Everyone knows Facebook – grade-school kids, teenagers, senior citizens. Even the least tech-savvy people are aware that it is not just a thing, but a huge thing. Your grandma is probably on Facebook, along with your 10-year-old nephew, your reclusive neighbor and your boss. Facebook is considered the second biggest website in the world; only search giant Google is bigger. Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has become a billionaire who is consistently on all of the “World’s Richest People” lists.
To put it in numbers, Facebook has close to 1.5 billion monthly active users. At least 72% of those users check their profiles every month, and 65% use it daily. In one day, 936 million people check their Facebook accounts, with 21 minutes as the average time spent on site visits. Every 20 minutes, there are around one million links shared, two million friend requests sent and three million personal messages sent. That is a mind-boggling amount of activity on just one site. Who wouldn’t want in on that action?
If there’s one form of social media that business owners should focus on, it’s Facebook. The massive popularity of the social media site is, of course, paralleled by the growth of its marketing. A customer base that enormous is a powerful platform for marketing. Anyone starting a small business, looking to expand its current condition or building a brand would do well to put time and effort into Facebook marketing.
Over the years, Facebook has developed and fine-tuned tools and features for marketing purposes. The site itself gives marketers a range of options to jump-start the action; it is calibrated to reach not just the most number of people possible, but the right kind of people for your specific needs.
Facebook allows a business to create its own page and manage it according to the owner’s preferences. This is free and can be one of the best ways to gain initial attention and direct traffic to your website with minimum effort. Most companies use their Facebook pages as a way to promote products, give information and interact with their customer base.
The real payoff here, though, comes in the form of Facebook advertising and in boosting your page’s visibility through paid options, which leads to conversion. Conversion is when people click on your ads or links on your Facebook page that takes them directly to your website in order to buy your products, subscribe to your services or perform any other action of importance to your business. The more effective your advertising, the higher the conversion, which should mean more profits in the long run.
Facebook marketing lets you set many different types of goals for your ad dollars. These can be any of the following: improving engagements of a post, garnering more likes for your page, getting more clicks for your website, producing more installs for a mobile or Facebook app and promoting a product or offer. Each of these “goal types” serve a specific purpose related to marketing. The rest of this article will take a more in-depth look at these goals.
How PPC Works in Facebook Advertising
The most effective Facebook advertising tool is the use of paid ads. This relies on the basic principle of “pay per click” (PPC). To put it simply, PPC means you only have to pay when someone clicks on one of your ads. If no one clicks on the ads, these are “unsuccessful,” and you won’t have to shell out a single cent while gaining some exposure.
PPC works on a bidding process. This may sound intimidating, but it’s really not – how much it costs you every time someone clicks is completely up to you. The cost can range from a few cents up to around three dollars per click. This is great for marketers, as it means there is a pretty good margin of error when it comes to your return on investment (ROI). For example, if you’re making a profit of $50 on each product purchase, you’ll only need a small percent of clicks to make a sale and still be able to make money.
Another advantage to PPC: there are no set costs for clicks, so you can keep your spending at a bare minimum. This means you can advertise alongside the giants like Amazon and eBay, who have hundreds of thousands in marketing, with your own limited budget and still get the exposure you need. It’s a pretty fair and highly adaptable way of marketing and is an excellent starting point.
So with no set budget, how are your costs calculated? As mentioned, it’s a bidding process where your cost per click (CPC) is determined. Your CPC then determines how often your ad runs on Facebook. Since Facebook is harnessing its advertising power to the fullest, the ads with the highest bids will be shown most often. If you’re willing to bid $2 for each click, for example, your ads will be shown more frequently, but you’ll be spending quite a lot. If you bid 10 cents per click, your ad won’t appear as much, but your expenses will be much lower every time someone does click on your ad.
Facebook allows marketers to set a maximum budget, allowing you to put a cap on how much you’re willing to spend. If your budget is at $100 at $1 per click, your ad will stop showing after 100 clicks so you don’t overspend.
This flexible system gives marketers and business owners control of their own advertising needs, allowing you to test your market and find the perfect price balance for your ads.
How Facebook Creates a Target Audience
As discussed, Facebook is a gold mine of information. Facebook marketing uses this information treasure-trove to help you to build a highly-targeted audience that will ideally become your loyal customer base.
Facebook has accumulated vast amounts of information about every one of its users: age, location, gender, music preferences, books they read, places they visit, profession, hobbies and marital status. Businesses can use this information to pick who should be seeing their ads. Is your target audience composed of teenagers in general or working moms in Europe? Are you selling specifically to men ages 21-40 or to college professors?
Anyone with good business sense knows that it’s important to target your audience, as it increases your chances for conversion. This reduces the number of random clicks on your ads, so the money you spend is worthwhile. For example, if your business is custom-made bathroom fixtures in San Francisco, you wouldn’t focus on selling to teenagers in Buenos Aires. Instead, you would focus your attention on adults in the California area. If you’re selling rare books and shipping internationally, you can broaden your ads to target people who have listed “books” as their favorites or “reading books” as a hobby.
How Facebook as Social Media Benefits You
Facebook’s main benefit over other similar marketing avenues is in its social networking power. Aside from allowing you to get your ads out to a place where millions of people might see it and letting you create a highly targeted audience to increase your rate of conversion, Facebook also lets businesses combine advertising with engagement.
It was previously mentioned that you can make a Facebook page for your business. On your page, you can add videos, images and text in order to draw attention and sustain interest in your brand. The leverage Facebook has here is in engagement – when someone likes, shares or comments on your post, you’re not only acquiring a touch-point to a prospective customer, but are increasing your visibility, as your post can be seen on other personal networks. This immediately widens your possible audience.
Social influence is a huge driving force in sales. When someone likes or shares your post, it is seen as validation of your brand. When a friend likes a page selling clothing, for instance, you are more likely to check out that page and buy something from it because you put some value on that friend’s opinion. The more shared and liked a post is, the more potential it has to go “viral,” popular enough to be seen the whole world over.
What Are the Types of Facebook Ads
Facebook offers a wide selection of ad types depending on what your main objective is, your budget and your business. There are three positions to choose from when it comes to ad placement: right column or the right sidebar that can be seen at all times, the news feed or home page where all updates from friends come up and mobile news feed, which is meant for mobile users only.
Domain Ads (right column) point directly to your website. These are quite simple and the most classic form of Facebook ads. These basically consist of a heading, an image and some text, along with the URL for your website. These are affordable and effective, though not as high-performing as newer ad types.
Page Post Links (all positions) are currently the most common form of Facebook ad. These link to your website while getting likes for your Facebook page and are great for use with content marketing campaigns. Page post links are those with large images and a link with some text underneath. When you like the post, you are actually liking the business page.
Multi Product Ads (news feed, mobile news feed) are ads that show multiple items in a slideshow that lets users browse and shop right on Facebook. This is good for promoting a range of products, as the slideshow movement engages people’s attention.
Page Likes (all positions) are ads for your actual Facebook page and generally makes use of large photos that can get plenty of likes and interaction.
Page Post Videos (all positions) lets you use videos to get likes. These have the potential to be among the best-performing ads on Facebook due to rapid growth in video marketing.
Page Post Text (all positions) lets you use text. This is not as popular as other ads as people don’t generally click on just text, unless it is really interesting from the start.
Mobile App (mobile) is an ad that is used specifically to promote a Facebook app. This ad can be used to let users download your own app in order for you to directly communicate and sell to them, leading to a higher increase in sales.
Desktop App (right column, news feed) are apps that run on desktop computers for customers to download your own app. This cannot work on mobile.
Event Ads (all positions) allow you to put ads for the express purpose of promoting activities instead of things. These include company launches, concerts, conferences, shows and so on, and are more useful for businesses that rely on services and social interaction.
Offer Ads (all positions) are for businesses that want to make a special offer or promo. This works through your Facebook page and needs at least 50 page likes to work. This is extremely valuable: anyone who clicks on your ad will be given a code that they can use to redeem your offer – a solid way to increase sales from old customers and get new customers to buy!
Within each of these ad types are content types such as “canvas” ads, “video” ads and “lead” ads.
How to Start Creating Ads
Now that you’ve gotten a handle on the basics of Facebook marketing, it’s time to take a look at actually creating the ads. Facebook gives you some options when you choose “Create Ad” through your account. Depending on your goal you will choose one of the following: page post engagement, page likes, clicks to website, website conversion, app installs, app engagement, event response or offer claims.
After you’ve selected your purpose, upload a picture from your computer to create the ad images. The more creative the image, the more attention it will get. It has been proven that looking interesting is just as essential as being interesting; people tend to share or like things based on the image alone.
Facebook has a feature that lets you create ads and test different pictures with them so you can check which one works best for your ad. You can choose up to six pictures that Facebook will automatically rotate through, slowly showing the more effective ones more often.
After the image comes the more difficult part: adding ad copy. This is the text you use to really sell your business and tells people why they should care about your product, service, event, brand or page. There are three fields: headline, ad text and news feed description. Headlines are 25 characters long and act as the titles of your ads; these need to be catchy but brief. Ad text is 90 characters long and is the body of the ad where you explain your company. It also includes the price of what you’re selling and a call to action like “Buy Now!” News feed descriptions are for ads that you pay to appear on the news feed. You can add another 90 characters here to talk directly to your audiences, such as “Like our page and get this great offer!” This is only available for news feed ads, but it allows you more space for your image and is generally the best choice for marketing campaigns. You can also add a “call to action” button on your ad, which has been known to improve conversion rates.
Facebook ads can still use traditional promotional copywriting in its basic structure. AIDA, which stands for awareness, interest, desire and action, is what marketers generally use in successful campaigns. You can do the same by using the headline for awareness, the ad text for interest, the post text for desire and the call to action button for action.
Focus on showing your customers what the value in your product or service is, why they should take notice and buy from you and how their lives will be better because of you.
How To Use Mailing Lists
Facebook marketing can actually make use of the biggest asset email marketing has: the mailing list. If you’ve done some email marketing or have collected enough email addresses and contact numbers, you can upload this list to Facebook and make a “custom audience.” You can then target your ads to only this custom audience.
The idea here is to advertise to your mailing list directly using a new method. Since mailing lists are already targeted and presumably include people who are already customers of yours, having them see Facebook ads for offers and promos will induce their curiosity and, in the long run, draw their personal contacts in to become customers, too.
Facebook can also create a “look-a-like” audience which mimics your current email list and targets your ads at that wider audience.
How to Use Facebook Ads Manager
Creating an ad is but one part of a successful marketing campaign. Manage and measure the campaign’s performance so you know what works, what doesn’t work, what you should change and which make the most money.
Facebook Ads Manager provides you with a list of all your latest campaigns, along with a summary of their performances. The Ad Manager tells you which of your ads are live, how many positive results the ads have yielded, how much each ad is costing you, what the reach of your ads has been and how many people have seen it. It also allows you to see your total expenses.
The data table on the Ad Manager lets you see stats for campaigns, individual or set ads, time frames, number of clicks and conversions and advanced data such as your cost per action, data by age and other factors – basically everything you need to know to tweak your marketing campaigns.
This is a great tool, as you’ll be able to tell right away which ads are working for both short- and long-term and what adjustments you should make for those that aren’t working. It will take some trial and error, but in the end, what is important is how you control your ads to find the balance that suits your business while leveraging the power of Facebook.
What To Avoid
If you’ve been investigating using Facebook for marketing the chances are that you’ve been bombarded by sales pitches promising amazing amounts of free traffic to your website or traffic for less than a penny per click. While there are many stories of businesses achieving results like these that is not the norm and not something you can bet the future of your business on. Remember, Facebook isn’t in the business of delivering free traffic to your site – that is just a side effect of their business model. They are in the business of being PAID to deliver traffic to your site. Anyone claiming that they can show you or any other business how to deliver massive amounts of traffic for free is most likely selling you a method that will not work for you. You’re better off putting those dollars towards a well thought out Facebook Ad Campaign.
Learning how to target your product on Facebook, and especially”re-targeting,” will allow you the opportunity to build a massive business. It’s not free but it does not have to be ridiculously expensive either. Most business can easily achive a blend of free organic traffic and paid targetted traffic – in fact that is what Facebook wants! To learn more on how you can build up a business using Facebook, check out the following product: Facebook Marketing Excellence