Facebook Ads 101: How to Get Started

Whether you’re running your own firm or practice, chances are you have dabbled in Facebook at least a little bit. Maybe you’re pushing your original blog articles there as we speak, but if you’re not getting engagement on your posts (likes, shares, or comments), it may have nothing to do with the quality of your content. Instead, it may have everything to do with who your content is reaching, and in many cases – who it isn’t reaching.

Facebook has notoriously made organic reach difficult, if not impossible with a meager 2 percent reach reported by agencies. With the updated mission of Facebook announced earlier this year, they are prioritizing real-life experiences shared by your friends and family in News Feed over paid media by brands and publishers further complicating even the most seasoned marketers’ Facebook strategies.

Therefore, paid media strategies have to be that much more intentional to find a return on the advertising dollars you inevitably have to spend to play in the Facebook sandbox. Because of the many options and customizations available, using Facebook Ads may seem like an overwhelming challenge if you’ve never used them before. While this may be true for many first-timers, the platform is worth exploring for your business.

Here are several tips on how to get the most out of your marketing campaign, even on your first try.

Have a Plan and Reference Ads Resources Beforehand

Without a plan, it’s literally like throwing money out the window and letting wind and gravity take your success away in an instant. Therefore, before you create any ad, decide what you need to accomplish with it to justify the spend. Whether its $5 or $500, make sure you direct those dollar bills toward supporting a business goal.

Without a plan, it’s literally like throwing money out the window and letting wind and gravity take your success away in an instant. Therefore, before you create any ad, decide what you need to accomplish with it to justify the spend. Click To Tweet

In your strategy, plan the content you will promote on Facebook. This can be a combination of educational and promotional content, special offers, events, etc. You will also plan which audience will be targeted FOR EACH PIECE OF CONTENT. You may have one audience or several, but be thoughtful about which audience is targeted with each separate Facebook ad you run.

Lastly, familiarize yourself with some of the advertising resource Facebook makes available and other step-by-step guides. Because the volume of resources can be overwhelming (and honestly, who has time to become a Facebook Ads expert in addition to their regular job?), here are a few I recommend to help you get you started:

Set the Right Objective

The first thing you will need to fill out when starting a Facebook Ads campaign is to choose its objective. Facebook offers objectives within a standard buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. You can pick from the following:

  • Awareness
    • Brand awareness
    • Reach
  • Consideration
    • Traffic
    • App installs
    • Video vies
    • Lead generation
    • Post engagement
    • Page likes
    • Event responses
    • Messages
  • Conversions
    • Conversions
    • Catalog sales
    • Store visits

Choose the one that’s most in tune with your goals. For most professional service businesses just starting out, you may start with brand awareness to promote your website and services. I recommend simultaneously running a Consideration ad to either drive traffic to your website where they can take action and/or page likes to build your audience on the Facebook platform.

Target Your Audience

I mentioned this above, and know it’s worth re-mentioning here in greater detail. I can’t overstate how critical targeting the right audience with your ad is to your Facebook advertising success.

Facebook is in hot water as we speak because of how they mishandled user information. But they collect a ton of information about its users, which is why targeting is so effective using their platform. With this in mind, you can and should be highly specific when you set-up your ad campaign.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Language
  • Demographics / Interests / Behaviors

The beautiful thing is that you can be as specific or non-specific as you want to be. Based on your selection, Facebook will then tell you your estimated audience reach. If you have your buyer personas created, this step should be relatively easy for you to complete to target your specific audience meaningfully.

[RELATED: Need help with identifying your audience? Download my free guide to defining your ideal client here.]

Tell a Great Story

Regardless of what type of content you will be using, it is important to remember that everybody loves a good story. Facebook conducted a study to determine which kind of ad campaign works best. They compared two sequenced ad campaigns of the same brand over the same 12-day period where one campaign focused solely on creative images and calls-to-action, while the other focused mainly on the brand’s story and product information.

Surprisingly, or not, the second ad campaign which featured a more in-depth look at the company and its products saw an 87% increase in people visiting the landing page and a 56% increase in subscription rates than the first campaign.

So, what’s your takeaway? Create quality content to promote on Facebook. Doing so will only help the money you spend on Facebook ads work harder.

Boost Individual Posts

In addition to creating Facebook ad campaigns, you can also boost individual posts and run promotions right from your business page. I especially love this feature, because you can re-boost posts again and again and get a lot of mileage from one piece of content with a small ad budget.

Each time you boost a post, you can update the Objective. So, for instance, maybe the first time you boosted your post, your objective was to drive traffic to your website with the goal to raise awareness and subscribe to your blog. The next time you boost the same post, you could set the Objective to Engagement, where you want people to like, share, and comment on your post.

Just one Facebook post can wind up working incredibly hard for you. With each promotion that post can generate a lot of reaction, which, in turn, increases its credibility to those seeing it for the first time, even if it is a post from 2 years ago!

Monitor Performance and Think Long-Term

Unlike traditional advertising, with Facebook Ads, you can monitor your campaign performance in real time and for its lifetime. This means that you can look and analyze what aspects of it are working, what features aren’t, and then change those parameters for better results. If, for instance, the number of clicks is lower than expected, you could tweak your call-to-action. If the reach is too low, you can consider looking at the audience targeting specifications or ad placement.

However you end up crafting your campaign, thinking long-term is the key to success. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and leaving room for some initial experimentation will be required to find your sweet spot. Consider budgeting for two or more small campaigns, in the beginning, to determine what features work best with your services and work yourself up from there.

Conclusion

Just know that your success with Facebook ads is ultimately driven by how well your content connects with your audience. Click To Tweet

The considerations outlined above will help you get started with Facebook advertising for your business. Just know that your success with Facebook ads is ultimately driven by how well your content connects with your audience. Therefore, take the time to continue creating amazing content and then leverage tools like Facebook ads to put it to work for you and your marketing goals.