Should you use Facebook Ads for your small business?
Should you use Facebook Ads for your small business? It’s a consideration many small business owners are faced with when looking for the best way to grow their customer base.
As a small business owner, we’re all looking for looking for the magic bean. The secret sauce. The way to grow our business, build our profile, get new customers, delight our current customers and make more money with minimum investment and maximum ROI. The way to make every penny work like a pound. But is that way Facebook Ads?
Let’s talk about why you might want to consider using Facebook Advertising for your small business.
It’s where your customer’s attention is
More than a billion people log into Facebook every day.
Let’s think about that. One. Billion. People.
In 2015, the United Nations estimated the Earth’s population at 7.3 billion. So roughly 1 in 7 people alive are logging into Facebook every day. That’s 13% of the people on earth. Or looking at it another way, that’s 1 in every 7 people in your town. 13% of the people in your street.
When you discount demographics who don’t use or have access to computers, smartphones or tablets, that number becomes higher.
But it’s not just about how many people use Facebook; it’s also the time they’re spending on it. Users are spending 50 minutes a day on its platforms, across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. That 50 minutes doesn’t even include WhatsApp!
Show some personality!
Facebook is where people go to interact with friends and family, as well as follow businesses, personalities and groups they’re interested in.
To avoid the pitfalls some other social networks have fallen into (too much content or too many ads), Facebook’s algorithm intelligently takes measures to avoid user overwhelm by ensuring they’re only seeing what’s most relevant to them.
In general, these measures are the reason that advertisers now have to work harder than ever to have Facebook users see their content, and is why currently you’d be lucky to have 5% of the people who follow your Facebook page see what you’re putting out. With that in mind, whether you’re relying on organic traffic or using Facebook Ads, creating content that informs or entertains gives you a better chance to remain relevant and have your content shown to more people.
So, what are your options for doing that on Facebook?
Photos, graphics, memes, quizzes and competitions, videos, live video or long-form text are just some of the ways you you can create memorable content that promotes your business, allows you to show a bit of your personality and, most importantly, informs or entertains your prospective customers!
Reach exactly who you want to reach
Take the most specific set of characteristics you can think of from your customer base.
Got it? Chances are you can find them, and other people like them, on Facebook.
You see, Facebook knows a LOT about us. From the information we provide when we sign up, to the data Facebook’s partners provide, to what we ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment’ on when we’re on Facebook. It’s all there.
If you’re a small business that wants to advertise to a specific audience, however big or small, you can target your ads to virtually any location, demographic, interest, or behaviour you can think of, building ‘Saved Audiences’ for all your advertising campaigns.
Next time you drive past a billboard, are handed a leaflet, see something being promoted in a newspaper or magazine, see a TV ad, or hear a radio spot that isn’t relevant in any way to you, think about it; those companies have paid to put that ad in front of you. You, the person who’ll never buy from them. With Facebook Ads, while they might not be ready to buy, you can at least be sure you’re targeting the right people.
So, need to target your ads to someone in London, who speaks French, owns their own home, is interested in Veganism and likes Batman? Now you can!
Turn window-shoppers into customers
Another useful aspect of using Facebook Ads for your small business is the ability to advertise to people who already have a relationship of some kind with your company, however tenuous that relationship is. Facebook calls these ‘Custom Audiences’.
If Saved Audiences are your ‘cold’ customers, Custom Audiences are your ‘warm’ customers.
These audiences can be created through a number of different means. Customer lists you upload to Facebook, lists of people who’ve visited your store or interacted with your company over the phone, or even those who’ve engaged with your content on Facebook or Instagram, can all be created and used.
Let’s say you run a Hairdressing Salon.
Maybe you want to keep your loyal, regular customers up-to-date and enthusiastic about your company, by promoting your latest blog about a recent charity activity your staff participated in.
Maybe you also want to target relevant people within a 2 mile radius of your salon who’ve never visited your business, offering them 10% off their first visit.
Perhaps you could also run a campaign to previous customers who haven’t visited your salon in the last 6 months with another offer.
With Saved and Custom Audiences in Facebook Ads, you can do all of this; at the same time!
Using the Facebook Pixel, you can even create and “retarget” ads specifically to audiences who’ve visited your website or taken certain actions on it.
You know that pair of headphones you were looking at online, that then kept appearing on other websites you visited? That’s retargeting, and you can use Facebook Ads to do the same with your business, products, and services.
To find out more about how to create Custom Audiences from your website and retarget them on Facebook, download our free guide!
More of the same please!
Facebook can also do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to finding new customers, using Lookalike Audiences.
As the name suggests, you can get Facebook to generate audiences for you based on the data it holds on your Custom Audiences. In theory, by uploading your best, existing customers, it can (very cleverly) generate audiences of people, similar to them, who are therefore (in principle) most likely to be interested in what you’re promoting.
You choose the devices, platforms and placement
Depending on the objectives, ad type and creative you choose, you’re not limited to just the core Facebook platform or a device category when you run your ads either.
You’ll also be able to serve your ads on other platforms Facebook owns (Instagram and Messenger) as well as it’s Audience Network, where you can run your ads on other participating 3rd party apps and websites.
Even within those platforms, you also have a degree of choice on where your ads are shown.
Desktop, mobile or both. iOS, Android or both. Facebook Newsfeed, the Right hand-column, Instagram Stories etc. You’ve got freedom to choose the how and where.
So we’ve established that you’ve got a good level of control over the devices, platforms and placement of your ads. But even with all that control, do you need it?
Facebook Ads will help you!
Facebook knows enough about it’s users and their expected behaviours that it’ll help you optimise aspects of your campaigns towards those who are more likely to take the actions you want them to take.
When you create your campaign, you select your objective, which tells Facebook what you want to get out of that campaign. Facebook then helps set you up to achieve it.
You can choose from many different types of objectives for your campaign, including Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, Engagement and Conversions, among others. You can even create campaigns designed to drive people to a Facebook Messenger conversation with your business, get more people to visit your store, or create Lead Generation forms to get potential customers to provide their information for your business to follow up with!
When it comes to placement, Facebook will automatically show your ads in the places they’re more likely to perform best. When it comes to ad delivery you can tell Facebook what you want to optimise for, and it’ll show your ads to people within your audiences more likely to take that specific action.
You don’t get that with a billboard!
See exactly what’s working and what isn’t
The reporting that’s available to you in Facebook Ads to measure your performance and results is incredible. A huge selection of metrics and numbers are readily available.
Want to see how your campaigns are performing on desktop vs mobile devices? Easy.
Want to see what time of day people are clicking on your ads? Done.
Want to see the age and gender of who is engaging with your ads? You can do that too.
There’s a whole world of data you can access once your campaigns are up and running. The insights you can obtain from this data enables you to learn more, not only about how your ads are performing, but also how to optimise them to get more out of what you’re doing.
Something not working? Change it!
One of the many distinct advantages of digital advertising over other forms of advertising, is the ability to start, stop, change or adapt your ads once they’re up and running.
Looking back at our billboard, newspaper or magazine examples, think about what happens when you spend hundreds, or even thousands of pounds of your company’s money on an advertisement, commit to it running for a week, a month, 6 months or even longer, and…nothing.
Maybe it’s the wrong publication, the wrong audience, the wrong area, the wrong image, or the wrong content with the wrong message?
Imagine ordering a print run of 5000 leaflets for your small business and then realising the prices are wrong or there’s a spelling mistake. Disaster!
But Facebook Ads are different. At any time you can pause your ads. Stop your ads. Change your audience. Adapt your creative.
With Facebook Ads you’re in control the entire time.
Something working well? Do more of it!
It’s not just about making changes when things aren’t right. You can also optimise when they’re going well.
Facebook offers an amazing opportunity to test and optimise just about everything you’re doing. From comparing audiences and running multiple ads with varying creative, you’re able to do as much testing as you like to ensure that you’re only putting your budget behind advertising that works.
Facebook also has an awesome feature for certain objectives called Dynamic Creative, which is a winner for advertisers. Essentially, it allows you to provide a group of assets to Facebook, such as images, videos, titles, descriptions and calls-to-action, and Facebook will find the most successful grouping of these by running combinations of the assets and seeing what people are responding to.
In any instance, you can start small, putting minimal budget behind your campaign, see what people are responding to, and once you have the winning marriage of audience and creative, you can shut down what isn’t working and switch your budget to what is.
So in theory, it all sounds great. But how much do Facebook Ads cost?
You didn’t think we were going to forget to talk about the cost of Facebook Ads did you?
The key point is that you can start with Facebook Ads from as little as £1 or $1 a day.
In fact, we’d always recommend starting small (whatever that means in relation to your budget) and once you’ve seen what people are interested in and engaging with, scaling up at that point.
You see, simply saying “Facebook Ads costs £x”, well, it doesn’t really work like that.
Facebook has to strike a balance between the experience of the users (ensuring they’re not seeing ad after ad) and the benefit to advertisers (who account for most of Facebook’s revenue). Too much opportunity for ads, users will leave and go elsewhere. Too little opportunity for ads, and it’s “bye bye advertising revenue”.
So to help maintain this balance, Facebook Ads work on an auction basis. But, before you close this page and run off, it’s not like eBay! You don’t have to sit for days wondering if you’ve won. You don’t have to sit and manually update your bids and potentially come away empty handed.
It all works behind the scenes. You simply tell Facebook your budget, and it’ll determine, based on a range of factors, what you get for that £1 or $1. These factors can include the competition for the specific audience you’re targeting, what that competition is willing to pay to get their ads in front of that audience, the quality of your ads, seasonal demand and more. Because you’re setting your own budget and each ad you run is subject to its own unique ‘competitive process’, we usually suggest you think about ‘cost’ by focusing on what you’re getting out of it based on the money you put in.
So, should you use Facebook Ads for your small business?
So there you have it; our reasons to use Facebook Advertising in a small business. But does this mean you should use Facebook Ads for your small business?
In our opinion, whether you’re the only employee, run a small team or have a bustling office full of employees; whether you’re running a bricks and mortar business, are online only or have a presence in both, Facebook Ads provides a means of getting your message in front of exactly the people you want as customers and advocates, on a platform where they’re spending a huge amount of their time, in a way that won’t break the bank.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a go and see how running Facebook Ads works for your business.
It might just be the best decision you make this year.
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Want to re-engage with potential customers who visited your website but didn’t contact or buy from you? Grab your FREE guide to retargeting your website visitors using Facebook Ads here!