Your business doesn't have to be a Fortune 500 company or make a huge ad buy to be successful with Facebook advertising. Even with a small budget, marketing on Facebook can drive online sales, increase local sales, promote apps, build brand awareness, and generate new client and customer leads.
And while apps like Snapchat have developed a cult following among younger Millennials, Facebook still retains its title as the most popular social media network, with 72% of adult Internet users and 62% of the entire adult population in the United States signed up to the platform.
According to the latest findings from Pew Research Center, Facebook is the dominant social media network for virtually every age demographic:
- 18 to 29: 82%
- 30 to 49: 79%
- 50 to 64: 64%
- 65+: 48%
Comparatively, 31% of online adults use Pinterest, 28% use Instagram, 25% use LinkedIn and 23% use Twitter.
Your customers are on Facebook. But are you?
How Can Facebook Ads Benefit My Small Business?
Like any advertising campaign, the success of your small business ads on Facebook reflect the amount of time and energy (and sometimes financial resources) that you're willing to invest. Since organic reach on Facebook can be limited, paying for display ads helps to ensure that your message gets out to the right audience.
With Facebook ads, you can reach people based on location, age, gender, interests and even people who are similar to your current customers. You can build a custom audience, track actions on your website - you can even remarket to website visitors.
Facebook ads can be beneficial for your business no matter where it is in its growth cycle, and they can do much more than just raise brand awareness or build leads. Your presence on Facebook builds relationships.
Today's customers have access to an overwhelming amount of options, services and information. Staying top of mind with customers can be a huge challenge. Thanks to advanced targeting options, Facebook ads make it easier to reach highly specific audiences and drive actionable change.
But don't take my word for it - Facebook is chock full with examples from small businesses that successful used Facebook display ads to achieve everything from better lead generation to product line introduction:
- Hillshire Snacking, a newly launched snack food brand that used a clever combination of photos and video ads to target Millennial foodies during the 2015 holidays. Hillshire Snacking achieved a 4-point lift in brand awareness and a 12-point lift in purchasing intent thanks to highly targeted ads fine-tuned through Kinetic Social's Multivariate Testing Tool.
- The Humberview Group, a Southern Ontario car dealership that used Facebook carousel ads to boost website traffic, bringing in more than 24,000 clicks at just $0.33 per click. Following the campaign's success, Michael Carmichael said, "Facebook is what the newspaper was 25 years ago. You can't afford to not have a presence on this advertising platform."
- Jimmy Beans Wool, a small yarn company, created a star-studded video ad that reached 2.8 million people at the low cost of just a penny per video view. Not only did the conversions cover most of the campaign cost (sales are up 20% to $8 million this year), but Jimmy Beans Wool is now also a household name among knitters and crocheters.
Which Facebook Ad Format is Right for Me?
Okay, so you're convinced now, you're ready to take the plunge with Facebook advertising.
But how do you know which ads to use and how do you know what to say?
First off, I'd recommend taking a page out of digital strategist Robert Katai's playbook and using the search feature for a little intelligence gathering mission. We focus so much on content creation and talking about our brand that we often forget to listen to what others are saying. Follow Katai's recommendation and use the search button to find out what others are saying about your brand on Facebook, how the competition is doing, and what types of conversations or opportunities get people interested in your brand.
Next, consider these three types of Facebook ads:
- Carousel ads - Advertise multiple products or services without having to create multiple ads. The carousel format offers viewing options and lowers cost-per-click.
- Lead ads - Customers sign-up for what you're offering, giving you accurate contact information to follow-up with them
- Dynamic ads - Build even stronger relationships with customers by showing them ads that feature products they have recent viewed on your website or mobile app
How Do I Create My First Successful Ad?
Ad creation is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for small businesses. Even if the team is able to design a smart strategy for Facebook outreach, more often than not the ad design falls short. Why? The ad lacks a powerful call to action (CTA).
While I won't get into an exhaustive discussion of CTA best practices here, just remember that every ad needs a single, clear and persuasive CTA.
As the team at Bannersnack reminds us in their excellent guide to CTA best practices, "an ad without a call to action is an open loop." Customers won't take action unless they're driven to do so.
You don't have to be a graphic designer to create amazing Facebook ads. Bannersnack's Design Academy is a great tutorial for display ad design that integrates both strategy and design skills. Facebook's advertising guide will help you understand the basics of ad placement for mobile and desktop feeds so your ads look great wherever they appear.
When it comes to audience reach, micro-targeting options, and bang for your buck, Facebook is still the winning social network for general small business advertising needs. Before you launch your first big campaign, however, be sure that you've taken the time to understand your audience (use that search button per Robert Katai's suggestion!), researched the right ad format, and have a clear, compelling CTA. With these building blocks in place, you'll be well positioned for a successful campaign.
Image source: Reuters | Valentin Flauraud