Social Media & the Entrepreneur: #4. The Advertising Game & How to Score Big

Kaitlyn Setter, Business Development Intern

Welcome, my readers, to the finale of Social Media and the Entrepreneur. So far, I’ve taken you through a crash course on the major channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn), keys to gaining followers, how to curate and create engaging content, and methods to manage said content.

In this blog, I’ll show you how to apply the knowledge you picked up in the first three to paid social media advertising — an all new ball game. The stakes are high in this ballpark because you will be putting your hard-earned money on the line for the sake of business growth. Initially, you might not hit a homerun but, like most things in life, it takes practice.

The first step in any advertising (and most things) is to establish a goal. You need to figure out exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with your advertising dollars. This keeps you focused and makes it easier to build your ad campaign.

Here are some examples of goals you might want to consider when formulating your social media ad campaign.

1. Boosting brand awareness

2. Driving sales

3. Increasing site traffic

4. Generating leads

5. Earning engagement

Throughout this blog, I will use Facebook advertising as an example because it’s the largest platform and is the same one you’ll use if you want to advertise on Instagram.

So, here, you’ll see all the options Facebook’s Ad Manager gives you for setting your goal (in their words, objective). This is the first page you see when you begin creating an ad.

If your goal isn’t specifically stated, just pick one that is the most similar from the list.

Next is deciding which channel(s) to advertise on, treat it similarly to how you chose which to create accounts on — fresh yourself here. You want your advertising dollars spent as effectively as possible so utilize channels where the audience will be the most interested in seeing your ad. Let’s run through some examples. Is your company selling:

1. Clothing or makeup? Try Instagram, its where people love to look good and see pretty things.

2. A night out? Snapchat geofilters can help you spread awareness. After all, geofilters are essentially digital word of mouth advertising.

3. Home goods or crafts? Give Pinterest a shot. It’s a platform where 80% of members are women, many of which looking for inspiration.

4. Business solutions? LinkedIn will be your best bet. Show the professionals how your software will make their jobs easier.

Step three is a conglomeration of steps because it’s where you’ll take the time to create a well thought-out, quality ad. This is the lengthy part of the process because it includes narrowing down a target audience, setting a geographic location, placements of your ad within the social channel, budget, and timing. Then you must find that creative bone and write engaging copy to pair with creating eye-catching art for a well-designed ad. All these need to align with the goal of your advertisement because the ad won’t reach its highest potential unless all six are executed perfectly.

Target Audience and Location

An ad isn’t going to appeal to everyone How can it?! The point of advertising is to reach a specific group of people and influence them to complete your goal. To accomplish that, your target audience needs to be clear and distinct.

There are many factors that go into establishing a target audience. This next screenshot shows you how Facebook allows you to narrow it down. Location, age, gender, and language are the basic ones. It’s more interesting in the next section, “Detailed Targeting”.

Here you can input specific characteristics, interests, behaviors, etc. that you want your audience to have. And if you know you want people who don’t have specific characteristics, interests, behaviors, etc., you have the option to exclude people from your audience as well.

A useful feature is the “Save This Audience” button at the bottom. This saves everything you’ve inputted for later ads. Saves a bunch of time when you want to advertise to that group again. 😉


Your next decision is where you want your advertisement to show up. On Facebook, you have a lot of options. When you get to this section on their platform, by default, “Automatic Placements” is checked. My recommendation is to uncheck it and check “Edit Placements” because it puts the control back in your hands. Once you do, the “Platforms” drop down menus pop up and you can control where your advertisement will be shown.

The third drop down menu is “Audience Network”, some of you may be wondering what the heck that means (I did too when I first got into social media advertising). This category is comprised of all the websites and apps Facebook is buddy-buddy with, so if you ever wondered why the same ads you saw on Facebook or Instagram suddenly popped up while you were browsing the web, that’s why. If you have this box checked, your ad can be shown on sites all over the web and apps.

Now, if you don’t want your ad thrown all over willy-nilly, you can restrict where it’s placed using the “Apply Block Lists” function. A Block List is something you create outside of Facebook’s Ad Manager (don’t worry, it will direct you there) All you have to do is add the links of the sites and apps you want your ad to be kept off of, save it, and apply it when you create an advertisement.

Right under that function is “Exclude Categories” which is similar, but broader. In a Block List you can block specific websites or apps but, with Exclude Categories, you can exclude your ad from being shown next to types of content either on Facebook or their Audience Network. The categories in this function are:

1. Debatable social issues

2. Mature

3. Tragedy and conflict

4. Dating

5. Gambling

On other social media platforms, this stage is simpler. For example, on Twitter, ad placements are always on user’s timelines, but you can also choose for them to show up on profiles and tweet detail pages. And another one. LinkedIn only has one option to expand placements and that is using their own Audience Network.

Budget and Timing

It’s all about the money. On Facebook, you set your budget when you decide on your ad’s timing. Other channels have you decided on your budget first and some last. The book of face allows you to distribute your budget over a “lifetime” or daily. The screenshot here shows you a Lifetime Budget, so you can see how the schedule is set up. With this option, Facebook automatically distributes your chunk of change across the days you’ve set to air your ad. If you chose to set a daily budget, it won’t spend over your daily limit.

Beneath that is “Optimization for Ad Delivery”. That dropdown menu has four options: Link Clicks, Landing Page Views, Impressions, and Daily Unique Reach. You want to pick the option that most closely aligns with your goal because Facebook uses this data to decide how and who to show your ad.

Next is your bid strategy. On other platforms this can be more complicated but here it’s simple. Automatically it assigns a lowest cost strategy, but you can set a bid cap if you’re sticking to a budget. LinkedIn also allows you to set a bid cap to limit your CPC (cost per click).

The last piece I want to note is your Ad Scheduling. Here you chose times during the day you want your ad shown. Middle of the night? 8am — 5pm? During that World Cup match? You’re in control. 💪

Ad Creative

Finally, you get to create the look of your ad. Facebook allows you to choose from a few different formats as you can see here:

Then you choose your image(s) or video and jump into the copy on the ad.

I’ve written the name of the field into the text box, so you can see where each text will show on the ad. Underneath the headline, you can see “Link Description”, this feature is within the advanced options. One other advanced feature I want to point out is the ability to include a Facebook Pixel on your ad. In short, it tracks conversions. I highly recommend you read more about it here.

Now, let’s talk CTA: call to action. This button is important because it’s the main aspect that influences people to actually do what you want them to do. In any marketing material, it is important. When you include the CTA button on Facebook, it can lift CTRs (click through rates) by 2.85 times. On this screenshot, I’ve chosen the “Learn More” CTA but there are 16 total options . . . 17 if you include the option not to have a button.

That wraps on my commentary on the technical aspects of creating the look of your ad using Facebook. A few pieces of advice.

1. You only have a split second to grab someone’s attention on social media, so select eye-catching art and keep your copy short and enticing. Oh, and always remember to tailor both to your audience!

2. Don’t spend your entire marketing budget in one social media campaign. Be prepared to play around with your advertising and adjust along the way. You can’t do that if you spend all your ad dollars on an all-or-nothing campaign.

3. Take a class or participate in a webinar to learn more about advertising on social media. Hootsuite holds many on a variety of topics.

4. Remember, all things take practice, so you (probably) won’t hit that home run your first time up to bat. Don’t get discouraged!

That’s a wrap on Social Media and the Entrepreneur. If I left you with any unanswered question, I sincerely apologize. I have two recommendations for getting those answered: Google and myself. Feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn!

Thanks for sticking with me through these four blogs and I wish you the best with your startup or future startup!

Kaitlyn Setter is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in marketing. She recently finished her roles as intern with the MSU Hatch and MSU Foundation and will begin working full-time at Whirlpool Corporation in July. View her LinkedIn profile here.

To read more from Voices of The MSU Hatch, click here.

Edited by Aaryn Richard & Marie Clark