What Facebook Wants Small Business to Know about Advertising

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Last week, I attended a “Boost Your Business” workshop sponsored by Facebook. It’s the second time I’ve attended a Facebook-sponsored seminar since they moved their SMB division to Austin.

For all the criticism about this social network and all the changes that cause upheaval for organizations trying to navigate Facebook’s changing landscape, you have to give them credit for trying. By Facebook’s own admission, small businesses in the US are their real opportunity to grow revenues.

Think about it for a minute. You are a brand new business. You have a limited budget. Where else could you start to reach your customers with an investment of $25? You certainly can’t touch the traditional advertising outlets of print, radio and television unless you’re prepared to spend $10,000 or more PER MONTH. Digital ad networks won’t even talk to you unless you’re prepared to spend significantly over time.

Small businesses can afford to advertise on Facebook and they can be successful doing it.

Here are some key points made by the Facebook team during the seminar.

  • Facebook has 1 billion users on mobile daily. DAILY. No matter how small your small business, chances are a key segment of your potential customer universe is on this platform.
  • 1 out of 5 minutes spend on mobile devices is either on Facebook or Instagram. Since Facebook has integrated the advertising choices to include advertising on Instagram, this is a great way to expand your advertising audience, especially if you have great visuals.
  • Once a day is key to engagement. The Facebook SMB team shared that small businesses who post a minimum of 3-5 posts a week will have the best success. In fact, they shared that if you are posting more than once per day, you are actually stealing from your own engagement because you’re not getting the full benefit of the 24 hours of life in a post. (What I WISH they had shared was the average page size for which this statistic is valid).

The typical small business owner wears many hats and choosing and placing advertising is just one more burden. While the process can seem daunting, here are four takeaways from the Facebook seminar that can turn a burden into an opportunity.

  • Boosted posts are the most elementary way to begin advertising. However, they lack the precision of more targeted ads and are often more costly per “click.” Smart small businesses revise and refine targets over time.
  • Choose one objective for your campaign – it could be page likes, website visits or purchases; then target your audience and the amount you will spend to reach them.
  • Test, test, test. If an ad is not performing as you had hoped. Start over. Try a different image, a different target, a different amount.
  • Change your ad frequently. The Facebook team recommends that ads should be changed every 3-4 weeks.

The good news for small business owners is that Facebook continues to develop resources to assist this sector. Here are a few:

  • In the Facebook Ads Manager window, the help tab pulls up the most commonly asked questions as you can see from the graphic here.

help screen for FB

The biggest piece of advice from the Facebook team: set it and forget it is NOT an option.

How has your advertising experience been on Facebook?