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For many small businesses, the choice of how to spend a limited advertising budget comes down to a choice between paid search and social media advertising. Given the ease and affordability of launching a new social media campaign, it’s no surprise that social media advertising is exploding in popularity as the clear winner. But is it worth it? There are a few key advantages:
The ability to target specific audiences
The fundamental advantage of social media advertising is the ability to target prospects based on more than just demographic data (i.e. age, gender and geographic location). On Facebook, for example, it’s possible to target prospects based on psychographic data (their “likes”) as well.
With all that increased targeting, you can reach a very defined audience, improving the efficiency of your advertising campaign. Facebook will even tell you how many people you are likely to reach before you even run a campaign, so you can fine-tune the exact group of people you are trying to reach. This helps to capture some of the initial promise of social media advertising, enabling small businesses to reach people within a certain community without wasting money on trying to target a huge mass market.
The ability to test and experiment on a $5 budget
For most small businesses, radio and TV ads are out of the question – they are simply too expensive. Even print ads in local community newspapers can be too expensive – and who’s reading these newspapers anymore, right? And that’s why social media advertising is so attractive – you can literally start out with just a $5 ad budget. For small one- and two-person startups, this price is simply unbeatable, especially when you can slice-and-dice Facebook’s nearly 2 billion users however you’d like.
Moreover, you can test and learn in near real-time. Facebook, for example, provides very specific advice and insights on how to use A/B testing to your advantage. Run one campaign for a few days to see how it does. If it doesn’t work as planned, you can start running a new campaign immediately. In other words, you don’t have to invest in a huge million-dollar marketing campaign and hope for the best. You’re able to adapt and change on the fly.
The ability to reach Internet users where they are hanging out
We’ve reached an inflection point where more people use their mobile devices to access the web than a desktop or laptop. That has huge consequences for advertisers, since the goal now needs to become part of the mobile Internet experience.
And that’s why social media advertising has such a big, built-in advantage these days. Companies like Facebook are re-imagining themselves as mobile-first companies, and they are creating all kinds of new advertising formats that are mobile-friendly.
Putting it all together, it’s clear to see why social media advertising has become so popular with small business owners. It’s possible to put together an advertising campaign on a limited budget. And better yet, those campaigns can be finely calibrated to target a very specific demographic, giving small businesses enormous power to reach the “perfect” potential customers. So, yes, it’s worth it to launch a social media advertising campaign.