15 Facebook Advertising Tips That Drive Results
Get tips from social media experts who share their most trusted strategies for implementing successful Facebook advertising.
When it comes to return on investment and maximizing a limited budget, there are few tools as helpful for small businesses as Facebook. Facebook pages and other social media platforms provide a direct connection to current and prospective customers, another significant gain in terms of SEO, and an opportunity to build brand affinity and loyalty.
Facebook advertising or Facebook ad campaigns also empower small businesses in any number of ways, allowing companies with finite resources to target, hone, and capitalize on their marketing efforts, and also gain significant insight through metrics and analytics. We’ve talked with several of our UpCity experts, and compiled some of their must-have tips on how you can use Facebook ads to reach specific audiences, engage potential customers, generate leads, and drive results for your small business.
Facebook Page—The Place to Start
Several of our experts made a point of reminding us that Facebook advertising is not the starting point for success. Instead, they offered tips related to making your company’s Facebook page or landing page look great and function well.
“Make sure your homepage is easy to read, clean, and fun! Facebook can seem a little clunky at times, so a neat and distinct homepage that focuses the viewer right where they are needed is great!” —Mackenzie Whipp, Business Development Specialist at Online Optimism
Corey Kelly at Triton Commerce elaborated on just how small businesses can make the most of their social media landing pages.
“Just as you want to flesh out your website as much as possible, the same can be said for your social media profile. Optimizing your Facebook profile not only creates the best user experience for people perusing it, but also provides your online presence with many benefits, including more people accessing and engaging with your content, keen insights and advanced metrics to determine your ROI, and more traffic to your official website.” —Corey Kelly, CEO at Triton Commerce
As you can see, putting some time and thought into your company’s Facebook page is definitely worth the effort. In addition to driving traffic to your website (or asking your audience to take action with a CTA right through your Facebook page), your social media page can be considered another arrow in your marketing strategy quiver, allowing you to reach people, enhance SEO value for your brand, and create a place for new customers to learn more.
Learn, Know, and Grow Your Facebook Audience
The Facebook marketing experts we consulted with were heavily focused on the importance of your audience. Specifically, knowing and growing your target audience in order to have a great impact on your brand awareness, inform your ad placements, and improve your Facebook advertising’s effectiveness.
“For FB ads, avoid targeting just anyone. Make sure you know who your audience is and what they want. Another big thing to avoid is not managing your ads. You need to keep an eye on how they are performing […] and if they are converting for the results you want.” —Alexandra Van Doren, Co-founder & Senior Dynamic Social & Content Integrator at Agency onethree LLC
Facebook lookalike audiences are incredibly helpful in reaching new and prospective customers with targeting. The lookalike audiences are high-quality, custom audiences based on the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your overarching audience. So if your business sells custom candles, a lookalike audience from Facebook might include people who have liked and engaged with other candle companies and similar interests. That connection allows you to reach active users who are more likely to be or resemble your target audience and are more likely to engage with your brand and ads (and positively impact your conversion rate).
Custom audiences are no silver bullet in social media marketing, but they are highly effective at helping businesses make the most of their limited marketing budgets while reaching a more precise target audience and potential first-time customers. There are billions of Facebook users, and trying to reach all of them would cost a fortune. This is why Alexandra Van Doren at Agency onethree LLC honed in on the importance of knowing and targeting a very specific audience.
There’s also the temptation to believe that everyone who likes and follows your Facebook page (or other social networks) is automatically your target audience and that this will automatically lead to video views and clickthrough and everything else. This is often not true, though, and can lead to ruling out a large audience of active users who may not even be aware of your company page.
“Don’t assume that everyone that follows or is a fan of your page is a prospect. And definitely don’t assume that everyone on Facebook is a prospect. Take time to create personas of your ideal client(s), and then create separate audiences for each that you can target intentionally with your Facebook ads.” —Corey Kelly, CEO at Triton Commerce
As with any other marketing or advertising effort, social media marketing is about reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time. This is why our experts all agree on the importance of knowing your audience and engaging in smart targeting.
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Content is King on Social Media
The “right message” part of the puzzle that we mentioned above was another key area where our experts had several recommendations. All of them agreed that content was critical, and paying attention to what you post and what you say in paid ads is even more important on social media.
“Don’t feel rushed when creating the ad. We often see small businesses rush through the process of creating an ad, which often leads to poor ad performance.” —David Wurst, Founder of WebCitz, LLC
Taking your time when working on social ads should also include time for editing; specifically, cutting back on the excessive copy.
“Stop with the overwhelmingly long copy. I’m not sure what or who made it a trend, but the fact is nobody reads all that. Your emoji-led listicle seems spammy, and 500 words of copy only makes your audience roll their eyes.” —Xiao Faria daCunha, Founder at Westerlund, Co
When it comes to copy, you need to have something to say that will make your audiences stop and click, too.
“No matter how strong your copy is, if what you’re offering your audience does not get them to click through, your campaign will not be successful. Create scroll-stopping images and copy that has a call to action that will really get your target audience to actually take action and follow through.” —Alexandra Van Doren, Co-founder & Senior Dynamic Social & Content Integrator at Agency onethree LLC
Brevity was a leading theme among the tips we received, including from Lisa Westlund at seoplus+.
“Avoid text-heavy creative or creative that isn’t optimal for the specific placement. And incorporate different creative formats that will resonate most with your audience. Be sure to test out Facebook video ads in the various placements across FB/IG to maximize both brand recognition and user engagement.” —Lisa Westlund, Paid Ads Manager at seoplus+
Copy needs to not only be to the point but also effective at grabbing attention and getting the message across, as Amir Watynski at Watt Media offered.
“To maximize Facebook advertising results, precise attention needs to be paid to three main areas: the image(s) used must grab users’ attention and be effective at conveying your message; the ad copy must be equally effective at providing the pertinent details, and the demographic must be carefully selected to ensure you reach the right audience. If the desired results are not achieved at first, tweak one of the aspects and gauge the results, continuing to revise and refine until you have the results you want.” —Amir Watynski, President, Watt Media, Inc.
Advice for Testing and Refining Your Social Media Advertising
Once you’re up and running, you of course need to know how your Facebook ads are performing, and where there might be room for improvement. While metrics are key here, our experts also advised against going overboard in several respects.
“Avoid testing too many things at once. Stick to specific variables you want to test at a given time. That way you can better analyze your ad performance, and also avoid getting caught in Facebook’s learning phase.” —Lisa Westlund, Paid Ads Manager at seoplus+
You also have to have some faith in the research and planning you have done, and not go overboard when it comes to reacting too quickly or making too many edits at the same time.
“Run A/B tests in order to optimize your targeting or ad creative, and consider focusing on ‘website traffic’ as a campaign goal rather than optimizing based solely on conversions.” —John Vincent Kriney, Founder at OptFirst Internet Marketing
“Mistakes to avoid include giving up too quickly and assuming your ads aren’t working. The process takes time, and often a small change in copy, image, or demographics can make a big difference. You also want to avoid making multiple changes at once, because that makes it difficult to gauge the results of these changes.” —Amir Watynski, President, Watt Media, Inc.
And while you might be tempted to move your prospective customers over to your website immediately, our panel of experts advised against that regardless of your campaign objectives.
“Avoid sending people outside of Facebook. The highest bounce rates occur when people are sent out of Facebook. Keep them on Facebook to your company page, groups, etc. The Facebook community likes to stay on Facebook.” —Melih Oztalay, CEO at SmartFinds Marketing
Staying on Budget
Finally, while it’s not all about dollars and cents, the budget is definitely a key component of any marketing effort —including social media marketing. Using the budget wisely is important, and that includes setting some of it aside for engagement and traffic growth.
“Allocate a small portion of budget towards engagement and traffic in order to build up your custom audience size.” —Zachary Everett, PPC Analyst at SmartSites
Finally, you want to make sure that you have set a budget that will get you out of the learning phase.
“Set a budget high enough to get out of the learning phase, and A/B test frequently. Also, make sure you have a good call to action, and make retargeting campaigns a part of your social media advertising efforts as well.” —Charles Robinson, President at CRP Marketing
Don’t Miss Out on Powerful Digital Performance
It may seem like there’s an awful lot to learn in order to be successful with social media advertising and Facebook ads, but these expert tips offer a real crash course that can have you up and running quickly.
And any time you want to move beyond reading their advice and actually bring the experts in for step-by-step help on your social media marketing efforts, UpCity has a network of social media marketing professionals who can jumpstart your campaign and give your small business a strong foundation for continued success.
About the author
Jason is focused on the voice and strategy of UpCity’s written messaging. A former newspaper reporter and editor—and winner of an Illinois Press Association award for sports column writing—Jason has extensive communications experience in a wide variety of interests and industries. He has spearheaded content initiatives in the agency world as well as at major companies such as State Farm and DocuSign. Jason believes in the 3 Cs of written messaging: Be clear. Be concise. Be consistent.