Many business owners see social media as a waste of time. How does a message about my business work, when it’s fitted between someone’s baby pictures and some other person’s witty sayings? In that context I would have to agree, but that’s not the way to use social media advertising. However, there are tremendous advantages for small and home-based businesses to get their message out digitally.

Conventional TV, Radio and Newspaper advertising is an interruption in our lives. Your favorite TV show is just getting exciting and boom — a commercial break. You’re listening to a string of hits on your favorite radio station and again you are forced to endure commercial messages you didn’t ask for. Newspaper stories are continued on other pages to expose you to their advertisers. You have to read around the ads to get the rest of the story. With social media people search for you which brings a motivated target market to your web site and in your front door.

Popular Social Media Advertising Opportunities

For this short article I’m going to talk about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All three of these social media platforms can be used to increase your bottom line and reach new customers. The great part of social media is, for the most part, it’s free or in other cases extremely affordable when compared to other media. Paid advertising is available on all three social media.

The great thing about social media advertising is the control you have over it. You can select your ideal demographic and geographic area, set payment limits by day or week, and change your ads instantly. You will also see reports on how many people are seeing your ad and passing that ad on to others.

A Short Explanation of Each

Facebook offers both personal pages and business pages. I have both and rarely post the same on both. My personal page is reserved for my personal thoughts and my business page is dedicated to business topics only. Facebook posts can be any length and can include pictures or video. Twitter is brief thoughts or an alert to get more info somewhere else. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters and spaces. So thoughts must be clear and concise.

YouTube is used for video, PowerPoint presentations with audio comments. Think of YouTube as the poor man’s TV ads. Take your video camera, shoot something interesting about your products or services and upload it to YouTube then put a link on your site for customers to view it. Total cost = your time.

Best Times to Post Using Facebook and Twitter

A common question with most advertising is, “How can I get the most bang for my buck?” Social media is no different in that regard. When is the best time to post to expose your message to the most eyes? Here is what the experts suggest for Facebook and Twitter

  • The best times to post on Facebook: The highest number of exposures on Facebook occurs at 3 PM on Wednesdays. Links posted mid-week between 1-4 PM get the most action. Facebook traffic begins to build around 9 AM and peaks at 4 PM. So between 11 AM to 4PM would be the “sweet spot.”
  • The best times to post on Twitter: Similar to Facebook, the best Twitter times are Monday-Thursday between 1-3 PM. Avoid after 8 PM and twitter is a ghost town after 3 PM on Fridays. Keep in mind that you are going to have more competition during these times as well.

Some Final Thoughts

Don’t use your Facebook or Twitter page as a constant sales pitch. That’s exactly what customers are trying to get away from. Rule of thumb; only about 30% of your posts should be self-promotion. Use your site to inform people about your industry. If you are a shoe store what kinds of things should I know about selecting a quality shoe? If I’m a bakery what’s the difference between using artificial sweetener vs. real sugar? People will keep coming back to your site if they are learning something worthwhile. So start Facebooking and Tweeting and watch your small business grow to big business.

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