Don’t Get Dwalfed by Facebook Ads – Start Small and Slow

Jumping into the world of Facebook advertising for the first time can be a daunting experience.

Who to target, how much to spend, how long to run the ads for are all likely questions that pop into your head.

Facebook advertsYesterday I was pointed towards an article entitled “18 places to feel dwarfed by nature” in a conversation I was having on Twitter. It made me stop and think. Firstly I agreed with the majority of places the article wrote about; I’ve been lucky to be able to tick off five of them in my life so far. It also made me think about Facebook, and how enormous the social media platform has become. I won’t bore you with the old “1/6 of the world is on Facebook” statistic, but did you know according to Business Insider customers acquired through Facebook advertising are 10 times more likely to purchase from you than conventionally sourced customers. An amazing statistic don’t you agree? This is thanks to the specific criteria you can set each campaign to target, to ensure your ads lands in front of the right people, going some way to dispelling the social ignorance of “Oh you’re advertising on Facebook, good luck with that one”.

Now this article should help small Facebook business pages with the proximity of 100 ‘likes’ already established through word of mouth and local searches. If you are considering using Facebook ads immediately after setting up your business page, then stop reading and go back to your Facebook business page and build up content and a small following first before reading on. Trust me acquiring likes and sales on a well organised and interesting Facebook page is easier than trying to do so on one that is empty.

Social proof

Lets begin. I like (no pun intended) to think I know Facebook and how people perceive content. For me whenever I come across an interesting new page on Facebook I first look at the number of ‘Likes’ it has closely followed by any recent content the page has published/shared etc. Looking at the number of ‘Likes’ for instance plays into the hands of the psychological phenomenon known as ‘social proof’ where if something is ‘liked’ it must be good. Looking at the content not only allows me to see how often the page posts new material it also allows me to perceive whether or not I will enjoy the updates. These two factors alone give me enough indication into whether or not I want to invest my time into clicking the little blue thumb and ultimately signing me up to the page’s future musings. Calling on your own social pattern when decided what and when to publish is a good idea, and this method shouldn’t be ignored.

Now for the purpose of this article I am going to use a recent case study from one of my clients. I was asked to improve a local vineyard’s Facebook page and increase their following. I was given a minuscule budget to do so as a way of just “experimenting to start with” but with “plans to develop” should the campaign go well. The plan of action took all this into consideration and was highly successful. Why? Because I started small and slow.

Tidy up before your guests arrive

As mentioned in the paragraph above the vineyard already had a page with around 80 fans. The content on the page was outdated and mainly featured CTA’s in the form of posts about their wines and how they were on sale. These posts had little or no interaction, a waste of time. By taking these 80 fans and engaging them with fresh content, a mix of attractive photos, relevant stories from the world of wine and the promise of an “amazing offer when we reach 100″ the content was duly ‘Liked’ and shared and the page reached 100 Likes without breaking a sweat. This satisfied stage one of the action plan; to engage existing customers with exciting content and to make a good first impression to new customers. The stage was now set for the vineyard to launch its first Facebook ad.

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Facebook Likes

Making an impression

On the presumption that you are after growing your on-page fan base the following paragraphs will detail pointers on creating a successful and targeted “Get More Likes” campaign.

First off it is best practice to just have your business name as the headline, no need to be to fancy. The description box is the place to get creative as what you write here can really make or break the advertising campaign. Remember to draw upon your past experiences and use the 90 characters wisely with words that you would click on. Facebook will make this text an actual link so make sure you set it to land on your timeline, that way all your new visitors can see all your hard work developing interaction and fresh content.

Photos with the wow factor

It is also important to assign a great photo to the advert and the thought process behind this is twofold. Firstly a great photo will compliment your carefully crafted 90 characters, and secondly Facebook makes the photo a link to your page. Recent studies show that adverts with a great photo receive far more clicks than adverts with a logo as their photograph.

Tip – The default photograph will most likely be the photo currently being used on your business page and the majority of the time it will be too small. Upload a bigger version for more impact, Facebook will let you know the dimensions.

Sponsored story

In addition to your ad, Facebook will ask if you want to run a ‘sponsored story’ campaign alongside your ad. The aim here is whenever someone ‘Likes’ your page it shows up in their news feed with the possibility of their friends following suit. This is however completely optional and doesn’t cost any more money but it may draw valuable funds away from your physical ad’s budget.

Who to target on FacebookASL (Age, Sex, Location)

One of the most fundamental aspects of your whole campaign will be where you target your adverts to show. Depending on your business and its service this could be anywhere, but for the purposes of this article we are going to choose Australia; after all that is where the case study is based. Don’t be put off by the initial targeting figures, this is just Facebook showing off, the next few steps will trim the number down to a more manageable audience.

With the country specified it is now important to choose a smaller area to target, i.e  a vineyard with an open door policy and an online delivery service. Choosing the state, city or town will help target people who could actually make a difference to your business.

Age is an important factor when it comes to who you want to see your ads. Think about the ages of your existing customers (if you have that data) and also who you think maybe interested in your product. Is your service also a hobby or a past time? Reaching the right age category with your ads could open many doors for your business. Same can easily be said for the sex of your audience. Make sure you really take advantage of the depths Facebook can go when providing an audience for your ads.

Utilising people’s interests

We all remember setting up our Facebook profile and thinking “What the hell do I put in here?”. Well thankfully Facebook doesn’t just pull information from this section, it draws information from people’s timelines, the social circles they are involved in, past employment and even their education.

When choosing what interests to target, putting a hash tag (#) in front of an interest changes it from an exact indicator to a more broad indicator; a method similar to ad targeting on Google adwords. An example of this would be #wine. This would place the ad in front of people not only interested in wine but also ‘wine tasting’. Without the usage of the hash tag the ad would only show for the specific usage of the word in people’s interests, in this instance ‘wine’. Experimenting with a mix of exact and broad phrases will overtime develop successful advertising campaigns.

Facebook has also gone to the trouble of categorising its users into broad categories such as Travel and Food & Drink. Choosing one of these categories will aim the ad at people Facebook already knows may be interested. Flicking open the advanced settings in ‘Interests’ allows you to dig deeper still utilising user’s relationship statuses, a valuable metric if your business is anything to do with dating, relationships, or counselling.

Tip – You want to make sure your ad is targeted at ‘People not currently connected’ to your business to make sure you do not waste valuable impressions on people who already ‘like’ your page.

How much do I spend on Facebook AdsHow much to spend

This all depends on your budget and how much you are willing to spend building your fan base. If you have a huge budget you can start the advert right away and let it run continuously. However if you are just testing the water it is a good idea to set a smaller budget and assign it to an exact time scale. Think about when your audience is online, and set the time frame for maximum exposure. Incorporate the weekend if your business/product falls inline with these days. You can manage your budget by setting the maximum expenditure to daily or for the life of the campaign.

If at the end of the day you are basing the success of the ad on the number of ‘likes’ it generates then optimise the ad to factor this in. Figure which strategy is best for you and your budget and set it accordingly then sit back and watch the ‘likes’ roll in (hopefully).


The information in the paragraphs above feature the factors I took into account when setting up the clients advertising. The fan base doubled inside the first two days, and steadily grew throughout the remaining three days of the campaign. An important statistic was that 95% of the new ‘likes’ originated from the target area setting the client up with immediate business opportunities and possible repeat sales.

A careful mix of timing and interaction on the page throughout the campaign with the posting of  photos, offers and milestones immediately captured the new audience’s attention, and this content was shared outside of the ad’s reach resulting in more page ‘likes’ and shares.

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