Whatever your business type, there’s a use for online advertising.
The XLN Small Business Guide to Facebook Advertising
Currently pegged at 2.07 billion active users per month, Facebook is easily the biggest market available to the average small business owner. It’s one of the few places where a small business can compete on a more-or-less level footing with larger corporations.
In terms of how many people see your brand’s post, and are aware of you as a business, not only are Facebook’s basic posting functions totally free to use, but you can also boost posts to attract thousands of eyeballs, even on relatively small budgets.
However, most small businesses aren’t making the most this – and those that do often fail to serve their ads to a relevant audience.
A good FB ad campaign isn’t something you’ll be able to work out how to do overnight, but the sooner you start testing, the sooner you’ll start seeing results.
So we’re providing this brief guide as a starting point, giving you the tools you need to go the rest of the way.
Facebook Ads in the wild
If you use Facebook, you’ll know that interspersed amongst your friends’ updates there are posts that bear the moniker “Sponsored”. These are FB ads.
The cool thing about these ads is that they have been customised to appear on some feeds – such as yours – but not others.
That means the maker of those ads (hopefully) isn’t wasting money serving their ads to people who aren’t interested in their services. This is known as Facebook Ad Targeting.
How does Facebook Ad Targeting work?
Facebook gives a number of default ways to target. Most broadly, you can target by age and gender – so if you sell men’s razors, you may want to serve ads mainly to men. And if you sell retirement options, you may want to pitch your ads to an older demographic than if you sell, say, plastic water-guns (but who knows).
More specific targeting will involve more specific data about potential customers – their activity on your website, for example (were they looking at baby socks? They probably have or are going to have a baby, and can be constructively served baby product-ads).
Or you can use a person’s Facebook likes to guess what they’d be interested in buying. A person with a lot of books and films on their like list might usefully be sold journal subscriptions and cinema tickets. A person who’s liked a lot of motivational speakers and health gurus might usefully be sold self-help books and nutritional supplements.
How do I use it?
Once you have the core concepts down, you should visit the Facebook ads manager to build, engage and sell to online audiences. Check out Part 2 of our guide, where we’ll be going into the nitty-gritty of setting up your very first ad campaign.