So, your business is on social media, you've carved out a nice following for yourself and you've got a pretty good grasp on organic reach. We bet you're feeling pretty good about it. But you know you can be doing more, right?

With so many people and organizations vying for attention and visibility online, it can be a bit of struggle to get noticed by the right decision makers, especially those that will garner you quality leads. What's a marketer to do? Maybe it's time to try social media advertising.

I'm not sure I should start advertising on social media.

That's fine, a lot of B2B companies are unsure whether they should advertise on social media. Social media advertising is growing and will continue to do so. That means in order for your business to stay competitive in the social realm it's recommended that you start allocating budget and time to this endeavor. Here are a few statistics to consider:

Okay, fair enough. How do I start?

Lucky for you, you start social media advertising just like you would any other project: with research.

Not only are you going to research each social media platform's advertising options, you're going to want to do your research to find out where your target audience is most active. Identifying where your target audience is will be a big part of achieving measurable results, whether it's monitoring industry magazines and their social media profiles or following industry-specific hashtags.

I've completed my research, now which social media platform should I advertise on?

Before you start promoting posts or tweets, have an objective for your advertising dollars. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to generate leads? Drive traffic to a specific page on your website? Or maybe you just want to gain more followers. Most social media profiles have campaigns preprogrammed for you, so it simply becomes a matter of selecting which campaign will help you achieve your objective.

Once you determine your objective, look at some of your previous posts and see what has resonated most with your followers. These posts will give you a good idea as to what type of content your audience not only appreciates but is willing to share on their own social media.

A smart way to start social media advertising is to take an existing post that has done well and promote it. You know it's an effective post, so why not use it again but with some advertising dollars behind it?

Thanks, these are some great tips. But you still haven't told me which platform I should advertise on.

That would all depend on where your target audience is. If you discover the majority of your audience is on LinkedIn, start advertising there. If you find that your audience is spread out evenly amongst several platforms, test each to see which one will give you the most bang for your buck.

Most social media platforms will have options to not only help you set your overall campaign budget but parse out how much you're willing to spend on a daily basis. It's great to be competitive but not when it means you've spent your entire budget in a matter of hours rather than the month you had initially planned for.

It is very important to have a strong grasp of the pricing system that is in place for each social media platform. Hootsuite offers a great beginners guide on how to buy ad space which you can find here

Once you have a good idea on how each platform works, you can allocate how much you would like to spend in one day. You'll need to decide how much you are willing to spend to be competitive while managing your allotted budget. This means your social media advertising is not a set it and forget type scenario. You'll need to monitor it regularly and adjust your daily budgets as you see fit.

Is there anything else I should know?

Paid social media advertising does not take the place of your regular social media posting. Promoted social media posts should fit nicely with your content calendar and add to it, not replace it. Your promoted posts are going to help you increase your company's visibility so you're going to want to ensure your content is not only engaging but in line with what your promoted post is advertising.

Social media advertising is well on its way to becoming standard practice and it's best to start now to build your audience (i.e. generate sales leads) and grow your business.

Tweet tweet