Facebook advertising is becoming increasingly popular with small independent businesses who want to reach targeted audiences without spending lots of money, but how do Facebook adverts work, how do you boost a post, is it better to promote a page or a post, are they effective and can they help your online craft business? Folksy seller David Andrews aka And At What Cost shares his experience and offers his advice on the best way to use Facebook adverts for your online shop…
Hints for successful Facebook adverts
Some of you will have never tried Facebook adverts before, while others will want to know how to use them more effectively. I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with the head of Facebook Advertising at a business conference, and also attend an event run by Facebook called ‘Boost Your Business’, which was filled with great insider hints and tips about how to do just that. Since putting these into place, my adverts are now more effective than 99% of other similar businesses and I now get people seeing my Facebook posts for less than 0.5p each.
Like/Share/Tag/Comment to Win vs Targeted Advert
We’ve all seen these posts where businesses try to get the public to engage with their page in order to win a free meal etc. But how many people do you think are engaging with the content because they actually like the brand? If I share one of these posts from a restaurant, for example, it will also be seen by my friends in Europe, America and Australia. So while your ‘Insights’ might suggest it’s been seen by a lot of people, how many of these would actually visit that restaurant? It’s a similar story for online sellers – your products might appeal to those people who ‘Like’ your page, but what about the people they’re sharing it with? Are they the right customers for your work?
Still, if you can get this kind of advertising for free, just by people sharing it, why should you pay? The answer is that spending £10 on targeted advertising to get your products in front of people who will care enough to buy them is much more effective than giving away a piece of artwork worth £20 to people who might never engage with you again.
There are a few ways to do this and I’ll break it down into a few different sections so not to baffle your brains!
Promoting your Page vs Promoting a Post
If and when you decide to start advertising your online shop on Facebook, you’ll be given the option to promote your page or promote a post. It’s quite tempting just to get your page out there, but why should I ‘like’ your page? However, if people see one of your posts promoted in their timeline, showcasing your latest products or showing work in progress, and they genuinely like it, it gives them a reason to click ‘Like’ or at least have a look at your page. With so many businesses trying to get in front of new eyes, it’s important to have engaging content. So every time I update my Facebook page with something that I’m especially proud of, I ‘Boost’ the post for a couple of quid to a new audience.
Selecting your audience
Once you’ve got some eye-catching content on your timeline, you need to choose who to send it out to. This is the difference between spending your money effectively or wasting it.
Lookalike audiences are my best friend, and certainly my favourite use of all the data people hand over to websites. This option analyses the people who already ‘Like’ my page and promotes my work to the 1% of people who are most similar. So if the majority of my audience are women in Liverpool aged between 40 and 45, Facebook might promote my work to 43-year-old women in Merseyside.
You also have the option of creating your own audiences. For example, if you’re a printmaker and you’ve just finished a range of posters based on 80s cult films for a local exhibition, the most effective way to spend your money could be promoting your work to men interested in cinema aged 35-45 within 10km of the gallery, instead of all genders, all ages, all across the UK.
Another great way to use this targeting tool is to promote your work to people in the run-up to a craft fair, especially if you’re travelling a long way for it. For example, in December I’m going from Liverpool to London for a stall at the Crafty Fox Market in Peckham – so a week before I will advertise my products to my target audience in London, telling them when and where I’m going to be. (You’ll also find that craft fair organisers are more likely to share this content in order to promote themselves – it’s free advertising!)
Creating an advert from scratch
Rather than simply boosting a post, you can create an advert from scratch. For this option, you need to go to your personal page (one of Facebook’s little quirks!). It’s a little bit more work to get an advert published, but if you’ve got an extremely specific audience in mind, a Facebook advert gives you the ability to narrow down your audience even further using the vast range of options available. It costs absolutely nothing to have a play around with the drop-down menus, and you only have to pay when you’ve decided to run it. It’s well worth checking it out to see how to use everybody’s data to your advantage, because if you don’t, someone else will!
Video posts on Facebook
When I’m not cutting up books, I’m a graphic designer and street artist. If I’m out and about spraypainting client’s commissions, I usually take a camera and a tripod to film my work in progress. When I get back, I edit the footage using Windows Movie Maker (all you Apple people can use iMovie) and pop it up on my Facebook page. It’s so easy to create a timelapse video, and I’ve seen some great examples from other artists as well.
When creating an advert that includes a video, you have the option of adding a ‘Call To Action’, which is a message that pops up after the video has finished with a link to another site (such as your Folksy shop!). This is another great tool to use, as anyone who has watched your video all the way through is more likely to be interested in your product and spend money on your work.
There are so many different statistics floating around about how much of internet content is video, and those figures seem to be growing every year. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I would say a video is worth a thousand pictures! Going back to my point about creating engaging content, people are more likely to check out your work from a video, and Facebook can optimise your advert to get the most amount of views for your money.
One of the short time-lapse videos David has posted on his Facebook page
It’s easier and cheaper than most people think to advertise on Facebook, as long as you use it effectively. I only really promote myself when I’ve got something to shout about and even then it’s only £2 a time. Don’t acquire ‘Likes’ for vanity reasons, it’s not a numbers game – I’d rather have 1,000 people who buy something from me than 100,000 who just want something for free. And if you do want to ‘Like’ my page, it’s at www.facebook.com/andatwhatcost :)
Peace, love & dinosaurs,
DISCLAIMER: This is my own story and does not constitute advice from myself or Folksy. If you choose to follow the same steps I did, I am not responsible for any financial outgoings or less effective results. If you require any further advice, please go to http://www.facebook.com/business
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