By Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter is a freelance writer and editor with 15 years of journalism experience. Dan blogs via Contently.com.
You believe in the power of social media. And you know that by using Facebook you can boost the number of clients for your independent beauty salon, convince more people to sign up for your lawn service and encourage more customers to stop in your bakery to buy your famous chocolate-chip cookies. One way to do all of this is to experiment with Facebook Ads.
You might notice when you log onto your Facebook page or visit someone else’s that there are small ads running alongside the messages or newsfeeds. These are what Facebook Ads look like. If you own a small business, you can use Facebook Ads to create ads for your own venture that run on the Facebook pages of your friends, family members, customers and, most importantly, potential future customers. You want people to come to you and purchase your services or products because they’ve clicked on your ad.
Here’s how it works: First, log onto the home page of Facebook Ads. Here you’ll find a pretty comprehensive look at how this marketing tool works.
The key, as Facebook explains, is to first determine your advertising goals. Do you want to promote a particular event, such as a half-price sale at your independent clothing boutique? Or do you want to advertise the arrival of a new brand of pants at the same boutique? Maybe you simply want to direct people to your website.
Once you know what you want your ads to do, it’s time to aim for the right audience. Facebook allows you to target potential customers by age, gender, location, language, birthday. and likes and interests. For instance, if you run a small camping goods store, you can tell Facebook to send your ads to residents of the United States who are 20 to 60 years old and who have listed “camping” and “hiking” among their likes. The more specific you can be, the better your ads will perform.
The next step is to design an ad. Facebook recommends that you keep your ads simple and straightforward, and that you provide people with clear instructions about what to do once they see your ad. For instance, if you want potential customers to order ebooks from your marketing company, your ad should say something like “Click here to see a full list of our ebooks.” When customers click, they should be taken immediately to your inventory of electronic books.
Next comes the most challenging part: paying for your ads. You can elect to pay for your ads on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) basis. With CPC, you’ll pay a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. With cost per impression, you’ll pay a fee every time 1,000 people view your ad.
How much you pay depends on what you bid. For instance, you might tell Facebook that you’re willing to pay $1.50 every time someone clicks on your ad or $2 every time one of your ads nabs 1,000 views. Be careful when bidding, though. The minimum bid Facebook allows on a CPC basis is .01 cents a click. The minimum for CPM is 0.02 cents for every 1,000 views. But if you bid too low, most pages won’t display your ad. Your goal is to bid high enough — but not too high — to make sure that your ads will show up on as many pages as possible.
You’ll also set a daily budget for your Facebook ads. If your budget is $150, your ads will stop appearing once you receive enough clicks or impressions to hit that number.
Facebook Ads is an effective tool for spreading the word about your business. Best of all, it’s simple to set up. So start exploring. The sooner you get your ad going, the sooner you’ll see results.