One overlooked but effective way to leverage small business advertising and social media exposure is advertising on Facebook Business. Millions of businesses now have a Facebook page for their enterprise, however, getting new customers to look at and “like” a page can be a challenging task. Many will ask friends to like the page to get it started; other businesses will offer discounts and incentives for a like or a check-in. While those can give a boost to a company’s Facebook profile, they can often be expensive. Those who look at and try Facebook Ads will find this form of advertising to both reach one’s audience while incurring a low cost for the business.
An ad can be set up in five simple steps. The first is choosing the objective. Brand awareness, website sales, and downloading an app are among the most popular reasons a business wants prospective customers to view their Facebook page. Second is choosing the audience, and Facebook offers numerous options for selecting the audience. Age and location are among the top factors. However, demographics and behavior are other important considerations. Third, Facebook gives businesses a choice as to where to advertise their platform, meaning its Audience Network, Instagram, or on Facebook itself. Given mobile’s increasingly dominant position online, most experts advise designing ads around mobile sites rather than desktop platforms. Fourth, users can select a budget and a time period to run an ad. Both budget and time periods can be customized, and even if a business can only afford a nominal amount (as low as $1) per day, Facebook can work with nearly any budget. Fifth, the enterprise must select the format, meaning will the ad contain an image, video, or a slideshow. Alternatively, a low-cost alternative to the created ad is to press the “Boost Post” button on a post that exists on the business page’s news feed. These features give the business great flexibility to increase brand awareness and fine tune the placement and appearance of an ad to cater to the business’s needs. Finally, placement is also an option. The ad can run either on the side of the page (on desktop platforms), or it simply shows up in the desktop news feed, the mobile news feed, the Instagram news feed, or any combination thereof, for users fitting the targeted demographic.
Once the ad is designed, the parameters are decided, and the ad itself is submitted, Facebook must approve the ad. After approval, the ad will appear to the types of customers chosen in the requested format. The cost of the ad is determined by many factors, though Facebook tells customers the cost before submission. And costs are only incurred if a user clicks on the ad, so the overwhelming majority of users will see the ad at no cost to the business. The ad will run until the time the user determines or until the budget for the time period has been spent. As the ad is running, Facebook continuously collects and displays information on the results which can be seen in the Ads Manager. Depending on the results the company is seeking, be it more page likes, more interactions, or more direct sales, businesses can edit the ad to increase the budget, change the ad in the hopes of improving results, or simply suspend the ad at any time.
With Facebook Business, small businesses can now reach some of the two billion users now on Facebook at a very modest cost. The ability to reach that number on nearly any budget with pictures or video commercials is powerful, and the ads are made more effective by the fact that they can be targeted based on age, location, psychographics, personal interests, or many other factors. If businesses choose Facebook for their advertising medium, it can open up new business leads that are unattainable in traditional advertising channels with a low cost and level of targeting not previously possible.