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Secret Sauce: Creating Facebook Ads that Work

Secret Sauce: Creating Facebook Ads that Work

Lots of people are still on the fence about Facebook ads.

"Do they actually work?" "Will all of my interaction come from spam accounts?"

These are the questions we hear most often in relation to advertising on this platform.

But managing the social media outlets for several clients in various industries, we've seen Facebook ads produce powerful results (on a relatively small budget.) In fact, one client saw a 66% increase in monthly website visits from one Facebook ad campaign.

There is, however, a "secret sauce" to creating effective Facebook ads. You really need to have a game plan going in so yo don't waste your precious time or financial resources.

Lucky for you, we're sharing the strategies we've learned from trial and error today so that you can feel more confident about testing out this advertising medium.

Part One: Choose a Strong Image

Sure, it's easy to grab a stock image or snap a quick smartphone picture on the go. But when you're creating an ad, pretend you're a magazine photography editor. Find (or create) an image that's well composed, colorful, and makes the scrolling reader pause. In general, you should:

  • Feature a product or person from your business (It's proven that people like pretty things and human faces in images on social media)
  • Use high-quality images (Good lighting, solid composure)
  • Relate to the copy you'll include (More on that below)
  • Evoke an emotional response (Do puppy photos make you smile?)
  • Align with your other images (Stick to one filter to create a sense of cohesiveness)
  • Don't get stale (Don't be afraid to change your ad image if you see interaction begin to drop off)

Think of it like this: The image is the attention grabber, and the copy is what seals the deal. So, let's talk copy...

Part Two: Craft Great Copy

The words that you'll include in your Facebook ad are limited, so you need to make them count. Here's the process l typically follow when building Facebook ad copy:

  1. Define your objective. Pick one objective that you want your ad to accomplish. That might be website clicks, app downloads, etc. Facebook will have you select your goal as step one in the process. Your copy should cleverly convince the reader to do just what you want them to.
  2. Decide who you're writing for. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Think about your ideal customer and the pain points he or she faces. Write copy that speaks directly to that person.
  3. Remove the hard sell. Typically, the flashy sales strategy employed by car dealerships won't fly on Facebook. Instead, keep a conversational tone. Make your reader laugh, or cry, or stop and think.
  4. Be direct. Include a price when you can! It eliminates uncertainty and gives the reader a reason to act.
  5. Put a time frame on it. Urgency is a powerful motivator...and so is exclusivity. Encourage your reader to act right now rather than thinking it over (and maybe talking him or herself out if it.)

Part Three: Define, Target, and Place Ads

This last part relates to the ins and outs of how you'll target your ad and where it will display to Facebook users.

First, you need to define a few important things: One being your budget. I suggest starting small with a budget of $100-$500. Then, as you get the hang of things and find out what works well for your audience, you can increase the amount slowly.

You also need to put a time frame on your campaign. Will it run for a week? A day? Shorter campaigns (less than two weeks) help keep your ads fresh.

When targeting, you can customize your audience based on location, gender, behaviors, interests, and more. Your main objective here is to define that ideal customer and then fill out those sections based on that persona.

Ask yourself, "What age range does my ideal customer fall in? What are his/her interests and hobbies? What's important to him/her?" These questions will help dictate how you target.

Then, think about placement. In my experience, Facebook ads placed only on the Desktop feed and in the mobile feed are most effective. Right-side bar placement and placement within Facebook's extended network (outside sites) have not produced great results, so I always stick with desktop/mobile display.

Bombs away!

Now it's go time. Launch your campaign, and carefully monitor the results each day. If you're into testing your ads, try running three ads at the same time, but with a different take on each one. This will help you more quickly understand what resonates with your audience.

The bottom line

Are you still going to get some junk interactions? Most likely. But that happens with any kind of ad. If you've done your targeting correctly, that shouldn't be as much of a concern.

Before writing Facebook ads off completely, do some research of your own. Test them. Tweak them. You might be pleasantly surprised at how effective they can be.

5 Predicitions for 2015

5 Predicitions for 2015

You've probably read a post or two that recaps the past year (yes, we did one of those, too.) But now that it's 2015, it's time to start looking ahead instead of behind.

It's time to make plans, to get prepared for the future, and to build a strategy that helps make this year more successful than the last.

None of us can see the future, but we can make some predictions that will help guide our paths based on trends, new areas seeing growth, and by evaluating what works (as well as what doesn't anymore.)

Here are a few of our predictions for marketing in 2015:

1. Paid Advertising on Social Media

Facebook has already jumped into paid advertising with both feet and even announced that in 2015, business pages will pretty much have to pay if they want their promotional materials to be seen by, well, anyone. The good news is Facebook's advertising platform has improved dramatically over the past year and enables pages to target users better than ever before.

But you can expect to see this trend continue to grow on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, too. As all of these social networks find their footing with revenue-generating opportunities, advertising seems to be the first area they'll push.

2. More Copywriting, More Content

Content Marketing is no longer just for the early adopters. Everyone is doing it, and if you're still not, it's time to get on board. 2015 should be a year in which you regularly publish valuable blog content, create lead generators (like free eBooks, templates, checklists, etc.) and start collecting email addresses so you can stay in touch with your audience and help them through the sales funnel.

3. Video, Video, Video

Online video is quickly becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools throughout social media. Old and new platforms like Vine, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and many others are making video creation easier than ever. And since video combines both audio and visual elements, you can communicate a powerful, concise message in just a few seconds.

4. Influencer Collaboration

One of the most popular ways to expand the reach of any marketing effort is to partner with a powerful, relevant voice within your target community. Whether that means collaborating with a popular blogger, YouTuber, or Podcaster, finding ways to connect with new audiences starts in this arena.

5. The Growing Importance of Design

Design has always been important, but now it's becoming critical to businesses' success. The everyday consumer is valuing it and taking it into consideration when make purchases or signing up for products. A recent study found that design was a reason that 46% of people trusted a website. If you have a website, marketing materials, or social media presence, it may be time to refresh the look.

As you look forward into 2015, think about the areas you can surge ahead and get on board with new strategies before your competitors. Don't rush it, but do your homework and see how you can thoughtfully transition into new territory.

What would you add to this list? Send us your suggestions at @wearelumen on Twitter.


Diversifying Your Social Media Presence

Diversifying Your Social Media Presence

So you’re on Facebook and Twitter. Think you’ve got it covered? You might want to reconsider.

While it’s true that these two outlets are probably the most widely used forms of social media, there may be other valuable options for you to consider based on your target audience.

Today we’re going to highlight a few other social media outlets, their user bases, and what they can offer that’s different from Facebook and Twitter.

Remember: Consider the audience that you cater to—and keep that in mind as you read.

1.  Pinterest

Remember when you had a cork board in your room that you’d pin magazine clippings and photos to? That’s the idea behind Pinterest. Today, it’s a great place to share recipes, DIY projects, craft and party ideas—you get the idea.                                                                              

Who does it well: Handmade Charlotte, A Beautiful Mess

Target demographic: Women ages 18-40 living in suburban or rural areas with an income >$75,000 annually. (All demographic info via Pew Research)

2.  Instagram

When it comes to Instagram, think curated photos with a short caption. This is the land of food photos, vacation snapshots, lifestyle snippets—and yes, selfies. Instagram isn’t the place for full photo albums or long captions. It’s a place to highlight your best photo and to tie in a few appropriate hashtags—which are to be used for grouping photos by subject matter (not adding afterthoughts.) Don’t forget to take advantage of the short video clip features, too.

Who does it well: Ugmonk, Nars

Target demographic: Men and women ages 18-30 living in urban and suburban areas with a variety of ethnic backgrounds and income levels.

3.  Tumblr

Don’t have a blog built into your website? Link out to a Tumblr for a place to share longer form content that’s more like a journal. Tumblr offers customizable or pre-made templates to make your blog blend seamlessly with your branding, and offers a reblog feature (like a retweet) that offers an opportunity for good content to be easily shared.

Who does it well: The White House, Sara Zucker

Target demographic: Men and women ages 18-30 living in cities, suburbs, and rural areas with varied income levels.

Still need more diversity?

Look into outlets like Vine, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google +, Flickr (just to name a few.) There are so many options. Just keep in mind: Each outlet needs to offer something unique and special. Find the outlets that are a wise time investment based on your target audience, and create quality content that makes the reader or viewer pause.