Should You Advertise on Social Media Sites?

by Guest Author

Should-You-Advertise-on-Social-Media-SitesIn marketing, social media is everywhere. The digital media landscape is full of social media platforms and their growth seems to be relatively unlimited.

For example, as of June 2012, Facebook alone boasts over 900 million users with almost 550 million active users per day. As of March 2012, Twitter boasted 340 million daily tweets from 140 million users. LinkedIn is active in more than 200 countries with over 150 million users as of February 2012, and those numbers continue to climb.

As a general rule in dealing with social platforms, if your customers are there, then you should be too. However, this isn’t always the case for some verticals, and depends on how targeted your marketing needs to be. After all, you don’t want to waste your time and money advertising to customers who will never need your product or service.

Listed below are some of the most popular social medial platforms with their advertising advantages and disadvantages, to help you decide if it’s practical and profitable to advertise with them.



Facebook has done a great job of encouraging businesses to use their advertising services and has step-by-step instructions on how to maximize your Facebook footprint. They encourage you to set up your business page and draw people to “like” your page, and even point out that “people who like your Page spend an average of 2 times more…than people who aren’t connected to you on Facebook.”

Facebook allows you to advertise to a very specific target market, down to geography, age, and interests, based on users’ profile information. Users are encouraged to enter a lot of detailed information about themselves, and Facebook can finely dissect that.

Plus, according to a February 2012 article on techland.time.com, a typical user spends an average of 405 minutes per month on Facebook, which is significantly longer than any other social media site.

Facebook also offers you the option of advertising by CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click). CPM is good if you just want to draw people to your page. Facebook will show your ad to your target market and you will pay one price for the thousand times your ad is shown. CPC is beneficial if you want customers to click to a site outside of Facebook, and you will only pay when the link on your ad is clicked.

While Facebook provides a lot of helpful information to those wishing to advertise, it’s conversion rate is often low, especially for CPC advertising. A typical Facebook user goes on to see what’s updated in their news feed, chat with friends, or play games. They aren’t necessarily thinking about making a purchase, so they aren’t focused on ads. Some Facebook users have also trained themselves to ignore the ads, since they are not always relevant.

Get Started with Facebook Ads



Twitter has three different types of advertising strategies: Promoted Accounts, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Tweets. Unfortunately, both the Trends and Tweets are in beta form and are not currently available to all advertisers, so we will focus only on Promoted Accounts.

Twitter states that Promoted Accounts can be used to “build a critical mass of loyal followers” by showing in the “Who to Follow” section on user’s profiles. Twitter will show your promoted account to those users who have similar interests to your account but are not currently following you. They are differentiated from other “Who to Follow” users with the heading “Promoted.”

Promoted Accounts can be targeted geographically, but only by country if they’re outside the U.S. Another disadvantage to advertising with Twitter is that information flows so quickly that often people will just glance over the tweets. This is demonstrated in that the average user only spends 36 minutes per month.

Get Started with Twitter Ads



Linkedin is a social networking site for business professionals, so it is one of the best opportunities for B2B marketing. This is especially pertinent, since you can target your advertisements to reach the decision-makers of the company directly, such as the President or CEO. You can also target your ads by industry, geography, company size, etc. as well as Linkedin groups to which they may belong.

Because this is a business professional platform, used often for networking purposes, the average user time is quite low at only 17 minutes per month.

Like Facebook, Linkedin charges by either CPM or CPC, with a minimum cost per click of $2.00.

Get Started with LinkedIn Ads

Final Words…

Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are just three of many social media outlets, and their advertising platforms all have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Having millions of users is not the best criteria in and of itself for advertising and it’s a good idea to do test advertising on different media sites before spending a lot of money on one or another. You will need to decide who your target market is and how high your conversion rate needs to be in order for it to be profitable.

Have you had success advertising on social media sites? Do share us your experience with us!

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Author Connect »

1 midhun suresh

they r costly,i cant afford them

2 Edwin

Great article Heather. It is interesting to read about the stats behind possible social media marketing channels. Facebook seems to have huge potential due to the ability to target people with psycho-graphics, relationships and common interests.

Unfortunately the problem with Facebook is that people aren’t really in a ‘buying mode’ while checking their friend’s pictures. It will be interesting to see how they really ramp this up to get more conversions for advertisers. At the moment I see it as a great branding tool, but not so much a direct converter. There is a distinct difference here that I hope many people will consider before jumping in and possibly loosing money on FB ads.

3 Aditi

Hi Heather,
Well, I think that advertising on your social media site is not bad until you put a check on the number of advertising on your social media sites. This is definitely important. Since social networking sites are all about networking with people, so advertising of your business can definitely be done in order to get more and more visitors to your sites. But at the same time, sometimes you can update your site with site related post. That doesn’t look your account spammy. Thanks for the share!!

4 Klara

This is really interesting. I’ve thought about it before, but never really found any good information abut it. Thanks!


Hi .. Its really a helpful post for content advertising. I am thinking of trying Facebook ad for my website ..

6 Like facebook

About “content advertising” I got some good information from this article. Really i was looking forward to read about it. Thanks for this allocation. 😆

7 Andrew Conner

You can advertise through the help of different social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube and LinkedIn.

8 Nishadha

As you mentioned you should be where your customers are and social networks are one place they are sure to hang out. Although Facebook advertising can be very cheap in some markets I believe it is more about building brand than driving sales. If you want to make sales LinkedIn can be a good choice although the price is a bit steep there.

9 Svetlana Koslov

Awesome article!!! It is interesting to read about the statistics regarding certain social media marketing Platforms. Facebook seems to have huge potential due to the ability to target people with psycho-graphics, relationships and common interests.

But the problem with Facebook is that people don’t really don’t really like to buy while checking their friend’s pictures. It will be interesting to see how they will improve to get more conversions for advertisers. Right now I see it as a great branding tool, but not so effective.

10 Koundeenya

I really think, Twitter ads are far better than those of Facebook. Facebook has weak TOS for advertisers. I even saw cheap products advertising on Facebook. But sponsored posts for pages will be definitely a great boost. It will help the page get a lot more links

11 Leon

I have used FB and I think it’s just pointless unless you have a big budget to spend. Like a comment above said…people are on FB looking at pics and etc…not into a buying mode. I had clicks for my campaign but nothing came out of it.

12 Kate

We’ve worked with clients who’ve had great results from Facebook adverts for the most unexpected of campaigns – including one targeting over 55’s in a small geographic area. If you get the image and wording right, and think through what you want to happen next, it can be very effective.
Plus, as it’s so easy to control your budget, I think a business has to have very good reasons *not* to give social media advertising a try – punt a couple of hundred pounds and see. The chances are, you’re already spending a lot more on less trackable marketing!

13 Rusty

Hi Heather , your topic is very interesting seems many people, even teens and business owners are now relying on social media sites. So it you have an online business, you have to target your audience wisely. Those options you mentioned above (FB ads, twitter promoted accounts, linkedIn Ads) are great tools only if you have budget within your pocket.

14 Tammy

I too will also recommend this to all business owner. This will help their company or product to be popular and well introduce to the people online and to those who needs it.

15 sara

I’ve used facebook advertising in the past and found it very effective for getting likes but not so good for anything else

16 Lee

To me the secret of advertising is targeted advertising as you say just because you advertise somewhere that has millions on it like Facebook doesn’t mean you are going to get anywhere near your target audience.

Great post thanks lee

17 Akshay

Yes Sir, According to me, we should Advertise on the social media sites because they can give us the lots of the traffic as well the popularity in the Market.This is my self Experience.

18 Jimmy Lings

Good valuable post, and i like one of your mentioned points on linked-in. Now many people know how to utilize the facebook and twitter frequently. But many people don’t know how to utilize the LinkedIn, now i hope the above information will give a clear way on that.

19 Jared

I’m definitely a fan of FB advertising. The segmentation that’s allowed is much better than LinkedIn and Twitter. However, for some industries it’s not the best place to find your target market.

20 Julieta

Hello Heather, definitely advertising on social media sites are really helpful for any business. Facebook, twitter, or linked in, any of these social media sites are good to advertise. Thanks for your wonderful information you got here. Keep it up!

21 Jason

I have seen a lot of small and big businesses making their pages in Facebook, twitter, etc.. But they are just doing that for the sake that they have a page. They don’t know the real implication of social media marketing. First thing you always ask your self about, Is there really a need to make a fan page? If I did need a page can I maintain it and interact with the inquiries on the page? Those are some considerations that needed to be address first before making any social media accounts for your business. because as soon as you open up a page you are responsible in moderating post and answering inquiries regularly. Questions that are left unanswered might hurt your business.

22 Anchal Bhatia

Till now i have been only using google adwords. But, i am much willing to use Facebook ads. After reading your post, it looks like it will work.

23 himanshu

I think one must advertise on social media because it not only boost your blog but also will help to increase domain authority of your blog.

24 Adam Dukes

I know most prefer the 80/20 rule, but I am usually use the 90/10 rule. 90% non-promotional update and 10% promotional updates. I guess it also depends on the social site as well.

25 Andy P

I have used Facebook ads for both myself and clients. Of course what ever you are promoting heavily influences the result of your campaigns but as a rule of thumb I tend to try to link to a Facebook page rather than direct to a product.
That way I can try to build up some rapport with the page users before offering a product.

26 Gareth Ellis

I think its very beneficial to use Facebook advertising for highly specific targeting. Though I’ve yet to look into using twitter and linked in. I guess which one you use depends upon your target audience and the nature of your business. Are you B2B or B2C? – use the social media platform that your target audience uses.

27 Felipe Kurpiel

Really interesting approach! I am considering start advertising on Facebook and Stumbleupon to be honest. I tried once on Facebook and I am not going to lie, my experience was not so good.
Thanks for sharing this article. It helps.

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