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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Facebook Wall – #GetReal

Facebook can be a great place for small businesses to build community, loyalty and awareness. It can even level the playing field with larger competitors. It is important to remember, when using Facebook for your small business, not to hide behind your wall or try to make your business out to be something it isn’t. Be authentic, transparent and genuine – get out from behind your wall from time to time because the best online presences are those that reflect, augment and intertwine with your everyday functions.Slide1

 

Facebook Privacy – Should You Be Concerned?

Privacy and Social Networking

An article in today’s Vancouver Sun raises the Facebook privacy issue again: the article discusses the increase in bogus online identities and points out that many business individuals are steering clear of Facebook as a result.

Every time Facebook makes changes, like those we mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, the inevitable wave of hysteria follows. Whilst privacy is undoubtedly an issue, it shouldn’t be a reason to avoid social networks completely. Given that 400 million people (and counting) use Facebook, if you are in a professional role where building your network is part of what you do, then it is simply foolish to ignore Facebook completely.

How To Mitigate Facebook Privacy Concerns

Privacy is indeed a concern, as is identity theft, but if you take a few simple precautions when social networking you can really help limit the risk of these eventualities actually transpiring. What better a time then to review some simply steps you can take to mitigate these concerns:

1. Use the privacy settings (in Facebook click on settings at the top right hand side of your screen then privacy) to make sure that your personal information such as date of birth, home address, email etc are not there for all the world to see – dont want to encourage identity thieves or spammers do we?

2. Off the Wall – dont use peoples wall to communicate personal information or communications. If it is longer than a couple of sentences take it to Facebook email.

Duckhunt

3. Remember that the first thing recruiters do these days is to check out candidates on Facebook. If you intend on ever applying for another job you should be cognizant of this. Boasting about your drinking prowess to the world will not land you that coveted job. Always do the granny test, be careful of what you post and again use the privacy settings accordingly.

4. Be authentic – upload a profile picture so that people can see that its really you – or what you look like after all these years, as the case may be.

5. Be selective about who you add and which pages you like. Dont add every TD&H who invites you and remember what mother said about strangers! Seriously though, being selective about who you connect with gives you more control if safety is a concern: this is not about quantity – it is about quality.

6. Never Buy Friends or Followers – never use sites that promise you thousands of new followers or views. There is always a catch. (Thanks to the a forementioned Sun article for that one!).

7. Be respectful and dont use profanities too much – you never know when someones kid is watching over there shoulder (take it from me – this happens a lot!).

8. Be true to who you are. Transparency is key to effective social media participation. Dont try to present yourself as something or someone you are not. Imagine how embarrassing it will be when someone crawls out of the woodwork and points out the truth – to everyone.

9. Say It – If it is not worth saying out loud, it is not worth saying on line. This is a good mantra to bear in mind when considering your status updates.

10. Block Em – If someone is rude to you in comments or on your wall, you can block them. Again go to settings, privacy and scroll down to Block List to do so.

11. Applications – you should be aware that most of the games and applications on Facebook are from third party companies you know nothing about and are often set up for the simple purpose of collecting you marketing info. Once you add the application, they have access to your information. Be wary of which applications you add and again use the privacy settings to control this.

Thanks to Tailor Ransom for the great Flickr image!

Use Social Media to Maintain and Grow Your Network

Building relationships online is as important to growing your business or reputation as networking in the real world. Not only can you be more effective using social media but you can also get more done in less time.

The Internet is a great way to expand your career horizons and get to know new and influential contacts. Here are a few pointers to bear in mind when using social media to network.

1. Dont try to network in every Internet networking hub out there. Choose those where you get the biggest impact (i.e. those that your existing contacts already use, those that reflect your target audience, or those most applicable to your niche). The most popular are LinkedIn (Professional Network), Facebook (fastest growing) and Twitter but there are many networks that are industry or job specific (like Active Rain for real estate) too so take time to check them out.

2. Leverage existing on-line networks to grow new ones. I use the Out-Smarts’ Facebook Page profile to promote our Twitter account and vice versa and add more contacts in that forum

3. Promote your activity in your chosen forums by including it in business cards, profiles and on your website.

4. Use widgets. Most of the social networks allow you to widget a link to your profile. Add this to your site, blog etc and include widgets for other networks in your networking profiles.

5. Always remember to be professional in these forums – ask the Granny question and make sure your content is appropriate to your professional standing.

6. When you meet new contacts in the real world find then on-line and add them to your networks.

7. Trawl the friends of your friends and contacts and add those you know or those gurus in your business.

8. Don’t spread yourself over too many networks or allow them to suck up your time. Schedule it into your day.

9. Join groups. Facebook and LinkedIn both offer groups. Join applicable ones and gain access to more people in your field.

10. Participate in the right forums. These should relate to your industry or market and to those of your prospects.

11. Ask and answer questions and use your status to attract new contacts.

12. Blogs can be a great way to build your network too. If you have a blog, always follow up with people who leave comments to connect with possible prospects and peers.

13. If you don’t have a blog then use blog comments as a forum to connect with influential bloggers in your industry, to build awareness of what you do and to add value for their visitors in turn.

Shut Up and Listen

In December I read an article in the Vancouver Sun that inspired me. The article, called “How Social Media Have Globalized the Shopping Experience”, related how the writer, Gillian Shaw, simply had to Twitter about her choice for next car and lo and behold she got a response from a GM dealer offering her a test drive. Here’s an excerpt:

Gillian Shaw

My Social Media Experiment

So, I decided to try this out for myself to see whether organisations using social media are actually doing a good job of listening and responding to customers and prospects.

Twitter

First stop Twitter where I decided I would use the tool to plan a ski trip. So I Twittered:

CaptureSki

To date I haven’t had a response. I tried a different tact and sent a Tweet to Sun Peaks who were listening to direct messages and did, thankfully, respond:

Sunpekas

A few days later I got stuck in an elevator: what a perfect opportunity to see if anyone was listening and could help me. So I posted my dilemma on Facebook and Twitter. Followers we’re listening – I got 2 responses from friends, both in Alberta, both in no position to help me escape!

Facebook

On to Facebook, where I commented on the Marks & Spencer Page about my frustration with their delivery service (more often than not gifts for my family in the UK arrive broken or damaged):

M&S2

Here was an opportunity for M&S to respond to my concern and to correct it in the public forum, to enhance their customer loyalty but again I had no response. Very disappointing – this year I will find a more reliable supplier and M&S just lost a loyal customer of 20 odd years because they weren’t listening or were choosing to ignore my comments.

Shut Up and Listen

Whilst I might not have the following of a journalist like Gillian Shaw, I do have over 2000 Twitter followers and am very active online – I really expected to get more response to my social media comments.

What is my point here? I have two:

1) Shut Up – First of all companies should realize that we are living in a new world, one where they can and should interact with their customers in these forums to build loyalty and improve customer service. Your audience expects this and not doing so puts you at risk of negative exposure. This is no longer a push to market model where companies bombard their audience with one way messages but a two way street where they can build loyal and valuable relationships with customers and prospects and enhance brand value. Shut up about yourself already and focus instead on your audience and providing value for them.

2) Listen – the first step any company should take when approaching social media is to implement effective listening strategies. Listen to what online communities have to say about your products or services, company, industry and competitors. By doing so you will not only get a feel for what is appropriate (very useful when building your social media strategy) but you will also identify sales opportunities, chances to improve customer service and to build loyalty so that customers keep coming back. Our article Are You Listening? talks about tools you can use to do this effectively.

Conclusion

I look forward to the day when companies stop talking about themselves and start listening to and fulfilling the needs of their audience on social media. There is a vast source of information and opportunity about your company and your market online just waiting for you to tap into it. What are you waiting for? Shut up and listen!