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Businesses using Facebook ads is nothing new and the number of businesses spending money on Facebook advertising is increasing every year. What was previously just considered a way for big businesses to reach large audiences is now understood as a way for any business to very specifically reach their target audience at an affordable cost. This doesn't however mean that the majority of small to medium-sized businesses have got a grasp on how best to utilise Facebook advertising.

Many business owners are spending hundreds or thousands of pounds a year boosting their organic content but getting little back in terms of new leads and new business. This can be very frustrating because while everyone tells you that you should be using Facebook advertising as it is great value for money, you're left wondering what it is you're doing wrong.

We would love to be able to teach you through this one article everything you need to know about Facebook advertising but as there are so many elements to it and it's ever-evolving it's not something that can be learned through reading only. What we don't want to do however is throw lots of information at you in his article and leave you with more questions than answers. We, therefore, encourage you to please get in touch with minc marketing should you have any questions and we'll do our best to answer them for you in a way that specific to your business needs.

What we will do in this article is outline some of the fundamentals of using Facebook advertising, what to look out for, where you might slip up and some practical tips you can apply to better engage with your target audience.

How much should I spend?

Let's start by looking at one of the most important bits from your point of view, how much is it going to cost? Of course, this needs to be tied in with what am I going to get in return but ultimately everyone has a budget regardless of the ROI. From looking at other articles on the Internet there's a consensus that you should be spending a few hundred pounds a month on Facebook advertising to achieve your desired results. There are two problems with this outlook, firstly for most small businesses a few 100 pounds a month is not something they can necessarily afford particularly with all that's going on at the moment.

The second problem a generalised figure like this creates is the assumption that ads fail because of the lack of money invested into them which simply isn't true. Of course, if you take two adverts that are identical and spend more money on one that would be more successful but in the same regard, an advert that isn't targeted properly with the 20 pounds budget will still fail in the same way a poorly targeted advert with a 400-pound budget will fail.

If targeted properly, with a clear call to action behind it, spending as little as 30 pounds a month on Facebook ads can have a significant impact. We would recommend to anybody who is just starting with using Facebook ads or for people who have been putting a lot of money into their ads but have seen limited success, to start by running test adverts for no more than 10 to 20 pounds at a time. Better to spend 15 pounds on an advert and realise it isn't targeted properly than 150. Even with a small budget, it is possible to tell if an advert is working in the way you hope it will.

The final point we will make on budget links to the time frame that the advert will run for. We are often asked is it better to run a shorter advert and spend more money each day or run the advert for longer but with a smaller daily budget. In truth there isn't a huge difference in terms of the results however by running a longer advert it gives you more touchpoints. It also gives you a longer period to assess how the advert is performing and whether any changes are needed.

If you only run an advert for five days, you are relying on your audience to see the advert in those five days where as a longer advert gives you more opportunities to have your ad appear on a day that someone from your target audience is on Facebook. However, the reason why this doesn't make too much of a difference since the vast majority of Facebook users log in daily.

What type of adverts should I run?

When it comes to creating an advert on Facebook many different options are available and knowing which is the right one for your business can be tricky. It's less about different types of adverts suiting different businesses and more about the call to action you are trying to achieve.

There are lots of ways you can delve into which type of advert is best but for the vast majority of businesses they usually trying to drive more traffic to their website and luckily there is a Facebook advert specifically designed to fit this purpose. So, if you are someone who is boosting posts and not seeing the results that make the cost worthwhile, creating a specific ad to get more visitors to your website is a good place to start. That's not to say that boosting posts has no value but specific adverts tend to perform better.

One thing that is important to mention is that just because you drive more traffic to your website doesn't mean you going to see an increase in sales and depending on who your target audience is, sending them to your website may not be the best solution. In the nicest possible way, people are lazy, and their attention spans are short, particularly online. It is, therefore, your job to make a potential customer’s journey as easy as possible, asking them to click onto your website and then fill out a contact form requires much more effort than from their side then getting them to click a button on Facebook they send you an automatic message on Messenger for example. The result is still the same in that you can contact them back, but you've made the user experience require less effort which as long as the people you are targeting are relatively savvy with Facebook is likely to bring you far more leads then your website contact form.

Make sure everything is in order for when you can return to work

Lockdown came suddenly for most of us, so there’s likely some projects that had to be dropped or orders that may have gone unfulfilled. Take the time to evaluate your current workload and figure out what can be done now while still in lockdown and what will be the most efficient way for you and your employees to return to work. What needs to take priority? Are there any employees that may need to stay off work for longer due to their vulnerability? Are there any suppliers or partners that need to be coordinated with? Furthermore, take some time to evaluate your processes and the way you do things currently. Think about how you can make them more efficient, increase value-added, and of course, how you may be able to introduce remote working to areas of the business where it currently isn’t available.

How do I target my audience properly?

Getting the targeting right is by far the hardest part of running advertising campaigns on Facebook and the most important aspect in determining success. In this paragraph, we will go through some specific to consider but ultimately the more you understand your target audience, who they are and their interests, the easier this element will be.

The audience size is a key part of how well your advert will perform, if you are too specific you run the risk of missing out on people who may be interested in your product or service, but go too broad and you are wasting money targeting people who have no need or desire for what your business offers. This is a difficult thing to get the right balance on however as a starting point we would recommend aiming for an audience of between 500,00 and 3,000,000. This should give you the best of both worlds but that is dependent on how niche your services or products are.

The best way to narrow the audience down to start with is by choosing the age boundary and where people live and then you can begin to look at other demographics and interests. Now, this is where it can get a little complicated, try to choose the best set of rules to determine your target audience from Facebook’s many options, some of which are very specific. For example, let’s say your business provides toys for cats. You could create an advert targeting 30-32-year-olds who live in London who are interested in cat magazines. That is very specific and won’t bring up a large audience, which whilst is good for reaching more of the relevant people with your advert, it’s important to consider not everyone who likes cats will necessarily have on Facebook that they like cat magazines. Meaning if you only target that audience you will be missing on thousands of people who could be potential customers. Given this fact, it is important to look for all of the relevant groups and pages that your target audience may engage with, and to remember not everyone has their interests listed blatantly on Facebook.

I’m sure for some people reading this, that sounds very complex, but it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is know your audience and think of keywords associated with what their interests may be. As you type those in, various options will come up for you to choose from.

I still have questions

We expect that after reading this article you will still have questions, potentially even more than before. Don’t worry, we are on hand to help answer these questions and make all things Facebook advertising as simple as possible.

minc marketing is running free Facebook advertising consultation sessions via the phone or on a Google Hangout meeting. To secure your slot drop an email to james.anstee@mincgroup.co.uk and book in a session to ask any questions you may have and get some advice specific to your business.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we hope to book sessions to help as many of you as we can.