Don’t panic. There are a lot of options, and Facebook’s Ads Manager is notoriously user “un-friendly” – but never fear. As with all things, it’s best to go one step at a time. In this post, we’ll look at Facebook advertising options and how they function differently from one another.
You need to start with a Facebook Business Page. If you don’t have one of those (or if you’re not sure) take a look at the Facebook section of this post, and Facebook’s own help pages to get up and running.
Ok, business page established (yay!) and now onto the real work. Having a Facebook business page gives you some good credibility, as long as you keep it consistent and current. Make a new habit of posting once a day or so. Invite Facebook friends from your personal network to “like” the page, and start working to build up a following. Be sure that your Facebook business page is clearly named (to match your business) and that you have a link back to your website, hours listed accurately, and so on and so forth. You know what you expect when you visit the Facebook page for a business, so do those things – take note of your competitors on Facebook. What do their business pages look like? What kind of posts garner likes and comments and which ones are ignored? What are the types of things you like on Facebook, and can you incorporate similar posts into your own schedule? Start noticing and following these patterns, and you’ll cater to your target audience more effectively. The whole idea is to create an involved, engaged audience of people that are active in their support of your business – ultimately leading people to your website and converting followers into customers.
Posts on your Facebook business page work the same way as the posts on your personal page – you can post instantly or schedule them for the future. Either way, posts are seen by the people who like/follow your page, just like you see posts in your newsfeed from the people and pages you follow. Posts are free! Take advantage of organic marketing when you can, and think about everything you post. You want your business page to represent you and your business in a positive light – something that people want to see on their newsfeed every day. It is not advisable to ONLY post about your business with a “sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, buy” attitude. It’s ok to promote your business, but framing your business as a part of your community goes a long way. Share posts about events happening in your area; give shoutouts to people who use your product, folks who leave a positive review, and those who tag you in their own posts. Above all else, Facebook is a networking tool, so use your posts strategically to appeal to the network you’ve worked hard to create.
That being said, if all it took was a great posting strategy, we wouldn’t have all these other ad options, would we? Paid Facebook posts or ads get priority in newsfeeds across the board, so let’s talk money. Investing in your Facebook business page can be money well spent, if you know what you’re doing – and having a clear goal is a good way to be sure you’re doing the right thing. Do you want to build up your Facebook following? Lead people away from Facebook to your website? Do you want to generate leads by inviting folks to join your email list? Any and all of these (and more) are totally possible with the help of paid Facebook advertising! The great benefit to using Facebook advertising is that you are always in control of how much money you spend, and what the money is used for. Let’s discuss the different ways to advertise on Facebook.
More often than not, when you post something on your Facebook business page, you’ll see a button inviting you to “boost” a post. Boosting a post is a quick way to get your posts in front of a larger audience. Under the category of “boosting,” you have the option to ensure that the people who follow your page see a specific post, or even those who follow your page and their friends. In most cases, however, it’s not likely that you would really benefit from this option, as these people already know about your business and have seen your page. The other option under boosting involves some targeting options – but you don’t have as much control with this as with promoted ads built in Facebook’s Ads Manager.
Facebook Ads Manager is what I would recommend to most businesses – but I’d also recommend that beginners find someone well-versed in Ads Manager to help them get started. There are countless options for how to create different types of ads that appear in original ways – and the audience targeting can get incredibly specific! Which means amazing things for ads that are created correctly, but this can also mean spending a lot of money on the wrong type of ad if you’re just winging it. So what do you want from your Facebook ads? If you’re just getting started on Facebook, you might want to start with an ad that reaches people who are likely to be interested in your page, and include a call to action button inviting those who see it to like your page. If you’ve got an awesome Facebook following, but you want to direct people to your website or an email sign up list, you can do that too. But here’s the main difference: boosted posts look like the traditional Facebook post, but Facebook Ads manager provides posts that look more like what you’d expect an ad to look like. They’ll say “sponsored,” and they provide you with a lot more options as far as choosing how your money is spent, how much of it you spend, and what your ad prompts viewers to actually do once they’ve seen it. Think about ads you’ve seen on your Facebook newsfeed: probably an ad from a company who’s website you’ve visited recently. When you add something to your cart on Amazon, and then visit Facebook later that evening, chances are you’ll see ads for exactly the item you looked at, as well as a few similar options Amazon also has available. With a little know how, Facebook ads can be targeted to people who have visited your website – and prompt them to revisit, hopefully as a paying customer!
All this to say, if you’re spending money, time, and effort on marketing anyway, it’s absolutely essential to include a budget for Facebook ads in your marketing plan. Regardless of who your target audience is, that target audience is more than likely on Facebook. If you’re super excited about Facebook ads, but still unsure about how to get started, give us a shout!