You have a company Facebook page. You regularly post content. You’ve built an audience, but your fan count and engagement has plateaued. If this sounds like you, you might be ready to take the next step in social media marketing by experimenting with a Facebook Ad campaign. Facebook Ads are a cost-effective way to reach highly targeted audiences likely to benefit from your products and services. Let’s begin with step-by-step instructions on how to get started.

[Editor’s note: This post is most effective if you follow along on your business Facebook Page.]

Getting Started with Facebook Ads

To start, click ‘Create Ad’ in Facebook’s Ads Manager. This should take you to a page that will allow you to choose the objective of your ad. If you need some help deciding which objective to choose, visit this page to find answers. A great objective to start with is ‘Promote your Page.’

Building Your Facebook Ad

Once you’ve selected the best objective, you’ll be taken step-by-step through the process of building an ad. Along the way, Facebook provides specifications regarding image sizes and character limits.

  • Be sure to take a look at the ‘Ad Review and Placements’ section. Many ads offer rectangular images, so be sure to reposition images as needed. Additionally, different ad objectives serve up ads in different locations on Facebook.
  • Verify where and how your ad will appear within the preview box. For example, a ‘Page Like’ ad is capable of appearing in the desktop newsfeed, mobile newsfeed and right column. You can choose to utilize all of these options for advertising space, or you can select any mix of options. For example, if you are running multiple ads and see that ‘Ad X’ performs better on mobile while ‘Ad Y’ performs better on desktop, you may want to only select the mobile newsfeed placement for ‘Ad X’ and only desktop for ‘Ad Y.’

Selecting Your Audience

Next, define who you want your ad to reach. If you’re a local business, begin by entering the specific location you serve. Select age and gender as relevant.

Here is where things get really fun. If you click on ‘More Demographics,’ a drop-down menu will appear offering various information provided by Facebook users. You can get very specific with this. For example, let’s say you are a dental office looking for new patients. If you select ‘Life Events’ you could target people who have told Facebook that they have recently moved or gotten a new job as they would be more likely to be looking for a dentist.

But wait — there’s more! Select who you’d like to target based on Facebook user interests as well. The ‘Interest’ box offers a variety of broad topics you can select to target. Additionally, if you click on the carrot next to the topic it will give you a drop-down of related, but more specific, topics. If, for example, you are a nutritionist, you are able to target people who have expressed in their Facebook activities that they are interested in nutrition. Not only can you target interests, but you are also able to target certain behaviors. Let’s say you are a car-sharing service. Based on Facebook activity, you are able to target ads to users who appear to be commuters.

The final step in defining your audience is deciding if you want to reach current fans or new prospects. This will primarily depend on your objective. If you are seeking new fans, target people not connected to your page. However, if you are promoting a post and seeking engagement from existing fans, you should target people who already follow your page. Keep an eye on the ‘Audience Definition’ Box. This will tell you if your audience is too broad or too specific.

Your final steps entail tying your ad to a specific campaign, deciding how much money you want to spend on the ad, and setting the dates for it to run.

To learn more about creating Facebook ads in step-by-step detail, download our free eBook, A Guide to Advertising on Facebook.

Reach more people with social media management

A dedicated social media marketing specialist will create customized content and ad campaigns to engage your followers.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in July 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.

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