Nowadays, everyone is on social media, and that includes businesses. Social media is a key advertising resource for businesses, which means the sooner you can get your company on social media, the better. So, how and why should you get involved with social media advertising?

Checklist for Getting Started

There are five main things to consider when setting your business up with social media advertising.

1. SMART Objectives

The first thing to do is set out objectives for what you want to get out of your advertising. However, these shouldn’t be just any objectives; they should be SMART objectives. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. Setting up goals in these categories will help you create goals of substance for your social media advertising.

2. Editorial Calendar

Compile a spreadsheet of local and national events you can schedule your advertising around. This helps focus activity around key dates your audience will be familiar with already and will make and advertising more successful. Struggling to come up with content? Check out this guide for social media post ideas.

3. Content

As the old saying goes, content is king. Ensure you have a portfolio of high-quality blog content, images, and videos you can use for adverts as and when you need them.

4. Budget

Be sure to keep an eye on how much you want to spend on advertising before you get started. This will help make sure you don’t overspend.

5. Social Networks

Before you begin to advertise, you will need to have an existing online presence to build on. Make sure you are active on social media in general so that customers are aware you exist before you begin to advertise.

Social Media Platforms

What you are trying to advertise and to who will have an impact on which social media platform you use. Some of the most popular ones are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


70% of adults in the UK have a Facebook account, making it the most popular social media channel in the country. Organic (free) Facebook posts reach around 10% of people but using Facebook ads widens that reach substantially.

The platform offers link-click ads, video ads, and boosted posts as an option for advertisers. The former two are for spreading unite content, whereas the latter is there to promote an existing post on your brand’s Facebook page.

One of the great things about Facebook advertising for your business is that when you set up your campaigns you can choose the type of marketing objective that you want to achieve with the ads. The three types are:

Awareness – This is where you are looking t generate interest for your small business, your products or services.

Consideration – This type of ad is designed to get people thinking about your business and looking for more information.

Conversions – These ads encourage people who are interested in your business to purchase your product or service.

With each of these ads serving a different purpose for your business, it makes sense to revisit your goals and see which type of ad will best help you achieve them.


In 2017, 56% of UK Instagram users were female, and 85% of users were under 45, with the largest age group being 18-24-year-olds. Facebook owns the app, so if you are also using Facebook advertising, this may be a good integrated option for you.

Holding the crown for the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms is Instagram, which currently has 1 billion active users. A  whopping 75% of Instagram users have acted on advertising (such as clicking through to a website) after looking at a paid advert on their feed.

On the app, you can use photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and story ads to promote your brands; however, bear in mind that links are not clickable in Instagram copy. For this reason, it may be wiser to choose a traffic-driving advertisement type (such as carousel or story ads).

Instagram is another platform that allows you to use different ad formats based on your objectives. For Instagram the objectives are as follows:

Brand Awareness – This will promote your ad to users who might be interested in your products/services but are unaware of your brands.

Reach – This will maximize the number of users who will see your ad based on location and not interest.

Traffic – This objective will bring more visitors to your website.

App Installs – Choose this one to get more people to download and install your app.

Engagement – Use this objective to promote any offers you’re running and further interaction with your account and posts.

Video Views – Increase the awareness of your video content and get more people to watch them.

Conversions – This will get more people to take a specific action on your app or website.

Lead Generation – this objective improves marketing possibilities by gathering information from a potential customer, for example, email addresses and account follows.


In the UK alone, there are 13 million Twitter users, just under two-fifths of which are aged 18-29 (37%). On the platform, and engagements are up 91% year on year since August of 2016. This shows that Twitter users are becoming more responsive to sponsored content as time goes on.

Twitter offers advertisers tweet engagement campaigns, video views campaigns, follower campaigns, and Twitter cards. Targeting your right demographic on Twitter has also be made easier with the introduction of audience insights.

Much like the other main social media platforms, Twitter has its own built-in objectives filter.

Choosing “Followers” as a campaign objective, means that you’ll pay Twitter for each follower you gain as a result of your campaign. Whereas setting the objective to “Leads on Twitter” means your ads will have a call to action button, and this will allow users to, for example, opt into your email list all without leaving Twitter.

“Website clicks or conversions” allows you to bid a certain amount per click (and later, per conversion). Ads will get the best results by using this objective. What is unique about Twitter’s platform in this instance is that if you’re unsure which objective to choose, you can click on it and Twitter will show you a summary of how your campaign will perform using that objective.

What about organic reach though? Here’s a great guide to doing just that.

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