Of all the social media platforms around, Facebook brings the largest audience, as 81% of American adults have a Facebook profile. Facebook also generates a high level of engagement from advertising: On average, users spend 33 minutes per day on Facebook and click on 12 ads per month.
One of the reasons for this high engagement level is Facebook's ad-targeting ability. Facebook lets advertisers narrow their target market more effectively than nearly any other advertising platform, placing advertisements in front of those most likely to be interested. Businesses can focus their marketing budgets on high-quality prospects, making social media marketing campaigns more affordable.
What is Facebook marketing?
Facebook offers businesses various ways to use its platform to reach potential customers. A Facebook Business Page is the foundation of your company's Facebook presence. Once you've set that up, you can utilize additional Facebook marketing tools.
Facebook Business Page
If your company isn't on Facebook yet, start by setting up a Facebook Business Page with your company's name, logo and details. The more information you fill out on your profile, the more robust your page will appear to visitors. Include keywords in your product descriptions and About section to make your listing more likely to appear when people search those terms.
Although it isn't strictly necessary to have a Facebook Business Page to advertise on the platform, advertisers without a Business Page have more limited advertising options. In addition, having a Business Page gives you access to the Facebook Ads Manager, a tool that makes it much easier to monitor your ads' effectiveness, create new ads and bid on keywords.
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Here are some tips for your Facebook Business Page:
- Post frequently. You should consistently and frequently post on your Facebook Business Page with a combination of promotional and informative posts, such as how-tos. If you have a local business, include community posts.
- Be consistent with your brand. Your social media posts should be consistent with your brand visually and content-wise.
- Create useful content. Create content that is interesting and useful to your target market and will prompt prospects to take action, such as buying your product or service, making an appointment, going to your website, writing a review, or sharing your posts.
Up to this point, all functions are free. However, you'll have a limited audience seeing your content unless you spend money on advertising. Only 2.2% of the average brand's audience will see its organic posts. Advertising can significantly boost your reach.
In addition to your Facebook Business Page, you can create ads targeted to specific segments on Facebook. Facebook knows a lot about its users, including location by ZIP code, gender, income, education, age, interests, brand preferences, device type and Facebook engagement frequency. With Facebook ads, use this information to target likely customers and tailor content to appeal to them.
When advertising, choose your goal (brand awareness, reach, web traffic, engagement, video views, lead generation, conversions, messages or generating store traffic), audience and ad format. You'll also be asked to set your budget and specify your campaign's schedule, including start and stop dates.
Include or exclude people based on their history with your company. For example, send a new customer promotion to those who haven't yet liked your Page, target friends of people who've liked your Page or show ads to people already familiar with your brand. Further narrow ad placement by choosing users by device type, platform placement, and operating systems.
These are some of the different Facebook ad formats:
- Boosted post: With a boosted post, Facebook takes an existing post and shows it to more people.
- Static image: A static image ad is a photo or image with a headline.
- Video: A short video advertisement on Facebook must adhere to preset specs.
- Carousel: This ad type is a series of images that users click through, each with a call to action.
- Slideshow: This is a series of images that are automatically played.
- Collection: A collection is a hybrid mobile format with a combination of video, slideshow and images. When clicked, it becomes an Instant Experience (see below).
- Instant Experience: This is a way to highlight your brand. A full-screen Experience opens after a user taps your ad on a mobile device.
- Stories ad: In your Facebook Story, ads are full-screen images or videos that disappear after 24 hours unless saved.
- Messenger ad: A Messenger ad includes text and images that appear in users' inboxes while on Facebook or Messenger.
- Lead ad: When clicked, a lead ad shows additional text and displays a contact form with the user's information pre-filled.
- Dynamic ad: A dynamic ad targets people who have already been on your website, retargeting them by showing them the product they already browsed.
- Link ad: A link ad is a static image ad; every part of these ads is clickable since the goal is to drive web traffic.
Top Facebook marketing strategies
Facebook advertising can be highly cost-effective or a waste of money. To increase your success rate, try these Facebook marketing strategies to optimize your efforts.
1. Create a baseline audience.
If you're just starting out on Facebook, you have a blank slate. While you could immediately start advertising, it's more cost-effective to build a baseline audience, getting people who already like your company to like your Facebook Business Page.
As soon as your Page is set up and populated with some posts, reach out to your personal Facebook friends (via the free tool on your Business Page) and ask them to like your Page. In addition, ask your current customers to like your Facebook Page and provide a link to make it easy.
Other than the fact that creating a baseline audience is entirely free, there are two advantages to this strategy:
- You're exposed to friends of friends. When someone likes your Page on Facebook, you gain exposure to people in that person's friend group, some of whom may visit your Page and like it.
- You set up a "lookalike audience." Facebook uses your baseline audience to build "lookalike" audiences for future advertising. Facebook evaluates your baseline audience's characteristics and looks for similar people. Lookalike audiences help you reach people you may not have thought to target.
2. Target as narrowly as possible.
Facebook lets you get extremely granular in your audience targeting, and it's to your advantage to utilize this capability. The more specific you get, the less money you'll waste, and the more engagement your ads will generate.
These are some useful targeting tactics:
- Understand your current customers. To figure out whom to target, analyze your current customer base and suss out commonalities.
- Find a local angle. If you have a local business with a customer base within a limited area, you should advertise only in that area.
- Target by income or interests. Some products or services are more commonly purchased by people of a specific group. For example, target luxury products to people based on higher income or luxury interests. You can even target people whose interests include competitive or complementary brands.
- Vary your message by audience. Since you can use Facebook advertising at any stage of the customer journey – from brand awareness, engagement and lead generation to conversion and repurchase – it makes sense to target different groups with different ad messages.
- Designate custom audiences. Use the Facebook Ads Manager's custom audiences feature to create lists of people at different stages. For example, create a custom audience for people who liked your Facebook Page, one for people who clicked on a previous ad, another for people on your email list and yet another for current customers from your CRM system. Custom audiences make it easy to send relevant promotions, increasing the odds of engagement and moving leads through the sales funnel toward purchase (and repurchase).
- Use retargeting. The Facebook Pixel – code you include on your website – is a great tool for boosting conversions. This code tracks website visitors and the pages they visit on your site so you can retarget them with a dynamic ad when they're on Facebook. The Facebook Pixel can also provide data to create a custom audience of people who have visited your website in the past 30 days so that you can send them an ad promoting a new product or deal. For example, if someone looked at a shirt on your website, show them an ad with the same shirt but with a free shipping offer to increase conversions. You could also show them a carousel ad with images of other products that complement the shirt to boost conversions and additional purchases.
3. Try video advertising and posts.
Facebook's research found that people spend five times more time with video than static content, and nearly a third of mobile shoppers say they use video to discover new products.
In addition to creating video ads, consider video posts. Video posts should be short (no longer than 90 seconds) and grab the viewer's attention within the first three seconds. Create videos with the highest possible resolution, and include text captions since users often play video ads on mute.
A new video format you can use on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram is Reels. Reels are like TikToks – short videos you can sync with music or audio clips. They appear in the poster's profile and in users' feeds (in Instagram, they also appear on the Discover page). You can even create a Reel on Instagram and share it to Facebook.
Use Reels for fun content that highlights your brand's personality, to show off your products or services, or to give educational tips or quick tutorials.
4. Test, analyze and adjust your advertising.
Unless you're fortunate, your first ads won't necessarily be your most effective. It takes some time and experience to identify the correct audiences, ad formats and messages that resonate with prospects.
Luckily, Facebook provides robust analytics tools to offer insight into what's working and what's not. You can see which ads are most effective and give you the most bang for your buck.
To find what works the best, use A/B testing. With A/B testing, you create and run two or more ads at the same time that have everything in common except for the variable you're testing.
These are some examples of elements to A/B test:
- Headline: Statement vs. question, punctuation, use of emoji, etc.
- Image: Concrete vs. conceptual, different angles, different products, etc.
- Call to action: "Buy now" vs. "learn more" vs. "save now," etc.
- Type of ad: Static image vs. video, slideshow, etc.
- Audience: Segments based on age group, gender, location, interests, etc.
In the Ads Manager, you can see each ad's results. If you have the Facebook Pixel installed, you can see purchases attributed to your ads. Other key metrics include your relevance score, click-through rate (CTR), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per action (CPA) and cost per lead.
Continually test and monitor your results, dropping underperforming ads and increasing your use of successful ads and ad characteristics (targeting, format, headlines, etc.) to optimize your ad spend. Another option is to set up Facebook's built-in optimization algorithm, which changes your campaign based on key performance indicator values you set.
5. Use Facebook Live.
While Facebook users buy items and engage with brands, Facebook isn't primarily a platform where people go to shop, unlike Google or Pinterest. Facebook users often want to be informed or entertained, and using Facebook Live can accomplish these goals. Facebook Live is a free feature of your Business Page that allows you to create a real-time online video webinar, demonstration or talk, complete with audience interactivity.
All you need are the camera and microphone on your computer or phone and a Facebook Business Page. Create an event for the Facebook Live presentation, and publicize it to your target audience ahead of time. At the beginning of your presentation, let the audience know what you will be showing or telling them. When you're ready, interact with viewers in real time, acknowledging them by name.
At the end of your Facebook Live presentation, give viewers a call to action. As a bonus, you can record the entire Facebook Live presentation to use later as a video post on your Business Page or website, all at no cost.
6. Tell stories and connect.
Facebook isn't the place to use hard-selling techniques; it's a platform where you can let people see the humans behind the business. Who are the company founders, and what is important to them? How are the products created, and who makes them? What is the company's history, and what does it say about company values?
Consider creating posts and ads featuring company employees and owners to foster this sense of connection. When potential customers see real people's faces rather than actors, they feel more connected to the company. They also highly value handmade products and family-owned firms, so share this information on Facebook posts and ads.
When followers comment on your posts or reach out to you via Messenger, be sure to reply promptly and thoughtfully. Within a day or so of a new person liking your page, acknowledge that person and let them know that you appreciate it.
Telling your story and creating authentic connections takes time, so don't expect your Facebook marketing to result in immediate lead generation or sales (although it's possible). Keep posting, interacting and advertising with quality content, and you will build a strong Facebook following and potentially gain a few brand ambassadors.
Cost of Facebook marketing
The cost of Facebook advertising varies. Your advertising cost is constrained by the budget amount you set up at the start of the campaign (daily or total cost), and it will never exceed that amount unless you change it. You can also set an overall budget that covers the total cost of all your campaigns. The real question is, what do you get for that amount?
To understand Facebook pricing, you need to be familiar with several terms.
- CPM: Cost per mille (thousand), or the amount it takes to show your ad to 1,000 people
- CTR: Click-through rate, or the percentage of people who see your ad and then click on it (e.g., clicking on a link to a website or landing
page, clicking to like or comment on a post, clicking to like your Business Page, or clicking to view a video)
- CPC: Cost per click, or the amount of money divided by the number of clicks
The CTR is determined by the effectiveness and relevance of your ads to the audience you selected.
Advertising prices on Facebook are set by auction, so they are primarily driven by demand. A study by Wordstream found that the average cost per click in 2021 across all industries and ad objectives was 97 cents; however, this varies widely. More competitive industries and keywords are more expensive because Facebook limits the number of total ads and has advertisers compete by bidding.
In addition to your budget amount and keyword competition, several other criteria factor into your Facebook ad costs, including campaign objectives, ad quality and relevance, and seasonality.
When you initially set up your campaign, Facebook asks you to identify your campaign objective. The further away from a sale your objective is, the cheaper it will be. For example, objectives such as engagement (Page likes, video views, post likes) are relatively inexpensive, while lead generation and conversion are at the higher end.
For all objectives, the average CPM was $12.63. However, when you look at it by objective, Wordstream found that the average CPM for lead generation was $30.97, compared with $2 for brand awareness.
That said, the CPC has more or less the opposite order, since objectives that are closer to a sale have higher CTRs.
Average CPC and CPM by objectives as of February 2022
Ad quality and relevance
Since there is limited advertising space, and Facebook users get annoyed at bad or irrelevant ads, Facebook charges a premium. If your CTR is too low, look at your ads and see how to improve them. Try more A/B testing, get feedback from your customers about what's important to them and try different things.
A lack of ad success could also be a mismatch between the ad and chosen audience. Gear your message to your audience for best results, and you'll see your CTR increase and your CPC decrease. As a rule of thumb, 2% is a good CTR.
Generally, costs tend to increase in the third and fourth quarters, as many businesses increase their budgets for the holiday season. You may also see fluctuations if you sell seasonal goods such as bathing suits, school supplies and Christmas ornaments.
When you are in the Ads Manager setting up your campaign, you'll see the estimated CPC given your audience and other parameters. Play around with the audience and other factors and see how they impact costs. Try the automatic placement setting so that Facebook optimizes your advertising to give you the best results for your budget.
Facebook marketing FAQs
Are my customers on Facebook?
Probably! Most American adults are Facebook users. If you talk to young people, they'll tell you that Facebook is for older adults, but the largest demographic group on Facebook (31% of the total) is people ages 25 to 35, followed by 18-to-24-year-olds at 22.6%. Older millennials, those between 36 and 41, make up almost 18% of the total, and the share of each older cohort declines from there.
If my organic posts reach so few people, why should I bother?
While it's true that you can't effectively get new customers on Facebook solely with organic posts, they are important to show new visitors that your Facebook Business Page is active and there is a good reason to like it. Organic posts also provide value to people who have already liked your page and can be a great way to inform your customer base of events, promotions and other news, maintaining your relationship with them and staying top of mind.
How can I get the most out of my Facebook business account?
Try to create shareable content. It may be something funny, surprising, interesting, useful or all of the above in the form of a high-quality video or image. Get the most shares organically at first and then boost it. When advertising, always do A/B tests and keep refining until you optimize your ads and campaigns.