Is it time to pay for social media advertising?

by Katrina Douglas, 30.06.16

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it’s free. This is true from a monetary perspective, but often what it doesn’t cost you in money it will cost you in time. What I mean is; if you really want to achieve success on social media with unpaid (organic) content alone, you’ll need to share relevant updates on a regular and consistent basis.

A lot of business owners simply don’t have the time to do this, so one option is to advertise on social media. You’ll still need to post updates sometimes, however, social media advertising will amplify your voice. It will also enable you to increase your following quicker and engage with a higher percentage of your followers.

Social media without advertising doesn’t scale, if you want to leverage the benefits of social media you need both organic and paid content.

More and more social media networks are moving to a ‘pay to play’ model. What that means is that the organic reach (visibility that you don’t pay for) of your social media updates has been significantly reduced. On Facebook business pages for example, only about 3% of your followers will see your organic posts. If you really want to achieve quick results on Facebook and other social networking sites, there is no getting away from advertising.

The good news is social media ads are affordable, and can deliver great results. If you think it’s time to accelerate your social media activity with ads, here’s some tips to help you create effective social media ads:

1. Use a compelling image and caption

As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words. Social media ads feature images, so it’s important that the image you use resonates with your target audience.

Use a visual that showcases the benefits of your product. Remember that on social networks like Facebook your ad will be competing with content like family photos and birth announcements, in most cases a product image just won’t do.

Twitter and Facebook allow you to run variations of your ad, with different images. Test at least two images with a limited budget, and then increase budget on the ad that performs best.

2. Target your ads

The most effective ads speak to a specific audience with a specific message. Don’t be enticed by the prospect of reaching millions with one ad, a general ad that speaks to everyone, will in fact speak to no one. Narrow your focus using the targeting options available e.g. gender, age, location, behaviour etc.

3. Link to a relevant landing page

A landing page is a standalone web page that has been designed for a single focused objective.

If you’re paying for advertising it’s important that your ad is effective at encouraging those that click to take action, a landing page helps you do this. That action might be signing up for information, visiting your website or buying a product.

For more tips visit

About the author

is a Chartered Marketer with over a decade of marketing experience. She is the founder of Katrina Douglas Marketing a consultancy dedicated to equipping small business owners and solopreneurs with the marketing resource they need to accelerate the growth of their business. Website:

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