Infographic Credit:

Infographic Credit:

Using Twitter or Facebook Paid Adverts for your Small Business

To some people, Twitter is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. You may have tried you hand at coming up with compelling and irresistible link bait in 140 or less characters, but quickly abandoned it because it was too difficult.

Or you could be one of the 271 million users who love Twitter, and cannot live their life without having constant access through their computer or smart phone.

From an advertising point of view, Twitter is much more straight forward than Facebook, so you may well find it easier to craft an advert for your business for Twitter. There are three different approaches you can use, so there is some flexibility on offer, and you may find that creating Twitter adverts are more time-efficient for you and your staff.

Types of Twitter Advertising

There are Promoted Tweets that look quite similar to regular tweets, and will appear in readers feeds with a little ‘promoted’ label attached so they can be easily recognised as adverts or promotional tweets. You can treat these adverts just like regular tweets you create, and you can add links back to your site or promotion, and you can also use hash tags.

Going viral is every advertisers dream, and you can increase your chances by coming up with a catchy hash tag and promoting it. Hash tag trends appear all the time in the hot topics list on Twitter, and people pay attention to what is hot, and may pick up your hash tag and start talking about it and using it.

You can also choose to have a Promoted Account. This is simply a way to advertise your company Twitter account, and you will pop up in the “Who to Follow” area of Twitter. This is a good way to attract more followers who will be interested in your particular niche. Promoted accounts are also marked as such, so readers will understand that you are paying for your promotion.

When you choose to advertise on Twitter, you will be given a number of options to narrow down your niche and target audience. There is quite a lot of choice here, so you can drill down to find the sort of people who would be genuinely interested in your product or service.

For example, there are more than 350 interest topics to choose from, and you can even cut out certain demographics entirely if your product would be of no interest to them, such as only targeting women between certain ages if you were promoting a feminine hygiene product, or a beauty product aimed at mature women, or men’s sandals etc.

Despite Twitter not being as large as Facebook, it does have a core of very loyal users that take time to check in numerous times per day for regular updates, so you may well get your business noticed by many of your niche audience more often.

Should we focus on a single platform?

It is always best to test the water with your advertising, so rather than solely focussing on Twitter for all your paid advertising at the expense of Facebook, dabble a little on both platforms and see what response you get before you decide.

Time is a precious commodity for a small business, so you want to focus your staff’s efforts towards the social media platform that is going to attract more business rather than risk spreading your staff’s time too thin. You must always go where your audience are, and where they are engaging with others.

It is not all about the numbers…..

When you set out on social media, you want to see your follower numbers grow, but what use is having a ‘big number’ if no-one is buying from you? You may attract thousands of followers on Twitter but only a few hundred on Facebook, but if it’s a handful of Facebook users who actually follow through from your posts, isn’t that better than shouting at thousands on Twitter and see naught for your efforts?

Do you actually need paid advertising?

With more businesses flooding the social media market each year, can paid advertising still be very effective? People love fresh new content, so for many small businesses with a small advertising budget, creating consistent, quality content may be the best way to attract and engage your followers without needing to pay out anything.

If you are counting the pennies, it would be better to switch your focus to building a sound company website, SEO, and regular social media interaction rather than risk your budget on paid advertising.

You have to be consistent with all your efforts, so if you are going to try out paid advertising, then a one-off advert will never be enough to show results. Consistent drip-feed advertising is the only way you will be noticed, and to build up any momentum. Advertising can be expensive, so if you don’t have the budget for some long-term advertising campaigns, then save your money and stick to delivering quality content and engaging posts.

In recent news coming from the US, Facebook have acknowledged that they have under-invested in their support of small businesses, and for 2015 they promise to make some significant changes. Their advice to any potential small business advertiser is to ‘watch this space’.

Facebook as a platform is constantly evolving, and there will be fresh focus put on the value of the ‘Page’ to create a presence on Facebook for small business owners. With 2 million active advertisers in mind, many of these being small businesses and sole traders, Facebook are busy conducting testing on live chat services for advertising support. They also plan to roll out self-help tools and helpful online training for new business page users.

We will see how this starts to unfold over the coming year – but it will be interesting!