Advertising Using Social Media: Sponsored Posts and Social Ads 101

Advertising using social media can help boost your company’s organic and paid marketing efforts, drive more visitors to your business website, and help you to target potential new customers with your branded messaging. But with social media platforms constantly evolving, advertising there can be confusing to navigate. By keeping these tips in mind, you can successfully launch your own paid social media campaign.

How to advertise using social media

“The first step to creating successful social media campaigns is understanding your target audience and meeting them where they live,” social media strategist Saige Driver writes in Business News Daily. So, consider who your customer is before determining where to spend your social media efforts. Choosing the right social media platforms for your business can make your marketing more efficient.

It’s also important to consider the nature and goal of your content. Unlike other advertising platforms, your paid social media should include information that your potential customers find valuable, beyond a sales message. Remember, social media is a great place to promote blog posts from your website.

“If you have a reputation for producing high-quality, helpful, and thought-provoking articles, your audience will be likely to believe you excel at other things, as well—like providing goods or services,” Hootsuite points out.

Types of advertising

There are two primary categories of social media advertising. The first is promoted posts, and the second is paid advertising. Promoted posts appear in a user’s newsfeed and include language to indicate that they have been boosted, such as “Promoted” or “Sponsored.” Paid advertising might appear in the newsfeed, but it can also be placed as banners or on a page’s sidebar.

The advantage of promoted posts is their placement. Consumers are already scanning their newsfeed, so they will see your post as they scroll. The advantage of paid advertising comes in the allowance for more specific audience targeting, most notably on Facebook.

Audience targeting

There’s a reason companies run toy TV commercials during Saturday morning cartoons and beer advertisements during football games. With social media, audience targeting can get even more granular thanks to the wealth of data available on consumer accounts.

Instead of just targeting women, you can target women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are interested in the products you sell and live close to your business. A great practice is to place two or three different ads targeting the same desired audience to see which content is most successful.

If you’re still determining who the appropriate audience for your business is, you can allow the social media platform to do more of the work determining ad placement and report back on who engaged with your advertising. On Facebook, this can be done by setting Automatic Placements to “on” when creating your ad. On Twitter, Promote Mode is a great way to try automated, always-on advertising, as the platform takes on the job of choosing targeting for you.

Syncing paid and organic

Advertising using social media is most successful when it’s part of a comprehensive marketing campaign. If all of your efforts are currently focused on social media, you can still amplify your results by syncing your paid and organic efforts.

Investing in promoted posts helps your organic posts gain more traffic. Thanks to current algorithms, companies that are seeing a lot of engagement (likes, comments, and clicks) will continue to appear in fans’ newsfeeds. Promoted posts tend to garner more engagement because they’re seen by a larger audience. The halo effect of that engagement then boosts the visibility of organic posts from the same brand. But remember, integrating social media into your website is just as important as promoting your website content on social media. You can start by connecting your website to your social media pages.

Optimizing performance

As with any marketing effort, evaluating your success is an important step to optimize performance moving forward. Social media has so many different metrics that it can be easy to find success among the data. When evaluating your campaign, be sure to measure against your original goal. If you weren’t successful with what you set out to do, you can either change tactics or switch objectives.

The biggest advantage of advertising using social media is how quickly a plan can be put in place — and how nimble that plan is. By advertising using social media, you can keep your company top-of-mind among your audience.


Bridget M Burns

I live in a renovated barn with my husband, two kittens, and a baby on the way. I am currently building my business as a freelance writer, and stay busy finding new ways to promote my work online. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, exploring, and late night games of Scrabble with friends.

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