Marketing Your Local Small Business with Social Media Ads

Traditionally, small local businesses like restaurants have relied on local offline media, such as newspapers, magazines, and TV commercials to advertise their businesses. But these days, you can reach a highly targeted audience online through social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

While it’s helpful to invest time in building your online platforms through organic social media marketing, spending money on social media advertising can help you reach potential customers in your specific location and demographic market. Here are a few tips for getting started.

Use Facebook “sponsored stories” to drive new fans to your Page.

While you can link directly to your website with a Facebook sidebar ad, it may be a better use of your money to create “sponsored stories,” which show prospects which friends have recently “liked” your Facebook Page—helping to build trust among prospects who aren’t yet familiar with your brand. Instead of gaining a one-time website visitor, you can add the prospect to your social media marketing pool, enabling you to continually send them updates about your business.

Try a “promoted tweet” campaign to let Twitter users in your geographic area know about your business.

Twitter also allows businesses to hyper-target their ads to reach users in specific locations, so consider using the “promoted tweet” service to introduce your brand to potential customers in your area. This service allows you to spotlight an existing tweet from your feed to show to users who are not currently following you; make the most of it by spotlighting tweets that have proven to be popular with your followers and that include a link to your website. You can use Twitter’s Analytics tool to see how well your sponsored tweet performed, and then experiment with different tweets and different times of day to see what catches on.

Consider paying for a “promoted account.”

In contrast to a promoted tweet, in which your content will show up on Twitter users’ streams, with a promoted account, your company will show up as one of the “recommended Twitter users” for people with the criteria you’ve specified, such as location or age. This method leads users to follow your account, so that they will see all of your messages, rather than one specific sponsored post, and encourages them to build an ongoing relationship with your brand.

Pay close attention to your ad results so that you can better optimize your campaigns.

When launching social media advertising campaigns, you can track each ad’s performance on an analytics dashboard to see how many people clicked your link or followed your account. Run several different ads, or use a few different ad techniques at the same time, to find out which variants are helping you get the most clicks, and then discard the ads or ad types that are not achieving your desired results.