For many, Facebook remains a bit of an unknown. While SEO, paid search, and display are well ingrained in most digital marketer’s brains, Facebook has remained elusive to many due in large part to the ever-changing platform.

While it would be great if you could go back to reaching your Facebook followers for free, like the good ol’ days, the reality is that the organic reach of branded Facebook pages has declined to just 6% and is expected to continue to drop (it’s funny what happens when investors start driving the boat instead of users).

This means that for every 1,000 Facebook followers your business has, you can expect an organic Facebook post to reach just 60 of them. Not exactly “run-and-tell-your-boss” type of results.

Just because the impact of Facebook’s free advertising are slowly reaching zero, doesn’t mean that Facebook is any less valuable of a marketing channel. In fact, with the targeting options that Facebook has rolled out in the last few years, it just may be the most powerful advertising platform on the web.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Create useful, engaging content

Yes, it has become cliché and, yes, it is 100% required. If you are already doing this, great! Skip to step #2.

If not, here are some great resources that you can learn a bit more about how to create great content:

Facebook Campaign Creation

Note: You must have admin access to the business page in order to run ads.

2. Do not “Boost Post”

This is more of an un-step than a step, but critical nonetheless.

Facebook makes it incredibly easy to do within your Facebook Page manager by planting it right next to the Post button, but you should resist the urge!

Facebook Boost Post

Targeting, optimization, and bidding options are extremely limited when you elect to boost your posts in this manner and, as a result, you likely won’t see very good results. Someday, Facebook may improve this functionality and allow for the full array of ad options but that day is not today.

3. Navigate to Facebook’s ‘Ads Manager’

You can find this by navigating to ‘Build Audience > Use Ads Manager’ in your page header, or by going to ‘’.

Facebook Ads Manager

To many, ‘ads’ is a dirty word (which is likely why Facebook slyly deploys the phrase “Boosted Posts”), but to be successful with Facebook promotion, you truly are creating ads, not just boosting organic posts.

4. Create a Campaign

Click the green ‘Create Campaign’ button, in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen.

Facebook Create Campaign

5. Choose the objective for your campaign

Facebook has been making frequent updates to the objectives list but for now the list includes the following objectives:

  • Boost your post
  • Promote your Page
  • Send people to your website
  • Promote conversions on your website
  • Get installs of your app
  • Increase engagement in your app
  • Raise attendance at your event
  • Get people to claim your offer

The difference between each objective lies in Facebook’s bidding options. In addition to choosing to optimize for clicks and impressions, each objective has a personalized bidding choice that tells Facebook to optimize for your chosen objective. As Facebook explains,

“For example, when you optimize your bid for the Page like objective, you’ll be charged when your ad is served to people within your audience who are more inclined to like your Page.”

While there may be times to use any of the given objectives, “promote conversions on your website” and “send people to your website” are a best bet.

We’ve found that when you can effectively target an audience that is willing to complete a conversion on your website (email opt-in, lead, purchase, etc.), they are also willing to like, share, or comment on your page.

Additionally, while Facebook engagement is great, it’d be better if you could capture this audience through your own email opt-in instead of through paid Facebook promotion. This way, you can target your audience free of charge, at your leisure, instead of having to pay every time you want to get in front of them.

6. Select your campaign objective and URL to promote

For this example, we will choose to “Promote conversions on your website” and, more specifically, choose to promote Email Opt-ins by selecting the “Registrations” conversion type.

7. Install your conversion code

You don’t have to know HTML to do this. Don’t skip this step!

If you can install the code yourself, go ahead and install the code on your conversion’s “Thank You” page; if not, email it to your developer by selecting “Someone else will add the pixel to my website”

Verify Tracking Pixel

The installation instructions have already been written for you and should be no problem for your web developer to install.

Facebook Audience Targeting Options

The initial campaign creation should take you no more than a minute, if not a few seconds. Compared to just clicking ‘Boost Post’, no additional value has been created yet by using the Ads Manager.

This is where it gets good!

8. Choose your ad’s audience

The Ads Manager offers dramatically more advanced targeting options. For example, here is a comparison of demographic targeting options available when Boosting Posts vs. using the Ads Manager:

In addition to demographics, you can target your ads to users with specific interests:

Facebook Interest Targeting

And behaviors:

Facebook Behavior TargetingBoth targeting options that are only available in the Ads Manager or the Power Editor.

With an unbelievable volume of targeting combinations, you can really start to zero in on your ideal target audience, in a way that has never been possible through Google. Once you become more familiar with the targeting options, which can be overwhelming when just getting started, it’s a good idea to step back and re-think who exactly you want to target.

9. Input your budget, schedule, and bidding

Budget and schedule are very straight forward and choices that are generally business driven. Facebook bidding, however, is a bit of a hot topic. You will see the options:

  • Optimize for website conversions
  • Optimize for clicks
  • Optimize for impressions

Optimize for website conversions

Testing the different bidding options to see what delivers the most cost-effective results for your campaign is always a good idea. You can do this by creating up 3 duplicate campaigns and changing only the bidding option for each. Most often, we find that optimizing for your objective delivers the most efficient results.

Facebook Ad Creation

Similar to other ad networks, click-through-rate is king when it comes to getting great results from your campaign. If you are looking for a set-it-and-forget-it ad network, Facebook isn’t it. The only way to achieve a high CTR is through proper targeting, and continual ad testing.

10. Select an image

Luckily, using the Ads Manager, you have the ability to create ads in bulk with just a few clicks of the mouse. You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert or even purchase images for your ads.

Image selection

Upload images

Use this option to upload images from your computer to use in your Facebook ads. The Facebook Ads Guide is a great resource for ad specs should you be uploading images.

Browse Library

Use this option to see images that have previously been uploaded.

Find Images

The slickest option and one of Facebook’s best Ads feature, ‘Find Images’ allows you to browse Shutterstock’s entire image library and use any image free of charge. You’d be hard pressed not to find an image that will work for you.

Select shutterstock images

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your image selection. You can create up to six image variations at once and it takes very minimal time or effort to test additional images.

Facebook ads don’t have to be as stuffy and boring as Google search ads. Just be sure to stay true to your brand, set a proper expectation about what’s to come on your landing page, and have fun with the ads.

Image Reposition

Depending on the dimensions of your image, you may want to crop things a specific way. The image reposition tool allows you to do just that, in a matter of seconds.

Facebook ad cropping

Simply drag-and-drop the light-box to crop your image as needed.

1. Write your ad text

Assume you only have 2 seconds to tell somebody about your business. If you want them to listen any longer, you have to capture their attention instantly. Make sure your ad text is clear, concise, and focused on actions and benefits.

Facebook Ad Example

2. Launch your Campaign

Once you’ve finalized your ad copy, you’re ready to go! Do one last audit of your ads by clicking ‘Review Order’ and if everything checks out, go ahead and place your order.

Place Ad Order

Facebook has quickly evolved into one of the best marketing channels available. Getting started is easy and if you haven’t tested the network, you shouldn’t delay any longer. With audience targeting options that blow traditional media out of the water, you can be sure that if your competition isn’t there already, they will be soon.