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How to advertise on social media: Step-by-step on 4 networks

Before investing in an ad campaign, learn how to stretch your dollar and reach more people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon.

By Christopher Null, PC World
March 15, 2013 10:50 AM ET

PC World - Since the rise of Google AdWords, pay-per-click advertising has been the de facto way to promote just about anything online, whether you're selling bottle openers or want to sue over asbestos-related illnesses.

But pay-per-click (PPC) prices are on the rise. Some keywords that used to cost a quarter per click now run a dollar or more. Some keywords, like "mesothelioma settlement," command over $100 for the top spot on Google's ad placements.A PPC ads are still effective, but they've become less profitable for many.

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The most promising alternative advertising outlet is in the realm of social media. After all, the average user spends hours every month on Facebook. Why not reach them where they're already engaged?

Nearly every major social media site offers advertising options, each with its own spin. (Read more in "Do social media ads really work?") But managing these ads takes extra work, not to mention the expenses you incur for running ads on each outlet.A Luckily, social media ads don't have to consume your work week. Read on to learn how to start advertising with the most popular and effective social networks.

Facebook

ToA advertise on Facebook, visit your business's Facebook Page, check out the Admin Panel, and click the blue Ads Manager button. You can set a budget here and create your ad. Set your funding source and step through the options. If you have a locally-oriented business, you can go as narrow as only users who live in your town. Go wider with a statewide focus or choose the whole United States. Once you clear this screen, you're done. In fact, your ad will immediately be launched.A This ad is extremely simple, and it's designed just to get your Page more Likes.

However, if you want a more complex ad, dig into the advanced ad creator on your Admin Panel by clicking Build Audience, then Create an Ad. To save yourself a lot of trouble, use the Chrome browser to work on your ad.

Here you can choose whether you want to promote your company's Facebook Page, promote a specific post on the page, or do more in the Advanced Options. You can choose either to direct people who click on your ad to your Facebook Page or send them off of Facebook and to your website instead. (Pro tip: You, bizarrely, can't create ads while using Facebook as a business or Page; you have to be using the site through your personal account.)

Ads on Facebook are short: a 25 character headline and 90 characters of text, but you do get to add a photo. By default this will be the thumbnail for your business on its Page, but you can change it to anything you like. (It's said that pictures of people do better than logos.)

Finally, you can set more detailed audience requirements for your ad, including age range, gender, location, and interests (which is based on other Pages they have liked).

At the very bottom of the page, set your budget. Facebook ad campaigns default to a per-day budget on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis. Your bid is dynamic and is "optimized to get more likes on your Page," and you are charged per view, not per click. CPC pricing is available too, but Facebook offers little guidance on how to choose from CPM vs. CPC. It's a good idea to begin with a low-budget CPC ad before venturing into CPM. You can also add additional ads to the campaign to experiment with rotating through different copy or images.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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