The major social media platforms have switched to pay to play models. Did you notice that your Facebook posts don’t reach as many people anymore?
In fact, your Facebook posts likely only reach 2-3% of the people who like your page. Facebook wants paying advertisers. They no longer want small businesses to reach their customers for free. To reach new and existing customers on social media you’ll need to pay.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram built advertising platforms. They want businesses to run ads.
These platforms are self-service. Conceptually, they are similar to traditional forms of advertising. You design an ad, you decide where the ad will run, add a call to action and decide how much you’re willing to pay.
The difference is that social platforms are built on advanced technology. So, the way you construct your ads is more advanced.
Social Media Ad Targeting
For instance, there are a lot of advanced targeting options. You can select where the ad runs geographically. Also, you can decide what age group and gender will see the ad. You can even target people based on their interests or careers.
There’s also the option to target people with a demonstrated interest in your business. For instance, you may choose to only show ads to people who have visited your website in the last 30 days. You could also upload your email list and show ads to people who are on your email list.
Even your call to action is more advanced. You can link to your website or phone number. You can ask people to like your page or provide their email address. Or you can try to get people to like or comment on your post.
Finally, your budget is flexible. You can spend $200 in a single day or spread it across 7 days. Most platforms will charge you for clicks or impressions of your ad. Impressions are a measure of the number of people who saw your ad.
You control the budget
The good news is that the ads can be inexpensive. You determine the budget that suits your market and your goals. The tough news is that this is no secret. Competitors in the retail space are figuring out how to use this form of advertising. If you’re not, then you’re behind.
Social Media Advertising Resources
There are a lot of social media marketing resources available. You will need to familiarize yourself or a staff member with the system. Once you understand it, placing ads is exciting. There is instant gratification. The results are easy and clear.
To learn all the ins and outs of social media advertising I suggest starting with Facebook. For the best book on Facebook advertising, I recommend Perry Marshall’s book, Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising.
Once you understand the basics there are a lot of free resources online to help you grow. Learn more at Facebook for Business.
Social media ads may turn into your most effective marketing method.
The best part of social media advertising is your control over budget and location. Many platforms will let you get started for as little as a few dollars per day. That’s it! And you can use those dollars to target people near your store.
Large retailers with big budgets can use the platform too. But to run national ads they’ll pay big bucks. Your ad can show up in the same place as the big box store ad in your local market.
The control you have over social media ads levels the playing field. This is good news for small businesses.