FacebookWith a user-base of roughly 1.2 billion people, Facebook presents local businesses with a powerful platform. By creating and claiming your business listing on Facebook, you can keep customers up to date on your contact information, news, promotions, and latest developments. Your Facebook page gives you an online consumer-facing platform that allows you to increase the level of engagement you have with your customers. Once a user “likes” your page, they are automatically prompted with any updates you make to your business’ page. It is estimated that the average value of a Facebook “like” on a business’ page is $147, so Facebook offers a lucrative method for increasing your bottom line.

Additionally, Facebook offers advertising capabilities to reach new customers. Once you create your Facebook ad, your targeted audience will see your advertisement on or next to their Facebook news feed. These ads drive traffic to your website or encourage users to like, comment and share it with their friends, which allows the ads to be seen by even more people. The average Facebook user has roughly 200 friends, so Facebook allows you the opportunity to exponentially expand your audience.

Below, we’ll highlight two important Facebook features to determine if Facebook advertising is an option for your business.

Facebook Advertising Feature: Ad Creation

Facebook advertising is a self-service platform without a minimum budget. When you create an ad on Facebook, you will be asked to choose your goal. Given your specific goal, suggested ads are designed for you to meet your needs. For example, ads can drive sales on your website, encourage people to install your app, or build your brand through page engagement. Once you’ve decided what the goal of your advertisement should be, you can add photos and text, and set up your budget. You can even add a call to action to your advertisements, which will show up in people’s news feeds and allow them to press – for example – a “get offer” button. People can then share offers that they claim, and you can see how successful certain offers are.

Facebook Advertising Feature: Ad Targeting

Something that sets Facebook apart from other online media is its social graph. The social graph refers to Facebook’s ability to collect, express, and leverage the connections between the site’s users. For instance, a salon can target a customer who has expressed an interest in hair styling. Once this customer has “liked” the salon, the salon is now broadcasted to the customer’s friends, some of which likely have a similar location and interests. The social graph allows you to target your advertisements. When you create an advertisement for your business on Facebook, you can precisely choose who will see it. By choosing from options like age, gender, location, interests, and previous purchase behavior, you can ensure that you’re paying for relevant views and that you’re maximizing the return on your investment. Once your ads are running, Facebook’s ad manager tool keeps you in tune with how effective a particular ad is.

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Is Facebook Advertising Effective For Your Business?

Facebook is able to index people’s interests, which presents local businesses with a tremendous opportunity to promote their products and services. Facebook’s user base is primed for increasing awareness about your business. 52% of marketers acquired at least one customer through Facebook in 2013, and given Facebook’s recent tools aimed at helping local businesses advertise, this figure is sure to increase.

Before you begin to evaluate whether Facebook Advertising is a good solution for your business Facebook advertising, make sure that you create and claim your business’ Facebook Page. If you already have a well-established online presence and know your customers are active on Facebook, Facebook Advertising may be a good platform for you. If your business’ online presence needs improvement and you don’t yet know too much about your customers, these are essential steps to take first before investing any money into advertising.