How to use social ads to grow your following

How to use social ads to grow your following #ipsyOpenStudios

JAN 2, 2018:

When it comes to digital advertising, the numbers speak for themselves: ‘an anticipated $72.08 billion [was] spent on digital ads in the United States alone in 2016, a number expected to rise to more than $82 billion [in 2017] and more than $113 billion by 2020,’ explains Hootsuite, in their guide to social media advertising.

In the realm of social ads, Facebook is certainly the leader in terms of revenue – ‘more than 95 percent of social-media managers say Facebook offers the best return’, with Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat close behind. So, with so much choice, how can social ads work for you and help you grow your following? Here’s what you need to know to get started…

What is social-media advertising?

‘A social media ad is any kind of paid content on a social media network,’ explains Hootsuite. ‘The options run from a one-off promoted Tweet or Facebook post to a full-scale campaign with major budgets attached.’ Each social network offers different options, so you’ll need to choose the one that best suits you.


The biggest network offers several different ad types: photo, video, carousel, slideshow, and canvas. Whichever your preferred format, choosing the best target audience will help you better connect with potential followers. Think about location, age, gender, and language to start with, and then consider Facebook’s detailed targeting options:

  • Demographics, from education to life events and work.
  • Interests, from entertainment to hobbies and activities.
  • Behaviors, based on user activity on Facebook and information from its partners.

According to Hootsuite: ‘You can also create a custom audience by uploading a list of email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, or app user IDs. You can then use lookalike audiences to find other people on Facebook that are similar to that audience.’

Facebook then guides you through four steps to create your ad: 1. Choose the campaign objective that best aligns with your goals, 2. Choose your target audience and placement, as above, keeping an eye on the meter on the right side for an idea of reach potential, 3. Set your budget and schedule (advanced options give you more control), and 4. Create and preview your ad.


In addition to Story ads, Instagram mirrors three of parent company Facebook’s ad types – photo, video, and carousel – as well as different objectives, like website clicks and conversions, mobile app installs and engagement, video views, reach and frequency, page post engagement, mass awareness, and local awareness. Plus, you benefit from the same audience targeting options as Facebook, though remember Instagram demographics do differ. Hootsuite’s top Instagram ad best practices? Know your audience, captivate with captions, use hashtags, and be consistent. Learn more, here.

When you bear these tips in mind, you can tailor your assets (imagery, video, copy, and call to action) to your audience. Finally, use Facebook Ads Manager to monitor the performance of all your ads, so that you can tailor the next campaign to increase reach and engagement.

Will you be using social ads in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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