Here’s a quick guide to Facebook advertising for small business

Digital360 on 2 May 2017

Facebook boasts over 1.2 billion users, so it’s no surprise that most businesses begin their social media marketing journey here. Facebook, with its expansive reach and precision targeting, is ideal for small business looking to bump site traffic and generate fresh leads. And there are no minimum spends, meaning a business can get started without blowing the budget.

So, is Facebook advertising for small business really worth it? Read on to find out how you and your business could take advantage of Facebook advertising.

Understanding reach vs. engagement

When Facebook rolled out its Page Insights tool, it meant that business page owners could easily monitor the number of visitors, engaged users, post reach, and Likes. Sure, it’s great to be able to keep track of these metrics, but how can we use them to quantify success?

In the end, what it boils down to is reach versus engagement.

When Facebook talks about 'reach', it means how often you land in your followers’ Newsfeeds. Reach is great for monitoring brand awareness. That is, getting your name out there and in front of potential customers. But alone, it isn’t always enough. Reach doesn’t automatically mean that users are clicking through to your site – the first critical step to making sales. That's when we use a different metric, and where 'engagement' comes in.

Engagement refers to those click-through, likes, comments, and shares on your company posts. These metrics will depend on how well you target your audience. Although high reach doesn’t equal high engagement, engagement will generally always boost your reach.

At the end of the day, you want to reach as many potential customers as possible, while keeping engagement high. If you’re struggling with hitting your target reach and can’t get a large budget for paid advertising, focus on scheduling your posts. By posting at ‘peak hours’, when more people are online, you can get an instant boost to your post reach. Typically speaking, Facebook usage tends to spike on weekday mornings. However, this will depend on your industry and your target audience.

The trick to Facebook advertising for small business is monitoring the performance of your posts to see what works and when. If you don't have the time, then you may want to consider hiring a specialist in social media. One option is a digital marketing agency, who can help develop and implement your social media marketing program.

Using Facebook ads

There are a number of ways you can capitalise on the free branding opportunities on Facebook advertising. For example, your profile picture is a great place for your company logo, and your cover photo can be used like a billboard – updated to advertise any promos, events, or special announcements.

But a lot of Facebook's real value comes from its advertising platform. Facebook’s ad targeting is one of the most precise out there, because of how much information Facebook users tend to provide. That means ad targeting is not just refined to age, gender and location. Professions, interests education, and even connections (in other words, their friends list and people they interact with most) can be targeted.

Ad targeting saves a heap on advertising costs, as your ads are only being seen by ideal prospects. And that means your budget goes a long way.

When it comes to publishing posts and content on your business Newsfeed, you have the option to ‘boost’ the post. Boosting means Facebook will bump up your post reach. The cost to boost a post will depend on your target reach, and you can set a budget for each post. The best part? You can boost anytime. So, if you make a post that is experiencing higher than normal engagement, you can allocate some budget to boost.

Ideally, you’ll want a combination of ‘free’ and boosted posts – but we know that any kind advertising as a small business is not without a budget. So, first and foremost, focus on writing engaging and well-targeted content. Then, take advantage of your Page Insights. See which posts get the highest engagement, and consider boosting these to maximise their effectiveness. This way, you're 'super-charging' your best posts.

Setting a social media budget

When it comes to getting a business up and running, marketing can make one of the biggest dents in the company hip pocket. While a marketing agency is great for tailoring an advertising model to suit you, costs can soar through the roof and fast.

A marketing agency can be a great way to cut down the learning curve for small business marketing -- but many small businesses don't have a necessary budget for an agency, may not be in need of an agency’s full services., or may still be experimenting with what works for them.

Social media marketing is renowned for its cost-effectiveness. If you have the time to put in the research and training, Facebook advertising for a small business can turn out excellent results at reasonable cost. Results can be even better if you have a team member with some knowledge in social media marketing.

Facebook advertising is a long-term strategy. It’s all about keeping up user engagement by making frequent posts and interacting with your followers. If you can, set a small budget aside for boosting your posts, and then a do a bit of research around the best times and type of content to post.

This will take time, as well as and trial and error. While monetary investment in social media marketing is important, the time investment is really where you’ll see greater returns. But for many small businesses, time is a luxury. And Facebook advertising may be low on the priority list. In these cases, a social media marketing specialist can step in and help you develop your Facebook marketing strategy.

We’re a digital agency in Melbourne dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Talk to one of our social media specialists today.