Ok, this blog is done...
Haha, just kidding, but yes you should be using paid advertising or sponsored/promoted ads.
While you may have an established audience, one of the goals of using social media for your business is to get new customers. You can also use it to build awareness on new promotions, push your event or remind existing customers that you're around. Whatever reason you would use traditional advertising for, you can use social media to accomplish.
Why Social Advertising is Important
There are a few reasons to think of social media as your first choice in advertising. Every day, traditional media is losing market share to online media. More and more, companies spend more money on digital advertising than they do on newspapers, tv, and radio. And why is that? If you follow the old marketing tenant "Go where your customers are!", then you need to be on social media because even your Grandma is on Facebook now.
Which social media platforms you choose depend on your customers. If your customers are young moms, then meet them on Instagram, if they are farmers then Twitter is a good bet. If they are teenagers TikTok is the channel of choice. Doing a little research on your demographic will help with this. And if you say to me, "I don't like Twitter. I don't want to use it." but your customer demographic is on Twitter, then I'll say "Stop making it about you and suck it up, princess." Well, I wouldn't actually say that, but you get the point.
One of the great things about social media advertising is that it is very affordable. If you were to advertise to the local market just on Facebook, you have the potential to reach 10,000+ people, multiple times over a two-week period for less than the cost of a half-page newspaper ad that gets printed once. Even throwing $50 at a well-targeted ad can get you in front of the eyes of thousands of users who would have a specific interest in your product or service.
Did you catch the "well-targeted ad" bit in the paragraph above? It's true! You can pick a geographical area, age group or special interests to hone your advertising for eyes that actually want to see it. No use in trying to sell steaks to vegans. Use some extra time and knowledge about your current customers to fine-tune your advertising.
If you are looking to break into a new demographic, this is a great way to reach them specifically.
Measure Success With Analytics
When you pay for traditional media, you will be given a number of potential readers/viewers/listeners that particular media outlet reaches. The thing is though, you have no way of knowing for sure how many of that potential audience is getting YOUR ad. With paid social, you can see exactly how many times your ad was in front of someone, how many users engaged with it or followed your call to action and more. This allows you to decide what ads are working for you and which ones you should abandon.
Saves You Time
Realistically, it would be great to build your social media following through organic posts. But if you take the advice of how to do that on Twitter, you need to post 10 times over the course of a day to be effective. Ain't nobody got time for that.
You could schedule a bunch of posts in Hootsuite or Sprout and be done with it, but for the cost of your time it takes to come up with 10 Twitter posts, you could put that amount on an ad which would be just as or more effective, allowing you to get on with business.
The Learning Curve
The one caution I would make is that working with some of the ad managers can be a little complicated, Facebook and Twitter especially. So what I would advise in getting started is to promote an organic post that has already performed well. Boosting posts or events on Facebook are the easiest ads to set up.
On the other hand, the Ads Manager is much more complicated but worth learning how to use, as it can get super specific on the who, what, where and when of ad delivery.
HootSuite is a great source of information on all things Social Media, so instead of re-inventing the wheel, here is a start-up guide for all the major platforms.
If you need a hand getting started, let me know and I can tutor you until you're over the learning curve.