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How to Advertise On Facebook: 900 Million People Can’t Be Wrong

how to advertise on FacebookWhen I tell people what I do, I hear the full spectrum of responses.

The good.

The bad.

And a lot of the ugly lately… more on that later.

I was talking with someone recently who has a very successful online business and asked why they didn’t have a presence on Facebook.

They said that they felt like they wasted their time creating a Facebook page for one of their products because it failed to see any success.

They don’t know how to advertise on Facebook.

After talking to them a while longer, I got to the root of the problem:

They didn’t go into it with any kind of clear objective for WHY they were creating the page.

Without a specific reason, goal, or strategy in mind, the page was destined for failure.

I’m on a mission to save you from that same failure by preparing you to set up an effective Facebook marketing campaign at any budget.

With 900 million users, 450 million of which log in EVERY DAY, the opportunities are just too big to write off as “not worth it.”

Let me show you how to advertise on Facebook.

How to Capitalize with Facebook

There are two areas of Facebook that you need to focus on if you want to set yourself up for maximum success – a combination of earned media and paid media.

Let’s take a closer look at both.

Facebook defines earned media as the messages and updates that users share with each other (not the ones brands pay to promote).

How do you get earned media?  Simple. Offer great content.

In other words, in order to build a community of qualified/engaged Fans on your Facebook page, you need to consistently offer them content they’re going to want to come back to you for.

I say “consistently” because it’s not enough to throw something up on your page once a week and hope that people see it.

You need to have a strategy for posting useful, relatable or interesting content every day, 1-3 times per day, that aligns with the overall goals and objectives of your business.  Examples of this would be videos, images, questions, quotes, articles, stats, coupons, etc.

The key is ENGAGING with your Fans.  Facebook, like other forms of social media, is all about open, transparent communication with people.

The more engaged you are with your Fans the more trust you will earn from them.

This is where a lot of businesses fail on Facebook.  They don’t develop a social media strategy that aligns with the goals and objectives of their business.

It’s hard work and takes commitment to build trust with your Fans over time.

It’s only after you gain their trust that you’ll start to see sales really take off.

Trust = more sales. Period.

When it comes down to it, you have to remember that Facebook is all about the people; the community.  You’re selling to “friends.”

And while trust is extremely important, earned media is only half the equation.

Paid Facebook Media

Facebook advertising has gotten a bad rap recently as not being effective or worth the money.

After all, people are on Facebook to look at photos, interact with their friends/family, check status updates, etc…  They aren’t necessarily there to shop for products or services.

But there are some smart ways to leverage paid ads to change this mindset that will complement your earned media strategy really well.

These strategies go hand in hand, and if you use them effectively, you can boost sales like crazy!

Understand THIS Before You Spend a Dollar on Ads

If you’re going to have any success with advertising on Facebook, you MUST properly target them, which means you have to understand the exact type of person you want as a customer.

In Peter’s must-read post with an AMAZING customer profile template, he talks about the importance of being laser-focused about our exact ONE customer — the one person we exist to serve with our product or service.

Facebook’s ad targeting lets you put your brand in front of this one person…except we’re going to go ahead and say that this “one” person is going to be a few hundred/thousand.

THIS is Facebook’s “gold” and what really sets advertising on the social platform apart from any other advertising medium out there.

Whether we like it or not, Facebook takes all of our status updates, “Likes”, personal profile info, what we post on other people’s Walls, groups we belong to, etc… and uses it to target ads to us.  A little scary, but true.

Stop groaning (yes, I can hear you); this is to our benefit as business owners!

As a marketer, being able to leverage this amount of data allows us to put our ads in front of only those people who can most benefit from our product or service.

This. Is. MONEY.

With our customer profile in hand, we can target by such attributes as age, sex, where someone lives, their interests (this is where you can get really creative), things like whether they’re a newlywed or just recently had a child, whether they are Fans of well-known people in your business niche, sexual orientation, relationship status, education level, and even where they work (yes, the actual company!).

The opportunities are virtually endless.

This will take some testing and patience to really find your groove, but once you do, you can grow your audience of loyal fans (aka – your ideal customers).

Explode Your Fan Base

Now that we have our exact customer profile, it’s time to find them on Facebook and get them to our page.

The idea is to maximize the engagement with your Fans and build trust with them so they become buyers of your product or service.  That said, the more qualified Fans you have the better, right?

A great way to explode your number of Fans is through engagement ads.

These ads are the ones you see in the right column of your Facebook page that can look like this:

This type of ad is so effective because all your ideal customer has to do is click the “Like” at the bottom of the ad to become a Fan of your business and start getting your updates.  They don’t even have to leave the page they’re on.

Make sure your message is relevant to the audience you are reaching and be crystal clear in telling people what you want them to do.  Include a simple call-to-action in your ad such as “Click Like below…”  This will rapidly increase your Likes!

In the example above, I’m a Fan of Turbulence Training so whoever created the ad did a good job in targeting it to me.  It speaks directly to me.

Highlight Important Status Updates Through an Ad

Did you know that less than 20% of your Fans normally see your posts? This makes engaging with them even more important because the more engagement you have on your page the higher that percentage can go.

One way to increase this engagement is by creating an ad that highlights one of your status updates.

In your Ads Creator, which you can find by going here, start by selecting the Fan page you want to promote and then simply choose that you want to promote a specific post.  You’ll then be shown a drop-down that lists a bunch of your status updates that you can choose from.

Here’s a tip: use these types of ads only when you have something definitive to promote like a new product launch or a contest or an upcoming webinar.

Although you can target these ads to anyone you want, your best bet is start by targeting your existing Fans.  They already fit your customer profile and it will be a lot cheaper, too.

Make sure to state in the ad the benefit the user stands to gain so that there is a clear reason for that person to click on your ad.

These ads are also effective because they’re larger and stand out from the rest of the ads on the right side of your Facebook page.

I’m sure you’ve seen them before:

While we’re talking about ways to get your content seen, Facebook’s rolled out a new stealthy way to make sure more of your Fans see your updates.

The Ad Behind the Ad

In addition to amplifying status updates through ads that will appear on the right side of the page, you can also ensure more people see your posts by promoting them in your Fans’ News Feeds.

This is a new feature that Facebook recently rolled out called Promoted Posts.  You may have noticed this button in your status update box.

Yes, this really is a form of an ad even though it doesn’t really look like an ad.  Sneaky Facebook.

You choose to pay a certain amount ($5, $20 or whatever) in order to guarantee that your update is shown to a larger portion of your Fans in their News Feeds.  How many of your Fans depends on the amount you’re willing to spend, of course.

I don’t necessarily agree with it.  After all, people have chosen to be Fans of your page so they should be able to see your updates in their News Feeds.  But, alas, ‘tis the current state of Facebook.

Just as we discussed earlier, only use this when you have something definitive to promote (new product launch, webinar, etc); you want to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment.  You probably don’t want to pay money to promote a post about how happy you are the sun is out and that it’s a great day for the pool.

But Wait, Isn’t All of this Advertising Expensive!?

I hear this all the time and it’s the most common misconception that holds people back from advertising on Facebook.

The fact is, running effective Facebook ads does not have to break the bank.

You can run a successful campaign for $5 per day, if you want.

Of course, if you want to spend $200 or $1000 per day you can do that too.

A little secret I’ll share with you is Facebook really wants your ads to be successful.  They like when your ads perform well and they’ll even reward you by lowering your costs.

Though Facebook hopes that-if your campaign is doing well and you’re paying less-you’ll keep spending money on more ads, bottom line is YOU’RE the boss. You get to set your daily budgets, so you decide what you’re comfortable spending.

This is only ONE of the many strategies that you can employ to save money on Facebook ads. The key is all in how you set your ads up.

I hate this misconception that advertising on Facebook is too expensive.  With 900 million users, the opportunity is too great not to take advantage of.

If you’re not yet advertising on Facebook and want to get started, but the fear of what it costs is holding you back, I want to help.  Hell, even if you’re already running ads, I want to help show you ways to save yourself more money!

Scratching the Surface

As you can see, there are a ton of possibilities that exist to leverage Facebook to market your small business.

I’m only just scratching the surface here of what’s possible but hopefully you can see that having a combined earned and paid media strategy is the best way to be using Facebook for business.

Do you have a thriving community on Facebook full of Fans who fit your customer profile?  Have you tried Facebook advertising before?  Please leave a comment or question below in the Comments section.  I’d love to hear from you!

About Rick Mulready

Rick Mulready is a Facebook marketing expert and the author of Explode the Growth of Your Business through Facebook Ads - Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with Facebook Advertising.  To learn more about how you should be using Facebook to market your business, visit and start with his FREE video "5 Simple Strategies for Saving Money On Your Facebook Ads."  You can also get answers to all your Facebook marketing questions by "Liking" his Facebook page.

29 thoughts on “How to Advertise On Facebook: 900 Million People Can’t Be Wrong

  1. In my experience with working with small business clients, the best way to use Facebook is to use it much like you would a mailing list – as another place to build a relationship that already exists.

    The problem with the their ad network is that in most cases, there isn’t a verifiable ROI for the business to hold onto and using markers such as a capture page has demonstrated very low opt in rates in spite of the low cost.

    In fact, the few clients that have tried Facebook ads have pulled them pretty quickly when it became clear that the ROI was too low to justify the expense.

    Of course, the caveat is this is small business, not big brands. And it’s local. I imagine that artists musicians and entertainment businesses fair much, much better.

    • Hi Leo. I’m new to the whole media ads concept, but this post made a lot of sense to me. I’m just wondering if you and your clients used the ads to drive traffic to an optimized landing page. I’d think that if that was done, you’d have a way to verify ROI, opt in’s or anything else. I’d be MORE than curious about your thoughts on this.

    • Thanks for your comment, Leo. It really all depends on having a realistic goal which is one thing I think many business, both small and large, are struggling with on Facebook right now. They expect one thing and get something else. So, be sure campaign goals are realistic.

      Facebook is a great way to further existing relationships but it’s also an awesome way to build new ones. Targeting friends of fans is a great way to increase opt-ins. Once you’re able to grow your fan base you have tons of opportunities to engage with them and build their trust, thus making it easier to sell to them down the road. And I don’t mean this in a manipulative way. Over deliver on value and content and fans will tell their friends about you (which is what Facebook is all about).

      As far as small business, i actually think that Facebook is a phenomenal opportunity for local business. You can get so hyper-targeted offering coupons , deals and such. Facebook Offers is a great way for local businesses to leverage an ad campaign and can be really effective.

  2. Hey Rick,

    You say you can run a facebook ad campaign from as little as $5 per day as if that’s nothing. That’s not nothing to a lot of people.

    I understand that in a business sense it’s worth looking at an advertising campaign as pure investment – i.e. metrics such as dollars in per customer, conversion rates and LTV but what sticks in the throat more than a little is that when we originally created our pages, and people clicked ‘Like’ – that meant, yes I’d like to see your business status updates.

    Isn’t it crazy that if you have a page which 500 people have said they like (i.e. effectively signed up to) that Facebook then later decides only to send updates to less than 100 of them (if that).

    Also – with so much free sharing these days, do we really want to have to pay people to see our status updates that they should have been seeing for free in the first place (i.e. because they signed up for these when they originally clicked ‘like’).

    I recently had a friend ask me ‘why don’t I see your updates any more? I used to see them but now I don’t’. People don’t know that they have to click/engage/comment – nor should they have to in my view – they signed up for the option of doing so if and when they are interested – even if that’s months later.

    I personally don’t think Facebook marketing rocks, I think Facebook marketing (or at least the way they go about manipulating their clients into buying said marketing) sucks.

    It’s no wonder that people (including me) are all but giving up with what you’re referring to as ‘earned media’ as the balance seems to have been tipped in a very unfair way. I don’t want to pay facebook for what I consider they should be giving for free – as they used to, and as other social networks do.

    Or maybe I misunderstood the way this has gone. Let me know if I missed something.

    • I agree with Alan. One study showed that only about 3~7.5% of your fans may see your status update. I’d like to see the post office or email services get away that kind of delivery rate. (search “3 to 7% facebook fans see status update”)

      If you’re going to keep you fans engaged, you’ll have to come up with an engaging status update at least a couple times a week to keep people clicking and commenting. That may work for large businesses with plenty of marketing resources, but for the average small business you’d have to spend way too much time trying to keep people engaged to be able to do much else.

      • Thanks for sharing your comment, Jarom. Yes, I think it’s important for most businesses, both large and small, to have at least some sort of social media strategy. It may not make sense for every business out there, but I think most can benefit from it.

        Yes, it does take time each day but it doesn’t have to take long. You can have a very effective presence on Facebook in 15 minutes a day where you offer great content to your audience and build a trusting relationship with them..

        • Social media is important for sure, Rick, and I appreciate what you’re saying. But to benefit from Facebook you have to be prepared. Here’s a scenario of a business that is ready to take advantage of a Facebook Business Page:

          – they have 50+ interesting blog posts they can draw from (to share on their page when they don’t have time to come up with something new to post)
          – they have a really good bead on their target market’s interests (you have to really know what they’ll respond to if you want interaction)
          – they have an established email list with which to build a fan base quickly (no good getting stuck at 27 “likes” composed only of friends and family–that looks like you’re not a very popular business)
          – they appeal to a large audience (you need a lot of fans because Facebook will spread popular posts to more people. If nobody is commenting and sharing then delivery is even worse)

          Of the hundreds of business owners I’ve coached, I’d say maybe a half dozen were in a position to tackle a Facebook page.

          • One thing I want to clarify for anybody reading my comments…

            We’re discussing a slightly different topic now. Rick’s article is full of good and accurate information, and anyone promoting a Facebook page would do well to follow it. My comments shouldn’t detract at all from what he’s written.

          • I hear where you’re coming from, Jarom. I absolutely agree that people should have a strategy for how they want to take advantage of Facebook. I don’t necessarily think you have to have 50+ blog posts lined up because I’m a believer in not posting just for the sake of posting. Your audience can see through that. Post when you have great/interesting content that you want to share. It does come down to having a strategy.

            And, there are other ways to build your audience on Facebook without needing a huge email list. For example, you can find other brands within your niche and start commenting on their Facebook page while signed in as your brand page. I wouldn’t be obnoxious about this but it’s a good way to “get seen” by people within your niche.

            I appreciate your follow-up comment as well. 🙂

          • I love that you’re standing your ground Rick, and that you have strong opinions. Any chance we can connect outside of this forum and discuss this further?

            I’m looking for somebody who could walk me through a Facebook Business Page strategy that can be successfully followed by a small business owner who is perpetually strapped for time. Maybe you’re the man!

    • Hi Alan, thanks for your comments. As I mentioned in my article, I’m not a big fan of the fact that roughly 16% of fans of my page see my status updates on a regular basis either. But, I look at it as it is what it is on Facebook. It’s not something we can change. We can choose to embrace it or pursue other avenues. Facebook is too big to ignore, in my opinion, and presents an awesome opportunity to build relationships with your exact target audience.

      I enjoy helping people understand ways to increase that 16%. It can be done organically, without any kind of financial investment, or yes, by paying a few dollars. How people choose to do it is up to them, and I agree, more education is necessary. It’ll be interesting to see how Facebook evolves over the coming months/years.

      Thanks again for your opinion.

  3. Hello,
    I am new to facebook pages and I did not realise that “less than 20% of your Fans normally see your posts[?] This makes engaging with them even more important because the more engagement you have on your page the higher that percentage can go”. Does that mean that if I become a fan of a business, I need to comment and engage with them regularly to ensure I’ll receive more of their updates or is the onus on the business that manages the page? Are there guidelines that help us manage this without having to buy advertising?
    Thank you for this very informative post.
    Kind regards

    • Hi Nathalie, you’re absolutely right. It’s extremely important to be engaging with your audience and the more engagement you have the higher that % will go.

      If you become a fan of a business, it’s a good idea to at least engage with their content on some level — a “like” here, a comment there — every so often. So, the onus is on you but it’s moreso on the business to be providing great content that you want to engage with in the first place. 🙂

      You can also “subscribe” to those pages that have this functionality enabled and you will be guaranteed to see their updates in your News Feed no matter what.

      You don’t have to buy anything in order to see their updates, not to worry. Let me know if you have any more questions, happy to help.

      • Hi Rick
        Thank you for replying to my questions.
        I have another one :):
        Do I understand correctly: when a page has the ‘subscribe’ functionality enabled then all who subscribe will receive the updates and this functionality does not require the page owner to buy advertising?
        Kind regards

        • You’re correct, Nathalie! No advertising required.

          To clarify, the Subscribe option is available on personal profiles not business pages. It’s moreso for people wanting to use their personal profile for their business as well. So, I’m not sure if you have yours set up that way. This Facebook Help page about the Subscribe button is really helpful:

          Happy to answer any more questions you have.

          • Hi Rick,

            Thank you for the clarification. We have a business page to show off my friend’s paintings so we are learning the differences between a personal profile and a business page.

            As a micro business starting out, the marketing budget is nil. We are finding out ways to leverage social media and especially facebook as well as twitter and pinterest. They cannot be ignored. For us, the aim is to attract new visitors and encourage them to visit our website and subscribe to our blog. It’s early days, we still have to suss out how best/ how frequently to engage with our visitors but I think it’s amazing we can do this :).
            All the best,

          • So happy for you, Nathalie. With so many awesome social media outlets available, you and your friend have a huge opportunity to get the paintings seen by people.

            My advice is to find one or two social media outlets to focus on and spend your time on those. Since paintings are obviously visual, I might focus on Facebook and Pinterest. And, both are free. 🙂

            I have a ton of free videos and written content on my site – – if you’d like to check it out. Continue to ask any questions as they come up.

  4. Great post,
    I have tried facebook marketing and failed and the reason for that was not target the right audience. You are right about the right audience. i realize that for me to be success, focus on the right targeted audience. Great tips Rick!

    • Thanks, Fred! You’re right, Facebook’s gold is the ability to target your exact audience. It’s awesome how granular you can get.

      Keep testing until you find a formula that works. Let me know if there is anything I can help with.

  5. Rick my man – this is EPIC.

    Remember i once talked about this facebook promote post / paying to get your message in front of your fans some times ago and i said people will only complain but continue to use facebook. FB was able to find the one customer and they’re keeping him fine.

    Thanks for this article man….. good read and off to bed now!


  6. Hi Danny,

    Great topic! I tried to read the post but the social share box overlaps the text and makes it hard to read. I’m not sure if other people are having the same problem. Just wanted to let you know because I really like your content and want to keep reading it!

  7. I gotta admit, this post changed my view on Facebook Ads. But I despise that promote button – it is certainly a case of “hate the player AND hate the game”. I love the engagement ads, because really that is what Facebook is all about. I also think it is great that Facebook learns about us and then we get targeted with ads we are interested in. Way better than watching a football game only to be interrupted by an ad for maxi pads!

    • Ha! Well put, Steve. I too like the fact that if I’m going to be advertised to, it’s relevant to me.

      I can understand why you might not be a fan of the Promoted Posts. Don’t let it keep you from testing it out, though. I’ve had GREAT luck with it.

  8. I have a Facebook page where most of my articles are posted but it is just there as though it is private; because no one has visited it. I allowed it to stay but I do not know what to do with it. With what is said so far I thought it wise to post this problem. This is not advertising but once there is interaction there will be ‘advertising’
    Thanks for your comments.

    • Hi Marlene, thanks for your question here. It sounds as though you need try and start creating some engagement on your page. Posting articles is awesome, but also think about posting content where people have to engage with it — like asking simple questions for people to answer, getting people to “like” or “share” something you post, or doing a poll every now and then. Images and videos also work REALLY well on Facebook. They’re engaging in and of themselves and people are drawn to them. Ask people to “Like” them or share them.

      If you can, posting something 1-3 times per day (spaced out over the day) seems to be optimal for increasing engagement. The good thing is it doesn’t take long to get your engagement up.

      Hope this helps!

  9. I use Facebook advertising to good effect. I’m spending money, albeit small amounts; because I know that it’s generating more fans. Whether I’m getting value out of those specific fans or not isn’t something I can readily track. It would be great if Facebook was to improve tracking to a point where it was possible to measure more.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, John. Facebook needs to address its reporting capabilities and from what I understand, they are in the process of doing that.

      The cost per fan question is one that most brands struggle with and will differ and be unique for each brand.

      Glad to hear you’re testing FB ads out and you’re having some success!

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