7 Social Advertising Pros and Cons for Small Businesses
Ready to take your small business to the next level?
Social advertising may be the channel worth your investment. Even if you’re a novice in this space, there’s an opportunity for you to earn brand awareness and new customers.
“One of the fascinating things about social advertising is that there is virtually no limit to your ability to scale. You don’t have to wait for someone to search for your targeted keywords. You don’t have to wait for someone to run your promotion or read your blog. If you want to reach 50,000 people in one day, you can,” says Warren Jolly, the CEO of adQuadrant.
Before you make this critical decision, it’s important that you know the pros and cons. Here are a few you should consider.
Social Advertising Pros
The advantages of social ads make it easier for you to connect with your customers and gain brand recognition. Explore these pros to boost business growth.
1. Pinpoint Specific Audiences
In traditional advertising, brands take wild guesses on reaching their target audiences. Companies receive broad ranges about demographics, like “women from ages 18-35” or “household income $75,000-$100,000.”
While that strategy may have worked in the past, it’s not suitable in our current market. Today’s consumer is seeking products and services geared to their specific needs. And for small businesses, that means advertising must be spot on!
Social advertising gives brands the flexibility to pinpoint audiences. Not only can you narrow down a consumer’s age and gender, you also can zoom in on their multiple interests and geographical locations. Below is an example of how Facebook’s ad platform allows you to define audiences.
This specificity ensures that your team only targets people that fit your consumer profile. As a result, customers only see ads that meet their needs, and you save money connecting with the right consumers.
2. Enjoy Success, Even With Limited Budgets
As a small business, especially if you’re brand new, it’s key that every cent impacts on your bottom line. You can’t afford to spend wastefully.
Well, there’s good news! Social advertising is cost-effective and can fit any budget. You control on whether you want to pay thousands or just a few hundred.
It’s always good to have a plan when working on a limited budget. Brian Peters, digital marketing manager at Buffer, offers his advice on getting the most from social advertising:
“One of the biggest opportunities for so many brands with limited time and resources is to simply boost top performing posts from their page. Not only is this the most inexpensive form of social media advertising, but it also provides brands with a way to reach a new customer segment that they might not have been able to with traditional ads.”
3. Track Campaigns With Ease
Not too long ago, business teams didn’t have precise metrics for their old-school marketing campaigns. They learned something worked when people walked into their stores. This outdated method doesn’t give companies the luxury to adjust their ads.
With social advertising, tracking campaign results is painless. Small businesses know exactly how their ads are performing because data happens in real-time.
You can use this information to make better decisions. Let’s say an advertisement lacks engagement. It’s possible for you to pause the campaign and revamp the design midway. Or if a campaign boosted revenue by 20% in May, you can kick off the campaign again in November for the holiday shopping season.
Monitoring campaign performance is essential. When measuring advertising success, look for opportunities to customize the experience for your audience.
4. Increase Brand Visibility
Social advertising is a gateway for introducing your brand to new audiences. Rather than waiting for consumers to visit your site, you’re meeting them on their turf—social media.
When engaging with your audience, it’s vital that your ad doesn’t appear out of place. Instead, you want to add to the ongoing conversation on each channel.
“Realize there’s several different types of paid advertising you can choose from on social media. Not every type of ad will work for your brand. However, one of the best techniques to follow when creating paid content is to seamlessly blend into feeds, walls and timelines,” explains Alex York, a senior SEO specialist at Sprout Social.
Let your brand personality shine through in your advertising. You can include GIFs, memes, and funny quotes to capture consumers’ attention. Being relatable and likeable increases your odds of getting seen.
Social Advertising Cons
Like any channel, social advertising has its drawbacks. It’s up to you to figure out whether they outweigh the pros.
1. Prepare for the Learning Curve
With an uncharted path, you’ll face difficulty at first. This same notion is true as it relates to social advertising. There are a variety of platforms with their own specific guidelines and best practices (check out our guides to advertising on LinkedIn, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). So you may encounter a steep learning curve.
But don’t let that hinder your team. You have a few options to keep moving forward.
For example, you can hire an agency that specializes in social advertising to create and run your campaigns. Or you can employ a skilled freelancer who can advise your team on the best course of action.
Another option is to actually invest in a current employee. There are lots of online courses that can speed up the learning process. Plus, each platform offers knowledge bases for users, like the Instagram Help Center below.
It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Take the necessary actions to make social ads work for your small business.
2. Stay Ready for the Competition
More than 4 million businesses pay for social media advertising on Facebook. It’s likely that your competitors are also attempting to gain consumer traction with social ads.
Since the competition isn’t going away, your team must constantly differentiate itself in the marketplace. That translates into creating unique ads, catering to new niches, or even bumping up your ad spend.
This type of advertising requires patience. You’re aiming for long-term success, not short-term wins. Arnie Gullov-Singh, the former chief operating officer at Polyvore, provides more insight:
“Social advertising is an effective way to get consumers to engage with your message in a thoughtful and organic way. Social ads create stronger long-term value as the content continues to get amplified across consumers’ networks.”
Prepare to address the nonstop pressures of competition. Work with your team to find innovative ways to set your brand apart from others.
3. Brace for Negative Comments
Social media is well-known for getting consumers excited about your brand. However, that attention isn’t always supportive. Some people will make it their mission to publicly humiliate your small business.
Be proactive and set up a crisis communication plan. When irate consumers invade your Facebook ad, instruct your team to record their concerns and respond politely in a timely manner. The worst thing you can do is completely ignore your customer base and never address their issues.
You can transform any negative comments into positive feedback. For instance, if you notice consumers expressing grievances about a particular ad, reconsider your business’s approach. Maybe it’s time to change the ad copy or use a different image.
All consumer engagement won’t be favorable. And that’s perfectly okay. You can use it to your advantage by turning those gripes into strengths.
Take a Step Towards Social Advertising
If you’re new to social advertising, it can be quite intimidating. Yet, it’s crucial that you examine the pros and cons for your small business.
The goal is to attract new consumers and boost your revenue. Learn how social advertising can fit into your marketing and sales strategy.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.