Best Social Media Ads for Small Business Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


When you're a small business owner, getting the word out about your products or services can seem like a big task. But have you considered how social media ads might be the answer you're looking for? In today's digital landscape, social media isn't just for sharing vacation photos or funny cat videos anymore—it's a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses like yours. Let's explore which social media ads are best for small business owners and how they can work wonders for your business growth.

Why should small businesses advertise on social media?

Let's face it: we're living in a digital era. People are glued to their smartphones, scrolling through social media feeds whenever they have a free moment. Did you know that the average person spends about 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media every day? That's a huge potential audience for your business!

But why, specifically, should you—as a small business owner—care about social media ads? Here's the scoop:

  • Reach: There are billions of active users on social media platforms. That's right—billions. That means your potential customer base just expanded from your local neighborhood to the entire world. Isn't that fantastic?
  • Cost-effectiveness: Remember those costly print ads or TV commercials? Those days are long gone. Social media advertising is affordable and offers a high return on investment. You can start advertising with just a few dollars a day; perfect for small business budgets.
  • Targeting: Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to target your ads to specific demographics, locations, and interests. So, your ads are shown to the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. It's like having a personal assistant who knows exactly which potential customers to tap on the shoulder.
  • Engagement: Unlike traditional advertising, social media ads aren't a one-way street. They allow for interaction—likes, comments, shares—which means you can engage with your audience, build relationships, and foster trust.

So, to sum it up: if you've been wondering which social media ads are best for small business owners, the answer isn't a specific platform—it's the one where your potential customers spend their time. And with the right approach, any social media platform can become a powerful advertising tool for your business.

How to choose the right social media platforms for ads

The social media landscape might seem like a crowded and confusing place at first. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat—the list goes on. But don't worry, choosing the right platform for your ads doesn't have to be a guessing game.

Here's a simple way to decide: Go where your customers are. Sounds obvious, right? But it's surprising how many businesses miss this point. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify your target audience: Who are your customers? What's their age, gender, occupation? What are their interests, needs, and preferences? Answering these questions will give you a clear picture of who you're trying to reach.
  2. Research social media demographics: Each social media platform has its own user demographics. For example, Instagram is popular with younger people, while LinkedIn is the go-to platform for professionals. So, find out which platforms your target audience uses the most.
  3. Consider the nature of your business: Some platforms might be more suitable for your business than others. For instance, if you sell visually appealing products like clothing or home decor, a visually-oriented platform like Instagram or Pinterest could be a great choice. On the other hand, if you offer professional services, LinkedIn might be your best bet.
  4. Think about your content: What type of content do you plan to create? If you can produce engaging videos, platforms like YouTube or TikTok could be beneficial. If you're more into writing, consider Facebook or Twitter.

Remember, you don't have to be on every platform. It's better to focus on one or two platforms where you can really connect with your audience, instead of spreading yourself thin across many. Remember, the question isn't about which social media ads are best for small business owners in general—it's about which ones are best for your small business. And the answer to that lies in understanding your customers and meeting them where they are.

Setting up your social media advertising account

Once you've zeroed in on the right platform, it's time to set up your social media advertising account. This might seem like a daunting task, but fear not! Each platform has made this process user-friendly, even for beginners. Here's a general guide to help you get started:

  1. Create a Business Account: Most social media platforms have distinct profiles for businesses. These offer extra features like analytics and ad management tools. So, you'll want to create a business account if you haven't already.
  2. Explore the Ad Manager: Each platform has its own ad manager where you can create and manage your ads. Facebook has "Ads Manager", Twitter has "Twitter Ads", and so on. Spend some time exploring these tools to understand how they work.
  3. Set up Payment Information: Before you can run ads, you'll need to input your payment information. This usually includes your credit card details and billing address.
  4. Choose your Ad Preferences: Most platforms will ask you to choose your advertising preferences. This includes things like who you want to target, what your budget is, and what your advertising goals are. Think about these carefully, as they can greatly impact the success of your ads.

Remember, setting up your account is just the first step. The real magic happens when you start creating ads that resonate with your audience. So while it's important to get the setup right, don't forget to invest time and effort into crafting the perfect ads. And don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. Even the most seasoned advertisers tweak and refine their strategies constantly. So, keep learning, keep testing, and keep improving. After all, finding out which social media ads are best for small business owners like yourself is a journey, not a destination.

Designing engaging social media ads

Now that your account is set up, let's get to the fun part: designing your social media ads. What's the secret sauce to creating engaging ads that really click with your audience? Let's break it down:

  1. Know your Audience: Before you put pen to paper, or in this case, mouse to design software, take a moment to think about your audience. What are their interests? What problems are they trying to solve? The more you understand them, the better you can tailor your ads to them.
  2. Write Compelling Copy: The words you use in your ad can make or break its success. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Make sure your message is clear and enticing. And remember to include a call to action (CTA) that invites the user to take the next step, whether that's to visit your website, make a purchase, or sign up for a newsletter.
  3. Use Eye-Catching Visuals: Humans are visual creatures, and nothing grabs attention quite like an eye-catching image or video. Make sure your visuals are high quality, relevant to your message, and in line with your brand's style.
  4. Test Different Ad Formats: Most social media platforms offer a range of ad formats, from simple image ads to more complex carousel or video ads. Don't be afraid to experiment with different formats to see what works best for your audience.

Designing engaging social media ads isn't rocket science, but it does require some creativity and a lot of understanding of your audience. Keep these tips in mind, stay true to your brand, and you're well on your way to discovering which social media ads are best for small business owners like yourself.

Targeting the right audience for your ads

Once you've created compelling social media ads, the next step is to make sure they reach the right people. How do you ensure your ads are seen by those who are most likely to be interested in your product or service? Here's how:

  1. Define your Ideal Customer: If you've been in business for a while, you probably have a pretty good idea of who your ideal customer is. But if you're just starting out, you'll need to do some digging. Think about the demographics, interests, and behaviors that are common among your best customers. These characteristics can help you define your target audience.
  2. Use Platform Targeting Tools: Most social media platforms offer tools to help you target your ads to specific groups of people. You can target by age, gender, location, interests, and more. Make the most of these tools to narrow down your audience and make your ads more relevant.
  3. Consider Lookalike Audiences: Some platforms, like Facebook, allow you to create "lookalike" audiences. These are groups of people who are similar to your existing customers. It's a great way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
  4. Retarget Interested Users: Ever noticed how ads for products you've previously looked at online seem to follow you around? That's retargeting. If someone visits your website or interacts with your ad but doesn't make a purchase, you can use retargeting to remind them of your product or service.

Remember, the aim is not to reach everyone, but to reach the right ones. By accurately targeting your audience, you'll be better equipped to answer the question: which social media ads is best for small business owners? The answer lies in those ads that reach, engage, and convert your ideal customers.

Setting your advertising budget and schedule

When it comes to advertising on social media, one of the most common questions small business owners ask is: "How much should I spend?" The answer is: "It depends." Your budget should align with your business goals and the value you expect to get from your ads. Here are some steps to help you set your advertising budget and schedule:

  1. Start Small: Especially if you're new to social media advertising, it's a good idea to start with a small budget. This allows you to test different ads and targeting options without taking on too much risk.
  2. Calculate your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): This is how much you're willing to spend to gain a new customer. For example, if you sell a product online for $50 and it costs $10 to make, you might be willing to spend up to $40 to acquire a new customer.
  3. Choose your Campaign Duration: How long do you want your ad campaign to run? A short, intense campaign might be good for promoting a limited-time offer, while a longer, more relaxed campaign might be better for building awareness over time.
  4. Adjust as You Go: Monitor your campaign's performance and adjust your budget and schedule as needed. If an ad is performing well, you might want to increase your budget or extend the campaign's duration. If an ad isn't bringing in the results you want, consider tweaking it or trying a new approach.

Understanding your budget and schedule is crucial in determining which social media ads are best for small business owners. The key is to find the sweet spot where your ads reach the right people, make an impact, and deliver a strong return on your investment.

Monitoring and Optimizing Your Ads

Once you've set your budget, chosen your platforms, and launched your ads, it's time for arguably the most important part—monitoring and optimizing your ads. You’re probably wondering, “Why is this part so important?” Well, without monitoring, you won’t know which social media ads are best for your small business. And if you don't optimize, you're missing out on potential opportunities to improve your results. Here's how to do it:

  1. Track Your Performance: Most social media platforms provide analytics tools that let you track key metrics like click-through rate, engagement rate, and conversion rate. By monitoring these metrics, you can see how well your ads are performing and whether they're helping you meet your business goals.
  2. Test Different Variables: Try different versions of your ads to see which ones perform best. You could test different headlines, images, or calls to action. This process, known as A/B testing, can help you find the most effective elements for your ads.
  3. Adjust Your Targeting: If your ads aren't reaching the right people, or if they're reaching the right people but not leading to conversions, you might need to adjust your targeting. Try narrowing or broadening your audience, or targeting different demographics or interests.
  4. Optimize Your Ads: Based on your tracking and testing, make changes to your ads to improve their performance. This could involve tweaking the ad copy, changing the visuals, or adjusting the call to action.

Remember, the goal is not just to get your ads out there, but to make sure they're effective. By monitoring and optimizing your ads, you can ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck and ultimately determine which social media ads are best for your small business.

Examples of Successful Social Media Ads for Small Businesses

Nothing beats seeing real-world examples to inspire your own social media ads. Let's take a look at a few small businesses that have nailed their social media advertising game and understand why they worked so well.

  1. Frank's Hot Sauce: Frank's is a small hot sauce company that created a Facebook ad campaign around the Super Bowl. Their ads were simple yet powerful, featuring their sauce on popular game day dishes. The key to their success was timing - they knew their audience would be thinking about food during the Super Bowl, making it the perfect moment to promote their product.
  2. Audible: Audible, an audiobook service, used Instagram to target book lovers. They created short, engaging video ads that showed off the convenience of their service. What made their ads stand out was their use of storytelling, which pulled in their audience and made them want to learn more.
  3. Everlane: Everlane is a clothing company that used Instagram Stories to highlight their sustainable practices, a key selling point for their brand. Their ads were successful because they focused on their unique selling proposition, not just their products.
  4. GhostBed: GhostBed, a mattress company, created Facebook ads that offered a free trial of their product. This was a smart move because it removed the risk for their audience, making them more likely to give the product a try.

All these examples show that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to the question "which social media ads is best for small business owners?" It's all about understanding your audience, finding the right message, and choosing the right platform. So, now it's time for you to take these insights and create your own successful social media ads!

If you're looking to improve your social media advertising game for your small business, don't miss the workshop 'Effective Social Media Strategies For Creatives' by Shannon. This workshop will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to create impactful social media ads that resonate with your target audience and help your business grow.