Social Marketing | 13 min

Killer Tips For Your Next FB Ad Campaign From 10 Industry Experts

We get it, Facebook ads can be confusing. Not to mention the rules for advertising on Facebook are *constantly* changing. That’s why we reached out to 10 industry experts to help lift the curtain on how to market for small businesses on Facebook.

The questions we encounter the most?“How can I make my Facebook ads more effective?” “Where is advertising for small businesses going in 2019?” “Does advertising on Facebook really work?”

In this post you will learn:

  1. Facebook marketing trends for 2019
  2. Facebook advertising tips from experts that are in the know
  3. And how to market your small business on Facebook with tips, tricks, and everything in between!  

Meet our experts:

  1. Shelby Cunningham, Digital Marketing Strategist, Sprout Social
  2. Cathy McPhillips, VP Marketing, Content Marketing Institute
  3. Justin Marshall, Social Media Manager, webFEAT Complete
  4. Monica Louie, Facebook and Instagram Strategist, founder of MonicaLouie.com
  5. Chen Lilienthal, Social Media PPC Manager, Magisto
  6. Dylan Carpenter, Founder, Koality Media
  7. Laura Moore Facebook & Instagram Ads strategist
  8. Meliss Jakubovic, Facebook Ad Expert and Online Marketing Strategist – Meliss Marketing
  9. Laura Davis, Facebook & Instagram Ads Strategist – Virtually Savvy
  10. Jennifer Spivak, The Facebook Ads Girl – Jennifer Spivak LLC

Let’s get to it!

What are some of your best Facebook advertising tips?

My first recommendation is to not be afraid to test different aspects of an ad. Test everything from the creative imagery and copy to the targeting and placement options. Without data, it is very easy to rely on your own assumptions about who the audience is, what they will respond to and when they will interact. By leveraging insights from tests, you will help ensure each ad is more successful than the last. You can always set up tests on your own, but if you are new to the process or unsure, Ads Manager will actually guide you through the steps to set up a split test right in the platform.

With budget hard to come by, knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you make the most of your resources as well as your time.

Any Facebook advertising tips for small businesses specifically?

As a small business owner wearing many (or all) hats, it can be difficult to dedicate time to a social strategy, which is why paid is a great way to extend the reach of organic efforts. A great approach to achieve this balance is by first setting up a regular publishing cadence on Facebook. From there, you can supplement your efforts with boosting as it is an easy way to increase visibility on the work you are already putting into your organic strategy. Additionally, you can reference organic performance to guide the content of ads. For example, if there is high audience engagement with organic posts of behind-the-scenes or educational content that knowledge can be used as inspiration for an ad on the same topic.  

Personal question – what was/is hardest for you to do as a FB ads manager and how do you overcome it?

As a marketer at a B2B company, one of the most challenging parts of my job is finding the right targeting options on Facebook. I still struggle with this at times, but have found that setting up multiple ad sets with different targeting options has given me great insight into our audience. Typically, I use a mix of Facebook’s own interest and behavior targeting, retargeting from specific pages on our site, and lookalike audiences when testing ad sets. This strategy gives me the flexibility to revisit and constantly iterate.

 

What is your best Facebook advertising advice for a small business owner running their own social strategy entirely?

How can I make my Facebook ads more effective?

Spend time working on identifying your audience and building various audiences within Facebook ads. It’s kind of like painting a room: 90% of the work is the prep – the painting is the easy part! Run A/B tests with the same creative against these audiences, then A/B tests with (what you think is) your best audience with various creative. Continually monitor, and optimize. The great thing about Facebook ads is that you can start, stop or pivot very quickly.

What is the hardest part about advertising on Facebook?

Understanding the ever-changing landscape of Facebook ads, the new rules, and limitations. It’s important to continually read up on the topic and have a team member dedicated to managing the process, even if there are others that have their hand in targeting strategy and creative.

 

You work at an agency that primarily handles small and mid-size businesses. What is your best Facebook advertising advice for small business owners?

Start small and test often. Whenever I take on a new Facebook Ad client I always tell them how I am going to proceed. Generally, after getting the Facebook Pixel, Audiences & Conversion measurements set up I begin with a very low budget and gradually go up. This let’s me see what is and isn’t working without wasting a ton of money at the beginning. This also lets me allocate money to the campaigns that are working and pause the ones that aren’t seeing results.

If you are handling the clients Facebook advertising strategy, what are some of the challenges you face?

Tempering client impatience. Rightfully so, clients want to see results immediately. Unfortunately, Facebook Advertising is much like SEO in that it takes a lot of research and A/B testing (finding target audiences, best performing creative types, budgets, etc. etc. etc.) to find that optimal ROI. It also takes time for your website’s Facebook Pixel to gather enough relevant information to be truly useful.

I can show a client success from day one by simply throwing a lot of money into ads from the outset. The metrics will look to be off the charts – but that’s a waste of money and in the end they will be unhappy with the costs and potentially drop us because of it. But, by doing research, gathering data, and optimizing your campaigns the organic way, it may take more time – months longer sometimes – but the results are going to end up more cost effective and longer lasting than going hard from the outset.

It’s just a matter of setting expectations with the client about the process and what they can expect to see on their initial reports. Patience is a virtue.

Best Facebook advertising hack you’ve learned over the years?

A “Lookalike Audience” is an audience that is similar to users that are the types of people that engage with your brand already. By using a Lookalike Audience, for example, you are able to deliver your ads to similar users  to those who perform certain actions on your website such as website visits, app downloads, form completions, etc.

You can get as vague as you like such as “website visitor’s last 180 days” or as specific as you like such as “Quote Request page visits past 30 days who are female ages 18-35”. Facebook will then look at those users and find relevant users around Facebook who are similar to that audience.

 

What is the best technique (tip or trick) you use? What do you think will matter most in 2019?

Always be testing! I usually start with just one version of an ad (image, headline, copy, etc.), and test it with a few different audiences. Once I see which audience is converting best, then I can refine the elements of the ad to really get those costs down. The Facebook algorithm is powerful, but you need to give it some time to work, so have patience while you run your tests and let an ad run (without touching it!) for at least 3-4 days. We typically see that costs start higher but decrease over time as the algorithm acquires more data about who is engaging with your ad.

What is your best FB ad advice for a small business owner running their own social strategy entirely?

It’s ok to start small and scale as you go! I’ve heard many Facebook ad experts talk about needing big budgets in order to see results with their campaigns. But in my experience, you can get started for as little as $5/day. (If you don’t see the results you’re looking for after a few days, you can always test something new!) You can learn a lot even with a small budget, and when you’re ready, you can scale that budget slowly.

Personal question – what was/is hardest for you to do as a FB ads manager and how do you overcome it?

As my business has grown, I’ve had the pleasure of growing my team to match. In the beginning, the only thing that mattered was my skill with Facebook ads. But over the last two years (and in 2018 especially!), I’ve significantly grown my team of ads rock stars on Team Flourish, and it has challenged me to become a better leader. I’m not just managing ads anymore; I’m managing a virtual team across two continents, and it has been a powerful learning experience for me.

It helps to remember our “why,” the reason for all the work that we do. One of my main motivations for going into business was to help people. Along with my team, I give people the tools to reach the people that they are in the business of helping. I work primarily with bloggers, coaches, and online experts. My clients’ and students’ goals are to make an impact in the world to make it a better place, but they just need help getting the word out!

With more than two billion people on Facebook, it’s a great platform to find the people needing their help! It’s simply a matter of sending them the right message with the right offer at the right time. That’s why we do what we do — to help people p people.

 

What do you think will matter most for Facebook advertising in 2019? 

Using video – OF COURSE Make it fun, attention grabbing and valuable for the user. Try to make it 15 seconds max. Keep in mind that users have very short attention spans.

What Facebook advertising advice do you have for small business owners who are just getting started?

Also: Test and learn what works. A/B test different creative, and  refresh creative often. The most fun part is seeing what works in the end. Sometimes the thought of trying out something new can feel exhausting, but once I dive into it, I always find if beneficial. Don’t be afraid of trying something new! 

 

How do you handle Facebook’s constant algorithm changes?

With how often Facebook changes, you ALWAYS need to be testing. Best tip I could give right now is test out Facebook’s new tool Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO). It set’s the budget at the campaign level rather than ad set (audiences) which gives the algorithm a chance to allocate the budget based on which audiences are performing the best. Now within the campaign, I’d really recommend 8-10 audiences. I use Interest Based and then Lookalikes all within the same campaign. Sometimes I split them up. Within each ad set (audience) I have 4-6 variations of ads. All having different copy and image/videos to test. I like three copy variations and video vs static image.

Best Facebook for small business 101 advice?

Now this question can go two ways. If you truly have the time, then learn. But if you don’t, then hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Facebook isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Sometimes it’s like that, but chances are low. So it takes time to test, optimize, and scale. You REALLY need to understand the algorithm and it takes time to learn. May be extra money up front, but from a big picture perspective it will help you grow substantially faster with someone who knows what they’re doing.

What is the hardest part of your job as a Facebook advertising specialist?

I love this question. I would say the biggest problem to face is that you can’t win them all. I have great success in a ton of niches. But I have also had accounts that didn’t do nearly as well. Facebook isn’t an immediate fix. You need a lot of back end and cross channel strategies set up. You need relevant content, lead magnets, engaging content. Sometimes businesses have a ton of content and resources and some don’t. And the businesses that really excel in my experience generally have 3-5 lead magnets, custom landing pages, custom creative, and great offers. Facebook is ALL about testing. So I love testing offers and content. But when we don’t have different content to test, there are only so many approaches we can truly take. Long story short. I’m very up front. If I don’t see potential, sometimes it’s best to say no.

 

Best tip/trick when it comes to Facebook advertising?

My favorite tip for ads is to use the engagement objective to build up social proof before switching your ad to the objective which meets your end goal. Seeing an ad with lots of comments and reactions on will always pique peoples interest and hopefully make them more likely to take notice.

Where do you see small business advertising going in 2019?

For 2019 I see story ads becoming even more popular as stories grow. Right now there are 500 million people watching stories each month and that’s just going to keep growing. So by harnessing the power of story ads now, while many brands aren’t yet using them, you’re in a great position to beat the competition.

 

What direction do you think Facebook advertising is going in 2019?

Any tips for small business owners just starting out with Facebook advertising?

If you are a small business owner trying to run everything on your own, I would highly suggest delegating out the tasks that are not in your wheelhouse.  If you sell a product for example, that doesn’t make you a marketing guru. Become the face of your business and show us the behind the scenes. How to you create the product you sell?  What do your Monday meetings look like? Introduce us to your team. Let us, as the customer, get to know you and share your story so we can connect with you. Think about the platforms where your ideal market is hanging out and be active on those.  Engage. Entertain. and Educate.

 

Best Facebook advertising tip?

My best tip would be to immerse yourself into Audience Insights. You can find this in Ads Manager. It gives you a real insight (as the name suggests) into the affinity other brands have with your business which will help when developing your targeted Audiences. The more you can fully understand the audience you are trying to reach the more success you’re likely to have.

What do you think will matter most when it comes to Facebook advertising in 2019?

In regards to what will matter most in 2019 – Dynamic Ads! I think DPA still need to be tapped into by many smaller ecommerce business. Yes you need to upload your shop catalogue but then you let Facebook do the rest. It’s as automated as Facebook Ads offer at the moment but it’s a good one. In short, Facebook finds the right product and serves it to the audience who has already checked it out online. You know the ones, the ones that follow you around social media until you cave and buy it!! Bingo!

What is your best Facebook advertising advice small business owners running their own social strategy entirely?

Try! Whats the worst that can happen? Many businesses will commit to £££ for a print advert but are more nervous of really getting stuck into Facebook Ads yet these are the ones that can be laser focussed in its targeting and also most importantly can be turned off.

So what have you got to lose? If they don’t work, turn them off. Learn from it and then you refine and try again. This way you don’t waste money on Ads that aren’t performing. There are many businesses out there now who will support small business owners with their ads. I for one offer a package that works with you on a one to one basis over a few months. So you can build, optimise and scale ads with someone (virtually) holding your hand. So take advice, seek out training and be prepared to learn.

 

What is your best FB ad advice advice for a small business owner running their own social strategy entirely?

Make sure you know exactly how you will track results and measure success before you ever spend a cent. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often I speak to entrepreneurs who have spent hundreds, even thousands or tens of thousands running Facebook Ads for themselves, and its not that they necessarily didn’t generate a return — its that they literally have no idea how to even begin to go about determining what the results were. Facebook SHOULD NOT feel like this mysterious black box that eats all your money and then occasionally something good happens. As long as you set things up properly — this generally just comes down to understanding and implementing the pixel, as well as knowing which metrics to look at in the Ads Manager — you’re poised to alway be in complete control of what you’re getting, for what you’re spending.

Personal question – what was/is hardest for you to do as a FB ads manager and how do you overcome it?

Probably the most difficult thing is how quickly things change. And I don’t just mean when Facebook changes it’s rules or algorithms. I’m also referencing how a particular ad and audience can be absolutely crushing it on Monday, and be an epic fail by Thursday. Its less about overcoming this — its the nature of the Facebook Ads beast, like it or not! — and more about approaching your ads as a data-driven detective, always on the hunt for the next best image, headline, and targeting. Its crucial to look at EVERYTHING as a test, and this testing process never ends. So when an ad suddenly flops, its simply — on to the next one!

 

 

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