Throughout this blog we have often covered the use of Facebook and other social media platforms for effective business marketing. One specific area of Facebook which almost all small and medium business should look at very carefully is Facebook advertising.

Until a few years ago the majority of businesses using PPC or pay per click advertising were doing so through Google’s Adsense platform. Google dominated the PPC market with a solution that tied in very effectively with people’s search results, with a good deal of feedback available to businesses on the success of different ad formats and placements. Offering business the opportunity to either bid for the most popular keywords or set a daily budget to ensure that the campaign didn’t run away with any profits made from it, Google’s Adsense platform seemed for a long time to be the only truly viable solution for businesses wanting to maximise the exposure of their brand quickly.

However, Facebook advertising is rapidly growing in popularity with more and more businesses discovering the effectiveness of this alternative. Indeed many businesses have now moved away from Google’s sponsored advertising completely, investing their marketing budget instead in social media advertising.

FacebookSo what are the benefits of Facebook advertising, and what should you be aware of if you’re venturing in to this marketplace for the first time?

When planning your advertising through Google you really only get to choose two variables: your keywords, and your daily budget. This means that your advert could be exposed thousands of times to people who have no interest in it. The significant difference between Google and Facebook is of course that people searching on Google are effectively anonymous, whereas people on Facebook are registered.

That registration information includes a huge amount of demographical data, and whilst they’re active on Facebook they’re adding to the meaning of that data all the time. Facebook ads give you the chance to target your ad campaign not just at anyone who happens to enter the right keywords, but to those people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service, or to whom it would be most suitable, timely or applicable.

Let’s see how that might work in real terms. Let’s imagine that you run a florist’s shop, and are looking at launching a Facebook ad campaign. You could generate an advert promoting wedding bouquets, and target this very specifically at women over the age of 24 who are in a relationship or engaged, and who live within a certain radius of your location. This makes sure that only those people most likely to be interested in seeing your advert will be exposed to it, massively increasing the proportion of people who will take action once they see your promotion.

Getting started is fairly easy – perhaps too easy, because many people make a number of mistakes. The first mistake many people make when developing a Facebook Ads campaign is to try to promote their main website. This means that your advertising is a one shot effort, and fails to take advantage of the fact that Facebook is a social network.

Instead it’s much better to use your adverts to promote your Facebook page. This means that you generate an audience to whom you can market and with whom you can network not just once, but time and again. Not only that but each time someone clicks your ad, visits your Facebook fan page and hits the ‘Like’ button this will appear as a status update on their page. This means that every single one of their followers will see this as a personal recommendation, and are more likely to visit your Facebook page to find out more. If a proportion of those click ‘Like’ then not only have you expanded your marketing potential, but each of those people will be recommending your brand through their own pages too.

Facebook ads are a highly effective form of organic social marketing, but only if done the right way. We’ll be looking at other aspects of this form of PPC advertising shortly, so bookmark this blog now and come back again for more advice and recommendations on getting your Facebook marketing right.