Welcome to The Social Smarty Show, your weekly podcast for social media marketing tips, tactics, and practical digital marketing advice. Let's get you taking real action to grow your online audience, build connections and your business. I'm your host, Jodine McIntyre. Think of me as your digital marketing coach, cheerleader, and wingwoman all rolled into one. Grab some of my social media marketing known out for free at socialsmarty.co/freebies
Now, before we dive in, make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes.
Welcome to episode number 19 of The Social Smarty Show. Facebook ads. Do they work? Are they necessary to achieve results on Facebook? And how much should you spend? Should you outsource them or should you learn to manage them yourself? These are all questions I have been asked a ton over the years. And in today's episode, I'm going to answer these questions plus give you some advice on what you really need to consider before you start investing your cold, hard cash into advertising your business on social media.
Right, let's jump in with question number one. Do Facebook ads work? Well, the short answer is yes. Facebook ads, they can be a really effective way for businesses to reach their target audience and achieve their marketing goals. But, and here is a really big but the success of a Facebook ad campaign really depends on a number of factors. Now, I'm going to get into those in more detail later on in the episode, but what we need to think about is things like the quality of the ads, the relevancy of the ad to our target audience, or the audience that we have chosen to target with that ad campaign. The overall effectiveness of our advertising strategy. So there's so much that goes into it when we're creating a winning Facebook ad campaign.
Okay, on to question number two. Are paid Facebook ads necessary to achieve results on Facebook? So I get it, yes, the days of massive organic reach or getting our content out there in front of lots and lots of people for free on Facebook, well, for most businesses, those are long gone. So it kind of makes sense that we think we have to pay to play. So we talk about paying to play, which basically means we're paying for Facebook ads, we're paying Facebook to get our content in front of our audiences. So for many businesses, yes, this does really feel like the only way. But if you are smart with your content, it is possible to still have a viral post without paying money. Now, a client of mine has recently had a video which was posted as a Facebook Reel. So vertical short video. Now that has organically, so without paying a cent, it has reached over 28 million people. So yes, it is possible to get that mass organic reach, although it is really unlikely. And I work with lots and lots of clients and that kind of result is not typical.
I mean, if you think about it, how many businesses, creators, people, personalities, celebrities are using Facebook and creating content? There's a huge amount of content out there and only so many people, so many eyeballs, so all of that content is competing for attention. So when I first started out using Facebook for marketing, I think it was around 2009, there were a lot fewer creators and a lot less competition for attention. So it was actually really easy to get relatively good organic reach. In fact, sometimes it felt almost too easy to get your message in front of the right people. But these days, it is much easier if we do pay to get our message in front of an audience. But let me take you back to point number one. Even when you pay to get your message in front of your target audience, you still need to have a high quality ad that's highly relevant to your target audience and an effective strategy sitting behind that advertising campaign.
Now the other thing we need to think about is that you have to have a solid business. So if you are launching out into the world and you think Facebook ads are going to just explode your startup, then you might want to think again. Because you really need to have a product or service that people want that solves a problem for them and that they're willing to pay for. And they're willing to pay what you're asking them to pay. Have you priced it correctly? Plus you need to have that infrastructure. Sorry? You have to have the infrastructure or a way for people to do business with you. So whether that's an online store or a booking process, all of that needs to be in place before you spend a cent on Facebook ads.
Okay, question number three, how much should you spend on Facebook ads? This question I get over and over and over again and it's almost impossible for me to answer. So the way that Facebook ads work is that you set the budget so you're effectively using that money. So you decide how much you want to spend and you're using that money to bid against other advertisers to get your ad in front of a target audience. So whatever you decide your budget is, that's how much you're going to pay. So when you get your Facebook ads report or you look at your metrics from your advertising, you might see a cost per click value or a cost per click price. So you know how much you're paying per click, but you're not charged per click, if that makes sense. So you can see how much it costs you to get someone to click through to your online store or your website or your booking form wherever you're sending them, but you're not paying when someone clicks on that ad, you're deciding on that budget.
So how much should you spend? Really depends on how much you have to spend. So Facebook will let you spend as little as $2 per day. But I've worked on campaigns where we've spent thousands of dollars per day. I don't recommend starting out with a massive budget. We want to test, we want to try different things, we want to build up some data, we want to see what's working and what's not. And then we can start scaling or adding more money to the campaigns that are working. But if you're trying to figure out a budget for your Facebook ads, you're sitting there thinking, well, that doesn't really answer my question. I would work backwards and think about how much I'm willing to spend for the results that I want to achieve.
So say, for example, I'm selling a product and I know that each sale is going to result in $10 profit. Would I be willing to forfeit 50% of that? So $5 per sale and advertising costs? Or maybe I'll be happy to go up to $8 per sale knowing that I only have $2 profit remaining. So that would give me a good understanding of how much I need to spend per day, what kind of results I would need to achieve. So obviously the lower cost the better. But when we're starting out, we need to think about it and we need to be realistic and we're just learning and we're testing and we're getting that data. So how much are you willing to forfeit of your profit into advertising costs? So for service providers, this might be a little bit trickier, but you should know what it costs to deliver your service. So you should understand the cost of your overheads, the cost of running your business, the cost of your time. You should have a general understanding of what your hourly rate is and what portion of that hourly rate are you happy to forfeit in advertising costs.
So you can kind of see why this is really difficult for me to answer or give a really straight answer on how much should you spend. But you need to just work backwards. Obviously you should have a budget in mind. You don't want to just blow all your cash on Facebook ads and you need to be understanding your results. So you need to be making sure that you're checking in on those ads and you have to have a way of tracking how those ads are performing. And we'll get to that shortly.
One piece of advice I would say is when you are running a Facebook ad campaign, you do need to give it enough budget to really kind of test out and optimize your advertising campaign. So Facebook, believe it or not, really does want you to achieve your results. I know it sounds wild, but if you do have success with Facebook ads, of course you're going to spend more money or continue those ad campaigns. So it's in their best interest to get you results. Now, if you are only going to be giving Facebook a minimum of say, $2 per day as a budget, that doesn't really give Facebook a lot of room to move, a lot of room to test and trial and really optimize that campaign for you. So think about upping that budget a little bit if $5 or $10 a day makes sense for your business. Now, if you are selling a product that is costing $1,000 per unit, spending $10 per day on an ad campaign is probably not going to get you results. We need to be realistic with that budget. But yes, try and give Facebook a little bit of room to move and then you should see better results providing you've got all your other ducks in a row. Cool.
Now on to question number four. Should you outsource your Facebook advertising or should you learn to do it yourself? Now, I'm a social media trainer/coach. I teach people to run Facebook ads. So it would be really easy for me to just say right now, no, you should totally learn how to do it yourself. Let me teach you. But there are a ton of benefits to getting a social media manager or an agency to run your advertising for you. So a really good social media manager or marketing agency is going to have experience with running ad campaigns. Of course they will. So they will know what works, they will know what doesn't work. They will be able to guide you in terms of strategy. They'll know how to interpret your results, explain them to you, identify areas of opportunity. Depending on the amount that they're spending across all their clients, they may even have direct access to a meter marketing expert. So that's like Facebook ads, customer support, who can help you solve problems or advise you on bits and pieces there as well. Sometimes they're really helpful, other times it feels like they're just ticking a box. But that could be a great opportunity or an extra benefit to working with an agency or a social media manager.
They will also understand the technical aspects of Facebook advertising. So when you start out with Facebook advertising, there's some technical stuff you need to get set up, like the pixel. So you need a pixel on your website, you need to have your conversion tracking set up, you need to have your domain verified. Some of these things can be a little bit technical. So someone who works in this industry and does this for a living, they'll be able to help you with that technical stuff. And that is something that you just set up and once it's done, it's done. So it's not an ongoing thing.
Now, strategy, this is a big one. If you are working with a social media manager or an agency, they would help you with that strategy because it's more than just chucking up a good looking ad with some persuasive writing and then putting some money behind it. But I know what you're thinking. A good social media manager or agency will cost you money. And when you're starting out, or when you're a small business, owner operator like me, it might be difficult to find that in your budget. So maybe having a few one to one sessions with a social media coach like me or someone else, that might be a little bit more cost effective when you're starting out.
Now, I just want to mention it's super disappointing, but there are some professionals out there that do take advantage of business owners who lack knowledge in this area. So even if you choose to outsource your Facebook ads, it's a good idea to have a baseline understanding, because then you know what you're looking for in a social media manager or an agency. Or even if you've been working with an agency or social media manager for a while, you might want to have a third party take a look, have a little bit of an audit of your ad campaigns. I think that's really important.
And that kind of brings me to the next point, which is it's really important to own your own ad account. So even if you outsource your social media ads and you have an agency or a social media manager running them, you should own your ad account and have access to it. If they say that they're going to run your ads through their own ad account, this is a major red flag. They should be creating an ad account for you, for your business, or using your existing business advertising account. All that data, all that history, all those campaigns need to stay with your business.
Right. Let's dive in and have a look at what makes up an effective Facebook advertising campaign. But before we dive in, I just want to mention that when I say Facebook advertising campaign, I'm really meaning a campaign that's running across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and other apps and websites. So when we actually create a campaign in ads manager, we are creating a campaign that's going to show in lots of different places. These are called placements. Placements are grouped into four main areas. So as I keep mentioning Facebook, that's an obvious one, Instagram, Messenger, and then Facebook has space in other websites and apps where your ad can be shown.
So when you create your campaign, you have the option to just choose automatic placements. So Facebook will just push out your ad anywhere that it sees fit. Or you can select manual placements. So you might suggest, sorry, you might select to not have your ad show in Messenger, for example. When you're a Messenger, it's normally about the fourth or fifth sort of message down is actually an ad. You might choose to turn that placement off for your campaign.
Now, some businesses I've worked with in the past have had some really strong values, maybe religious values, and they don't want to be associated with some apps and websites. So you might choose to turn off those additional placements. So rather than choosing the automatic placements, you actually select just Facebook and Instagram. It can also be a really good way of testing. So you might run a campaign where you have an ad shown just on Instagram and another ad just shown on Facebook and that gives you some data on which placement works best for your business or your ad.
Now let's get back into it. The four key components or the four crucial elements that are really essential for achieving your desired result for your ad campaign.
Now number one is really obvious, that is the audience. So we need to be really clear on who our target audience is for that ad. Now often a business has multiple target audiences or they sort of have one target audience that they can split up into multiple buckets, let's call them buckets. And so we need to focus on one bucket for our ad. So because the audience we select for the campaign, they need to feel like your ad is speaking directly to them. So it might be different wording that you use or a different offer. We'll get to the offer shortly.
Let me give you an example. So say you have a service that is relevant to okay, let's do homeowners. Say you offer pest control as a service. Now homeowners might be your target audience, but we're not going to lump all homeowners into one audience. We might create an ad that targets parents or homeowners with children. And then we're going to focus our ad on how safe our pest control methods are for children, no nasty chemicals, all of that sort of thing.
And then we might create another ad that targets empty nesters who like to travel. So we might focus their ad on how important it is to stay on top of your pest control when you're away traveling so you don't come home to any nasty surprises. I don't know, this is not a great example, but I'm hoping you can see how effective your advertising will be if you clearly define your audience and you speak directly to them.
Okay, on to number two. This is getting our creative right, so the actual ad itself. So this is like the visual element of the ad, what people see in their newsfeed and then the wording that goes along with it. So the first job of our ad is to stop our potential client or customer from scrolling past. If they scroll past, then you know we've wasted our time. So we need to have a scroll stopping visual. We need to capture their attention. Now of course something that is going to capture the attention of a homeowner with children might be different to something that's going to capture the attention of an empty nester homeowner, even though they're both homeowners. Or it could be the same, but the wording in our ads, the copy almost certainly be different.
So, things to consider. Number one, video generally performs better than a static image, but it's a really good idea to do your own testing. So you could test a single image, like a single static image, you could test a video, you could test a carousel post or a carousel ad. Those are the ones with multiple images that you swipe through. So do some testing for your own business and figure out what works best for those audiences.
Number two, high performing ads generally don't look like ads. Sounds silly, but we need to blur the line between what could be just a really good organic post and what is an ad. You don't want people to be able to sniff out your ad a mile away. We don't want to just scroll on by thinking ad, they're just going to ignore it. So what we need to do is not stress too much about making our ads look really slick or professional. In fact, if you just have quite an organic or authentic looking piece of content that can actually be a much better ad or it can result in much better scroll stopping effectiveness or capturing more people's attention.
At the moment, a really big sort of trend or something that's working well in the advertising world is actually user generated content. So having video or even, yeah, I guess video that is created by your users, by your customers or your clients that you then use in an advertising campaign, obviously with permission, actually looks really good because it does blur that line between authentic content and advertising and can really capture people's attention.
And number three, lastly, we need to think back to when we spoke about placements. So a square video that looks really good in the Facebook news feed or even in the Instagram feed, that's not going to look great as an Instagram story ad. So when we create our ad, we need to think about creating different versions for those different placements. And there's usually kind of three main versions we need to create. So a square version, a full screen version, like a vertical full screen version, and then a horizontal version which is kind of like the shape of a, I don't know, TV screen or a YouTube video. So if we can create three versions of the ad and when we're creating our ads, we make sure that we edit those different placements, then we're going to have better results.
Right onto the third aspect of our Facebook advertising campaign that we really need to nail: that is our offer. Now, I'm not just talking about a discount or a free bonus or free shipping. It's more about what are you offering your potential client or customer that is compelling enough for them to want to take action, to want to find out more about what you have to offer. So yes, this could be a discount. It could be a freebie or it could just be the promise of a solution to their problem. It could be a moneyback guarantee, it could be a free quote or consultation. If we think back to that pest control example, it could be the promise of a pest free home without nasty chemicals. And then in our call to action, we could say, do you want a pestfree home without nasty chemicals? Click here for a free quote. So our offer, our compelling offer is that they're going to get a free quote. So obviously we're solving a problem for them, we're talking directly to them and then we're offering them a free quote. So see how that's different to just saying, click here to learn more. So we want to offer them something that they want and if you can nail that offer, then you're going to have a far more effective advertising campaign than just click here to learn more or click here to contact us.
Now, the last key component of our effective advertising campaign is our next step or what action do we want that potential client or customer to take and what does that look like? So I guess the most common advertising campaign is you're sending them to your website to purchase something or fill in a booking form. So it's really important that the action you want them to take is easy. It's completed in as few clicks or steps as possible. It's free from distraction, so you don't have lots of pop ups that are going to distract them on your website or banners and things like that. But the key thing here is it needs to be easy to take action on their mobile phone. So usually when we create an ad campaign, we're doing it at our desktop, our computer or a laptop on a nice big screen. But it's more likely that, I don't know, like at least half the people engaging with your ad are probably going to be doing so on their mobile phone. So check, check, check! Test it, test the checkout process on your phone, fill in the form on your phone, whatever action you want that potential client or customer to take, test it yourself, maybe even get a friend or a family member to test it on their phone as well. Because sometimes we know our system so well that we kind of know where to click without even thinking about it. But it might not be so obvious to someone who is seeing that website or that booking form for the very first time. So get someone to test it for you.
Now, if you can nail all of those four pillars or key components of an effective Facebook ad campaign, you should be on to a winner. Now, let's recap. Number one is our audience are getting really clear on who we are targeting or what sort of a subset of our target audience we are showing this ad to. Number two is the creative. It's all about capturing attention, stopping that scroll and using really good copy there to persuade them to take that next step. Number three is the offer. So that's the really key part there, where we want to give them something, some sort of offer, some reason to click through, take the next action, something that compels them. Number four is, what does that next step look like? Is it easy? Can it be done on a mobile phone?
Now, if you would like to work with me on getting your ad campaign set up, or maybe you want me to review what you've been running currently, head to my website, socialsmarty.co/book and you can book in a session with me.
And remember a rating or a review wherever you're listening to this podcast episode really helps me reach new people, so I would be super grateful if you could take a moment to leave me one. But come and find me on social media, @socialsmarty.co if you want to continue the conversation. And as always, stay social.