Facebook Ads for E-commerce: Growing Your Brand

This is Part 2 of our Facebook Ads series. Check out Part 1 here, if you haven’t read it yet.

Many people use Facebook Ads just like they use Google Ads, and they expect the same results for cheaper. You need to understand that this is a different advertising platform, and your results are bound to be different. While Google is great for bringing traffic with purchase intent to your e-commerce store, Facebook’s strength lies in creating a brand and a fanbase.

A brand is an extremely useful long-term asset. If you have people who like your company, products and content, they’ll turn into brand ambassadors for you and spread the word to their friends. How many times have you boasted about your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy? That’s you being a brand ambassador.

With well over a billion users and growing, Facebook is the best place to grow your brand. Now, there’s been a lot of talk about how Facebook posts reach fewer people and engagement levels are dropping. That’s true, everyone has limited time and you need to compete for attention. However, if you can find ways to be different and grab attention, your engagement levels won’t fall. Just take a look at the Shopify page to see what I’m talking about.

Another reason to grow your Facebook following is that it serves as social proof. A site with a 100 followers seems more legitimate than a site with 0 followers.

When you’re just starting out, you can use Facebook Ads to seed your new page with followers. Obviously, buying likes is not the best way to grow your brand. Some of the likes will be unqualified and you’ll get some fake likes from click farms. That being said, you do need those initial few hundred likes if only for the social proof. Once you get there, you can stop running ad campaigns and let it grow organically by getting followers to share your content.

It’s a work in progress, and you need to nurture and engage your followers. Eventually, they’ll start to trust you, buy from you and recommend you to their friends.

Are you ready to get started? This won’t take very long, so to get the best out of this guide, set aside 30 minutes, put away all your distractions, and follow the steps.  Here’s how it’s done –

Step 1 – Create a Page

Your Facebook Page serves as your hub on Facebook. This is where you post stuff, and anyone who likes your page will see it on their News Feeds. You can post content, products, contests and promotions. Likewise, your followers can post on your wall and comment on your posts. This allows you to start conversations with them, so it’s really a two-way street designed to increase interaction between a brand and its fans.

Creating a Page is pretty easy. You’ll need your own Facebook account. Use any account, it really doesn’t matter. The page itself won’t show that it’s connected to the Facebook account if you don’t want it too, so you can keep your private life separate from your business life.

When you log into your Facebook account, click on the drop down in the top-right corner of your screen and then on the Create a Page link. If you can’t find it, this is the link – https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/

You’ll be taken to a screen with 6 options for the type of page you want to create. If you’re a retail store, pick ‘Local Business or Place’. If you’re an e-commerce store, pick ‘Brand or Product’. With either option, you’ll need to pick the category that best describes your products, and then enter the name of your business.

It’s pretty simple after that. You’ll need to fill in information about your company, add descriptions and website links. Try to be as complete as possible, and add in a display picture as well.

Now you have a brand new business page with no likes and no posts. Congratulations!

Starting from zero is always tough, but there are ways you can speed it up. Start by posting a few articles or promotions from your blog or store to your page. That way, when people come visit, they’ll see some activity. No one is going to like a page that’s got nothing on it.

Similarly, no one wants to be the first one to like a page. You need to seed it with some likes to get the ball rolling. You can start by inviting your friends to like it, and you’ll find a handy little suggestion box on your page to help you quickly invite people.

It’s all well and good to get friends and family to like your page. But they aren’t going to be your real customers. They’re just doing it because they want to help you out. The real test is getting people from your target audience to like you.

Step 2 – Promote your Page

In your admin panel, on your business page, you’ll find a button to promote your page. Clicking that will open up a box that allows you to quickly create an ad. At the bottom-left corner of this box is a dropdown where you can find a link to the advanced options. Alternatively you can go straight to the Create an Ad page here – https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/

To start with, we’re going to focus on increasing page likes. Facebook asks you to choose an objective for your advertisement campaign to get started. You’ll see the Page Likes objective on the left-hand side. Click on that and enter the name of your page to start.

You’ll be taken to the advertisement page. Here you can create ads with different images and a headline and descriptive text. Facebook also shows you how the ad will look when other users see it. You have the option of trying 6 different images with the same headline and copy. Facebook will optimise for the image that converts best. You can always modify your images later. You can also create separate ads with different headlines and copy.

After creating your ad text, there’s an advanced option for customising where your audience will land after clicking your ad. The default is your Timeline, but you can also choose to send them to your Facebook Store, if you’ve integrated it with your online store, or your newsletter page, if you’ve integrated an e-mail marketing service.

Next up come the audience section. Here’s where you get to define the audience you are targeting. Start by defining where your main market it. If you sell primarily to USA and Canada, select those two countries. You don’t want to make your target too broad, because then you’ll be showing your ad to many people who just won’t be interested in it. If you sell to multiple countries, you can always create separate ads for different groups of countries, and customise your ad copy accordingly.

You can also define the age, gender, language and various other demographic attributes. Again, try to be precise in your targeting. If you target doctors, then set your minimum age to 30 or something. Also use the ‘more demographics’ option to add filters to their level of education and education degree.

The interests section is where you can really narrow down your audience and get to the people who will actually click your ad. Facebook provides a bunch of suggestions but these are too broad. The best way to target people is to do some research on your competition. Go to your competitor’s page, see who likes them, find out more about their interests, and then type those interests in. You can even type your competitor’s name in as an interest.

The campaign and ad set configuration allows you to set a budget and schedule for this ad set. Remember, you can have multiple ad sets within a campaign, and multiple ads within an ad set. Once you finish creating this ad, you can always add more ads to this ad set, or create a new ad set with a different budget and schedule. Again, don’t worry too much about the schedule. Set a small budget and keep the ad running. After a couple of days, see how the ad is performing and then edit the budget and schedule appropriately.

Finally we come to the bidding and pricing. Because we’re running a page likes campaign, it makes sense to leave the bidding setting at ‘bid for page likes’. Click the green ‘place order’ button and you’re done! You’ll have to enter your billing details and Facebook will charge you at the end of the week. You’ll also be given the option of creating another ad within the same ad set, or creating a new ad set. You can always go to your ad manager at a later stage and check how your ads are doing.

With your ad running, you’ll soon start seeing some likes. But it’s useless if you don’t do anything about that. Every like is one person who wants to learn more about your store and who is interested in the products you sell. There may not be an immediate purchase intent, but there is interest and that’s a big asset.

Step 3 – Engage your Audience

To harness the potential of your fanbase, you need to start engaging them. The goal here is to get them talking about you. That means liking your posts, sharing them with friends, commenting on them, and even posting on your Page wall. There are a number of ways you can do this –

Blog Post – If you maintain a blog on your site (and you should) then you can link back to every new post from your wall. Every time you update your wall, create a new post on your page and paste the link in there. Write a brief and catchy headline for it so that people know what the post is about and click through to read the full thing. You can even ask them a question related to the post so that they read it and then reply with their answer.

Images – Images work great on Facebook. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Image-type posts don’t require much time to digest, and unlike a blog post where people need to click through, they see the whole image on Facebook. Really good images get shared very often. Every now and then you can upload images of your products, or people using your products, to your wall. Try out different image style, and try adding a caption onto the image. Images with quotes work well too, so if you find a quote that’s relevant to your niche, add that on top of the image and share it. Use a service like PicMonkey to do this.

Promotions – Your fan base deserves to be rewarded for liking you and paying attention to you. So from time to time, throw up a promotion on Facebook. You can time them to coincide with shopping holidays. Or you can do it just to show them your appreciation. Give fans a 10% discount on your products for the next 24 hours. Tell them it’s exclusive to Facebook fans and see what happens. You can also talk about the promotion on your site and let visitors know that they can access exclusive discounts if they like your page.

Contests – Contests are great because everyone gets a shot at winning something. Besides, they’re fun! Running contests on your site is a sure-fire way of getting people excited about your business. You get your audience to do something, and one lucky winner gets something in return. A good contest will have an enticing prize, preferably one of your own products. That way you can publicize your product while running the contest, so you get two birds with one stone. The types of contests you can run are limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas – photo/video/post submission contest, referrals and sharing contests, sweepstake, etc.

Questions – Asking questions or creating surveys and polls on Facebook allows you to interact directly with your fans. The most effective questions are ones where people need to share their opinions, or give advice. You can even promote your products by asking them what they like or don’t like about it, or what they would do to improve it. The added advantage to this is you get to understand your fans better, so that you can serve them better.

Random – Don’t keep it to just business all the time. Every now and then post something fun to give your fans something to laugh about. Or post something controversial to get a conversation going. It doesn’t necessarily need to come from your site or have anything to do with your niche. It’s just a nice way of engaging with fans and acting more like a human than a faceless business.

If you do all of this right, you can get a lot of free traffic from Facebook. Remember to be consistent with your fan engagement. Inconsistently updating your Facebook page will affect your engagement levels. Don’t hesitate to post multiple times a day, and at least once every day. With so many other sites vying for everyone’s attention, you should be lucky if people notice you posting more than once.

As you start posting more, you’ll find more people seeing your posts which in turn leads to more likes and shares. That’s where the organic growth comes in. Cut off your pages likes advertising once you reach a couple of hundred likes and focus on this organic growth.

In the next post in this series, you’ll learn how to run effective ad campaigns and bring qualified leads directly to your site.

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