The Best Social Media Advertising Platforms for Small Business & How To Do It

Social media advertising platforms and guides


Social media advertising continues to grow in popularity, with investment in social advertising worldwide estimated to have doubled between 2014 and 2016—going from $16 billion US to $31 billion. In the United States alone it is predicted to increase to $17.34 billion in 2019.

Its popularity can be partly attributed to being relatively inexpensive compared to advertising in traditional media and its ability to be incredibly targeted.

For the same reasons, it’s a great marketing opportunity for small business owners.

The most popular social media platform for advertising is Facebook but other networks are growing in popularity, giving business owners and marketers even more options.

Here are the most popular platforms for social media advertising and how to do it

1. Facebook advertising

Facebook gives you a simple option of boosting an existing Facebook post to a broader audience, as well as incredibly powerful targeting options for a specific ad and campaign.

You can target specific users that look like your existing customers, as well as people who visited your website but didn’t buy from it and optimise ads for specific actions such as visit a sales page or register for an event, plus much more.

Read our detailed Facebook Advertising guide here.

2. Twitter advertising

When advertising on Twitter you can choose between: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Tweets.

Step 1: Sign in

Sign into the Twitter ads platform and add your payment information

Step 2: Set up a campaign

Click create Campaign and choose timing, start and end dates.

Step 3: Choose an objective

You can also choose from a variety of campaign objectives, such as:

  • Website clicks or conversionsaimed at users clicking through to a site and taking an action. It’s pay per click.
  • Tweet engagements used to promote a Tweet and hopefully start a conversation about your brand.
  • Followers – you promote your Twitter account and pay per follower gained.
  • Awarenessyou promote your Tweets to a large audience and pay for impressions made.
  • Video views – you promote your videos and pay per view.
  • App installs or re-engagement – you promote your Tweets and pay per app install.
  • Lead generation – you promote Tweets and pay per lead collected.

Step 4: Choose an audience

You can target an audience based on location (country, state, region, metro area, or postal code), gender, languages, device, platform, and even carrier.

You can also target your audience by keyword, their interests and behaviours as well as a user’s interest in specific events.

Twitter also gives you option to upload specific lists of people to target with ads, or target people who are similar to your follower base.

Step 5: Set a budget

You can set daily maximum and total campaign budgets.

Step 6: Create the ad

You can choose from an existing list of eligible Tweets to promote, or create a new one.

Click Publish Tweet to launch your ad.

3. Instagram advertising

Instagram is owned by Facebook and uses essentially the same system. Like Facebook, you can choose photo, video or carousel ads for Instagram advertising.

The first thing to do is set up a Facebook Ad Manager Account
If you already have an Ad Manager Account for your Facebook Business page and you have a connected Instagram account, then you should have an option to use Instagram as your ad placement.
If you don’t have this option, select a Facebook Page instead and edit your ad as you normally would in Ads Manager or Power Editor . When you edit your ad, you will be given the option to connect your Facebook Page or Instagram account to your ad so you can advertise on Instagram . Alternatively add an Instagram account to a Facebook Page before creating your ad.
Then the follow the steps outlined in the Facebook Advertising article, which in summary include:

Step 1: Set up a campaign

Click create Campaign and choose timing, start and end dates.

Step 2: Choose an objective

Similar to Facebook advertising you can choose a campaign objective such as website traffic, registrations or similar.

Step 3: Choose an audience

Choose your audience based on basic interests, geography, gender and age, (or use any of the audiences you have previously created in Ad Manager).

You can also create custom audiences based on contact lists, website visits and other behaviours and lookalike audiences.

Step 4: Set a budget

You can set daily maximum and total campaign budgets.

Step 5: Create the ad

You may wish to create a plain image ad, a carousel ad with different images that scroll through, or even a short video ad.

4. LinkedIn advertising

LinkedIn advertising is great for business to business marketing or company specific targeting.

Step 1: Create a new campaign

On your LinkedIn homepage, hover over the Business Services tab at the top right and choose advertise.

Scroll down to the bottom and click Create Ad.

Choose what type of ad to create.

Text ads are available for all types of accounts, but if you are promoting a Company or Showcase page you can also choose from:

  • Display ads: Share content with a targeted audience.
  • Sponsored InMail: Deliver sponsored content directly to LinkedIn user inboxes.
  • Sponsored content: Your content will appear in the LinkedIn timelines of your target audience.
  • Dynamic ads: These ads also appear in the right column, but incorporate display ad unit formats.

Step 2: Create ad creative

Choose an image along with your headline and copy and what page to link to.

Step 3: Choose a target audience

You can choose an audience based several options including the industry a user works in, their position and seniority, location and employer size.

Step 4: Set a budget

Set your daily budget and choose between paying for clicks or impressions.

If you haven’t done so already, you will need to enter your payment information now.

5. Snapchat advertising

At the time of writing the easiest DIY advertising option for smaller organisations is on-demand Geofilters.

Geofilters are special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap and can only be accessed in certain locations. Geofilters change depending on where someone is when they take a photo or video.

Businesses can purchase On-Demand Geofilters for their event, business, or a specific location. Brand logos and trade-marks are permitted.

Step 1: Create a Geofilter

Go to the Snapchat Geofilters page and log in to your Snapchat account. You can upload a Geofilter already created using design tools like Photoshop or Illustrator or select the online design tool.

Step 2: Choose an occasion and design

Create a Geofilter that works for your brand. Most people choose Celebrations as the occasion as it gives the most options.

Step 3: Choose the dates

Nominate the dates you want your Geofilter to be available.

Step 4: Choose the area

Use the map to identify a target area for your Geofilter. The smaller the area, the less money you will pay.

Step 5: Enter payment details

After entering your payment information, you’re all done.

Learn more social media for business tips or download some more of our free resources – NO email address required here.