Social Media Advertising: Does It Work and Should You Try It?


Let me cut to the chase.

You’re reading this to learn a little about social media advertising, which are ads that appear within social media results (or on the side, like with Facebook), and to find out if they work.

Let me give you a disappointing answer on the second part: it depends.

Just like with any type of advertising, PR, or marketing tactic, results will vary depending on what you sell, who you’re targeting, and how appealing your ad is.

Use this post as a jumping-off point and then test out social media ads for yourself.

The Players

The primary channels offering ads include:

It’s important to know which social media channels your target audience frequents, otherwise, you’ll just waste your ad dollars on the wrong ones.

The great thing about LinkedIn and Facebook is they let you drill down really specifically on the people who can view your ad.

So if you only want to reach recently engaged women in the south who are 18 to 25, you can.

This increases the likelihood that those who see your ads will click on them.

Ad Options

Each platform has slightly different social media advertising offerings.

Twitter, for example, has campaigns to help you get followers, clicks, or leads. LinkedIn (and Facebook) has sponsored content as well as text and image ads.

Again, consider your audience in deciding which type of ad is best to reach potential customers.

If your demographic is big on content, you might want to boost a few of your company’s blog posts through Facebook to attract more visits to your blog and likes to your business page.

You can usually Pay Per Click on the ad, or per thousand impressions.

How to Succeed

Once you identify the channel and type of ad you want to start with, spend some time carefully crafting your ad copy.

Look at what your competitors’ ads look like.

Make sure your copy is descriptive (a challenge, given how little space you have) and includes a call to action.

If you’re including an image (and you should) make sure it’s professional looking and an accurate portrayal of the product you’re promoting.

If your objective with an ad is to boost the number of followers or likes you get on a given social channel, make sure you’re active enough to engage new followers.

If you only update your Facebook page once a week, where’s the motivation for someone to follow you?

Often, you can test out a few versions of your ad, so pay attention after a few days to see which is getting more clicks.

What makes that ad more appealing? The key is measuring results, tweaking, and then measuring again.

Remember: don’t rely solely on social media ads to attract visitors and customers. Keep plugging away with your general social media efforts, as well as your Content Marketing, PR, and whatever else you’re doing to attract people to your site.

Here’s a bonus tip: if you’re a LinkedIn member, look for special offers with $50 credit for LinkedIn Ads in your inbox.

They’re a great way to test the waters without spending a dime.

Carefully selecting the channels for your social media advertising, spending time crafting your message, and monitoring results will boost your success.

About the author

Alex Thomas

I've been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and have worked with global and local companies on large scale SEO and PR campaigns. In my current role at Breakline, I'm responsible for winning new business, creating, implementing and overseeing SEO campaigns, social communications, online and offline media relations.

By Alex Thomas
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