Despite the many troubles and trevails of Mark Zuckerberg, and the numerous op-eds wondering “is this the year Facebook collapses”, it doesn’t look like this particular social media giant is going anywhere, any time soon. Even in the face of stiff competition from Twitter and Instagram, it remains the most popular social media platform on the internet, with over 2 billion active users at last count. This is great news for business owners, because advertising on Facebook remains an extremely effective way of driving traffic to your e-commerce store.
Running a successful advertising campaign on Facebook can be simple, but it requires you to reexamine your assumptions about how online advertising works. Thanks to Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithms, an ad left drifting into the network is unlikely to reach many users. It also means that not every business is well-suited to a Facebook campaign, but it’s a possibility that every business should at least consider. This guide will help you determine if you want to advertise your e-commerce store on Facebook, and the best way to go about that.
Consider why most people log onto Facebook in the first place.
They usually do so to read the news, catch up with their friends, play games, or find funny images or memes. People aren’t usually there to actively look for something. What does this mean for your business? It means that this particular demographic is not actively shopping if they click on your ads. This type of browser is not likely to make a substantial purchase on their first visit. If the goal of your advertisement campaign is to increase conversions, then Facebook isn’t the best venue. However, it is a great place to get soft conversions, such as by getting users to sign up for a mailing list. Even if they aren’t likely to buy something today, they are more likely to think of you tomorrow.
Arguably the best feature of Facebook advertising is its audience targeting. Knowing your target audience is key to any marketing campaign, but you can really see the difference when you use Facebook. If your ideal customer is a woman age 25-40, unmarried, who is college-educated and works in library science then you can have Facebook send your ads to people who fit that description. This kind of laser precision is unmatched by any other social media platform, so be sure to use it to the utmost capacity.
You can also target ads by interests, which has the potential to bring your business to exactly the eyes that need to see it. The topics you have access to range from incredibly broad to unbelievably specific. Your common sense would tell you to target the broad categories in order to reach as many people as possible. In this case, your common sense is wrong. Any marketing expert will tell you that try to appeal to everybody is a fool’s errand. If you go after those huge markets, you’ll come away with nothing. On the other hand, if you can target a number of niche markets, you are far more likely to attract loyal customers. This is true for advertising in general, and it is doubly true for advertising on Facebook.
When making ads for Facebook, it’s important to understand that the website’s algorithm will always prioritize the kinds of posts that cause higher engagement among users. While static ads have the potential to do this, videos are a much more effective alternative. In other settings, an unprompted video ad would be considered obnoxious, but most Facebook users have accepted them as par for the course for their news feeds. This is the chance to flex your creative side, and make a video that will really appeal to your target demographic. If your video is eye-catching, funny, or thought-provoking, you can get people commenting. If people comment, then Facebook marks the video as interesting or engaging, and will make sure that even more people see it.
An ad format that’s unique to Facebook is the multi-product ad.
This is essentially a miniature slideshow that will appear on users’ news feeds. This slideshow can feature anything you want, including products, articles, and more. They’re an effective way to showcase your brand to new customers, because it allows them to see some samples of your products without actually having to navigate away from Facebook. This is your chance to really showcase what makes you exciting or unique; the more interesting that first product in the slideshow is, the more likely people are to want to see the rest.
Another unique option that Facebook offers is the boosted post. Unlike the other types of ads mentioned here, this is not created through Facebook’s Ads Manager. Instead, it is a post that you create for your business’s Facebook page; you can then pay Facebook to “boost” the post, which puts it in front of more people. The advantage of this type of ad is that, unlike regular Facebook ads, there is no word count limit. You can include as much information as you want, and are free to write some copy that makes your brand look approachable and sincere. The downside is that boosted posts do not benefit from Facebook’s targeted advertising algorithms. Boosted posts should only be one tool in your belt, but they are an effective tool for specific types of engagement.
As the owner of a small business, you can’t afford to ignore Facebook. Not only is it the primary point of contact for thousands of your users, but it is also an extremely powerful marketing tool. Like all tools, however, it only works if you use it correctly. Follow these guidelines, know your brand identity and your audience, and you will see just how much of a difference a good Facebook marketing campaign can make.