How Small Businesses Can Win at Facebook Advertising: 6 Sage Tips
A lot of SMBs (small business owners) think of Facebook advertising as something mysterious and spooky, imagining that it generates leads via dark workings understood only by a select cohort of hidden Silicon Valley specialists.
Luckily for the SMB, the truth is that Facebook advertising isn’t really any more mysterious than a listing in a newspaper: though admittedly, it is more complex than ink-and-paper marketing.
However, with a little background knowledge and a few guideposts to keep in mind, the fog of Facebook marketing will lift, allowing your business to flourish on social media.
1. Understand Why Folks Use Facebook in the First Place
You need to keep this in mind when wading into Facebook advertising. People use Facebook for socializing, entertainment, sharing ideas, and learning new things. They do not use it to see sales pitches, even if it’s a product or service they might otherwise be interested in.
Your brand’s approach to Facebook ads must reflect this. A cold sales pitch might reap rewards at the bottom of the sales funnel — however, your Average Joe or Jane scrolling Facebook isn’t ready to buy. You have to meet them where they’re at, which means creating campaigns that focus more on the top or middle of the funnel: spreading brand awareness, showcasing what you have to offer, and giving your audience something of value.
In fact, you don’t even have to directly emphasize your goods and services at all, at least not all the time. Think about it. Imagine you’re scrolling Facebook, and you see this ad from an unfamiliar restaurant:
Granted, the food in those photos looks delicious. But making a cold sell that opens with the words “buy our ——” would probably only work on a customer who’s already in your shop, because they’re at the bottom of the funnel already. They’re ready to buy. Facebook, on the other hand, is all about building a relationship with your audience. Now, imagine you’re scrolling social media and you see this instead:
At first, this could seem counter-productive. You want people to buy your pizza, not stay home and make their own. But think for a minute. If somebody who’s never patronized your restaurant just sees a “buy our pizza” ad, they probably won’t care. But if you start a blog, use it to publish recipes (without giving away all your secrets, of course), and build a relationship with your audience, you’ll likely see much more success. If your homemade recipe is a hit, they’ll think of you next time they order takeout, and that’s when you can start retargeting your Facebook ads showcasing your promotions, throwing in some recipes as well to sustain their brand loyalty.
2. Remember that Facebook is Also a Business
Some business owners hesitate to advertise on Facebook to begin with, because they don’t feel confident in investing in something as abstract as a social media platform, lacking the concreteness of a billboard or TV commercial. After all, if Facebook is just for socializing, and people aren’t visiting it for the sake of seeing your ads, why should you feel secure in seeing any ROI? The benefits seem vague at best.
Which brings us to our second point: Facebook is a business just like yours. The founders and of Facebook did not create the platform out of the kindness of their hearts: they created it to make money, and it very much delivers.
Facebook brings in a whopping $1 billion each quarter in advertising revenue, and it’s because their ads work, especially when designed correctly.
Remember, if Facebook ads didn’t work, they wouldn’t be in business. So don’t be afraid to jump in.
3. Have a Goal & Benchmark for ROI
If you want a successful Facebook ad campaign, you need to have a strategy or goal mind before you start. If you don’t, your campaign will flounder.
Your strategy and goal will depend on the nature of your business. Are you looking to receive more phone calls? Get more visitors to your website? Build brand awareness? Are you seeking new customers, or are you looking to retain the ones you already have?
The ad strategy you create must flow directly from your goals. This is also true of the KPIs you use to measure your success. For example: if you goal is to get more people to fill out online request forms, you probably shouldn’t measure ROI from the number of people who simply click on your ads. On the other hand, if your primary goal is greater brand awareness, the number of clicks can matter a great deal.
Craft your posts according to your goals, direct them toward the audiences most closely tied to those goals, and your efforts will yield fruit.
4. Invest the Time
You know the famous line “Patience, young grasshopper”? It will be invaluable in your Facebook ad efforts.
As you venture into the world of Facebook advertising, know that patience is everything. Most likely, you will not see big results right away, though you almost certainly will in the long run if you’re running a smart campaign.
The thing is, Facebook is unimaginably crowded with new information every minute of every day. According to Statistica, Facebook boasts 2.2 billion active daily users, with 3.3 million items shared every minute. Even if you’re a small business targeting local audiences, there’s simply too much happening on Facebook for your ad campaign to reap immediate benefits.
It will take time, typically a few months, of consistent brand exposure for your campaign to really bring in the ROI you’re waiting for. Ditto for the money you invest: if you’re only running a single ad every couple of weeks, you’re probably not going to see much love in return.
5. Remember Your Bottom Line
If you’re feeling all-in for Facebook advertising, that’s great! Your enthusiasm can only help — but remember to keep your wits about you and your eyes on the prize.
By that, I mean to never lose sight of why you introduced your business to Facebook to begin with, which was to make more money.
This point might seem as glaring as the morning sun, but you’d be surprised how many businesses lose their focus on their real KPIs. Over time, too many brands get caught up in scrutinizing how many Likes their page gets, how many followers they get, and how many comments they receive. In the meantime, they lose track of what’s really working in their campaign, and what could use a revamp.
Don’t get me wrong, these details do matter to some degree. But they can be a distraction just as often, maybe even more often.
Once in a while, pause to take a deep breath and refocus on the KPIs you outlined at the very start. Because ultimately, the only thing that matters is whether your campaign is growing your business and making you money. So don’t worry so much about the likes.
6. Don’t Be Boring
Too many businesses allow their Facebook campaigns to get stale, even the ones who are quite successful at it.
However, Facebook advertising allows you much more leeway and room for creativity than, say, a TV ad. With a TV commercial, you’re basically stuck with whichever 15-second message you’ve created for the next however-many months, and making a new commercial will cost you.
With a Facebook ad campaign, by contrast, you’re free to reinvent your approach whenever you like. Having you been thinking about introducing video tutorials? Creative or informative blog posts? Quizzes and interactive games? None of these ideas requires more than a phone or a keyboard, and you can videotape or write whatever you like, whenever you want.
Even running a new, TV ad-style video that you thought up yesterday is infinitely easier on social media than creating a new commercial for actual TV channels, and will give you more bang for your buck, anyway.
The sky’s your limit, so let your business’s creativity shine!
And if the homemade pie you made turns out delicious, remember that pizzeria’s name next time you call for takeout.