Get More Customers with Facebook Ads: Pandemic Version
Have you been hesitant to pay Facebook for your content to appear in your audience’s streams? Maybe you still remember the days when you could get good reach through just normal, consistent posting.
Pandemic or not, those days are long gone.
If you want your audience to see you—and you really need that especially now—then you're going to have to “pay to play.”
But, it’s not as simple as just handing over money to Facebook and automatically getting the traffic and sales you want. You need to learn how to write effective social media ads. Since the pandemic began, the most effective content has changed. So, you’re going to have to rethink how you share your message.
Here’s what you need to know about creating ads that drive sales, generate leads, and bring in money—all while most businesses are shut down.
Your Audience Is Online Now More Than Ever
It doesn't take a marketing guru to figure out that people are online more these days. Many of us are working from home and need a distraction from our daily lives. While we probably see more people riding their bikes and walking then we have in the past, most of us are still spending a large chunk of our days scrolling through social media.
Even though we are consuming more content, it doesn't necessarily mean that Facebook and the like have become more Democratic in how they feature content. If anything, there’s more competition to get your content in front of your target audience because more people are creating content. To get in front of the people who can make a difference in your business, you're going to have to use ads.
Learn the Technology
First things first: learning how Facebook ads work and understanding how to create them. There are many variables when creating Facebook (or any social media) ads. From who you target to how long the ad runs to total spending power, there’s a lot to consider. Below are some solid resources to help you get started with Facebook ads.
- How to Advertise on Facebook in 2020: the definitive Facebook ads guide
- Facebook Ads Directions (from Facebook)
- Successful Facebook Ads on a Small Budget
- Facebook Ads Training: How to Build Great Ads and Audiences (Free course from Hubspot)
- The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising
Create Content That Attracts
When most people think about ads they probably think of a clever jingle or an enticing offer. However, the most effective Facebook ads also aim at connecting you with your audience. This is incredibly important during this time. Here is how you create ads that help you connect from a content perspective:
1. Make it Familiar
You don't want the ad to look like an ad. Facebook will attach the word “sponsored” underneath your name on the post when people are skimming their streams that word won't always pop up to them. If your ad resembles a normal post, people will likely click through and read it. If it looks like a blatant act of self-promotion, chances are that they’ll skip over it.
2. Play the Small Business Card
People are incredibly tuned in to the plight of small business right now. If you operate a small business, tell them how important it is to support small businesses during this time. If your audience understands your small business is keeping local people employed, they will likely try to help by buying from you.
3. Show Appreciation
Your social media ad doesn't have to be about an offer you're extending. You can put money behind a post that thanks your community for their efforts during this trying time. People like those who appreciate others.
4. Use Creative Offers
During times like these, you’re going to need to get creative. With the possibility of a recession looming, people are feeling hesitant to spend money right now. Social media is the ideal marketplace to help you sell a creative offer. For example, a restaurant that had a surplus of fresh vegetables created takeout boxes of raw veggies. Their ability to pivot their offer to fit the situation brought in money, reduced food waste, and benefited their customers. Think of ways to bundle your goods and services with things you may have extras of.
5. Sell Gift Cards
You can use an ad to remind people they can buy gift cards too. A great way to position your message is to invite your customers to invest in future products or services. While they may not be able to use a gift card right away, they’re investing in a future experience whether that’s drinks with friends, getting a pampering facial, or a much needed cut and color!
6. Make a Sacrifice for Others
If you have the means, create an offer that benefits others as well as yourself. Breweries in Fargo, ND banded together to create All Together IPA. A portion of the proceeds goes to the All Together FM Fund, which supports local bar and restaurant workers who have lost most or all their income due to the pandemic. People love to know that their money is being used to help as many people as possible, and it builds a sense of community.
7. Highlight What Others are Doing
Use your social media to highlight what others are doing in the community such as showcasing businesses that have even given discounts to those who are helping. Keep in mind that while the content isn’t about you, the offer or call to action should be. The content promotes goodwill and gets attention but the call to action should direct them to something you’d like the viewer to do.
When creating content and ads during this time, work hard to build the trust factor. Be a good steward of the community. Help people and your audience will be more likely to help you as well. More importantly, always show appreciation for your customers and fellow business community.
Simplify the Buying Process
The final thing you need to do to create effective Facebook ads is to remove the friction from the buying process. You want your audience to take action, but you have to tell them what they should do next. Examples of some effective calls to action include:
- Stop by today
- Order online
- Call for more information
After you tell them what you want them to do, make it easy for them to follow up. Buttons and URLs that go directly to a product or an online catalog or even a targeted landing page are ideal to drive action.
Don’t just direct them to your website’s home page. If you do, there’s a bigger chance that they’ll bounce off of your site because they don’t know what to do next. This is especially important if you mention a specific product or service in your Facebook ad; you essentially leave them hanging by directing them to your home page vs. that product or service. Not to mention it can be frustrating for the consumer!
Social media ads are a strong method to get in front of your audience on a platform you know they're already on. While the suggestions in this article work for non-pandemic times as well, it is crucial right now to create ad content that connects with your audience and portrays you as a good neighbor.
We're all in this together and if you fail to give that kind of message, fewer people will feel the need to support you. Right now people are looking to be kind. They want to help. That needs to be a strong focus in your marketing message in order to improve sales.
Finally, even if your business isn't currently open you can still be a good neighbor. Highlight the work of others and thank those who have helped you. Staying top of mind will assist you in your recovery once you're allowed to reopen your doors.