basics

Social Media Advertising Basics (1)

You’re hearing from everyone that advertising on social media is the way to go for a small business, and you don’t doubt it. But how do you go about it without wasting your time and resources because you’ve got no clue where to start? We’ll help you out. Check out this breakdown of advertising on social media and tips for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social Media Advertising Basics

Social Media Ad Overview

According to Emarketer.com, Facebook advertising produces the best ROI, followed by Twitter and then Instagram, which could be due to the sheer number of users with Facebook clocking in at 1.8 billion (Source: Statista). Each serves a different purpose and is better suited to various business types and goals.

Here’s a quick rundown of the top performing platforms for social media advertising:

Facebook: Great for e-commerce lead generation, email address procurement, or directing traffic to a landing page. Content that does best on this platform includes ebooks, coupon and discount promos, giveaways, and whitepapers.

Instagram: Best if you have products or services that are visually interesting and appeal to a younger demographic (between the ages of 18-29 and skew toward the feminine persuasion). Restaurants, florists, designers, hairstylists, jewelry stores, etc. should absolutely look to add Instagram to their advertising mix.

Twitter: If you’re after more organic advertising, Twitter will be your go to. Brand awareness campaigns do well here.

Facebook Advertising Basics

There are a few primary ways to advertise on each social media platform. We’ll begin with Facebook advertising since you’ll likely get more bang for your buck here:

1) Image ad – the simplest advertising medium, an interesting photo accompanied by text with a limit to 90 characters.

2) Carousel ad – use up to 10 pics and videos with up to 90 text characters

3) Video ad – a single video plus 90 text characters

4) Collection ad – for mobile users only and similar to a carousel ad except advertising specific products with a 25 character limit

5) Lead ad – an ad that directs users to a contact form

For more information on Facebook advertising, check out the following posts:

Or, download our eBook:



Instagram Advertising Basics

Similar to Facebook’s options, but heavily reliant on cool and interesting imagery.

1) Carousel ad –  choose up to 10 photos for a scrolling ad – note Instagram suggests using images with little to no overlaid text to maximize delivery

2) Single image ad – pick a single photo and use up to 300 characters for your caption. Anything after 125 characters will turn into an ellipsis so put your most compelling info up front.

3) Video ad – your video should not exceed 60 seconds and the character allotment is the same as a single image ad

4) Slideshow ad – a looping ad that doesn’t require any swiping to move from image to image, choose up to 10 photos set to music and add your caption

5) Stories ad – choose either a single image or single video ad that will play between people’s story feed

Tip: Since Instagram is image-centric, do your best to post original photos but if you absolutely need to use stock images try purchasing from websites with a hipper selection like Unsplash or Stocksy or create your own images with apps like Canva (which also has a web version) or WordSwag.

For more help with Instagram advertising, check out these blog posts:

Twitter Advertising Basics

As mentioned before, Twitter is best used for brand awareness campaigns.

1) Promoted Tweets – pay to have your Tweets pop into user feeds who are not already following you. Since they may also be shared, your chance of reaching a broad audience is good.

2) Promoted Trend – hot topics on the platform show up on the user’s Discover tab, on the left side of the page and on the app. A Promoted Trend campaign lets you promote a hashtag on that list and if people start using that hashtag you’ll gain more exposure.

3) Promoted Account – used to get you in front of a more specific target audience, Promoted Accounts ads get you into potential customer’s timelines and in their Who to Follow suggestions.

4) Twitter Cards – a relatively new addition to the Twitter advert family, Twitter Cards allow you to include videos, audio, images and links in your posts and there are four types of cards to choose from: app card, summary card, player card and summary card with large font.

For more information on Twitter advertising, check out these posts:

Step by Step Planning

No matter the platforms you choose to advertise with, you’ll want to follow this basic process to ensure you’re setting yourself up to meet your goals from the onset.

1) What’s your primary objective? Brand awareness; website traffic; increase social media following; lead generation; conversions etc.

2) Build your target audience: demographics; age; gender; location; common interests

3) Set budget: each platform has different fees depending on the campaign you choose. So be like Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

4) Measure: Decide how you will determine the success of your campaign whether that means coming in under budget, total cost per lead or conversion, etc.

Test your content

When creating your social media ad campaigns, you’ll want to start off by testing your content on your current follower base. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money promoting content that nets little to no results. One way to accomplish this is to start posting content to your normal feed and weed out any angles that don’t generate a high level of engagement from your organic followers. Once you’ve found a couple posts that work, use that content to generate ads.

Luckily for every small business owner, social media advertising is not only one of the more effective means of reaching potential clients but it’s also one of the cheapest – and if you rely only on organic posting – FREE. Use this to your advantage and try a multitude of advertising campaigns. Figure out which work best for your business and overall goals and keep it up!

ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.

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