Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business: How Much Should You Spend on Ads?

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In case you missed it, step one was deciding what level of consistency you can dedicate to your social media marketing presence. If you’ve started posting weekly (or even more), congratulations! Now, how do you reach a broader audience?

Before you think about specific social media marketing ideas for small business, let’s acknowledge the truth: to truly expand your audience on social media channels (and ideally grow your small business), you have to pay to play. If you’re monitoring your finances closely, this may sound like a heavy burden to your bottom line. But, it does not take hundreds of thousands or even just thousands of dollars a month to have an impact on your small business social media growth.

Before you start building out your social media budget, you need to think through your goals for advertising. Is it to grow a following? Do you want engagement on certain ads/promotions? Is it to generate leads that you can market to later? You also need to consider targeting–age of your audience, gender, location, interests. There’s so much the right targeting can do to help! (More on that later.) Each of these elements will determine the level of spend you need to plan for on each platform.

Let’s explore which social media marketing channels should your small business focus on and the dollar figures it will take to help you see some movement on those channels.

Facebook and Instagram for small business

Facebook and Instagram are lumped together because your ads manager is one-in-the-same with these two channels. You will create an ads manager through your business Facebook page, and make sure you connect your Instagram to this account. Once connected you can serve the same ads on Facebook and Instagram (or pick and choose which ads you’d like seen and where).

Now for determining how much to spend on Facebook ads. While Facebook and it’s parent company Meta have become a behemoth in social media, it is still relatively cost-effective to get ads out to whatever audience you determine. The lower your reach (the amount of people that could see your ad) the lower you’ll spend. If you only have $10/day to put into Facebook / Instagram, adjust your target to around 250,000 reach. The more you can spend daily, the higher you can go with your daily budget.

Twitter for small business

We will have to wait and see how Twitter morphs in the coming months and years. But, for now, Twitter will continue to have a special place in your social media strategy. If you chose to be active on this channel, it’s mostly for content sharing and audience building. It is notoriously hard to generate leads from Twitter.

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So, if you are looking to build credibility through a bigger audience, share your content, or promote your business, Twitter is still a great place to make this happen. And the best part? It’s cost effective. If you can dedicate $500-$1,000 a month on Twitter advertising and let it pace itself, you will see results. Especially for ads that are to generate followers or engagement on a tweet.

TikTok for small business

The newest kid on the block, TikTok is becoming a unique opportunity for small business owners to showcase their products and services. The recommendation is to not build your business profile on a business account because you cannot enjoy all of the organic benefits on the platform if you do.

With that said, if you build your business on a personal profile on TikTok, the name of the game is building your audience big enough (1,000+ followers) to get your business URL in the profile page. To do that, you’ll need to be a fierce content creator (standard recommendation is at least three videos a day for major organic reach) or you can utilize their promotion option. The promotion option works best once you’ve posted a video and see it get some organic traction. For around $50 you can promote a video over a few days and gain around 100 followers. Make sure you are targeting a specific interest area that matches your business.

LinkedIn for small business

Lastly, we look at LinkedIn. Unless you’re a startup or your customers are larger businesses, I can confidently say do not spend your money on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is expensive to advertise on (we’re talking $10k a month to make an impact). If it’s somewhere you need to have a presence, but you can utilize other channels to grow your audience, keep the organic drumbeat going on LinkedIn. As a reminder, there is a good chance that your audience is not on this channel, so be mindful of your time and budget.

To recap, if you can set aside around $2,000/month for social media advertising and focus your targeting on your very specific audience, you can see your social media grow. If you only plan to be on Facebook (for example) your budget for the month could be under $1,000. As a reminder, it’s all about consistency, so if you are going to spend the money to build the audience and reach beyond your current followers, keep the momentum organically with regular posts. This is a beast that can’t skip meals.

If you need social media ideas for small business, check out our previous blog, 3 Steps to Get Your Small Business on Social Media.

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