For small business owners who want to make marketing a priority but don’t have the time, budget or knowhow, Facebook can be a smart choice.
Here, our Performance Marketing Manager shares his best tips for getting started with Facebook ads.
As a former Facebook advertiser, Fabian Spura, Holvi’s Senior Performance Marketing Manager, knows the ins and outs of Facebook marketing. Read on to learn more about what he recommends for small businesses.
Facebook is still relevant for small businesses
First of all: Is Facebook still relevant? Aren’t the young fleeing Facebook, and isn’t the whole platform so 2012?
Not quite. Facebook still has more than two billion users globally. And let’s not forget that Instagram is also a part of Facebook; advertising on Instagram happens directly through the Facebook Ads Manager. In most cases, it still makes sense for your business to be present on Facebook and advertise there.
You can do a lot for free on Facebook. Just having your business profile doesn’t cost you anything. But the harsh reality is that getting visibility and seeing tangible results usually requires some ad spending.
"What makes Facebook such a great advertising channel is the possibility to knock off competitors with the best creative you can provide."
Why is it worthwhile for small business owners to advertise on Facebook?
“Reaching out to your audience is always a challenge. Facebook, including Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network, offers interesting options when it comes to targeting options”, Fabian explains.
“However, you need to consider Facebook as an awareness-building medium. You will show ads to a theoretically interested audience, but it will still only address impulsive behavior. Granted, they might think, ‘Oh, this looks interesting to me, let's click on that.’ But will that be sufficient to get you the purchase?
Ultimately, Facebook gives you great options to find your perfect audience. But that’s not enough – you also need a great ad.
“What makes Facebook such a great advertising channel is the possibility to knock off competitors with the best creative you can provide – and that's the most relevant one for your audience.”
Getting started with Facebook ads: what to consider?
If you’ve never run an ad campaign on Facebook, it might seem a bit scary. Where does one even start?
“You need to come up with a strategy first.”
You need to decide what you want to achieve with your campaign. There are different objectives Facebook allows you to choose from like traffic, engagement, or reach. So where should you start?
“There is one campaign type that could help you find a compromise between building the next Coca-Cola and selling thousands of products while burning money: brand awareness.”
What is brand awareness? It’s a campaign type that helps “lift your brand” and also helps people remember your business. Facebook will then show your ads to people who are more likely to recall them. This is a good goal for a small and perhaps still quite unknown business.
But while Facebook is a good marketing channel, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket.
“Facebook Ads will not work alone. You need to bring some quality traffic organically or through Google Ads with good keywords.”
What this means is that all your marketing activities shouldn’t be focused only on Facebook. It makes sense to look into the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) and make sure potential customers can find you on Google. And maybe save a slice of your marketing budget for Google Ads as well.
We know this can sound a bit overwhelming, but remember: you don’t have to do everything at once. Facebook is a good place to start, but as you learn more about marketing and grow your business, you should start looking into other marketing channels as well.
“I've seen very successful campaigns running with €5 a day.”
What can you do with a limited budget?
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to spend millions, not even tens of thousands, on Facebook to see results.
“An initial investment of €2000 should last you for at least six months, depending on your business. But it depends a lot on your campaign's setup. If you already have a strong brand on Facebook, investment doesn't need to be that high and €100 a month will get you some good data to evaluate your potential on Facebook.”
“I've seen very successful campaigns running with €5 a day. It's not so much about the budget but the quality of the ad and the product you are offering. With the right audience you can run very successful campaigns for a few bucks.”
Before rushing into launching your first campaign, really consider: Who is your ideal customer? What appeals to them? This will not only let you define the audience targeting but also help you create the perfect ad for your ideal customer.
Conversions, clicks, engagement – what should you be paying for?
If you’re new to digital marketing, just the terminology itself might seem overwhelming. CTR, CPC, CPM – the acronyms seem endless. So which really matter? And what should you be paying for?
“Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, are always very subjective. Some advertisers aim for traffic, others for video views and others for sales or subscriptions. In the beginning, you should aim for high Click-Through Rates (CTR) and low Cost Per Click (CPC).”
Once you’ve gotten the hang of Facebook marketing and are ready to take things to the next level, there’s one strategy that Fabian highly recommends: retargeting. It means showing your ads to the people who’ve already engaged with your Facebook page – after all, they seem to be interested.
“The people that already engaged with your page are the best ones you can advertise to.”
Experiment and learn
The best way to learn what works for your business is simple: just start experimenting. You can also find extra help from Facebook’s own learning platform Blueprint. Use Fabian’s tips as a baseline, but try out different approaches to learn the best strategy for you. It takes creativity, patience and occasionally some problem solving skills – but isn’t that why you’re running a business in the first place?
Fabian’s Top 4 Facebook advertising tips for small businesses
1. Focus on creative and content more than on setup technicalities. Really consider what kind of ad speaks to your customers.
2. Unfortunately, unpaid visibility on social media is practically non-existent – don’t waste time or money on giveaways.
3. Keep it simple. Don’t scale by budget: if results look good, don’t just pump in more money, but rather try to keep your cost-per-new-customer low. And keep an active eye on your ads’ performance!
4. Give Google Ads a go – you don’t want to rely only on Facebook. The easiest way to start is to create a campaign advertising your own brand’s name. This way you ensure that your competitors don’t steal your traffic.