Is Facebook Advertising Right for your Small Business?

Small businesses should consider adding social media ads to your annual marketing strategy. That means small businesses should not automatically write off advertising on Facebook. The key to being successful with Facebook advertising is managing expectations. There are conflicting reports regarding the effectiveness of Facebook ads. Do comments and advertisements drive purchases? Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer.

Facebook Ads for Small Businesses

One of the strongest uses for Facebook ads is to get people in a very specific demographic to like your Facebook page so that you can then message to them over time. For example, a small local restaurant you can get Facebook users in your area to like your Facebook page and then offer coupons or promote events. Then you can incentivize your Facebook community to share those promotions so their friends can see it. This is how posts and advertisements can go viral. It’s important to note that viral ads are not the only way that Facebook can help small businesses.

Small businesses can also have success in Facebook advertising promotions. The businesses that often get poor results with Facebook ads are the ones that try and push a hard sale. This doesn’t work in other advertising mediums, so businesses shouldn’t be surprised that it is ineffective on Facebook. Facebook tends to work much better when promoting softer offers such as free giveaways, discounts or building fans that can be converted into leads/sales in the future.

Facebook Ad Benefits

Facebook ads help small businesses to build a fan and customer list. This is similar to email or direct mail marketing, but social media can offer more control and data. With traditional advertising (yellow pages, radio, TV, print, etc.) you get an ad, but you don’t get a customer lead generation list to cultivate. With Facebook ads, business owners can create a growing community of potential customers that you can foster for years. When used effectively, Facebook ads can help increase your word-of-mouth advertising. Being exposed to your friends pages, business and products can make for more effective marketing.

Facebook also offers data analysis and customizable options, similar to that of Google, which can help you increase your online exposure. The ability to target your ads (like on most digital platforms) is a huge benefit for small business owners.

Effectiveness of Facebook Ads

Another benefit of Facebook ads is that there are less competition for keywords than there is on Google or other PPC (pay-per-click) sites. As mentioned above, you are able to reach your target demographic in a casual online atmosphere.  There is more trust established, when a person likes your Facebook page than with a Google search. This trust can be an important factor in the effectiveness of your online marketing.

A big difference between a business Facebook page and a traditional web page is the ability to see and track customer engagement and feedback.  If a Facebook user decides to click on your Facebook ad they land on your Facebook page where they can see interactions and comments that users are saying about your company/brand. As a result, it helps build trust with your client pool.

The Cost

Facebook ad pricing can vary, but is directly related to the area of your target market. The minimum ad bid is low (approximately 0.01 or a penny), but as with Google AdWords, if you’re trying to advertise to a competitive demographic, you’ll be placed in an auction (similar to Google AdWords) with other advertisers and you’ll have to pay significantly more per click. As with most online marketing platforms, companies can control how much they spend by setting daily and campaign budgets.

Many experts say that the price of Facebook ads is among their most appealing features. As with most marketing campaigns, you need to commit to a budget of $500 to $1,000 to get started. Also, it is important to test different ad types, images, and landing pages. After you finish your A/B testing, you can run the more effective ads.

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