By Katelyn Murray
Across industries, Facebook is only becoming a bigger and bigger force in driving business small and large. Many companies have flocked to the social network in an effort to diversify and improve their online advertising efforts. Facebook has responded by providing more free features for business-branded Facebook pages that boost marketing opportunities for those entities. But for business owners who want to take their marketing efforts to a concrete and actionable level, Facebook ads are the route to explore.
With deep analytics and extreme targeting features, Facebook advertising has, of course, helped huge companies like Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Ford supercharge their marketing approach. However, even small businesses can easily harness the potential of Facebook advertisements to drive sales and revenue, especially in the self-storage industry.
Facebook ads are perfectly suited for:
- Promoting sales, discounts and other special campaigns to an extremely targeted audience
- Growing “Likes” and engaging those followers until they eventually become loyal customers
- Getting the most out of online advertising on a strict budget, which is something most small businesses have to pay close attention to
How Facebook Ads Work
Facebook ads work very similar to Google AdWords. To begin, you set up the ads you want to display, then choose certain parameters such as how long you want the ad to run or the daily number of clicks in which you’d like to pay. However, Facebook goes a bit deeper to make sure its users have highly targeted and clickable ads that are more effective than taking out an ad in the local paper. The Facebook-ad application gives you the option to choose users in specific locations, their gender, age, marital status or even hobbies.
For example, if you’re planning on running a boat-storage promotion, you can use Facebook ads to target consumers in your facility’s surrounding location who are connected to the Facebook pages of the boating-supply or sporting-goods stores in your local area. Or, say you’re running a special discount for students. Facebook ads can even give you the ability to target ads to display only to students who go to specific colleges in your city.
In fact, you can go even farther into users' likes and interests:
- Categories: You can choose between "broad" or "precise" categories, which can mean the difference between a generalized demographic which might be interested or a niche specific audience that will more likely click through your ad.
- Connections: Facebook also uses something called "connections," which means you can target specific groups of people already connected to any of your other Facebook pages, apps, events or even a subgroup of users who already “Like” your page.
- Diversity: One ad can be completely different from than another in terms of who it’s targeting, which allows you to reach specific demographics whether or not they’re a fan of your page.
Creating an ad that’s targeted and truly applicable to the person who’s viewing it not only increases the chance your potential customer will follow that lead, it also means you’re making the absolute most of the advertising dollars you spend.
Measuring the Success of Facebook Ads
Finally, the most important but often most overlooked element to any marketing campaign are the analytics of your hardworking ads. Facebook provides all the free reporting and tracking tools you need to make sure your ads are performing well. The website also allows you to tweak your campaigns on an ongoing basis. So if your summer-storage headline isn’t working, or you want to use a more captivating image for your moving-supplies campaign, you’re able to gauge the effectiveness of certain approaches on the fly and fine-tune your efforts.
Metrics such as the number of impressions, click-through rates, views, location and even demographic-specific information related to the engagement of your ads will help ensure you’re staying on target—and on budget. Although Facebook ads may appear complicated and even expensive, their effectiveness is definitely worth the hype. With a little training and ongoing maintenance, you just may find they’re the best place to spend your monthly marketing dollars.
Katelyn Murray is a marketing manager with EZ Storage, a self-storage facility with three locations in the Boston-metro area including Framingham, Natick and Newton. For more information, visit www.ezstoragenow.com.