Google, Facebook and Instagram have become a fundamental part of our lives, and for anyone running a business – it’s impossible to ignore them. Are you up to date on how to most effectively use social media to grow your business?

First things first: what is online advertising?

Advertising vs Organic

There are two main ways to reach new customers online. The first is through “organic posts”, where you post your own content in your feed and use hashtags, UGC (user-generated content) and SEO (search engine optimisation) to help people find them. This is the kind of thing you should be doing all the time as it’s free and effective.

The second is paid or “boosted” posts, which is online speak for advertising. These are similar to the traditional ads we see on television, billboards or in newspapers. You create an advert and pay to have it featured in other people’s social media feeds. With paid posts, you have the chance to attract a much larger, global audience.

Before you start

As with everything in business, before you start planning what channel you want to use or the budget you can spend, you should ask yourself what you are trying to achieve.

A good place to start is by thinking about where your customers are. Do they use social media or are they more likely to Google? This is easy to find out if you think in terms of their age, their gender and their location.

Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve – before you start planning which channel to use.

Google Adwords

Let’s start with something that almost everyone uses: Google.

In basic terms, this is how Google Adwords works:

Google allows businesses to buy words to help their customers find them faster. For example, say you sell fairtrade coffee, you could buy the words ‘fairtrade coffee’ so that when people search this term, your page will come up as a result.

Adwords is a great way to help new potential customers find you. And with 3.5 billion Google searches every day there are a lot of people you could be attracting.

To find out more about this, read Advertising online: Google Adwords.


There are two ways to advertise on Instagram: the first is the Instagram feed, whereby you pay for your advert to appear in people’s daily Insta flow. The second is via Instagram Stories. This is a relatively new feature and is a little trickier to use right now but with 300 million people using Stories, it’s an option worth exploring.

Instagram started advertising back in 2015 and a lot has changed since then. With 800 million monthly users and 500 million daily users, there’s a lot of opportunities. If you’ve got mostly female customers, it could be the right channel for you as 68% of Instagram users are female.  


Now, let’s look at Facebook. As the biggest social media network in the world with over 2 billion users, it’s hard to ignore its power when it comes to social media advertising.

From adverts in the Facebook feed to carousel and canvas ads, or even live stream video,  there are many ways to reach a new audience on Facebook. This giant might seem intimidating but with its user-friendly interface – it is famously easy to work with.

In fact, 95.8% of social media marketers worldwide have said Facebook provides the best ROI (return of investment) of all social platforms.


Online advertising is a great way to reach new customers, get them to engage with your brand and visit your online shop. As with traditional advertising, it’s important to establish your goals before you decide to start budgeting your money. One effective way to do this is by using the SMART goal technique:

Equipment recap

  • Specific: For example: Do you want more traffic to your website or more people buying directly?
  • Measurable: Do you have the means to track whether this is working or not?
  • Achievable: Can you honestly reach your goals from where you are?
  • Relevant: Does this make sense to your business?
  • Time restricted: When is the deadline?

Key takeaways

  • Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve
  • Ask yourself who your customer is
  • Ask yourself where your customer spends time
  • Set yourself goals
  • Remember: with the right mindset you either win or you learn. It’s all part of helping you build the business you love.

Stay tuned for the upcoming episodes in this series. To make sure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe to our newsletter through the link below!