8 simple steps to creating fantastic Facebook ads

Facebook ads are easier than you might think

Facebook has truly become a necessary evil. The only reason I say “evil” is because you have to pay to play. Plus, they’re constantly changing something. Take for instance their most recent change, the layout. The beauty of this change is it’s actually better for your shop. You get the whole cover photo space all to yourself! They’ve moved your “logo” image to the left of the cover photo and all other tabs are listed underneath. Plus, your call-to-action button is big and blue. It can’t be missed. One thing that hasn’t changed (at least for the moment) is how to place Facebook ads. Don’t let this seemingly overwhelming process keep you from using them this holiday season.

The key to Facebook ads is walking through every step making sure you’re taking advantage of all the possibilities. There are a lot of them too, but don’t let that keep you from being creative.

1.) Let’s begin

Begin your Facebook ads hereStart creating your Facebook ads by clicking on the down arrow at the top right of your page. From there, click “Create Ads.”

 2.) Your Campaign

Facebook ads need to have an objectiveThis is where all of those overwhelming choices begin. Determine the purpose of why you’re running an ad. What’s the objective of the campaign you’re creating? Choose anything from promoting your Facebook page to getting people to claim a coupon or a one-time offer. Let’s say, for the purpose of this post, you’ve decided to create a special offer that you would like shoppers to take advantage of.

 3.) Give your campaign a name   Name your Facebook ads

If you plan on running several ads over time that offer a special coupon or discount, you’ll want to give this campaign a very specific name. For instance, if you’re offering a special deal for Shop Small Saturday, call it by that name. Consider adding the date too if you plan to run the offer every year. This is especially important when you begin to compare the results of ads over time.

4.) Choose your pageFacebook ads include conversion pixels

Just prior to creating your offer, you’ll want to list your shop’s Facebook page and consider choosing a “Conversion.” A “conversion pixel” is code that’s added to your website to track visitors who take advantage of your special offer. These are used when you want to drive traffic to your website. They help you determine your Return On Investment (ROI) for your ad. I continuously run ads for SimpleConsign’s 15-day free trial where I send people to that page on our website. The pixel helps me see if the ad is effective. Facebook offers full instructions here.

5.) Create your offer Facebook ads let you tailor your offer

Facebook has some definite rules about offers. Clearly state the terms of your offer and any limitations, plus follow local and state laws. Also, your offer is required to have an end date. When shoppers click on your offer, send them to your website to shop if you have an e-commerce site or give them more details. You can create an offer with a percent off, an amount off, a buy one/get one or even offer something free.

6.) Choose your audience

Facebook ads let you choose your target audienceIn my opinion, creativity begins here. As you can see, there are any number of options to choose from. A Custom Audience includes those customers you already know. Click “Create New” and choose “Custom Audience.” You can easily add your current email list to a “Customer File” that you’ve saved as a CSV. There are a number of options, including creating a “Lookalike Audience” that mirrors your customer list or Facebook page visitors.

Next, choose your location. The map allows you to drop a pin on the exact city, neighborhood or even street where your shop is located. Select the age, gender and language of the shoppers you want to reach. Those factors will be determined by the type of merchandise you sell. Detailed targeting lets you choose consumers with certain interests and behaviors. For instance, you can choose people with specific interests like “consignment,” “furniture” or “children’s clothing.” Just begin typing and see what suggestions Facebook gives you. You can even exclude shoppers with certain characteristics. The possibilities for reaching your market are endless and downright creepy if you really think about it.

Below this is “Placements.” All of the possibilities are pre-checked for you. The only reason you would want to un-check placing your ad in a specific location is if you were narrowing your offer for mobile users only. As you choose interests, demographics and other categories, you will see the estimated daily reach of Facebook users change on the right.

 7.) The budget

Facebook ads require a budgetAh yes, the age-old question. “How much should I spend?” Experts say approximately 15 – 20% of your overall marketing budget should be spent on social media. If you have $500 to spend the week leading up to Black Friday, spend $75 – $100 on social. For SimpleConsign’s 15-day free trial, I change the graphics, the demographics of the audience and sometimes the location. Depending on my message, I’ve spent anywhere from a few pennies to several dollars to gain 1 website visitor. Over time, you can see which ads were the most successful.

You can choose your ads to run for a specific length of time or continuously. The dates will be determined by the message of your ad. If you’re offering a limited coupon, you obviously need to designate a specific time frame. Facebook will help you maximize your reach even farther by helping you schedule the delivery of your ad.

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8.) Review

Make sure at the end of the process, you have completely reviewed your ad offer and the amount you’re spending. If you place the ad and then realize you have made a mistake, you can go to “Manage Ads” and turn the ad off without any consequences.

So, that wasn’t so bad was it? Facebook ads are the perfect way to get the word out about your shop to a totally new audience that’s just waiting to find out about you. Once you start getting responses to your ads, be sure to reply to every comment. Read 3 steps to add a little Facebook TLC to find out how to stay in touch with your audience. Happy advertising!

3 lessons learned from my Facebook contest mistakes

Facebook contest mistakes…the hard way

This is the second newsletter regarding using contests on Facebook to build your shopper’s engagement with your store. In the first article, I reviewed why it’s important to use them and the different categories of contests. In this issue, we’ll look at what not to do and some examples of contests you can try.

1.) Make it easy to play

My current photo contest is titled, “The Marsala Merchandising Challenge.” According to Heyo, the 3rd party app I used to set up my contest, over 745 people viewed the contest. However, only 8 stores have chosen to participate. Why? I think my challenge was too time-consuming. Several people responded to me that they didn’t have enough Marsala-colored items or they loved the idea but just didn’t have time to submit a photo. One of my Facebook contest mistakes…don’t make it too complicated!

2.) Offer an appropriate prize

In the past, whenever I’ve offered Barcode Warehouse Gift Cards, the response has been tremendous. I have a total of 5 prizes with the top prize for the winner of the Challenge being $50 in Barcode Warehouse Barcode Bucks. Everything I read about a photo contest said you should offer more than one prize because people entering feel they have a better chance of winning at least something. Perhaps my prize is not as much incentive as I originally thought for the work that is involved. My second Facebook contest mistake…make sure you are offering a prize worthy of the participation you’re requiring!

3.) Know the rules

In spite of not having done a contest like this before, I did know, “If you start it, they will come” is not the way they run. I knew I had to promote the event. So, after putting my contest together, I set out to advertise it on Facebook. I chose a total ad budget of $55. However, I didn’t pay close enough attention to the rules of engagement. I merely attempted to boost the actual contest itself. Made sense to me, right? Wrong! I received a response from the Facebook Ads Team with very clear rules. It turns out an ad cannot include more than 20% text in its image. They sent me a handy calculation tool. The last of my Facebook contest mistakes…learn the Facebook rules!

Easy contests to run directly on your timeline

Facebook now allows you to run contests directly on your Timeline where before you had to use a 3rd party app. Here are several great ideas for easy and engaging contests you can do:

 1.) Fill in the Blank  Enter a sentence with a blank and ask your fans to fill it in. Randomly pick a winner among the comments. Make your sentence specific to your shop such as “My favorite thing about XYZ Shop is _________________.”

    2.) A Quiz Here’s a fun idea when you’ve just received a lot of new inventory. Ask the question: “Guess what just came into our store? a.) Coach Purse  b.) Manolo Blahnik shoes c.) NWT Armani Dress d.) All of the Above”. Randomly draw a winner. Not only are you promoting new items, but you’re engaging your shoppers.

    3.) Share a Photo Have your shoppers share a photo of themselves wearing or using an item from your store. Request they tag themselves so the photo will appear on their timeline and you will receive a lot of additional free publicity. Again, randomly choose a winner from those who enter.