I get it. You’ve got 30 other things to do besides trying to follow Facebook’s every change. So follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to run your Facebook ads on auto-pilot. We’re not going into the finer points of multiplying ads in power editor, conversion spec, custom audiences, or any of that — just the basics you need for a solid campaign.
Prerequisites: Make sure you have administrator powers on your page and are at facebook.com/ads/manage. Put in your credit card, making sure it matches the name on your Facebook account, or else you risk getting rejected. Start by clicking the green button at the top, “create ad.” You’ll be able to name this campaign at the bottom of each screen.
We’ll do four campaigns:
1. News Feed Exposure
This ad is to make sure that your fans see your posts. If you’re a big brand, only a few percent of fans may be seeing your posts in the news feed, versus 10 percent to 20 percent for others. Select your page from the drop-down, then the middle option for “promote page posts,” and then the check box for promoting the most recent post. Facebook tries to create another ad to accompany it — keep it there. It’s a page post like story to amplify activity that occurs on your post.
Check the option to target only people connected to your page. If you’re a real nut, download power editor (on the left side) and create a page post ad with the news feed placement.
If you are under 200 fans, this campaign won’t do much for you, as not many fans will see your messages. You’ll need page post ads targeted at “anyone,” but with a bunch of precise interest targets, which we won’t cover here.
Name this campaign “page_post_ads” and set a budget equal to your fan base divided by 100, but at least a dollar. So if you have 500 fans, budget $5. If you’re not in the U.S., U.K., or Canada, do one-half of this, since traffic is cheaper.
2. Job Titles (The Business-To-Business Secret)
If you’re B2B, you need to hit people who work at certain companies in certain departments. In the precise interests box, enter these job titles. Facebook will keep suggesting more, so keep adding the relevant ones. Make sure the number is at least 40, but perhaps not over 10,000.
But even if you’re not B2B, job title targeting will still work for you. If you sell children’s books, target teachers in your neighborhood — the superintendents, perhaps. If you’re a cosmetic surgeon, target other medical specialists who’d drive referrals to you. If you’re a wealth advisor, put in “vice president” and “CEO” to reach rich people. Put $1 per day on this for every 200 people you are targeting. If you’re a local business, this audience shouldn’t be over a few hundred.
So create a new ad choosing “get more likes.” Then enter a headline and text. Uncheck the box that says “only people not connected to … ,” since we want fans to see this, too. Facebook creates a tag-along ad called a “page like story,” which you should keep.
Your budget should be whatever you’re comfortable spending to grow your fan base. Expect your cost per fan to be between 20 cents and $2, depending on your industry and how clever your copy is. As a general rule of thumb, your budget should not be more than one penny per user, per day, else you risk burning out the ad, spamming users, and wasting your money.
Your ad should look something like this:
3. Interest Targets
Hit “create a similar ad” below the ad you made earlier, and remove the job title targets from the precise interests box.
Add in targets that are literal, lateral, and competitive.
- Competitive is easy: The companies you compete against, you’re hitting their fans. Choose partners, too, if you’re B2B.
- Literal: If you sell Ford Mustang parts, find keywords like “working on my Mustang” or “Ford Mustang.” If you’re a service business, your Facebook ads might not convert, since this isn’t Google, where people are searching right then for something. If you’re selling something considered, such as a mortgage, car, or vacation package, try broad category targeting (just below the box with precise), where you can target people who just moved, are looking to buy a car, have kids, are having a birthday that day, are Hispanic, have a Samsung phone, etc.
- Lateral: This is where the targeting fun really is. If you’re Jack Daniel’s, you might target certain country bands. If you’re a marijuana dispensary, target folks in Portland who listen to Bob Marley. You get the idea.
Hit “create similar ad,” each time, giving each ad a descriptive name. It takes only 30 seconds to make an ad, so you might as well do a dozen or two.
If you lump all of your targets in one ad, you won’t know how each of these interests are performing. But if the combined audience size of an ad is under a few hundred, then there’s not enough data to warrant creating another ad.
4. Your Automatic PR Machine
This has been my favorite for the past three years, yet almost nobody uses it. If you click on “see advanced targeting options,” you’ll see “workplace” in the bottom. Type in the name of the local newspapers, TV stations, and so forth. This reaches people who work at these companies.
You want them to write about you. They will think that you’re some huge company running ads, since the ads won’t show how they’re being targeted. If you’re interested in search-engine optimization, this will drive links when they write stories about you. Of course, you better have interesting content and a strong website to back it up, or else the illusion fails.
Incidentally, we have a list of all the press in the U.S. broken out by company and type of media. Email me if you want the file.
With these ads, you need only check on your campaigns every few weeks, since it is automatically promoting your latest content, plus the actions of your fans to their friends.
Of course, you still have to keep posting organically and responding to comments — no software can do that. But at least your messages are being seen.
For the folks who really want the best stuff on Facebook and have these basics down, it’s time for you to run ads that pop up in Facebook’s search box, detailed here.
I’ve intentionally skipped bits on how to write strong ad copy, using connection targeting, landing page optimization, and so forth. These are your critical components.
If anyone has questions, just comment below or email me.
Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.
Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.