As a small business owner you’ve probably heard a million times that you need to be on Facebook.
It’s true: there are numerous benefits for small businesses to be on social media, including relationship marketing and promoting fun content to your local audience.
But changes to Facebook’s algorithm make it harder for your content to reach your fans (even those who have voluntarily liked your page!). It’s practically become a requirement for businesses to advertise on Facebook in order to get their content out there, despite doubts about how effective it really is.
That being said, you cannot ignore Facebook. Know the realities and the restrictions in order to best plan how to use Facebook advertising for small business.
The 3 key elements to getting your marketing strategy right on Facebook are to 1. Know Your Audience, 2. Clearly Define Your Goals, and 3. Test, Test, Test!
1. Know Your Audience
As a small business owner, you know your audience better than anyone. They come into your storefront every day, and if you’ve installed Google Analytics on your website you’ll know a bit about your online visitors, too.
It’s no different on Facebook. Invite your customers to like your business on Facebook. Then, try out different content and offers on your page to learn what your fans enjoy, and what kind of media they like best (photos, links to articles, videos, etc.).
Knowing your audience and what gets them ticking is key for two reasons: knowing what to advertise on Facebook and knowing how to target your advertising.
2. Clearly Define Your Facebook Advertising Goals
As you surely know, your marketing goals need to tie into your overall business objectives. Before you start running any Facebook ads, know exactly what your goal for the ad is and how it’s going to contribute to your business objectives. This will help you determine your budget.
Facebook’s latest updates to its platform makes it easy to set your objective for your ad.
Your options include advertising for engagement, clicks to a website, website conversions (purchases, signups, etc.), event responses and more.
One great new option for small businesses is to advertise for offer claims. If your clients on Facebook respond well to promotions like 30% off for a day, then this is a great way to promote special offers or coupons.
Targeting Your Ad
Now is when targeting your ad correctly really becomes important. Facebook offers great targeting options by location, age, gender, interests and behaviors.
Since you’ve already done the exercise of getting to know your audience, you can easily set up targeting by location, age and gender. Interest targeting helps identify people in your area who have similar interest to your fans, and who may also be interested in your product.
Targeting by behaviors helps you find people who like to buy things online, or who post a lot of photos, for instance.
Be careful when narrowing your target audience: Facebook will let you know if your audience is too narrow or too broad. If it’s too narrow, you risk no one seeing your ad!
Track Your Ad’s Performance
In order to track how well your Facebook advertising is performing, read these Social Media Examiner tips for tracking return on investment (ROI) for your ad campaigns.
You can also create unique URLs for links to your website to help you measure how many clicks you’re getting on Google Analytics.
WARNING: Avoid Paying for Page Likes!
It’s not just this video that has put me off from paying Facebook to acquire page likes. In my experience, promoting your Facebook page in order to get more likes usually results in lower overall engagement on your Facebook posts.
Stay focused: promote individual posts, website conversions or something more concrete than just likes.
Besides, can you really say what a Facebook like is worth? Exactly.
3. Test, Test, Test!
The only way to make sure that you’re getting the best results from your campaigns is to constantly test your ads.
Using your tracking information, find out how your ads are performing. By setting up Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics you can find out how much revenue each ad brings in.
Another way to test the performance of Facebook ads, according to Mashable, is to first optimize your ads for engagement. Based on the success of your ad’s engagement, you can then optimize the ad for reach (meaning, how many people see your ad).
Facebook Advertising is Evolving
What Facebook has on offer for small businesses and advertisers is constantly evolving. If you’re thinking seriously of investing in paid advertising on the platform, take time to read through the Facebook for Business page.
Other resources like Social Media Today can be helpful, and discussing with other small business owners can help you get an idea of their experiences and successes (or not).
In any case, it’s important to be on Facebook, but sadly this “free” platform is getting more and more expensive.