At the most basic level, social media advertising is the use of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for marketing purposes. However social media advertising is used to accomplish a number of different goals depending on the needs of your business.

So what is social media advertising for?

Ensuring your message is seen

Just like traditional advertising mediums (print, radio, and tv ads, to name a few), many marketers use social media ads as a way to boost brand awareness. With promoted posts and tweets, they can ensure that their message is pushed out to the timelines of people who fall within their target demographic.

Whether there is a call to action or not, this form of targeted social media advertising is a useful way to introduce new products and services.

Boosting customer engagement

Just because a customer ‘likes’ your company Facebook page, there’s no guarantee they will see your updates. Changes to Facebook’s algorithm means that brand posts are growing more unlikely to be seen. Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather estimate that just 2% of your page’s followers will see your updates. Some networks do not currently use this kind of algorithmic filtering, but are making moves in that direction – Twitter has begun using algorithms influence the top of their users’ feeds, for instance.

If you want to properly engage with your existing customers, you will need to invest in paid social media ads to be sure that your messages are pushed to the top of your targets’ feeds..

How to get started with social media advertising

The specifics of running a social media advertising campaign will vary according to the platform you are targeting. There are however some common factors to consider:

Set your goals

What do you need your social media advertising campaign to achieve? How you answer this question should define everything you do moving forward.

Without goals in place, you will never be able to demonstrate any kind of return on investment, also known as ROI.

Set your budget

Social media advertising programs tend to be billed in a similar way to promoted ads on search engines like Google. Typically you will be billed on a pay per click (PPC) basis, or per thousand views (PPM). You will also be automatically bidding against other advertisers for certain keywords and market segments.

Although it sounds complicated, the process is relatively simple – until your social media advertising strategy calls for simultaneous ads across multiple platforms.

Use a specialist social media advertising tool

Choosing a platform like Falcon allows you to centralize and simplify your social media advertising campaigns. You can set ad budgets for each platform from the same console, providing an overview of campaign performance and spend.

Using a platform will also help to ensure that your business can stay on top of social media trends on any number of levels, allowing you to refine and improve campaigns as they are being executed.

A social media platform will also help keep you on track as you work towards the pre-defined goals of the campaign. Again, access to social media advertising metrics will provide positive proof that targets are being met, and that the campaign is working as intended.

A practical example – driving downloads

If your business uses a mobile app to engage consumers, your social media advertising campaign may need to include a component designed to drive downloads. Microblogging platform Twitter even includes a campaign framework specifically geared towards to steering users to your app in the relevant app store.

Again, the lack of organic visibility means your business will probably need to use social media advertising to raise awareness with the right people.

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