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The Power of Social Media Advertising: A Guide for Online Businesses

Social media advertising has allowed smaller businesses to find an audience that they never would’ve had access to before. If these businesses can pair that with an effective e-commerce platform, the possibilities are endless. Why is social media the big equalizer for them, though?

Simply put, this new form of advertising has made advertising itself a budget-friendly alternative, at least when compared to other options. Before social media, small retailers could only realistically advertise in local newspapers and maybe some billboards. It was nearly impossible for them to launch a national TV ad campaign because of the costs. 

Online businesses before social media were in a really tough spot as well. The best bet for these companies was to be well-ranked as an eBay or Amazon seller and to get featured through those websites. Creating an email list was a good way to build a recurring customer base, but reaching new audiences was still a major challenge. 

How Social Media Changed Things

Through social media, Bet999, an online casino, can launch a simple banner ad with the words “bet999.io promotions” to all of the people who indicated through their Facebook profiles that they liked online casinos. The company could do this at a very limited cost, and on top of that, the potential customers can interact with the brand directly.

In this example, there are a few elements that show how social media changed the advertising landscape and why it fully favors online businesses. First off, social media websites are not only places that people frequently visit; those same people have already told the site what they like or not. These platforms grant brands access to this information and put their ads on the feeds of specific users. 

Small Budgets for Target Ads

Running an ad on the Meta Suite that includes Instagram, Facebook, and potentially WhatsApp can cost as little as a dollar a day. There’s probably no newspaper in the world that will agree to run an ad at that price. 

With this alternative, brands don’t only have access to low ad prices, but they can also choose who the ads are shown to. 

As mentioned, the online casino from the previous example could run its ad through these platforms and indicate that it should only be shown to people who are over 21 and who’ve indicated through their profiles that they like slots or card games. Obviously, there’s a bit of a pay-to-play element to social media advertising. 

Companies that establish a higher per-day spending budget will have their ad shown to more people. Through targeted ads, though, online businesses and even smaller retailers can ensure that they’re not competing directly with corporate giants for ad space.   

The Trial and Error Process in Social Media Advertising

Online businesses with a tight budget may not be able to afford to go all in on a failed ad campaign. Social media advertising has granted companies “permission to fail” that was not present in other forms of advertising. Small businesses are the only ones who can be the true beneficiaries of this permission if they pull their ads quickly. 

The company can send an ad out on a small budget and check the conversion rate to see if it makes sense to allocate a larger budget to it. Conversions happen when someone clicks on the ad or interacts with it in any way. Online businesses want to see those ad conversions turning directly into sales.  

When there’s a specific ad that isn’t generating the right amount of conversions, the company can simply remove any budget from that particular post, and the social media platform will stop showing it. Online businesses, therefore, should not be discouraged when a specific ad is not leading to sales. 

Most social media ads are simple pictures or small videos. There’s always going to be a chance to go back to the drawing board to come up with an idea that’s more appealing to potential customers. Since people will be able to see the results in real time, it’s even easier to decide which ads to keep and which ones to pull.       

Growing a Social Media Presence

Another element that has allowed social media to change the game is its organic reach. Online businesses can run ads not only to get people to buy products on the company site but also to gain more followers on social media fan pages. These followers will turn into what’s known as the “organic audience.”  

This organic audience should see updates on their social media feed from the brand, even if that update is not a paid advertisement. Many companies have complained that Facebook, in particular, has limited the reach of this audience. This has caused some businesses to spend a bit more on ads. 

Even if the impact of the organic audience has diminished, brands should still look to increase social media presence. This can be combined with a mailing list to ensure that recurring clients feel appreciated. 

Once these users have found the brand on social media, it’s going to be more likely for them to agree to sign up for something, such as a mailing list.

Final Thoughts on The Power of Social Media Advertising

Decent product pictures and a low budget could help any online business take the next step toward becoming an overnight sensation. That’s somewhat wishful thinking, but it doesn’t change the fact that creating an audience through social media advertising can be one of the best ways to build a brand these days. In fact, it could be the only reliable way to build a brand, especially on a low budget. 

Should people be worried that their low budget is going to limit the amount of times people see their ad? It can be frustrating to try social media advertising and not get immediate results. Having a small budget can be a blessing in disguise, though, because it may force the company to be extra creative with its ads. 

Like any form of advertising, success on social media is more about consistency and the trial-and-error process that was previously referenced than anything else. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of taking a leap of faith.

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