With over two billion monthly active users, it’s clear that Facebook is a vibrant marketplace. Whether you only serve clients who live within a couple of miles of your brick and mortar location or you can sell to anyone on the globe, Facebook is a viable advertising option that you should consider in your marketing plan and budget.

Beyond the sheer size and engagement level of the audience, one of the most appealing features of Facebook advertising campaigns is the ability to create a custom target audience. With the Facebook Custom Audience Tool, you can upload a list of contacts (emails, phone numbers, etc.) and create a lookalike audience that will allow you to target others who fit the same profile.

Don’t have a list? No worries. You can segment your target audience by elements like zip code, interests, demographic information or a combination of them.

The ability to hyper-target to a finite audience also allows you to manage your budget more effectively. There’s very little waste when you do it well. Every ad is going to be seen by the audience you want to reach.

Before you start to create your ad campaign, you need to decide how success is defined. Do you just want to put your business on the audience’s radar screen? Do you want them to click on the ad to get more information? Do you want to drive them to a landing page where you could offer them a digital asset (ebook, audio file, checklist, etc.) in exchange for their email address?

Once you’ve decided on the desired outcome, you need to follow some best practices to help you get there.

Remember that the ads will be appearing on Facebook and Instagram, mingled with your audience’s newsfeed. You want your ads to be a part of their social stream, so pick visuals that are personal and engaging. Make sure your photos are crisp and a high enough resolution that it creates the right impression.

You can use a combination of photos, text, videos, sounds, and a slideshow to create your ads. Like any advertising channel, your success is going to depend on your ability to capture your audience’s attention.

Think about your own social network habits. We scroll through the news feed pretty quickly. Your headline needs to grab their attention, and you don’t want to create a blur of text. Focus your message on the essentials and remember, the ad’s job is to get the viewer to click to learn more. You don’t have to tell them every detail within the ad.

Video ads are quickly becoming one of the most popular ad formats on Facebook. Over 100 million hours of video is consumed on Facebook every day. Remember the 2015 ALS ice bucket challenge? That’s what the experts point to as the tipping point for social video. It’s only going to become more mainstream and popular.

One fact you need to keep in mind as you build out your video ad campaigns. You should upload and host your videos on Facebook as opposed to using a video that you’ve uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or any other platform. According to a study by Search Engine Journal, Facebook favors native video uploads, and those videos reach at least twice as many people and because of that additional exposure, will earn more likes, shares, and comments.

Next time, we’ll dive a little deeper into some more nuanced best practices so that every dollar you spend on Facebook yields the results you want. In the meantime, start paying attention to the ads that catch your eye and how you interact with them as a consumer.

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Drew McLellan
Drew McLellan has owned an advertising agency for almost 20 years, serving local, regional and national businesses. He also coaches hundreds of agencies on business best practices through peer to peer networks, workshops and consulting.  Drew is often interviewed/quoted in Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, CNN, BusinessWeek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him “one of 10 bloggers every entrepreneur should read.” He blogs at both www.DrewsMarketingMinute.com and www.BuildABetterAgency.com.

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