Every week, we answer a common question about marketing or business. This week, our question comes from a fan who entered a contest to win a Fire 7 Tablet. Today, we will answer the following question: “how do I advertise my small business on Facebook?”

Why Advertise on Facebook?

Facebook advertising is one of the best tools to advertise your small business. So much so that praising it as an ad platform is a cliche in the marketing world – for good reason!

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world with over 2.4 billion users. There is no way you can reach every single user, but you don’t have to. Facebook Ads are exceptionally good at helping small business owners target the perfect audience. Facebook gives you the ability to design your own ads, and show them only to your exact target audience. 

How does this work? Quite simply, Facebook does a lot of demographic research for you. Their precise methods are not well-understood, but Facebook uses its users’ activity to determine their interests, as well as other information they provide such as age, gender, and geographical location.

In English? You can show ads to people who actually care about them, theoretically never wasting a dime on someone who doesn’t care. Beat that, television!

Before You Advertise on Facebook, Do These 2 Things First

Before you start advertising, create a Facebook Business page first. Facebook Business pages are great for a number of reasons, particularly since you need one to run an ad.

Getting your business page set up gives your business a presence on Facebook. Facebook Business pages also provide insightful analytics on your posts.

Second, don’t run a dime in ads before you understand your target audience. This is critical to successful advertising.

Facebook will let you customize your ads to practically anything you want. That freedom won’t do much good if it isn’t reaching your intended audience. So first, take a moment and think about what kind of qualities your customers have, such as:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • Interests

If you’re selling something for women, don’t advertise to men. If you’re running a coffee shop in Dallas, don’t advertise to people in Seattle. When you’re selling a board game, target people who like board games.

We know: this all sounds like common sense, but failure to follow this common-sense rule is the single easiest way to lose hundreds of dollars on Facebook.

Let’s say you have an established business. You already have a Facebook page with thousands of likes. Let’s say you also have no idea what your target audience looks like. In cases like this, you can create lookalike audiences which are made of people similar to the people who already do business with you.

Running an Ad on Facebook

To show you an example of what creating a Facebook ad is like, we are going to run a simple advertisement for our sister company, Pangea Games. Here are the steps so you can follow along:

1. On your Facebook page, click the Promote button.

2. Select one of the options on this screen to proceed. We’re going to choose Get More Website Visitors since it is the easiest to demonstrate.

3. On the left hand side, you’ll create your advertisement.

  • Enter a URL.
  • Choose a format – we’re going with Single Image.
  • Upload a photo or choose one from your page.
  • Enter a headline.
  • Enter text.
  • Select a Call to Action – we’re using Learn More.
  • Skip over Audience for now – we’ll revisit that in the next step.
  • Automatic Placements (Recommended) – leave checked on.
  • Duration and Budget – choose how many days the ad should run and how much it should spend each day. If you’re not sure where to even start, start with $5 per day for a week.

4. Go back to the Audience section. Click Create New Audience.

  • Give the audience an Age.
  • Select your audience’s Gender.
  • Select their Locations.
  • Under Detailed Targeting, add interests, demographics, and behaviors.
  • Click Save.

5. When you’re done, click Promote. That’s it!

As you can imagine, running Facebook ad campaigns can be very nuanced and complicated. We’ll cover that in-depth in another article. This one should help you understand the basics in the meantime!

Two Other Ways to Promote Your Small Business on Facebook

Facebook isn’t just for advertising, though. You can connect with your audience through your Facebook page. You can share all kinds of content such as posts, videos, blogs, pictures, etc., you are able to reach your audience. Once people start responding, you can hold conversations! This is not only great exposure for your brand, but it also helps you maintain positive relationships with current customers. 

We won’t cover in-depth in this post, but you have the ability to boost posts that you make. This is a paid feature, not unlike advertising, that allows you to share your Facebook posts with a larger audience. This is great if you are growing your customer base or reconnecting with past customers or leads and need a little help.

Final Thoughts

Facebook is one of the biggest and most popular sites in the world. Understanding the ins and outs of Facebook’s advertising system helps you run effective advertisements. With time and experimentation, you can see what works best for your business.