What kind of social media marketing do you do to promote your small business? If you’re like a lot of small businesses, you use it primarily for organic marketing – sharing content, posting images, and interacting with your followers, all for free. And that’s definitely a vital part of any solid marketing strategy.


But in recent years, the importance – and effectiveness – of paid social media advertising has skyrocketed to the point where it can’t be ignored. If you want to maximize your efforts on social media, then paid advertising is without question the way to go. And luckily, it can be done without breaking the bank.


Social.pngWith so many different social media platforms out there, though, how do you know which ones to spend your marketing dollars on? Just because you have an organic presence on several different sites doesn’t mean you should be advertising on all of them.


Before you decide which social media sites to advertise on, it’s important to understand where your target audience can be found online. Here’s a breakdown of the top sites to help you decide.





Fortunately, there’s one social media site that is hands down the best one for just about anyone to advertise on, and that’s Facebook. Whether you sell products or services, whether your business is B2B or B2C, whether you are targeting men or women, older or younger people - with almost 2 billion users, your target audience is on Facebook. And while they might not be actively looking for products or services while there, you can bet that they see and pay attention to the ads they see.


Why is that? Because of the incredible demographic targeting ability Facebook ads give you. The Facebook ad manager allows advertisers to narrow the audience for their ads by the usual demographic information – location, age, gender, etc. – but also by much more telling characteristics such as interests. You can narrow your audience down to vegetarian homeowners who have kids, or technology buffs in Montana who love opera. And when an ad lands in front of exactly the right audience, the results are nothing short of amazing.



Another social media giant with 328 million users, Twitter offers robust advertising capabilities, as well. While it’s no Facebook, it’s well worth a look from small business owners. By creating ads and promoting tweets, you can ensure that your posts show up in your target audience’s Twitter feeds, or in their results when they search for certain keywords or hashtags.

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So who hangs out on Twitter? According to research done by Tracx, mostly younger males, aged 18-29. So if your target demographic is in this group, then Twitter advertising just might be for you.



Even though it’s comparatively the new kid on the block, Instagram already has 600 million users, and is uniquely positioned for advertising - over half of those users follow brands on Instagram! With this emphatic openness to content from businesses, ads are received especially well – and since Instagram is owned by Facebook, the ad interface works in a very similar way.


Who will you reach by advertising on Instagram? More women than men, and primarily the under-35 crowd. If you’re looking for female Millennials, you’ve come to the right place.



Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms for Millennials – both men and women. Snapchat can reach 41 percent of all 18-34-year-olds in the United States on any given day. Snapchat Geofilter is arguably the most efficient and budget-friendly tool for small business owners. Geofilters are graphic overlays that capture where you are by using your phone’s location service. Whether you own a local coffee shop or an insurance company, Geofilters allow your customers to share where they are at – your business – with the rest of the world. This is a great tool to gain exposure for your business or an upcoming event.



With 317 million users, Pinterest is another powerhouse for social media advertising. While it’s not a fit for every business, Pinterest ads reach an audience already primed to buy. In fact, if a customer visits your site from Pinterest, they are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase.


The demographics of Pinterest are overwhelmingly female, but evenly distributed among all age groups. Got a visually appealing product that you’re trying to market to women? Then you should definitely be advertising on Pinterest.


RELATED ARTICLE: Harness the Power of Emotion in Social Media Marketing Campaigns



Hootsuite is a great tool to use when you start advertising your business on multiple platforms. With Hootsuite’s platform, you can manage all your social media profiles on a single dashboard. In addition, Hootsuite allows you to schedule and automatically post social content to your profiles.


Basically, it all boils down to this: If you’re looking to advertise on social media, start with Facebook. Once you’ve gotten a feel for advertising there, add another social media site that fits your target demographics. Experiment with the right ads for each different platform, and soon you’ll be seeing some impressive results.


About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.


Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

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Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.  


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