Almost every social-networking platform now has its own advertising system, Facebook however still reigns supreme in terms of features, insights and audience. As of the second quarter of 2016, Facebook has 1.71 billion monthly active users, for a small business it is the ideal place to start advertising.

Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to place small display type ads in the right sidebar of Facebook pages and profiles.

Unfortunately, just because Facebook is a great platform for advertising doesn’t mean all brands use it effectively. Many end up wasting money and throwing resources down the drain, because they have no strategy or don’t understand how to use it.

All it takes for your Facebook advertising to succeed is a little knowledge of how Facebook advertising works and what some of the best practices are. Here are some tips on how to utilise Facebook advertising for small businesses.

Facebook advertising tips

Create and Promote your Facebook Page:

In order to gain maximum exposure for your brand you must create and promote your business page. You should regularly post pictures of your company’s activities or update your wall with notifications of current promotions. Integrate your brand marketing strategies outside of Facebook as well. Here are some other ways to promote your page:

  • Add Facebook plugins on your website to allow your visitors to share content directly onto their Facebook timelines.
  • Add a link to your Facebook page in all your email and hard copy mail correspondences.
  • Encourage followers on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn, to like your Facebook page in return for a reward ie. A voucher code.

Choose the right ad type

Choosing the right ad type is essential for success. With multiple Facebook ad types at your disposal, you need to be clear on your desired result before you create your advertisement. You need to understand if an engagement ad is what you are looking for, or if a poll ad might better boost interaction with your brand. If you want more likes on your brand page, a promoted post might be more appropriate for your needs. Reviewing the different ad types available will help you decide which option is best for your small business and will deliver the results you hope to obtain.

Creativity is the key!

For success with Facebook advertising, use current social media trends. Big brands can use news-jacking to increase engagement with consumers; and your small business can do the same. Keep up to date with everything from trending hashtags on Twitter to viral stories in your Facebook news feed. Ensure the trend is relevant to your business and then change your Facebook ads accordingly. Something as simple as tweaking the title of your ad can have an impact on your engagement rate; approach Facebook advertising with the mind of an ad executive and you can’t go wrong.

Images, Images, Images!

Make sure you use eye-catching images that are related to your products and services. These are a major influence in creating captivating ads. Image quality and colours that stand out in News Feed, as well as keeping text to a minimum,will grab attention. Don’t have any high quality images? No problem, try using some of the professional stock images that Facebook provides. They’re free, and can make your ads look much better.

images on Facebook

Target your audience!

Make sure you use Facebook advertising targeting options to create highly successful Facebook ad campaigns. Facebook advertising has some incredible targeting skills that can help you adapt your message and target your preferred audiences.

  1. Take advantage of advanced targeting options. Facebook has an extensive amount of brilliant and unique targeting options for FB paid ads you won’t get elsewhere. You can target audiences by location, age, gender, workplace, relationship status, language, education and more.
  2. Get your ideal audience with Interest targeting. In addition to the targeting options mentioned above, Facebook allows for some incredible deep interest targeting. This provides remarkable value, and the interest targeting abilities alone can justify your use of Facebook advertising.
  3. Making new friends or focusing on the old. You can target your Facebook ads exclusively to users who are already connected to your Facebook page, or you can choose to target them and their friends, or those who aren’t connected to your page yet at all.
  4. Narrow your target with more categories. If you only have a few interests targeted, try adding related topics in the "More Categories" section. There you'll find options for narrowing your audience even further - choose users who have had a birthday recently, who upload a lot of photos on Facebook, etc.
  5. Try targeting people who live in your town or local area to bring more people instore. Couple this with Facebook Offers to be redeemed in store and see just how much in-store footfall you can get from being social.
  6. If you’re looking to build upon existing leads, upload your mailing list to Facebook. You can add a custom audience and upload your mailing list directly to Facebook, enabling you to target users you have an existing relationship with. Taking advantage of the custom audiences feature often increases ad conversion rates. You can upload a mailing list or connect directly with Mail Chimp. Just click “Create New Audience” in the Audiences section.

Facebook interests search

Post highly liked and shareable content:

Getting shares on Facebook is more beneficial to you than getting likes. Sharing content along with a personal opinion will grab the eye of your friend’s friends. There are many ways to get your posts shared. Witty or funny images and quotes, inspirational images and quotes, images or text posts about discounts or freebies and so on can bring in a lot of shares, and ideally, a lot of exposure to your brand on Facebook.

Accompany ads with landing pages.

Push visitors through a landing page before you connect an ad to your website or product page. Landing pages allow you to maximize your Facebook advertising efforts by educating users before asking them to buy.

Landing pages make sense because Facebook advertising isn’t cheap. You’re going to spend money on your clicks and you want each one to count. Simply sending them to a basic website or product page without any clear direction of what they need to do is a waste of money.

Activate Facebook Check-in (for local businesses)

If your business is local, it is a good idea to encourage your visitors to check-in with Facebook so that their timeline displays their visit to your physical business and also shows a link to your Facebook business page.. All you need to do is add your business’s address when you create the page. Just make sure there is not another business page under your name or using the same address. Encourage your visitors to check-in on Facebook to win a discount on their next visit.

With the new Facebook Graph search, users look for key terms which will likely return results of friends that have visited local businesses. This may increase the preference for the brand and may even boost their business.

Mark Twain advertising quote

Track your success

Knowing whether you want to increase your click-through rate or boost landing page views will help you to be clear on your ROI. You can’t measure success if you don’t first understand what success looks like. Knowing which metrics are relevant to your small business is just as important as understanding what type of Facebook ad is best for your brand.

Establish a bid strategy and budget

Finally, it’s essential that you set a bid strategy and budget. Otherwise you could end up spending way more than you wanted. Facebook makes this easy by permitting you to use what’s known as Optimized CPM. With this tool, you’re principally giving Facebook the permission to bid for ad space based on the restrictions and goals you stipulate. This allows you to maximize your budget and avoid overspending. Until you get an idea of how much ad space costs and how to allocate your budget, it’s best to let Facebook take care of this aspect of your campaign.