Facebook Advertising for Small Businesses and Startups

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2024
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Now that you’ve created your limited company, it’s time to do the marketing aspect of the business and the first avenue to do that is in social media, particularly Facebook. According to some sources, Facebook’s organic reach has been on the decline and the most enjoyable and relevant content don’t get delivered to the audiences even to those who follow your business page.

This presents a particular challenge for small businesses. Most business owners don’t have the finances to invest into paid posts like big advertisers do. According to Sam Underwood, director of business strategy at digital agency Futurety, about only 1 in 50 Facebook business page followers will see your new updates on their feed due to problematic Facebook algorithms. In the past 99% of your followers are able to see new updates about your business page in real time.

Stability and consistent growth is the key to expanding the audiences of small businesses; however, redirecting web traffic from, say, social media sites to your company website may still pose a challenge. Usually on-page and off-page SEO does the trick, but since there are billions of active users go to sites like Facebook on a daily basis, you can capitalize on a percentage of that number and bring them to your site to increase web traffic flow.

Social media, review sites, and online publications are always great hubs for tapping into an engaged target market. Most have useful tools for you to use that targets the precise demographics that you want to reach, but few can dial it right down to the kind of precision that Facebook can give you for maximum exposure and brand awareness.

Here are 22 best tips on how to find the right audience to offer valuable content and convert your fans and followers into customers (even on a limited budget).

Table of Contents

  • Post with Intent
  • Try to Blend In
  • Don’t Post Without a Content Calendar
  • Optimize your Profile Page
  • Establish a Community Page
  • Create a Facebook Group
  • Be Strategic about your Group Name
  • Keep Adding to your Facebook Story
  • Don’t Obsess Over Vanity Metrics
  • Use Facebook for Customer Service
  • Post with a (Small) Budget
  • Narrow your Audience
  • Consider Boosted Posts
  • Use Boosted Posts to Optimize Ads
  • Learn How to use Facebook’s Power Editor Tool
  • Use Facebook’s Product Catalog Ads
  • Structure your Pixel Strategically
  • Use Facebook Custom Audiences to Retarget Users who have Watched your Videos
  • Create Saved Audiences
  • Test Different Bidding Strategies
  • Don’t Forget to Test Ad Placements
  • Capitalize on Link Retargeting

1.) Post with Intent
The head of social media strategy and distribution at Overflow Storytelling Lab, Christina Hager stated that small businesses need to strategize not just with what they post on Facebook, but how they post as well, as it can affect the way they communicate certain information to their audiences.

“You can’t just throw things onto Facebook and hope someone sees them,” said the social media expert. “You need to post with intention and then decide what you are going to do with that post” – which implies the need for boosting the post with a fixed budget (or not).

Vicki Anzmann thinks that if you want to boost a post with a budget, then you need to use Facebook Insights to help determine a good posting rhythm and content mix. Anzmann is the chief creative officer at marketing agency Creativation Marketing and is a subject matter expert on Facebook Ads.

2.) Try to Blend In
Don’t put on your professional marketing expert personality even when you are trying to market your business to people. Attempt to be genuine, funny, out-of-the-box, informational and unique when reaching out to your audience. Just keep in mind you were once an audience too before you started your business, so you should have some idea on what it’s like on the receiving end of these marketing tactics. You’ll be able to identify what’s genuine and what feels like something that’s forced on you.

3.) Don’t Post Without a Content Calendar
Charging into marketing head on like a bull is unwise and ineffective. If you want to get at least half-a-dozen likes, comments, and shares each week, implement a content calendar. People not only want to read your Facebook blurbs, or click the link on your post and read your blog posts, they also get excited when they see that you’ve post something new! In fact, you can capitalize on their excitement and keep your news feed updated every 2 – 3 days.

By consistently providing fresh new content to your fans you will spark their interest and they’ll even invite like minded individuals over to your page. Having a content calendar is a tried and true method that many businesses use to empower their Facebook marketing efforts.

4.) Optimize your Profile Page
Make sure that you organize and occasionally improve the tabs on your Facebook business page, as they serve as the navigation bar for your audience to use to find important information about your business. By providing Facebook users a smoother experience regarding your business, you essentially help them find what they’re looking for. Whether that’s one of your products or services you can be assured they will want to acquire such products/services because most of them were looking for it in the first place.

5.) Establish a Community Page
The thing with having fans on social media like Facebook is that they tend to talk about you, your business, your products or your services; so it is a very good idea to create a Facebook community page for your business. Community pages tend to give more organic reach than commercial business pages on Facebook.

By also making membership to your Facebook community page exclusive will make your audiences feel special and have some kind of elite status even just on social media. You’ll also get new ideas on how to improve your business transactions, products and services by getting input from your fans.

6.) Create a Facebook Group
A Facebook group has similarities with a Facebook community page and each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on how they are used. While you may think it’s a good idea to use your Facebook group to promote your business, steer away from this idea because it doesn’t help. Instead, use your group to allow for an exchange of information related to your business.

For instance, you’re selling dog shampoo and you design your Facebook group for pet owners to discuss the benefits of your dog shampoo. Your customers will have a convenient space on social media to talk about their personal experiences and even share tips and tricks on how to groom their pet dogs properly in relation to your product.

The key takeaway on this is that you no longer need to advertise or promote your products, as they will do it for you.

7.) Be Strategic about your Group Name
For this you will need to rely on an old SEO trick – keyword research. Use Google Keyword Planner or similar keyword research tool to find the best name that you can use for your Facebook group. You will find that the best name for your group is also the search term that people are searching for in 9 out of 10 searches. For example, if you’re selling dog shampoo, then you can use your brand name or the particular name of the dog shampoo (if you have more than one type of dog shampoo) and attach it with a catch phrase like “ABC anti flea dog shampoo circle,” or “Zero fleas hangout for ABC dog shampoo users.”

8.) Keep Adding to your Facebook Story
With the recent addition to Facebook’s newest features, businesses can take full advantage of creating interesting and engaging Facebook stories. Remember, your stories don’t necessarily have to be company-specific news or again product/service promotion, but it can be something different than what people would typically expect of you – such as fun questions to interesting links, anything to keep your audience engaged and cause a higher likelihood for a click on your profile.

9.) Don’t Obsess Over Vanity Metrics
Forget about page likes. They don’t help you make sales, in fact, the more meaningful and actionable metrics include;

  • Facebook post shares or shared links
  • Views on your Facebook stories
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Messages received

Observe these things on your Facebook business page and you’ll notice how they affect your sales and overall business performance.

10.) Use Facebook for Customer Service

I’ve personally experienced customer service on Facebook when I had an issue with my PayPal account. Long story short, the person on the other end of the line helped me in a rather quick and expedient way, which was a delight. But the one thing I think PayPal is grateful about Facebook is that they don’t have to spend as much money on setting up their own customer service center (for which they actually have) and they can help their customers faster. An issue resolved is another happy customer and happy customers means good business.

11.) Post with a (Small) Budget
Facebook has changed its algorithm so much that it’s now officially a waste of time posting without a budget. The controversy that led to Facebook losing billions of dollars in revenue may have been the key factor to this decision. However, even with a modest budget you can still get your post across your audiences, which is better than having zero views and engagement. A combination of the right keywords included in your post, hashtags plus using the boost post feature will definitely help your business reach to a significant amount of Facebook users.

12.) Narrow your Audience
Not all demographics will respond to your ads positively. Some may ignore it, while others may engage with it and maybe even become your loyal customers, which is why you need to narrow your demographics down to those who are the most likely to patronize your business. First thing to do is to run ads searching for your desired demographics (although this can be done with SEO), then find the right demographics based on their responses and narrow it down to a specific group, then you’ll have your target demographics.

13.) Consider Boosted Posts
One benefit of using Facebook’s boost post (or sponsored post) feature is that it allows you to reach more people than you normally could with a regular post and this is despite you working from a small budget. Unfortunately, the ongoing algorithmic changes on Facebook causes businesses to lose their organic reach. Call it a marketing strategy or unfair business tactics but Facebook’s boosted posts feature might be the only helping hand you can reach out to at the moment. This feature will undoubtedly get you the traffic that you desire and help people find your content and/or purchase your products or services.

14. Use Boosted Posts to Optimize Ads
In order for you to successfully do this, you need to post in sequence. Post 2 ads almost simultaneously, then use a $50 budget to boost both posts and see which ad generates the most engagement, such as likes, shares and comments. The trick is to repurpose the already existing post and just repost it, instead of recreating the ad. That way the post already comes complete with likes and shares. This will help your ad convert better and better conversion rate means better sales and bigger profits.

15. Learn How to use Facebook’s Power Editor Tool
The Power Editor Tool of Facebook has a lot of benefits for your business, especially when you’re running ads. Among them include;

  • Running ads on different time zones (customized to show your ad on a specific time of the day for a particular time zone). Meaning that your ad will be shown to people, say, from Paris just when they are about to start their day. Ads timed appropriately gets more responses than randomly placed ads.
  • Controlled placement of your ads.
  • Better optimization.
  • Bulk uploading.
  • Running of unpublished posts.


You may also want to read: Dormant Companies Guide For Beginners


16.) Use Facebook’s Product Catalog Ads

Facebook catalog ads can increase sales and consumer engagements through enhanced product vividness and the ease of product imagination. In fact, the CEO of Metric Digital, Kevin Simonson considers it as a “wasted opportunity” for you as an entrepreneur to not use this feature. The benefits of using this Facebook feature include;

  • Automatic inventory updates and also allows you to connect to an existing catalog from another platform, such as Google.
  • Dynamic remarketing, like cross-selling and upselling to users who have come across your products or added them to their carts but didn’t make the purchase at the last minute.
  • Complete customization, which gives you the ability to create different segments, product classifications, and more.
  • Displaying the sale price of a product when your store offer discounts and then show the original price tag in a side-by-side comparison, which statistically increases the chances of a purchase from consumers.
  • Some stores have reported a 300% increase in sales!
  • Others have reported a Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) from 600% to 3000%, while their CPA (cost per action) has significantly dropped by as much as 9 times!

17.) Structure your Pixel Strategically
Facebook pixel allows you to monitor conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future adverts and retarget people who have previously interacted with your website by placing a crawler on your site. If you don’t know, this feature got the company in trouble with the US government that prompted congress to summon its CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg to explain why they are collecting user data and may even be potentially exploiting it for profits.

However, politicians did not understand that it’s not just Facebook that does this and the user data collected are only user behavior online in order for businesses to predict their spending behavior, so they can create ads that these users will most likely buy products and services from as a result of their behavior. It may not necessarily violate people’s right to privacy, but it still became a reason for concern for patriotic politicians that called this feature into question.

The long and the short of it is that it helps businesses increase their sales and scale up their business, because they can predict their customers’ purchasing behavior more accurately.

18.) Use Facebook Custom Audiences to Retarget Users who have Watched your Videos
Did you know that you can repurpose video ads by using Facebook Custom Audiences feature? It’s a great way to retarget warm audiences (people who have watched your video ads but did not responded to your call to action). You can also use Facebook Ads Manager to create custom audiences for your ads based the length of time users viewed your videos. For instance, someone who owns a pastry shop creates a video tutorial on how to make tasty cakes for parties, which also serves as a video ad for audiences who merely loves to discuss how beneficial these video tutorials are, but may not be interested in making a purchase. You can then setup a retargeting ad that offers a discounted pastry products for new users.

Benefits of using Custom Audiences for Facebook ads:

  • Bringing new, qualified visitors to your site via lookalike audiences
  • Enticing previously qualified visitors back to your site
  • Remarketing to people that engaged with your ads
  • Focus budget and boost profits with audience exclusions

19.) Create Saved Audiences
Facebook Saved Audiences feature allows you to use and reuse saved audiences every time you want to create an ad or want to boost a post. Think of this feature as having a list of your loyal fan base and you are guaranteed that they will make a purchase of your products or services each time you advertise about them on Facebook.

20.) Test Different Bidding Strategies
It may be to your advantage to create 4 – 5 different ad groups and test different bidding strategies, including amount of bid and type. Use the same ad to run but put different bid amounts and types on it, run it for 7 – 14 days, then check to see the top performing ads and keep them, while killing off the other ads that are underperforming. This is a good strategy to employ when you are a small business who is just starting out, as it can increase your conversion rate faster.

21.) Don’t Forget to Test Ad Placements
Ad placements is very important as it let’s you determine the attention focus and span of your audience. Some people go out of their way to click on ads on the right-hand side of your Facebook page, while others prefer it straight without chasers and directly posted on your newsfeed. Additionally, The right-hand side ads, while cheaper than newsfeed ads, may not get you the desired amount of clicks or conversions.

22.) Capitalize on Link Retargeting
If you want to boost conversions and attract visitors to your website, then there’s one tool to use to solve this problem, and that’s Facebook link retargeting. Link retargeting allows you to reach audiences that have never visited your website in the past, but through your Facebook business page or ads coming from it, have been influenced by the overarching fame of your brand on social media.

In a nutshell, link retargeting is adding Facebook retargeting pixels to your short link when sharing curated content. Users who click on your ad or content can then be retargeted with relevant ads at a later time. People who have clicked on your business’ media coverage, reviews or industry news related to your business (they will be retargeted regardless if the link led to a third-party website).

Article by

Marequitta Dequito

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