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Social Media

How to Make Ads Work for Your Business

Advertising has changed dramatically over the last few years. With digital marketing becoming front and center, businesses and agencies must adapt to utilize the ever-growing social media platforms. How do you make ads work for your business?

Are you wanting to reach more people on social media? Or maybe you’ve heard about social media advertising and wondering if they would be a good fit for your business.

We will cover the different types of ads for both Facebook and Instagram. Then we will talk about which one you should use for your business. Finally, we will cover what you are getting into, and it can match your budget.

Organic, Boost, or Dark Posts

three Different strategies for posting on Social Media.

When posting on social media, you’ve probably heard the terms organic, boost, or dark posts. Maybe you’ve never thought about how each of these strategies for posting can impact your business goals.

This will be a great place to get a basic understanding of the different ways to post.


The regular free content you post. This is the posting most businesses are familiar with and comfortable with creating.

Paid Advertising

Next, we have paid ads. It is common for you to refer to social media ads as a catch-all term. However, there are two different types of paid ads when it comes to deciding where to spend your advertising budget.


The regular free content you post with a money “boost” for increased reach. Essentially you pay to reach a wider audience.

Dark Posts

Unique advertisements crafted for a specific goal. They show up as sponsored content in the feeds of the audience you are targeting. Think of this as your digital version of a print ad in a newspaper, magazine, etc.  These posts are never published to your feed; therefore, they are called dark posts. These posts float around, targeting people interested in your content.

Why use paid ads?

The main reason to consider paid advertising, such as boosted and dark posts, is to reach a wider audience. Subsequently, when you use organic posts as the main marketing tool in your social media strategy, you are only reaching the people who choose to follow you. Pause and let that sink in. You are only reaching the people who choose to follow you when your strategy is organic posting. That works as a free advertisement, but it may take more effort to reach your goals with your social media strategy. Even then, you will be reaching a small percentage of your followers.

They are choosing what will get served to your audience and what doesn’t. Over the years, as more and more brands join social media, the networks chose to get selective in order not to overwhelm people.  Now ask yourself this. Have you seen your overall reach is low? This will be the number of people who see your posts and the number of followers who see your posts. If your Facebook reach is 1% of your followers, you are doing a good job organically.

There is no point in being present on social media if your brand isn’t heard because you are putting all your effort into creating content that no one sees. Similarly, as we discuss creating engaging content. It is like hosting a party that no one shows up to. As a result, you want your efforts to reach as much of your audience as possible.

Which Post Should I Do?

If you have decided your reach is low and you are ready to do something about it the bottom line is running paid campaigns will increase your reach. This is a guarantee and the whole purpose of paid social ads. Now you need to see which is the best for you to do. Boosted or dark posts? Utilize existing posts or create new posts tailored as ads?

Basically, this boils down to you choosing a goal. To start, you want to identify what you want to accomplish. For example, is the goal to drive people to your website and engage with your content, or are you trying to drive people to a specific product/ service to convert to a customer?

Think of this goal as a funnel.


You simply want to let people know you exist while encouraging them to follow your business.

Boosted posts will be a good fit if your goals match the awareness


You are ready to take your base of followers and drive them to your website, event, or to watch video.

Boosted posts will be a good fit if your goals match the consideration


You are ready to convert your followers into taking specific action on your products or services.

Dark posts are good for driving conversions. Especially if you are retail or product-focused and you are trying to convert them into a customer.

In sum, they both will help you gain new followers and customers. There is going to be an overlap between boosted and dark posts.

Boosted posts are going to have basic targeting and audience analysis capabilities. Alternatively, dark posts get deep into targeting, content customization, and audience analysis capabilities. Consequently, both will help you reach a more specific audience than what you can do organically.

Ultimately paid ads won’t solve a weak organic strategy. If you have bad content and an unengaged audience, the paid ad will not help you. Before you invest in paid ads, you want to build a scheduled routine where you post on a routine with engaging content before you invest into paid ads. If this is still a difficult decision, please see our other resources or reach out directly to chat paid ads.

Getting Started in Paid Ads

Boosted posts are a great way to dip your toes into the water, that is, paid ads on social media. While dark posts right out of the gate sound amazing, it may not be the best if you are short on time and resources when starting to invest in paid ads.

Step 1. Choose a goal.

What do you want your investment to accomplish?

Step 2. Choose your audience.

Did you know you can target audiences based on demographics, interests, and location? This will help you reach the right people who will engage with your business. There are many more ways to target your audience this is just a few ideas.

Targeting your audience is important for the fact that people don’t like ads that are annoying or irrelevant to them. Subsequently, approximately 22.3% of consumers have said they see too many ads and why they block certain ads, according to Hootsuite. If the ads fit the style of your target audience’s feed they won’t feel it is too much, annoying, or intrusive. It’s important to be thoughtful about both your content and who you are targeting. No one wants to see ads go in; wanting to show up seamlessly while adding value to your audience.

Step 3. Boost your post.

Do boost posts that are already generating engagement. Yes, what your followers like will be well-received among your target audience. Don’t boost low-performing posts. It can be hard to boost what you like best or want to perform well. Listen to your current audience and amplify what they like about your brand.

Step 4. Test and Optimize.

Once you have boosted a few posts and have a good analysis of what’s working. Or what may not be working. You will want to start looking at what gives you the most value to reach the most people. Now you can tweak the audience and your content to get the most bang for your buck by striving to get the cost per 1k impressions (CPM) and cost per click (CPC) as low as you can.

Every time you try a new boost, post-test it against your previous ad. You can see if you are making improvements to metrics that matter most to you. These metrics would be CPI, CPC, or cost per engagement.  This will show you how efficient your money is becoming. Aim to drive costs down and become more efficient with how you boost content. Soon you will see a pattern with what content works well and what audience responds best.

Action Items

We know we covered a lot of ground in these blogs. Ultimately, continuously shifting algorithms have made it more difficult for people to see your content organically. As a result, paid social should be a consideration for your social media strategy. This is something all businesses can utilize to get more life out of their content. If you leave with one takeaway, ask yourself what audience are you trying to get in front of. Who do you want your ideal target audience to be? With ads, you have the power to niche down and target these people only. This is the beautiful reason paid ads online and on social media can be a very powerful part of your strategy and business goals.

Hey there I'm kayla dammann of KMD Marketing.

Thanks for stopping by the blog—I love educating small business owners + nonprofits about event marketing, SEO, website design, and social media strategy.

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