Advertising on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can prove very successful for businesses of all sizes, but unless you remember your audience, the targeted online advertising campaign may not work as planned.

Many small business owners believe that if they advertise on social media websites they will only reach out to young people, who might not be their target audience. While this may have been more true a few years ago, social media use has extended far beyond the youth. For example, LinkedIn is a social media website used almost exclusively by networking professionals, so advertisements geared toward middle-aged professionals make perfect sense.

In fact, more and more companies are putting a larger emphasis on social media advertising. The Wall Street Journal cited a Forrester study estimating that U.S. companies will increase their spending on social media advertising by more than 60 percent this year – to approximately $1.6 billion.

But, while social media continues to grow in popularity among users and advertisers alike, that doesn't mean that your company should just dump money into a campaign without testing the waters. In a recent column, Hollis Thomases, CEO of digital marketing and advertising company Web Ad.vantage, explains that trying out a few different social media websites and comparing the results is often a smaller company's best bet.

"Do experiment," writes Thomases. "Start out with small budgets. Test different ad messages, and try sending users to different landing pages to compare impact."

If you're not sure how to measure the impact, keep in mind that most social media websites have analytics that allow companies to keep track of conversion and traffic. Facebook Analytics, for example, has an excellent advertising and marketing effectiveness tool.