Facebook, despite its fairly limited beginnings as a social networking service meant exclusively for Harvard students, has become one of the most ubiquitous and powerful online destinations. Nowhere is this potential more apparent and welcomed than in the field of marketing and advertising. The social network has become fertile ground for marketers, as the social network contains a built-in audience numbering in the billions and an infrastructure that offers effective brand-building and promotio, provided that one knows how to use it.
The last part is the catch – you have to know how to use Facebook for marketing and advertising. You can’t just go in there, create a page and blast people with ads and posts without any plan, rhyme, or reason and then expect your brand to blow up overnight. If you’re fairly unfamiliar with Facebook as a channel for promoting, or feel that you might be missing a few useful tricks, the following tips may prove useful:
Basic Tips: Facebook Advertising 101
The first order of business – and never forget that it is business, even when you’re in a social network – is to make sure that you have a direction, and that you have control over your advertising budget on Facebook.
- Make Sure You Have a Goal in Mind – what do you want out of a Facebook campaign? Whether it’s better engagement with followers, increased page follows, or better clickthrough rates to your website, make sure you are always aware that each of these metrics will have its own inherent value. So choose one as your main objective before even starting, because the ad type you will use will depend largely upon your goal. Facebook, thankfully, is very user-friendly in this regard. They will recommend specific ad formats based on your campaign’s goals.
- If New to Facebook Advertising, Start with Targeting Page Likes – if it’s your first time on Facebook as a marketer/advertiser or your page is new, your first priority should be building the page likes. This is because the more likes you have, the more popular your page looks to other people. This has a domino effect, making it easier for you to attract people the more you spend time on getting followers. This slower, but much safer and more sustainable approach compared to buying followers outright.
- Take Advantage of Google Offers – you can use Facebook Offers to catch the attention of Facebook users. Use it for a giveaway: offer merchandise or an ebook, or a tutorial, in exchange for their email addresses. Or if you have a brick and mortar store, you can create a promo that requires people to visit the actual store in order to redeem their gift. This is very powerful, but you need to target your fans exclusively. If the offer is successful, only then should you expand your target audience
- Use Facebook to Increase Downloads of a Mobile App – if you have a mobile app or a developer of one, use Facebook to promote it as the social network is home to many mobile users. In fact, Facebook’s own statistics admit that as much as 48% of their users are using Facebook primarily on a mobile device.
- Always Have a Clear Call to Action – don’t waste any time in making sure the readers know what you want from them. Always include a CTA (Call to Action) in the body text of your ad. The limited space in a Facebook ad is not the place to be coy about encouraging readers to do something. In fact, they expect you to be direct as there’s nothing subtle about an ad.
- Use Facebook Ads to Promote Special Deals – If you have an important sale event or a special promotion going on, the most efficient way you can get it to as many eyeballs as possible is through Facebook ads.
- You Can Create a Facebook Ad Even if You Have No Facebook Page – there’s no need to spend too much time on creating a new Facebook page if you just want to try a new ad campaign or just want a quick way to get word out to many people. You can create ads for your website or anything even without a Facebook page. However, you need to be aware that ads created with no connected Facebook page will only appear on the right column. If you want the ad to appear in the News Feed, you need to have a Facebook page associated with the ad.
- Activate the Sponsored Stories Add-On – Sponsored Stories is a great way of increasing the likelihood of your stories being seen by many people. This is because any time a person interacts with your page, offer, or event, Facebook creates a “stories” post on the newsfeed and there is a chance that the person’s friends will see that he or she has interacted with your page. This gives you the potential to reach people who are not a follower.
- Take the Time to Customize the Ad Headline – spend some time crafting an actual headline when promoting a Facebook page, because if you leave it alone Facebook will just use your page title, which comes off as just lazy and might not be as effective at catching people’s attention compared to a carefully crafted ad spiel.
- Get Some Help – if you have people you can trust, you can add them as administrators to your Facebook ads account, so that they can stop and edit promotions on your page. They can even run ads using their own money in order to promote your page. You can add another admin by going to Ad Manager, then Settings, then scrolling down to Ad Account Roles and then clicking Add a User. With this, you can choose the person’s access level as administrator.
Controlling Advertising Costs in Facebook
- Use the Bidding Option – Facebook has incorporated a way of controlling ad expense via the bid setups. You can bid for impressions, clicks or your campaign objective. There is a recommended option that is selected by default, which Facebook decided upon based on your objective but it may stand some tweaking.
- Set the Type of Budget – you are given the choice between a lifetime or daily budget. The main difference between the two is that daily controls the ad spend on a per day basis. On a per day budget, your ads stop showing once you hit the day’s spend limit. Lifetime, on the other hand, asks you how much you want to spend over the “lifetime” of the ad campaign. Your ad will continue to run as long as your lifetime budget has not been met.
- Tweak Your Campaign While the Ad is Running – there are times when you find out that your campaign might not be optimal or that you shouldn’t spend as much on it. You are allowed to edit the end date or budget while the campaign is running. You can’t change the minimum daily spend limit, but the daily ad budget can be tweaked to your heart’s content.
Using Image to Create More Engaging Ads
We are now in the visual age, where mere text no longer cuts it. The same holds true in social media – if you want to attract as many eyeballs as you want, you have to leverage images and people’s fondness for visual stimulus.
- Images is Where it’s At! – stats show that Facebook ads and posts with eye-catching pictures tend to get much higher engagement compared to text only ads or those with unattractive images. So go hog wild ad incorporate visually striking images in order to make your ad stand out in a person’s news feed.
- Use Multiple Images – Facebook allows up to six images to accompany your ads without incurring any extra charges, so take advantage of it. Upload multiple images for your ad campaigns.
- Brevity is Key – some time ago Facebook’s policies restricted too much text on images. The recommendation to make sure any text on your visual aid occupy only 20% of the total image space is still there.
- Follow Facebook’s Recommended Image Sizes – the current recommended size for images is 1200×627, but there are also specific image size recommendations based on the type of ad. Follow these in order to avoid getting your ad denied or worse, published in low quality or stretch form.
Tips for Better Targeting
With the sheer volume of potential audience on social networks, it will help your marketing efforts if you optimize your targeting. Here are a few tricks that could help you:
- Use the Advanced Targeting Options – Facebook has already done the work and provides you with a glut of targeting options for your ad. Use it to limit your ad exposure to specific locations, age, gender, workplace, relationship status, education, language, interest, and a multitude of other factors that could affect audience response.
- Choose Between Targeting Existing Followers or Potential New Followers – the Advanced Targeting options allo you to tailor the exposure only to users who are already connected to your Facebook page, or to also target their friends, or even those who are not yet connected with your page. Make sure you pick an audience that aligns with your goals.
- Use Categories to Narrow Your Targets Even Further – the More Categories section will allow you to further streamline your targeted audience with some fairly niche factors, such as people who have recently celebrated a birthday, or people who are actively posting photos, etc.
- Target Local Customers if You Have a Brick and Mortar Store – if your Facebook campaign is for a local brick and mortar shop, you can choose to target people who live in the town or near the place. You can pair this with special discount offers that need to be redeemed in-store or with announcements of local sales promotions.
- Upload Your Mailing List – if you have an existing list of leads, you can upload tit directly and have Facebook target the users (provided that the email they used on Facebook is the same one they used to subscribe to your list.) Facebook will then target those users. There is also an option to integrate directly with Mail Chimp, if you are using that mailing service provider.
Marketing Tips and Tricks That You Can Do For Free
It’s not all about spending money on ads, Facebook can also be used effectively by people who are on a tight budget or those who actually have no budget to speak of. Here are some practically free stuff that can help you:
- Run a Contest – there are two things that people universally love on the Internet: winning, and getting free stuff. You can use both to attract people by running a contest on Facebook. Prizes could be anything you want, from discount codes to actual merchandise.
- Use Content Locking for Valuable Content – instead of giving away valuable content immediately, you can gate it by using an effective call to action and get your audience to do something in return. For example, people need to like your page before they can read the rest of an important article.
- Use Images instead of a Large Block of Text – instead of relying on the automated link generated by Facebook, which you usually have no control over, just upload a large attractive photo, then add a text description and the URL for the page. To make things tidy, you can use an URL shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl.
- Take Advantage of Videos – video content is very popular nowadays, and in most cases, you stand a better chance of getting people to engage with a linked Youtube video than a lengthy article.
- KISS – the old marketing adage “Keep It Simple, Stupid” applies to Facebook posts (and advertising in general.) Make sure you trim your posts down to a more manageable length, which is somewhere between 100 and 250 characters long. Facebook is not the place for novels.
- Update the Cover Photo Regularly – updating the Facebook page’s cover photo regularly has a number of utilitarian benefits. First, it shows people that the page is active and worth following. Second, the cover page allows you to make statements or announcements via images with text, or to address important events like Holidays. Third, it’s also added promotion because every time you update the photo, the activity shows up on people’s feeds (don’t abuse this, though. If you constantly update your cover photo just to make your page show up on people’s feeds, they’d consider it as flooding and may block/report your page as retaliation.)
- Post Regularly – you want to show up as much as you want on people’s feeds, but the trick here is to avoid making it look spammy while also doing it as frequently as you can. The sweetspot can be achieved by spacing the posts evenly. You don’t want the posts to come out one after the other on people’s feeds. Thankfully, Facebook allows scheduling of posts so you can post multiple statuses and just have them go live during specific times of the day.
- Use Insights – it would be silly not to use the Insights tool to check the performance of your Page. Take advantage of this analytics tool in order to optimize your Page’s performance.
- Use Tags to Broaden Your Exposure – you can easily improve your presence on the social network (not to mention develop rapport with new contacts) by using the tagging features. For example, if you are giving away merchandise from Marvel comics, try tagging their official @Marvel account on the post. Not only will you attract the attention of whoever is in charge of Marvel’s social media page, your post will also show up as one of the results when people search for “Marvel” on Facebook.
- Use Hashtags – similar to the tags, hash tags can be a great way of catching the attention of people who are searching for specific things on the social network.
- Share Testimonials – testimonials are a great way of developing relationships and expanding your network on the social network. Make sure you spruce It up with photos or videos.
- Encourage Engagement by Asking Questions – one of the key reasons for social media’s success is that it gives people a voice. Make sure you play along with that dynamic by giving people a chance to get their voices out. Ask questions, do surveys, or simply encourage people to reply with their opinions on specific topics.
- Participate in Events and Trends – stay on the look out for trends as they happen. If there’s a new dance craze, a fun new meme challenge, or even a post theme, join in on the fun. It helps get your brand out there and shows people that there’s an actual human operating your Facebook page, as opposed to other corporate, drone-automated and lifeless business pages out there.
- Share Exclusive Content for Followers – posting special, exclusive content only for followers lets you build a sense of exclusivity and belonging for people who gave you their trust. Post articles, information, or even offers that are only mean for followers. People in general want to belong. This lets you stoke that desire.
- Encourage Participation – another way you can make followers feel like they belong is by sharing content that they have made. This gives them the impression that there is a community built around your facebook page, and also makes them feel very important.
- Photo Captions – this is a different take on the previous tip. Share engaging photos and encourage followers to provide their take through captions. You will be surprised to see just how witty and creative people can be when given a chance to be.
- Quotes Rule – quotes are very popular on Facebook. Find inspiring or positive quotes from famous people and share them on your wall. For optimal results, do it in the form of a captivating photo with text. These are very shareable and there is a great chance of going viral.
- Join the Meme Craze – some people may find it crude and crass, but the power of memes to attract attention and encourage engagement is undeniable. Suck it up and join the bandwagon. Reshare the memes that are popular and in line with your goals (e.g., don’t share offensive memes if your page isn’t meant to be offensive, etc.) and watch the engagement go up, up, up.
- Ask People to Use the Like and Share Buttons as an Expression of Their Thoughts – this goes back to the tip about giving people a chance to get their voices heard. Ask a question or provide a statement, then ask people to voice their opinion through Like or Share (e.g. Do You Agree? Like if Yes, Share if Not.) This hits two birds with a single stone: you allow people to feel like they matter, and you also get them to share your posts to their friends.
Many of these tips may seem odd, but all you need to do is take a look at what successful, big name brands like Disney and Walmart are doing on Facebook and you’ll see that the tips are effective and already in use. Make sure you don’t get left behind by the rest of the market.
We also have Instagram Marketing Tips for you to read!