The Struggle is Real: Social Media is Not Truly Free for Business Owners
Creating your brand, messaging, logo, and setting up a physical shop may have been easier than getting discovered on social media. Creating digital space is easy, but helping people discover, explore and recognize your brand, is not easy. Gaining exposure and engagement on a Facebook business page is significantly harder than a personal page. In fact, engagement for business pages is not intended to be easy.
The sad truth is that even large brands with hundreds of thousands of users don’t achieve the level of engagement you would expect. And just because you actually reach your target audience, or anyone else does not mean they will engage with your post with a Click, Like, Share, or Comment. And it certainly doesn’t mean they will visit your website.
According to VentureBeat, there are “more than 60 million businesses” on Facebook. However only 4 million of those businesses “are actively advertising on Facebook.” And that’s the good news. If only 15% of businesses are advertising on Facebook, there is room for your business, even in a highly competitive category.
The 85% of business that aren’t advertising on Facebook may have run a few ads and received poor results, and stopped posting ads. That is beneficial to your business, and should be viewed as an opportunity to create awareness.
People stop advertising for a variety of reasons, but time, money, and lack of understanding the metrics are probably the top three reasons for quitting before gaining any real traction. The good news is that Facebook Ads Manager offers multiple ways for you to advertise your company. The bad news is that you need to decide what you expect to gain from Facebook advertising.
Businesses Must Pay to Play to Acquire New Social Media Followers
As a small business owner, you have probably asked yourself, “How do I advertise my business on Facebook?” Pay to Play does not mean that you purchase lists, or sign up to be followed by bots. Buying followers is a losing proposition because paid followers, don’t engage. So don’t sucked into one of those ads, because you’ll just be throwing away money that can be better spent in a more constructive way.
Social media channels are free and users have a love/hate relationship with most of them. The problem with these free channels is money. If you want to gain an audience for your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn suddenly the game changes to Pay to Play. You have taken the time to set up your profiles correctly, your messaging is clear, and you post frequently enough to be noticed, and you post quality links. But you also have the not-so-invisible form of competition in the very same space.
Facebook has a variety of advertising options, and as a business owner you have to decide where your marketing dollars will be most effective.
- Do you know where your customers spend time in social media?
- Do you want people to Like your social media profile?
- Do you want them to click on a link?
- Do you want them to respond to your post with more than a Click, Like or Share?
- Do you want them to visit your website?
- Do you know what they should do when they do click through to your website?
- Do you want people to contact you?
How to Choose a Facebook Ad Category to Promote Your Small Business
Facebook advertising strategies offer a variety of opportunities for people to learn about your business. As an owner, you need to decide the goal of the promotion before you build it. Promotional opportunities include;
- Get More People to See Your Posts
- Set up an Ongoing Promotion (dollars for clicks)
- Get More Messages
- Promote Your Business Locally
- Promote Your Page
- Get More People to Contact
- Get More Website Visitors
- Get More Customer Contacts
These are great options and can be overwhelming for someone that has never developed a promotional advertising strategy, which is the reason you need to choose a goal. If you develop a promotion without a goal, you can’t truly measure the impact of people’s response.
Creating a Budget for Facebook Advertising
A budget will help you control the cost of your ad, and overall spend. A budget is a set number that you are willing to pay over a specific time period. You can set a daily budget amount, or a lifetime budget amount. A lifetime budget is simply the daily total cost multiplied by the total number of days the ad will run. The cost per click will vary based on the industry you are promoting.
You can set a budget for a single ad, or for a campaign. The goal of a campaign is to have several ad sets to see which one delivers the best response. Usually there are clear winners and losers in a campaign.
How to Choose the Right Audience for Your Facebook Ads
Knowing the type of product or service you offer will help you choose the right audience because you already have some data available. Facebook offers multiple ways to create an audience for your ad. You can target users by;
- Demographics (Interests and Behaviors)
- Create a custom audience
- Create a Lookalike audience – Facebook will target people that are similar to the source
Facebook marketing has two options for targeting your audience, by using specific parameters for either ‘targeting specifically’, or ‘targeting broadly’. You can select a Lookalike audience, based on the type of users that already like your page, or create a custom audience based on specific criteria.
How to Make a Good Facebook Ad
The most effective way to get users attention is through visual marketing. Select an image that people can relate to, and that relates to your business. Your image should have a clear description, and limited text. If you are creating an offer, to drive traffic to your store, or online shop, make sure to include a promo code, as well as an expiration date.
Facebook ads allow up to 90 characters, so make the best use of space with a limited amount of words. After you load your ad creative, click the tabs to the right which are labeled, ‘Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed, and Right Column’ to ensure that your ad will display correctly in each area.
If you have a short video that does a great job of explaining your products or services, you can upload your video instead of an image. Make sure the video includes a Call-To-Action to help people make the next step, based on goals you have set for the ad.
Use Creativity to Test Facebook Ads
Create a campaign with at least two ads to see which one gets the most engagement. You can use the same image in both ads, or a variation of two images. Small tweaks in words related to your product or service are a great way to see how your ads perform. For example, a yogurt shop could test “healthy benefits” against a similar ad that promotes “nutritional value” to see how people respond. Think about questions that customers ask, and how you can answer the question with an image in a Facebook ad.
Once you submit your ad, it will go through an approval process to ensure that it meets Facebook criteria. When the ad is approved, you will receive confirmation through Facebook Messaging on your business page.
How Well Is Your Facebook Ad Working?
With each new ‘Like’ or other response you received for the ad, check out the people that have clicked the ad. Do they meet the Demographics or other criteria that you set up? If you selected a Lookalike audience, do they match your existing audience?
Facebook Ads Manager will contain a lot of data for you to dive into that will include; Results, Reach, Impressions, Cost Per Result, Budget, Amount Spent, Schedule, Page Likes, and Button Clicks. There are also tabs for Performance, Breakdown, Demographics and Placement.
Facebook will place the ad according to the audience you selected. Allow the ad to run for several days before you make any changes. If you run a single ad and aren’t getting the results you expected, run a campaign to see if a different ad set has a different impact.
Don’t expect magic to happen or to see a dramatic increase in traffic, unless you have a very large budget. And remember that quality is better than quantity so make sure that your ad dollars are spent wisely. A small budget, tested and tweaked over time will yield the results you want for your small business.
Facebook Advertising Can Put the Spotlight On Your Small Business
Creating content is time consuming, and rarely goes viral so it’s important to be consistent with your posts and to create value. On the flip side, Facebook advertising is much more likely to bring the type of engagement to your business page than is possible with organic traffic. Start with a small budget and test messaging to find out what users respond to, and build from that point. If it were easy then more than 15% of businesses would be advertising on Facebook.
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