With over half a billion users Facebook is a marketing opportunity you should certainly not be missing out on. In terms of population Facebook is only marginally behind India and China, and represents a massive chance for businesses to reach out to potential customers. Whereas Google Adwords is primarily based on keywords within the searches people are carrying out, Facebook provides you with the facility to target your prospective client base using a range of tools and options. It is this which means that businesses are able to convert far more advert displays to clicked adverts than with Adwords.

But whilst in theory the idea of advertising your business through Facebook sounds ideal, in practice it’s not always as straightforward as Adwords. With Google Adwords you simply choose your keywords, and your daily budget. That’s pretty much it, and you’re up and running in minutes. With Facebook, perhaps predictably, things are a little more complicated. But don’t let this put you off because once you’ve created your advert it’s one of the most effective advertising platforms you could use, and your time will be very well spent, as long as you get it right.

Essentially there are five aspects to creating a business advert on Facebook, and today I’ll be looking at each of those five areas, giving you a brief idea of how the process needs to work.

Facebook Tips & Advice For Businesses1. Choose your target. The most distinctive thing about Facebook advertising is how easy it is to target a very specific niche market. In fact the options available mean that in many cases you could narrow your market to just one single person or business if you really wanted to. The categories you can use include location, age, gender, level of education, relationship status, work and keywords. Although it’s tempting to use all categories, don’t forget that you need to strike a balance between targeting your audience and missing out on a significant proportion of them. As you add more categories and filters you should see an estimated number displayed of how many people fit your requirements. Use as many, or as few categories as you wish.

2. Engage your market. Creating an advert is easy; but creating an advert which attracts attention, and engages your market in such a way that they feel compelled to take action isn’t so easy. Think about how your target audience is likely to respond to your advert if they happen to be at work, perhaps in a hurry and thinking of something else altogether. Is it concise? Does it provide something that seems immediately useful? Does it give them something to do (such as accepting an invitation, joining a group or subscribing to a newsletter) and a definite, compelling reason to do it? If it doesn’t then all you’re doing is adding clutter.

3. Set your budget. Just as with Google Adwords you need to choose your bid per click and your daily allowance when you create an advert on Facebook. If you’ve chosen your target audience effectively then you can see just how many people might potentially see that advert each day, giving you some idea of how frequently your advert will be seen. Facebook suggests a click amount, and generally this is worth sticking to.

4. Test different adverts. Once you’ve created a single advert, don’t stop there. Create multiple adverts using different approaches. This is the only way to really tell how effective an advert is. It might be possible that by including a different image on one advert the click rate soars, and in another case leaving out the exclamation mark lowers the click rate. Once you’ve identified poor performing adverts you can drop these and increase the exposure of the better performing ones.

5. Analyse the performance of your adverts. You might think you know who your target market is, but just who is actually clicking on your adverts? Facebook provides a reporting tool which you should use to identify how successful and effective each of your adverts is, who is clicking on them and the keywords which generated more interest. Don’t forget that if your Facebook business advert sends users outside of Facebook itself you’ll need some other tracking tool such as Google Analytics to identify where this traffic is coming from and which adverts are doing the work.