How can small businesses use social media & paid ads on Facebook & LinkedIn?

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How can small businesses use social media & paid ads on Facebook & LinkedIn?

Are you a small business wondering where to spend ad dollars online to get the most impact?

Previously On Social Media Questions with Kat, we tackled this question. [Scroll to end for full video.]

Before you decide which marketing tactics you want to deploy for your business (whether online via social media/ PPC/SEO or offline with billboards/TV spots/print ads) you must decide on your goal first!

Marketing Goals

Goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.)

Goal Ideas:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Traffic
  • Lead Generation
  • Sign Ups
  • Public Relations


It’s important to know where your audience lives online. Traditionally, we’ve never thought of Facebook as as place where we could properly engage with professional audiences, but we’re learning that because of targeting through ads we can actually get in front of the right people. LinkedIn is a little more challenging as their targeting hasn’t gotten as sophisticated as Facebook. And of course with Google, we’re creating PPC campaigns based around locations and keywords.

Audience Ideas:

  • Interests
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income Level
  • Education


How much do you want to spend? It is important to think in terms of the cost of action. This is where things may get a little bit more technical. But how much do you want to spend to action? I’ve tested ads and boosts from $5 to $1000; the key here is to keep an eye on what happens once your ads go live. Who is responding? What’s working in your ad sets? What isn’t? When you look at the demographics, is one group responding better than another? (This is where digital ads are amazing; you can switch gears based on real-time information!) Keep in mind that your budget with a goal surrounding click thru would likely be less than budget needed for a conversion.


What is your call-to-action? What do you want people to do when they see your ad? As important as goals and audience are, so is the content you will share. If you’re creating an advertisement in Facebook or LinkedIn, you’ve got to thing of what you’re focus and intent are. What are you offering that will be of value to your audience? What problem are you solving? What is the best way to communicate this?

Content Ideas:

  • Long form content
  • Video
  • Image (Stock Photo or Custom)
  • Infographic
  • Ad


This is an important step we often forget to take – which is reasonable, as small business owners we’re juggling A LOT!  But if we forget to analyze our social media ads, we won’t know what’s working and what isn’t. It doesn’t have to be complicated; if you’re not hooked into Google Analytics – no problem. Native analytics available within the platforms should give you an idea of whether your campaign was successful or not. In the example I give below, I believed the blog campaign was successful because I had people not only click through to a specific blog, but also come back to check out other pages on my site. Perhaps your goal is to get people to message you directly through Facebook or sign up for your newsletter – whatever it is, make sure you measure it!

Key Highlights of Social Network Ads:

  • There’s something online [right now] for every budget, but it truly depends on what type of goal you have and the outcomes you expect.
  • Social/Digital Marketing allows you to take real-time results and change course.
  • Simple ads tend to do better.
  • Test, test, and test some more.

Facebook Ad Example (Screenshots below)

Overview: I wrote a piece for Insurance Business Canada about the opportunity for insurance professionals to use Snapchat to reach their people and humanize their brands. I wanted to see if there was any appetite for it beyond some initial buzz. My goal was to get people to click through to the full article, but once there, I wanted them to not only read it but check out the rest of my blog.

  •  Budget: $36
  • Audience: Alberta, M/F, 29-65+
  • Interests: Insurance
  • All Devices
  • Only Facebook (not IG or Audience Network)
  • Bid Amount: 0.80 per link click
  • Spent: $18.43
  • Reach: 2906
  • Link Clicks: 23
  • 50% of those who clicked through to original blog, also clicked into other blog. PLUS based on a custom segment (thanks to AK) we know who is more likely to come back to the site. Therefore, we can focus energy on writing and creating content specifically for those people.

*The below screenshots are just to demonstrate at a super high level how you can create an advertisement in Facebook.

LinkedIn Ad Example (Screenshots below)

Overview: It’s been a while since I’ve used LinkedIn’s advertising offering, so I decided to test it out ahead of the Facebook live show. It was disappointing (likely because I had had high hopes!) First, my ad was rejected but I only found out a day after I submitted it (I’ve had Facebook approve ads within minutes of submitting, so this was eye-opening!) Second, the audience drill down left a lot to be desired. At any rate, below is what I did and I’m also attaching reasons my sponsored inmail was rejected so you can learn from my mistakes!

  •  Budget: $15
  • Audience: Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary
  • Interests: Insurance
  • Bid Amount: 0.38 per send


*Rejected: excessive capitalization, contact information, non-standard text.

Facebook Advertising Policies 

LinkedIn Advertisement Guidelines:

  • No Fraud or Deception. Your Ads should not be fraudulent, deceptive or include misleading titles, statements or illustrations.
  • Standard Text and Contact Information. Please use correct spelling and grammar in the text of your ad.
  • Trademarks and Use of “LinkedIn”. Please use only trademarks that you have a legal right to use in your ad.
  • Fair and Legal Billing Practices. The products and services advertised in your ad should have fair and legal billing practices.
  • Discrimination in Hiring and Education. Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote or contain discriminatory hiring practices or denial of education or economic opportunity based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race or sexual preference. Ads that seek to promote the denial or restriction of fair and equal access to education and career opportunities are prohibited.
  • Hate, Violence, Discrimination and Opposition. Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that include hate speech or show or promote violence or discrimination against others or damage to their property or are personal attacks on any individual, group, company or organization or otherwise advocating against or targeting any individual, group, company or organization. LinkedIn also does not allow harassing or threatening ads.
  • Language. Please use appropriate and acceptable language in your ad.
  • Offensive to Good Taste. Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that are indecent, vulgar, suggestive or that, in the opinion of LinkedIn, may be offensive to good taste.
  • Political. All political advertising must clearly identify the person or entity that paid for the message.
  • Sensitive Content. LinkedIn does not allow ad targeting based on sensitive categories such as inferred or actual information regarding financial status, alleged/actual commission of a crime, health, political affiliation/beliefs, racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical affiliation/beliefs, sexual behavior or orientation, or trade union membership.

LinkedIn does not allow advertising related to any of the following:

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data and insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.