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Facebook is now, by technology standards, the Grand Old Patriarch of social media. It’s one of the oldest surviving social media platforms, having arisen from the ashes of older efforts like Myspace and gone on to accumulate huge numbers for itself. In fact, 68% of all adult Americans use Facebook, with many of those being the coveted older demographics traditionally a little hesitant to use technology.
However, while there’s no question that Facebook is currently the king of the hill, does any king rule forever? There have been some rumblings that all is not necessarily glowing with Facebook’s future. That doesn't mean people should abandon Facebook for marketing; the numbers on Facebook are simply too huge to ignore. It does say that people who choose to advertise on Facebook should do so with the understanding of what Facebook is good for, its limitations, and which advertising is most effective on that channel.
So how do you begin planning your advertisements on Facebook? Read on!
Why Use Facebook?
First, let’s look at why you should be thinking of Facebook at all. In 2018 alone, between the USA and Canada, Facebook had a total of 242 million monthly active users. And that's just North America. The number jumps into the billions when you count the total global user-base. So the logical reason to choose Facebook is, "This is where the people are." And you'd be right if you consider that 41% of users are 65 years old or older. That's a lot of older Americans who can be reached at a cheaper rate than traditional advertising such as television or radio commercials!
It's also important to remember that people check Facebook multiple times during the day. Like other social media, consumers return to Facebook, again and again, so you've got plenty of opportunities to impress them. All it takes is the right approach.
Formulate a Plan
Just like a business plan is your roadmap to reaching your business goals and milestones, you'll need a marketing plan to help you achieve your marketing goals. You don't want to just jump into Facebook advertising with a vague purpose of "improving my business." You want to figure out what your business condition is, where you want to see the improvement, what methods will give you this improvement, and what market is best to get you the improvement you're seeking.
In other words, you need a solid "plan of attack" if you want to come out with a win. Just jumping in, hoping for the best, with no clear idea of how to accomplish your goals will waste time and, more importantly, money.
Start with the marketing basics. Understand your product or service, understand the demographic that needs it, and then figure out how your market is shopping for the product or service you offer. Understand your unique selling point and figure out how best to convey that to your approach. Finally, find the best avenue to approach your audience. If you see that your audience consists mostly of parents who are shopping for their children, then you know that Facebook may be the perfect venue for our marketing efforts because it's a guaranteed older demographic.
Tell Facebook What You Want
Facebook is actually quite friendly when it comes to advertising. However, you're only going to get the most from Facebook if you can tell Facebook what your goal is. That is why it's so important to have a plan going in. You have to make sure your plan is something that Facebook can understand.
For example, you may simply be interested in creating a video that you want to be watched by as many as people as possible. Facebook has parameters in place correctly to handle this goal. On the other hand, you may want to simply generate more leads. Facebook has specific measures in place for this too. What about encouraging visits to your store? Facebook can do that. And if you just want to advertise a particular product or promotion and get traffic or clicks on that, Facebook can push those objectives as well. So make sure that you know what you're trying to achieve with your advertising and how it aligns with the options Facebook has for advertising.
Narrow Down Your Audience
You know the age and perhaps even the lifestyle of your chosen demographic, but you can do better. Facebook allows you to really hone in on the specific market you're looking for. Geographically, you can even target certain locations, which is a huge plus if you’ve got a local business and you’re trying to drive more traffic within your town, city, or general region.
You can even tweak your advertising based on specific parameters, like whether you're getting additional interaction from people looking at your business Facebook page or your Instagram business profile. You can even start moving on other potential customers who have interests related to your primary demographic.
Get really familiar with your ideal targets in general and then for specific campaigns. Facebook can help direct the best candidates to your page and your ads, but you have to give it the right parameters.
Choose Your Ad Placement
Now that you know what you’re trying to do, and who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to decide where you’re going to put your advertising. Simple marketing minds might go for a "scorched earth tactic" of simply hitting everything, everywhere. But sometimes precision will get you better results.
For example, if your demographic research has already shown you that your biggest audience is going to be on mobile platforms, browsing while riding in Uber cars or waiting for the subway, then is it a good idea to put your ads on desktop browsers? No. Think critically about when your target is browsing, what devices they use to scroll through social, and the kind of the content they most frequently consume. Use this data to plan the best time and place to position your ad or sponsored content.
Define Your Budget
You’d think that this would be the very first factor you’d consider, but in reality, you probably only want to arrive at this figure once you’ve sorted through all the other variables. Facebook will actually give you an option for how much you’re willing to spend on your advertising. You have a lot of parameters that you can set for this. Do you want to allocate an entire lifetime budget? Do you want to define a daily budget for expenditures?
Maybe you want to set a cap on spending, or you want a weekly budget allotted. Perhaps you even want to set certain conditions for when ads run, and then pay upon the deployment of those ads. Facebook allows you to tweak precisely how much you want to spend. After you get this figure, then you can compare it to your ad expectations. And remember, this isn't something that you have to commit to forever. Budgeting is endlessly flexible, so you can adjust and redirect as you see fit, depending on the kind of metrics you get back.
Create & Format Your Advertising
Here’s where the all-important creative and human touch come in. Now that you’ve more or less ironed out the payment and delivery system for your advertising, it’s time to make sure you’ve got the content to actually deliver.
Facebook offers a variety of different formats, including single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, and even "collections" for a comprehensive mobile experience. The format that you choose is going to depend largely on what your goals are. Informative videos have their place, but never discount the cost-effectiveness and reach of a single, impactful image when paired with some good copy. You've taken a lot of steps to get here, but don't skimp on the creation and formatting of your ad content!
Don't forget the little details at this point either. Remember to include some kind of CTA or Call-To-Action button so that you can get responses, and measurable ones at that. Include the URLs that may lead curious customers to more in-depth information about your product or service. These last little pieces of the puzzle can sometimes make the difference between a customer being able to find out more and converting to sale or someone passing you by because you didn't give them the opportunity to learn more.
Use Your Metrics
Finally, when everything is said and done, dig deep into data. The real beauty of digital marketing is that you get a veritable goldmine of metrics that can be hugely useful to current and future campaigns. You know exactly how many people got your ad, how many people clicked on it, and how many went to your website. You know whether you got visitors to your site from Facebook or Instagram.
With these metrics, you can see what's working and what's not. If certain ad methods aren't performing well, change them or trim them out. If others are working better than you expected, allocate more budget and resources to them. Thanks to the vast collection of user data that you're getting, you have far better information to make strategic decisions than someone who can only guess at how many people saw a poster in a subway and whether it engaged them or not.
Facebook has a huge reach, and can generate a lot of good leads, but only if you know how to get the most from it.