How to make Facebook ads work for your small business

Facebook AdsDone right, Facebook ads can be a really effective way for a small business to generate leads and sales at a relatively low cost.

Facebook has some of the most sophisticated targeting technology of all the social platforms, making it a great choice for a small business with a niche audience.

In this article, we’ll explore how to make Facebook ads work for your small business.

Setting up Facebook ads

Let’s start with how to activate your Facebook ads account.

First, you’ll need a Facebook page for your business. When that’s up and running, you can create and manage your ads through Facebook Ads Manager. Here, you can choose your audience, set your budget, design your ads, and monitor their performance.

There are two main options for running ads on Facebook:

1) You can ‘boost’ an existing post on your business page, which will place it into the newsfeeds of your ideal audience. This is both quick and simple, and allows you to extend the reach of a well-performing post far beyond the customers who already know you.


2) You can create a brand-new ad, which Facebook will display to your audience in the format that you choose. This is easily done by clicking on the ‘create’ link found at the top of your page in the blue bar.

Unlike simply clicking ‘boost’, this option gives you access to the full functionality of Facebook’s advertising platform – including greater targeting options and control over your spend. You can also opt to show your ads on Instagram, as Facebook owns this platform.

Choosing your audience

It’s the ‘choosing your audience’ part that really sets Facebook apart from other advertising channels.

Most small businesses don’t need thousands of customers. Instead, they need to reach a smaller number of the right people. This is where Facebook’s advanced audience selection tools really come into their own.

You can specify your audience to be anything from ‘all people, all ages, all locations’ (NOT recommended!) right down to a granular level such as ‘men aged 25-30 who live in Glasgow, like football, went to university, and recently got engaged’.

You can even serve ads to people based on their buying behaviour: for example, if you want to target people who have previously bought football kit online, Facebook can create an audience based on people who have clicked on other business’s ads and gone on to purchase these products.

How does Facebook know what its users have bought? By encouraging advertisers to add the Facebook pixel to their websites to track online sales resulting from people clicking on their Facebook ads. If you sell products or generate leads via your website, you should certainly ad the Facebook Pixel to your site too.

Creating your ads

Unlike print advertising, where you would typically design a single ad and show it to everyone, a smart Facebook ads strategy is to create different ads for different audiences. After all, if you’ve gone to the effort to select a very specific audience, it makes sense for the design and copy of the ad to speak directly to that audience.

Here is an ad from a personal training company looking for a particular type of client:

The best approach for a business looking to succeed with Facebook ads is to segment the target audience into defined groups, and create different ads for each of those groups. Or, to quote the mantra we typically preach at our workshops, “niche content for niche audiences”.

As well as making the ads more relevant, this approach makes it easier to review which ads are generating the highest number of leads and sales. You can then adjust your budget to run more ads for these groups.

To learn more about making Facebook ads work for your small business, book a place on our next Embrace the Space workshop.

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