Facebook Ads: Success Secrets From a Facebook Insider

With Facebook Ads, you can target users based on interests, location and relationships.

Many people log on to Facebook primarily for fun, but businesses are increasingly turning to the social networking site as an advertising gold mine. By placing ads on Facebook, you can zero in on a select portion of some half a billion users according to their interests and demographics.

Facebook advertising involves different considerations than other online ad platforms do. Google AdWords, for one, matches keywords on the pages of Google search results, whereas Facebook Ads can match specifics in a user profile.

Rather than tailoring ad content to concepts or things, such as digital cameras, think of Facebook as targeting people, such as the users of digital cameras, says Tim Kendall, director of monetization for Facebook.

How exactly should you go about that? Kendall shared with us his inside perspective on how a small business can get the most out of Facebook Ads. Here are his tips.

1. Make the most of your Facebook page.
Before you even think about Facebook Ads, Kendall recommends building a Facebook presence by launching a page for your business there. The Facebook Help Center takes you through the process.

To start, learn what separates a business page from that of a casual, individual user. With a business account, you can’t view other users’ profiles, add friends, or interact with individuals the way an individual Facebook user can.

Even so, the two types of pages have many similarities, such as the capability to post updates. Visitors can become fans of your company and “Like” what you post. You can tweak the page to your preferences, too, first by listing it in a specific category and then by dividing content on your Facebook page among tabs.

Facebook shows you precise metrics about how well the content on your page is doing, and it assigns a score to that end.

2. Create a username for your page.
Once you have at least 25 people connected to your page, Kendall says, you should reserve a specific username for your Facebook URL (which appears as facebook.com/username). This setup makes it easier for visitors to find and remember your Facebook destination.

For a small venture, a Facebook page could be a faster, less expensive alternative to designing an entire website with a custom domain name, or it can complement your existing web and social media presence elsewhere.

3. Remember to have a two-way conversation.
“What we’ve found with Pages is that the most successful [ones] speak to their customers in much the same way as you have a user profile and you express who you are to your friends,” Kendall says.

Don’t talk “to” your customers; instead, chat “with” them, and engage them on your Facebook page. Think of ways that content can spread virally. Fans of your company may link to cool items from your business page on Facebook, where it appears to their friends via News Feed.

One success story comes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Community Coffee, which asked users to share their childhood memories of drinking coffee milk. The company found that the question led to all sorts of engagement, helping its fan base grow at a rate of 1000 people per week. Community Coffee counts Facebook as one of its top five sources of revenue, Kendall says. Another example might be a restaurant that posts videos of the chef explaining a recipe.

Remember that these first three steps aren’t a must, and it’s natural that Facebook would encourage business users to maintain a presence within its ecosystem. It’s fine if you’d prefer not to build a Facebook page for your business, driving traffic to a separate website instead. Nevertheless, the interactivity that Facebook provides — and its tie-ins to Ads — make setting up a Facebook page worth considering.

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