When it comes to social media advertising, Facebook still reigns supreme, and running a successful ad campaign is vital to the success of any business, whether large or small. In fact, I'd say it's even more important for a small business, where resources are limited and competition is large, Facebook and other forms of social media represent some of the cheapest and most effective ways to reach your customers.
Here are seven must-know tips to make sure your campaign is maximizing your budget.
Have Your End Goal in Mind
Before you even start out your campaign, you have to have an end goal in mind so that you can craft your message and the entire ad with that strategy from the beginning. Do you want more followers? Want more people to see a promotion? How about more people to email you? All of these are viable options, but they greatly change how you would optimize and set up your ad.
This is the first screen you see when creating an ad:
There are different marketing objectives that you can choose from, with more showing up, with some offering sub-objectives.
Facebook has been doing this for a while, and even with all of their shortcomings they've nailed down advertising pretty well and can craft an ad specifically for what goal you have, eliminating a lot of the guesswork for you
Target, really Target
This is a big one, and one that I constantly see is underutilized. Most businesses do utilize some form of targeting, but they're likely missing out on the full suite of options that Facebook advertising offers. For example, maybe you're a bike shop in Boone, NC and want to target locally, you might set it up something like this:
This is likely too narrow but gives you just an idea. Or maybe you're advertising an event, or just want to broaden your reach. Not only can you add radius' but you can select counties, regions, etc. specifically and target them:
As you can see here, we've targeted several locations surrounding Boone, NC. Notice the "Include" option at the bottom, you can also "Exclude" certain locations if you wish. For example, if there is a certain location in any of those radiuses that you would not want to target, you can exclude those so you're not wasting your advertising dollars.
Location targeting is great, but where Facebook advertising really shines is utilizing all of the data Facebook has gathered over the years like user interests, behaviors, etc. and even partner analytics like income levels to really craft a message.
Let's say for example that you're a hiking store that is wanting to promote a discount to teachers and military personnel, you can do that with targeting, you'd select the variations of "teacher" you want and target based off of interest, employment, and job title:
Then you would make sure that not only would they are a teacher, but that they're also interested in hiking:
And it doesn't stop there! You can add more variables to hone it in even more, or just like location targeting you can exclude certain things. A lot of times for higher-end products they will look to exclude people below a certain income level, but maybe you just want to exclude certain interests that you think might pop up within the interest groups you selected to include.
Here in lies the power of targeted advertising, and you can get more detailed with it than this, but make sure that you're tailoring each ad to it's intended market. Narrowing a user audience can be daunting, but merely posting an ad with minimal targeting just doesn't cut it anymore.
Don't Sound Like an Ad
People don't like products or services being pushed on them without any sort of connection or story behind it. Being advertised to is one of the things consumers hate the most, so as advertisers you have to be persuasive without sounding like an ad.
The best ads come off like they're not trying to sell you something, but rather highlights what you'll get. Use conversational tones that align with your target audience and make them feel comfortable, increasing the odds that they'll see you not as a brand trying to sell but instead the value in the product or service that you're promoting.
Use Eye-Catching Visuals
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when you're limited in the number of characters you can use in your ad! As a society with a short attention span and always on the go, it's imperative that whatever ad you're promoting has some visual element that will make the person stop swiping or scrolling and take notice.
This is something that has both improved and deteriorated in recent times. With cell phones becoming commonplace and their cameras likewise improving at a rapid pace, most everyone has the power of a good camera in their pockets. This is great news as it allows you to take high-quality pictures that can be used for your website or ads, but there's more to taking a good picture than just a good camera. While I've seen many people take great pictures with just their phones, I've seen just as many take horrible ones that lead to ineffective ads.
With so many pictures out their now, you have to make sure your's stands out from the crowd. Maybe utilize an interesting viewpoint that isn't common, make sure the background is out of focus so the foreground stands out. There are many options, but snapping a picture without any thought behind it will likely result in a boring image.
Create Different Ads for Different Buyer Personas
"Buyer personas" is a word you may or may not have heard, but basically it's different profiles of the different customers that you, as a business, consider as your market. So if you're a fly shop selling fly rods you likely have different levels of different pricing, therefore each one has a slightly different market.
Your custom bamboo rods should be targeted to those with higher income levels, maybe even targeted towards doctors, lawyers, etc. with interests in fly fishing. Your entry level rods would be geared toward another market.
This not only applies to products but advertising your business as a whole. Generally speaking, different personas have different ideas of what they want. One of the best examples I've seen of this is a local outfitter who also has a small taproom in their business. We targeted several ads, with one being geared towards a younger audience who is interested in hiking, the outdoors, craft beer, etc., while we created numerous others targeted to tourists who come in from out of town
Install a Pixel to Track Conversions
One of the most useful tools for running a successful Facebook Ad campaign is the use of Facebook Pixels, which is a tracking code implemented on your website.
Pixels allow you to track and analyze how people interact with your ads and your website, helping you determine which ones are more effective. They can even tell you what device people are using, i.e. mobile or desktop, to help you understand your audience and set up future ad campaigns.
So how do you set up a pixel? First, just go to ads manager and click on the drop down menu, you'll see pixels under "Events Manager":
Then, it will ask you a couple questions and then ask how you want to implement the code onto your site:
Then you just implement the code onto your website and voila, you're done! Most people utilize pixels to track shopping cart, confirmation, or thank you pages so they can tie their ads to conversions and track how the ads are converting to sales.
Utilize the Analytics, Don't Set it and Forget it
If there is one thing businesses, especially small businesses, are guilty of doing with Facebook Ads it's that they tend to be so busy, analyzing results just doesn't make it to the top of the to-do lists. We understand, we really do, but this is perhaps the most important step of all because you can learn what works and doesn't and adjust from there.
I'll be the first to admit that Facebook doesn't make it anywhere near as easy as other platforms like Google AdWords to see results, so it's easy to get lost in the weeds, but there are some quick overviews you should at least be aware of.
Here's a quick glance at a highly targeted ad done for a client with only one day's worth of results, which you'll find under the Insights tab:
This is a quick overview but really doesn't tell you too much about performance. Where you should really be going to learn actionable information is into ads manager, where you can learn infinitely more.
The default "performance" view is a good start, but you can customize and dig deeper should you wish, and you should!
As you can see, there's a lot to take in as social media advertising is an ever-expanding avenue to reach customers. While it's gotten easier for us to reach out, the wealth of data can be overwhelming at times, but a keen understanding of this data is essential to a successful advertising campaign. Any questions? Feel free to reach out and get in touch, we'd love to talk!