Facebook advertising: how to make it work for you

words: Mark Binnersley

Have you considered Facebook advertising for your funeral business?

If not, it’s well worth experimenting with this platform, as it allows you to reach a very targeted audience quickly and easily.

Facebook advertising is different to simply having a Facebook business page, which relies on free, organic results (that is, people finding you through their own searches or having seen your content as a result of one of your followers sharing your posts).

The benefits of running a paid-for Facebook advert are: relatively cost-effective (spend as little as £20 over the course of a few days to reach several thousand people); adjust your messaging and audiences as you go along if needed; and stop an advert at any time if you feel it’s not working.

In order to set up a Facebook advert you should ideally have a Facebook page. Make sure this includes all the necessary information about your business and has relevant images and branding.

Once that’s done, go to the right-hand side at the top of your Facebook page and click on the small down arrow. Now click on ‘Business Manager’. You’ll then be able to set up an Ads Manager account and start creating adverts.

There are three elements to a Facebook advert. The first is the campaign and its objective. Categories of objectives cover ‘Awareness’, ‘Consideration’ and ‘Conversion’.

As a business owner, you’ll understandably be looking for conversions – people who are going to buy your services. Perhaps counterintuitively, I’d advise against that for the simple reason that funerals are a distress purchase and the vast majority of people you reach won’t be in the market for a funeral at that time.

I would also advise against the ‘Consideration’ category – its objectives include Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation and Messages. In my experience, Traffic and Engagement objectives often end up attracting comments, not all of which are helpful.

With that in mind, I think the best objective category is Awareness. In Ads Manager under this heading there are two objectives from which to choose – Brand Awareness and Reach.

Go for brand awareness

This objective seems to result in fewer comments but still generates a good level of reach and profile for your business. After all, you want people to know your business exists and view it in a positive light.

Once you’ve set up your campaign objective, you can then look at the second element: targeting, or ‘Ad Sets’. This function allows you to focus on an area, an age group, gender, people’s interests, jobs and so on. Previously, you could target people who liked other Facebook pages but this has since been stopped thanks to the social media data scandal surrounding the Brexit campaign.

That said, you can still target people who share similar interests to those who like your Facebook page.

It’s worth noting that an audience can be saved for future campaigns too.

You’ve now set up your Campaign and the Ad Set. It’s time to create the third and final element, the campaign itself. This is a simple process.

You’ll see on the dashboard options to add videos or photographs. Then you’ll be able to add a small amount of text. Two sentences is plenty. You can also add a hyperlink to your website, if required.

Once you’re happy with the advert and have double-checked the audience profiles, click on publish. The content will then go to Facebook for review and providing there aren’t any issues, it will be live within half an hour.

On first glance, Facebook’s Ads Manager dashboard looks complicated, but really it’s not. In an age of dwindling newspaper sales, you might find your local advertising spend is more effective with Facebook. For a very small initial cost, it’s well worth experimenting with.

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