How to Advertise on Facebook – Updated

Okay, so you’ve developed a presence on Facebook for your business and want to start using Facebook Ads, but where do you start? How do you advertise on Facebook? When you start delving into Facebook’s advert guides, it can all feel a bit confusing, but don’t fret! We are here to help guide you through the process. Since our last post about how to advertise on Facebook, their Adverts are still a very strong tool, but now with more options. Follow these tips and you will be up and be advertising on Facebook in no time.

Facebook Reach / Audience

Before we begin, let’s take a look at Facebook’s stats, which are quite impressive. Back in April of 2012, Facebook bought Instagram and as a result, it has opened up your reach to a wider audience. This means you can link your business’ Instagram page to your Facebook Advert account and your ad will automatically show up on both platforms. Together Facebook and Instagram have almost 2 billion users visiting their sites each month. Even with competitors like Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat, Facebook is still number one when it comes to the number of users and potential consumers.

Do You Have a Facebook Business Page?

Before you start, make sure you have a Facebook Business Page as you cannot create ads via your personal Facebook page. While there are a number of ways to access Facebook ads, we recommend signing up for “Business Manager” and creating an “Adverts Manager” account to design and manage your ads. One of the benefits of doing it this way is that it allows businesses to give access to multiple people working together on an advert campaign and to easily see who is working on what. You can even assign your employees specific role-based access to adverts in order to control what they can see on your account. Once you’ve signed up for an Adverts Manager account it will walk you through each step.

Determine Your Marketing Objective

Every campaign starts with an objective so determine what yours is. Not sure? Facebook helps you determine your marketing objective by defining each type of objective they offer to help guide you to the outcome you want for your campaign. When you are setting up your ad campaign, you will see a list of all the possible objectives (see image below). You can click on each objective for its definition to help you decide which one is best for you and your business goals.

For more detailed information, read Facebook’s “Advertising Objectives” article in their help section.

Some of these options offer what Facebook calls a “split test” which is also known as A/B Testing. It allows you to create two adverts to test and compare which one does better. Speaking of testing, it’s always a good idea to test two adverts at the same time. They should only have one to two different variables such as different images. Run them for 1-2 days and see which one does better.

Define Your Audience & Advert Placements

After you have identified your objective, the next step is to identify your target audience. Facebook makes it easy and steps you through the process. This is where you will spend most of your time defining whom it is you want to reach with your ads.

Facebook Audiences

You choose your audience based on demographics, their behaviours, interests, and/or their contact information. There is a handy-dandy Audience definition (graph) to the right-hand side of the audience page (see the image below for an example). Use it to gauge how well you’ve defined your target audience. It will tell you the difference between how many people you are actually reaching versus how many people you could be reaching. To reach more of your targeted audience, increase your bids and budget.

Facebook Audience SelectionYou can also choose where your adverts will be placed or you can let Facebook automatically select this for you. We recommend that you select “Automatic Placements” when you first start out. The available placements are:

  • Facebook feeds (mobile and desktop)
  • Facebook right-hand column
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network

Know Your Ad Budget

It’s important to know your budget before you start creating your advert campaign. Facebook has an ad for every budget making it affordable for everyone. It’s also important to know that there are two different types of budgets: Daily Budgets and Lifetime Budgets.

A Daily Budget is what you’re willing to pay for an ad per day. What you spend on the first and last days are prorated depending on the run time for those days. Meaning what time did the ad start on day one and what time did it end on the last day. Those two times may be different which is why the cost is prorated. The default minimum cost per day is still $1.00 for Daily Budgets. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be charged $1.00 every day your campaign runs. For example, one day it might be $1.50 and another day $0.50 to maintain an average daily budget of $1.00. You can increase your daily budget to improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Remember, Facebook will always let you know the maximum amount you’ll spend during your campaign, so you don’t have to worry about going over budget.

A Lifetime Budget is what you’re willing to pay over the duration (lifetime) of an ad. Facebook tries to apply your budget evenly over the length of time the ad runs. The default minimum cost for Lifetime Budgets is $30.00, and like the Daily Budget, you can increase it to any amount you want which will improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Whether your ad runs for a week or a month, the cost will be at what you set it.

If you are just starting out, using the default Daily Budget option of $1.00 or even increasing it to $5.00 is more than enough to test the waters and see what works and what doesn’t. You can always change your budget once you’ve figured out which ad campaigns have worked the best for you.

Schedule Your Ad

Don’t forget to choose a schedule. There are two options:

  1. Run my advert set continuously starting today.
  2. Set a start and end date.

It’s up to you which option you choose, but if you’re someone who is a tad forgetful, then choose a specific time range. You can always stop the ad whenever you want. Remember the length of time your ad runs, also affects your budget. The longer it runs, the higher the cost. We recommend that you run an ad for no more than 3 weeks as Facebook ads tend to get stale by that point. You can always replace it with a new ad campaign with fresh images and text.

If you’re wondering how Facebook determines the cost of their ads, well it’s a bit complex and it doesn’t help that Facebook is constantly adjusting their formula. The exact cost associated with your advert being shown to someone is determined in Facebook’s Advert Auction. To learn more about it, read “Understanding how bidding and our ads auction work.”

Choose a Facebook Advert Format

Facebook adverts offer more format options than ever before. There are five to choose from: Carousel, single image, single video, slideshow, or Canvas. While most of these formats are self-explanatory, Carousel and Canvas are not.

Carousel lets you show up to 10 images and/or videos in a single ad. When people view your ad, they can scroll through the carousel cards. One of the benefits of Carousel is that it lets businesses tell a story through carousel cards or to showcase one long image that is divided between the carousel cards.

Canvas is Facebook’s newest format and it allows you to combine both images and video. You can tell a more in-depth story about your products and/or services. It is customizable and there is no one way to create a Canvas ad. If you choose to design a Canvas ad, it’s best to plan in advance what type of experience you want to create for the viewer and to have all your media materials ready in advance.

Facebook Advert Formats

Your ad will appear on desktop, mobile news feed, feature phone, and Instagram, so it’s important to follow Facebook’s guidelines when designing your ad. You want to ensure it looks good everywhere it appears whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or your mobile phone. Listed below are the recommended design guidelines to ensure your ad displays the way you want it to:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Your images should have minimal amounts of text. Facebook adverts that contain images with little to no text tend to cost less and have better delivery than adverts with image text. So, what count’s as text in your advert image? Logos, watermarks, and numbers.

For a comprehensive list of design guidelines for each marketing objective, read Facebook’s “Adverts Guide.”

It’s easy to use your own images. Just remember to size them properly beforehand otherwise, they won’t upload or they will be cropped. Don’t have any of your own photos? You can use the free stock images provided by Shutterstock via Facebook.

There are three areas on your advert to add text: Text, Headline, and Link Description. You don’t have to use all of them. What text you include is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to have a call to action. You can even use Facebook’s “Call to Action” button which offers a number of options such as contact us, learn more, download, signup, and etc.

You now have the option to add a Facebook Pixel to your ad campaigns. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to more effectively measure the performance of your ad campaigns and it helps you determine exactly who sees your ads. Learn more about it in our blog post, “How do Facebook Pixels Work – Getting Set Up.”

While designing your ad, there is an advert preview pane to the right that updates every time you make a change. There is also a drop down menu that shows you what your ad looks like on other platforms or you can use the arrow buttons to scroll through. You can experiment with your ad’s format, images, videos and text until you are satisfied with the results. You can make your advert as fancy or simple as you like.

Tracking The Results of Your Facebook Ads

Okay, so you’ve created your ad, hit the “Place Your Order” button and it has been reviewed and accepted by Facebook. What’s next? Track and measure the performance of your advert campaign using Facebook’s adverts analytics tools. Information is presented in easy and simple visual reports. Your report includes topics such as reach, actions taken, details on the audience that you reached and more. Reports are also tailored based on which marketing objective you chose. Use these analytic tools to determine if your campaign was a success and met your objectives and goals. The data can also inform your future campaigns.

Are you ready to get started? Need help? Just let us know. Facebook ad creation and management is just one of the many services we provide.

About the writer: Gloria Botelho is a practicum student from the Digital & Mobile Marketing program at Simon Fraser University. Gloria lives in East Van and is obsessed with cats, flowers, street art and all things Portuguese. You can follow her on Twitter @glorbot and on Instagram @gloria_boria.

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How To Use Hashtags To Grow Your Online Social Presence

Hashtags are a really useful tool for small businesses. You can use a hashtag to extend your social media reach and to engage prospects and like minded networkers. Used right they will help you build your following, your posts will reach a far wider audience, you will get more leads, and boost productivity. In this post, you will learn how to use hashtags to grow your online social presence.hashtag, hashtags

What is a Hashtag?

In social media a hashtag is the hash or pound sign (#) followed by a word or key phrase that is used to categorise what your post is about. For example, if you are posting about social media, you might use the hashtag #socialmedia or #socmed. When you post to social networks using a hashtag, this then becomes searchable i.e. you can click on it to see all posts that use the same hashtag and it makes it more likely that people will find your post.

A Few Things to Know About Hashtags

  • Never include a space in your hashtags. If there’s a space, then it won’t be searchable.
  • You can include numbers and capital letters in hashtags. Capitals often make the hashtag more readable and understandable.
  • Use hashtags that are short and sweet. Trying to fit a whole sentence into a hashtag makes it incomprehensible and reduces its reach.
  • You can (and should) have your own hashtag. One that you use to brand your posts.
  • Hashtags are hugely important on Instagram and are key to building your following.
  • Be extra careful when using hashtags on Facebook. Don’t use too many (2 is enough) and don’t use them too often.
  • Don’t use made up hashtags that mean nothing unless you are trying to be funny (this can backfire and be a waste of your time).

Hashtag Data by hashtagify.me 

To decide which hashtags to use, first think about what you are posting about and then consider which words you would use to describe your post. For example when we share this post we might use hashtags like #socialmedia and #marketing.

Once you have determined the most appropriate word to use you can dig deeper using tools that help you to determine the most popular ones to use.  Hashtagifyme allows you to search for a hashtag and view related hashtags and their popularity. Choose the ones that are most popular to get the widest reach.

hashtag, hashtagsInstagram Hashtags

Using hashtags is a central component to building your following and engagement on Instagram. This app allows you to use up to 30 tags – if you try to use more you won’t be able to share your post.

The optimum number will depend on your audience and your posts but a general rule of thumb is to use between 5 and 10 (test and try this to see what works for you!). Upload your photo then enter your hashtags in the caption area.

More sophisticated users often enter a few tags in the caption area then more in the comments (there’s also a way to hide them to make your posts look cleaner but still make them searchable by adding line breaks). It’s a good idea to save a list of hashtags you frequently use so that you can simply copy and paste them from your phone. Instagram has a useful feature when entering hashtags that allow you to see how often these terms are used.

Twitter Hashtags

Twitter can be a really confusing network and most people really aren’t sure how to use it effectively. Hashtags can really help with that as they help to organise constant streams of updates and help you (and your audience) find the nuggets of information they are really interested in. Use a relevant hashtag before relevant keywords to help your Tweets show up better in search. You can use them anywhere in your Tweet and popular hashtags often become trending topics. A general rule of thumb is to use 2 – if you use more then engagement will decrease.

Using hashtags efficiently and effectively can be a great way to increase your social media productivity. Remember to use them efficiently and effectively according to which platform you are on.

This post is an adaptation of a blog post that Mhairi Petrovic of Out-Smarts Marketing wrote for SMEI

Rogers Talks Small Business Events In Review

rsz_20160713_175149Rogers is celebrating small business across Canada this summer by launching their Small Business Centres with Rogers Talks.

In British Columbia, small businesses are the life blood of our economy. Over a million people in the province are employed by these firms.

Rogers Talks provide a networking opportunity for local small business owners. The focus of these events is on helping entrepreneurs learn tips and tricks that will help them succeed in growing their business. We were lucky enough to play a lead role in events at their Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Abbotsford locations.

At these events Mhairi talked to other small business owners about ‘How to Maximize your Small Business Social Media to get Better Results in Less Time’.

Here’s a recap of some of the key points.

  • Have a plan – one that aligns with your overall business plan, and write it down.
  • Determine which social media tools you should use. You can’t use them all so choose one or two and do them really well.
  • Get in the habit of listening out for opportunities (and never stop!).
  • Make the most of your digital time – do not let cute cats or Donald Trump distract you.
  • Share great content that engages and adds value for your audience.
  • Make sure your website is social media ready.
  • Be authentic and real – find your voice and let your passion show through.
  • Put in place tools and practices to measure your success.
  • Have fun – most important of all!

Thanks to the team at Rogers, the caterers and technicians who made these events a success.

 

Scottish Social Media Marketing Show Review

This week I attended my first social media event in my native land – the Scottish Social Media  and Marketing Show in Edinburgh. The show, aimed at small Scottish Social Media Marketing Showbusinesses in Scotland, was right up my alley. It was hosted by Hashtag Events and featured 3 breakout sessions with 3 separate options for talks, as well as an exhibitors centre showcasing marketing, print and networking companies.

I couldn’t attend all of the breakouts and I am sure I missed some great sessions. Here are my key takeaways from the event and the talks I did see:

1. I was at the conference hoping to see how small businesses in Scotland use social media in comparison to Canada. Turns out they are using them in exactly the same way. Social media adoption by small businesses in Scotland is a little behind Canada from what I can tell, and there’s the same confusion over which tools to use and how to use them strategically.

2. The first session I attended was Liz Melville’s talk on How to Spend Less Time on Social Media and Get Better results. Her advice – get clarity on who your clients are, align your products and services to them and use automation to fill your sales funnel even when you’re not working.

3. The next session presented by Colin McKeand focused on networking. Everyone had the chance to do their 1 minute elevator pitch. Key takeaway was that a connection is nothing without a follow up.

4. David Hood‘s session was the next one I attended. It was called Stop the Noise: Applying Insight and Intelligence for Competitive Advantage. Ironically, I was at the back of the room and couldn’t really hear for the noise from the exhibitor area but I could tell he was questioning and counter balancing some of the norms of social media and had a great wry sense of humor and directness. Wish I had had a better seat for this one…

5. The final session I attended was the one I found most beneficial, by Steven Sefton who had some killer ideas on how to improve your website. They included:

  • ditching the sliders on your site (they don’t work!),
  • using copy that is about your prospective customer and not about you,
  • having effective call to actions
  • really great content marketing that your audience can relate to and that gets shared.

All in all it was a day well spent. Thanks to all of the speakers and to the hosts!

Google Reviews – How To Get More Reviews for Your Business

Good Google reviews are super important. When people Google your business the first thing they are likely to see is your Google My Business listing. If you have lots of great reviews that helps to get people through your door to do business with you, and it helps with your website positioning.

I was asked recently how to get good reviews and how to get rid of bad ones. Unfortunately you can’t just delete bad reviews. Trying to get them removed can be arduous too, so the best way is simply to get more good reviews!

Here are a few ideas and suggestions to make the process easier for your customers (and for you too!) – these will work for Google but you can adapt and use them for Yelp reviews, and Facebook too.

Google Reviews – How To Get MoreGoogle Reviews

1. Many people don’t know how to give a review on Google. Prepare a one sheet handout giving them detailed directions showing them how to submit a review for your business. Email these to your customers or give them to them at the checkout (depending on the type of business you operate).

2. If you collect email addresses for your current customers (recent customer in the last 2 years only!) you should send a follow up email those that buy from you. Thank them for their business, ask for a review and give them directions as outlined above. You could also send this to your newsletter subscribers encouraging them to review your biz. Be careful though, because of the Canadian Anti Spam legislation you can’t simply email everyone and anyone.

3. Run a monthly promo: each review is entered into a draw each month. At the end of the month draw one and send them something good like a gift card or a voucher they can use next time they do business with you.

4. Make sure your staff know how important it is to get good reviews and incorporate asking for reviews into your business processes.

5. Seek out those who give good reviews and make sure to thank them. If you ignore them then they’re certainly not going to give you more!

6. Add an ask for a review on your invoices / receipts.

7. Showcase reviews on your website and on your social feeds too.

8. Depending on your business model you can add a call to action button on your website encouraging people to review you.

10. When you set up your My Business listing Google probably sent you a ‘Review us on Google’ sticker. Display this prominently.

Of course getting good reviews starts with having great customer service. The better your service the more likely your reviews will be great too!

Related articles:

Listing Your Business on Google

Tips for Staying CASL Compliant