Facebook marketing for small businesses can be a rollercoaster ride. Businesses either feel that it is not for them, or they report very high returns. What if we told you that any small business owners can have an exponential growth from Facebook? Yes, you included.

69% of all adults have used Facebook and Messenger at some point. So it goes without saying that it is a great social media platform to grow a small business and/or create a community for your target audience.

By the end of this article, you will:

  • Learn our expert Facebook marketer’s top 9 tips that matter
  • Have actionable steps for each tip
  • Be able to visualise the tips with real examples
  • Get hyped to grow your small business using Facebook advertising

To ensure that you can make the most of your marketing efforts on this social media platform, we will focus on tips that our expert growth marketers use. We have implemented these Facebook marketing tips for companies like P&G, L'ARIN, SterkeZaak,  Livelight , Absu , Buzzispace, Qiqo and Cashper.

Facebook marketing prerequisites

Before we start with our top Facebook marketing tips, here are some prerequisites you will need:

If you still need to finish these steps, then now would be a good time to bookmark this page so that you can refer to it while you are finishing off the pre-requisites.

Let’s get started with the effective Facebook advertising tips for small businesses recommended by experts:

1. Try look-alike audience as a cold audience

When you start with Facebook ads, you already have an idea of what kind of people to target. Often, it happens that when you are defining the audience of your Facebook ad, you realize that your audience definition is too broad. Or you may be reaching a lot of people, but your engagement and conversions are very low than what you expected. This can happen when you are not reaching the right kind of audience.

If you already have an idea of what kind of audience is already interested in your business, then you can try to create a look-alike audience. Look-alike audience refers to other Facebook users that share similar traits or have similar interests than the custom audiences that you defined.

Custom audience on Facebook ad manager

To create a lookalike audience, you first need to feed a source audience. Source audience can be extracted from people who visited your website (from Facebook pixel), mobile app or it could be the fans of your page. The Facebook algorithm uses this information to target your advertisement to other people who looklike these people. You can also select the size of your lookalike audience.

Lookalike audience Facebook marketing

Facebook claims that the size of custom audiences is an important decision to make. If you have a larger audience, then it is likely that your ad will reach more people, but the conversions might not be as high. It is nice to add your best customers as a source audience. This is a great way to reach more customers who are most likely to convert.

To sum up, here are the key features of lookalike audiences:

  • Your ad will only target people from a specific country so that you don't end up spending on untargeted ads
  • You can create up to 500 lookalike audiences from a single source
  • People in your source will be excluded so that you only spend for new customers
  • You can use multiple lookalikes for the same ad

2. Try to create thumb-stopping ad creatives

There was a time when people would make time to visit social media websites to catch up with their friends from far away. Now swiping on social media apps has become an involuntary action. To get the most of Facebook marketing, you need to make sure that your content is breaking the pattern and stop people from swiping.

Facebook marketing small business

Here are the nine tips you can use to get the most of your Facebook marketing content:

  • Start with an attention grabber. This element could stop the scrollers and invite them to spend more time in your ad. Every second of their attention matters.
  • Use bright colors for your social media marketing. Bright colours help attract attention of the users.
  • Try using text overlays on your videos to retain the attention of your target audience. Text overlays help viewers follow the message shared by your video.
  • Use motion graphics to catch the wandering eyes of the users. Human eyes are involuntarily drawn towards motion. Use this as an eyeball magnet
  • Post entertaining content, that hooks them and makes them want more
  • Add a call to action in the headline. This can help if your readers don’t have the patience to go all the way to the bottom
  • Use the word free. People are always attracted to free content. Using the word free greatly helps in improving the click through rate.
  • Show real people that use your product. An average user is great at spotting user friendly products and services. Show them that yours is one of them.
  • Use carousels and videos. This will allow you to share more information from a single image. Also facebook favours video and carousels over static images.

Here is an example of a marketing campaign we created for QIQO. Notice how a single facebook ad can encompass almost all of these tips. Try to spot how each tip is implemented:

QIQO Facebook marketing tip

Not only is it important to try different techniques but also to see which strategy works for your business page.

3. Experiment with your creatives

Not only should you follow the tips for making creatives, but you should also try experimenting with different forms of creatives. At GrowForce, we believe that experimentation is the best way to learn what is working and what is not.

Scale the creatives that are working and kill the ones that are not working. Sometimes a single change in your creatives can greatly impact the results of your facebook advertising. You won’t know this until you try it.

For example, P&G, one of our clients wanted to run an ad campaign for their recyclable plastic Ariel bottles. We recommended them to change their creatives for their facebook ads and it resulted in 44% and 63% gains respectively. Take a look for yourself:

Facebook advertising tip P&G

You might think that P&G is a big brand and it is easier for them to implement these changes. This tip is not applicable to my small business. Let me stop you right there.

When we did Facebook marketing posts for SterkeZaak, we noticed that carousels were a great way to share the most information visually. But these types of content had a very high cost-per-click (CPC) and low clicks. We realized that uploading a video would help in increasing clicks and reducing the CPC. The results speak for themselves:

Improved Facebook advertising with better creative

Finally, we found out that testimonials had the highest clicks for the lowest CPC. This takes us to the next tip.

4. Use testimonials

Having a testimonial ad is a genius Facebook marketing strategy to humbly brag about your small business. Such posts act as social proof of your business' worth. They tell the target audience that others have already tried your business and they had a good experience. This will give them the confidence to try your product or service for themselves.

A study shows that testimonials can help small businesses grow their revenue by as much as 62%. Not only that, but they also found that 92% of people check testimonials before buying from a new business. Why not serve them with one before they ask for it.

Here's a great example of a testimonial used by an Indian e-commerce brand with a budget of <€1.5 and a potential reach of >1M people:

Testimonials in Facebook ad

Notice that the ad gives a testimonial from a 'verified buyer'. This gives the viewer a confirmation that the reviews are not made up by the business, but that they come from real customers.

Here are some other reasons why you should post testimonials on your Facebook business page:

  • Positive reviews and testimonials helps customers build trust in a brand
  • A positive testimonial of a new product can help people feel that
  • Having a higher number of reviews can help improve conversion rates
  • Testimonials can lead to higher purchase volume from individual customer
  • Better testimonials help in improving the search traffic of the brand content
  • It proves that your business has a great customer service

5. Always use subtitles for your ads

Text testimonial posts are good, but video testimonials are better. And when you do decide to take advantage of video testimonials on your Facebook business page, always use subtitles.

As mentioned above, swiping on social media has become an involuntary action. We all find ourselves going through our social media feed while we are in transit, walking or even when procrastinating at work. Most of these situations call for muted swiping.

We don't want our colleagues or strangers to know what Facebook ads we are watching, so we sometimes watch it in mute.

If you use Facebook video posts, then you need to use subtitles. This is a great way to retain the significant audience who would otherwise skip your ad because they don't know what you are talking about.

Not only in video posts, but you can also use autogenerated subtitles in live video streams and Facebook stories. Live stream videos are great for generating hype about your business and also helps in connecting with your customers’ live. If someone is interested to watch your live stream, but they are not in a position to turn up their volume, then it is nice to have subtitles.

You can also use translated subtitles for your Facebook marketing. This way, you can simultaneously target audiences from different cultures that speak different languages. One in the hand is worth two in the bush, but why not catch all three if you have a large net?

We always use subtitles in our video posts, here's an example of one such post:

Subtitles in Facebook advertisement

6. Create visuals in horizontal and vertical

Facebook marketing is no longer only about timeline posts. Reaching a larger audience is much easier with story posts. Using Facebook stories allows you to stay at the top of your follower's timeline. Furthermore, the blue circle around your business logo allows users to know that there's a new story that they should check out.

You can keep your followers always updated by regularly posting stories on your Facebook page.

In order to benefit from both Facebook stories and timeline posts, you can create visuals to adapt to both horizontal and vertical formats. This will allow the viewer to get the information in the format they like. Since nobody likes watching their stories horizontally, or their timeline posts in the form of a vertical story.

Creating images in these two types of formats allows the user to view your content well even when they rotate their phone. This ensures that the content fully utilizes the screen when people watch it. People don't like it when they have to watch some image which is horizontal when they are watching vertically or vice versa. Zooming is often not allowed for some instances like on stories.

7. Add your value proposition in the first 2 lines

Now you know that you have to create images in horizontal as well as vertical format. But what you also need to know is that your value proposition should be the first thing that your target audience should see.

A great value proposition is a short and compelling summary of the primary benefit that you offer to your prospects. It’s the unique identifier that solves a problem your competitor can’t.

Pretend that your potential customers are on a speed date with you. You need to immediately show them why they should be interested in checking out your business page. Let's be honest, we all read the first two lines of all social media posts to decide whether or not we want to read the whole post.

The same logic applies to your business on Facebook as well. Make your value proposition clear and interesting so that the viewer reads the whole ad and is intrigued to improve engagement with different elements of the ad.

Furthermore, if you have a text-only ad, then only the first two likes are shown to the viewer. Write the opening sentences that make them want to click on "show more".

Source: Marketingexamples.com

Here are the top value proposition tips that you should adopt:

  • Less is more. Make your business interesting in 4-6 words
  • Involve your reader, don't just throw a value proposition at them
  • Talk less about the product,  but more about the value that your products bring
  • Write with conviction. Instead of saying "we help", try "it's how"
  • Call to action is great, but call to  values are better
  • Don't exaggerate, people love honest lines
  • Write in a conversational tone. Be casual, colloquial and don't shy away from pronouns
  • Be more specific. "37.2% savings" is better than "more savings"
  • Make it sound more human and humorous
  • Make it more memorable rather than like-able
  • Be clear, don't complicate the originality of your business

For more information about value proposition, check out: How to write a value proposition.

Source: Marketingexamples.com

8. Target specific facebook groups with your ads

This is the sneakiest tip in this list. Turn on your private mode, close your door and try this tip without telling anyone.

We covered how you can use facebook groups to your advantage in this article: How To Find Customers Online Using 20+ Actionable Strategies (on 5 platforms).

This tip takes the facebook group interactions to the next level. Have you ever tried posting an ad in a specific facebook group? You might have been told facebook doesn’t allow you to target ads to specific facebook groups.

Here’s a step by step process of how you can save your money by targeting only those who are most likely to convert within these facebook groups:

Step 1: Post the content of your facebook ad on your business page and hide it

When you make a post using your facebook business page, then it will show to everyone. To prevent this from happening, you will have to hide this post from your timeline.

Use Facebook groups for targeted audience

Step 2: Share this post in the groups you want as your target audience

Note: Facebook will only let you share this post using your personal account. That’s alright, do it.

Use Facebook groups for targeted audience

Step 3: Try to boost your engagement

Reply to all your comments, try asking questions and maximise the interactions. This will be important for your next step.

Step 4: Create a custom audience using this post

This is where the tip gets interesting. The people who interacted with your post are the people who are most likely to be interested in your business’ offerings. It is smart to only target these people.

So all you have to do now is go to your ad manager > Audience > create custom audience based on video engagement > select the videos you shared in step 2

Finally, use this audience to target your ad for your audience moving on to the next level. More about levels in the next tip.

Custom audience on Facebook marketing

9. Create a customer journey

Last but not least you need to take your customers on a journey. You don't greet your best friends as you interact with strangers. Neither should you target your first time visitors the same way as your loyal customers. Take your target audience through the journey from them seeing your first Facebook ad to them seeing the 12th one.

Facebook marketing tip customer journey

You should target different audiences from cold to hot with different messages and different visuals. A cold audience has no idea about your business and does not know what products or services you sell. It might not be wise to send them a call to action saying "BUY NOW". This would be quite intimidating and spammy.

A good practice is to send them a lead magnet that provides value to them. The focus at this level should be to inform them about your brand and nothing else. If you were meeting this potential customer in public, you should smile and wave your hand.

Once they are on level 1, they have been introduced to your business. Now is the time to tell them about the cool things you are doing. It would be nice to encourage them to visit your Facebook business page or your other social media presence. Start telling them the story of your brand.

Perhaps you would be interested to check out this article: Brand storytelling: How to sell more with the proven 7-step framework.

After they have reached level 2 and level 3, your marketing starts getting serious. You should now use a more relevant dynamic product ad (DPA). You can extract the information from their past engagement/interactions with you and use the information to retarget them with more relevant ads. At this level, the target audience is ready to view your content and add your products to their cart.

Facebook customer journey

Finally, we have the purchasers at level 4. These are the people who have enough knowledge about your business and are on the fence of making a purchase. At this point, you just need to give them a push by sending them more product videos and ads with product images with a clear call to action. And voila, you have yourself a new customer.

Bottom line

You now have our secret strategies that have worked for our clients. So there is no excuse for you to not try them out.

Remember that experimentation is the key here. If your campaigns are not getting as much traffic or engagement as you thought. It might be time to take a step back and reflect on the elements that are not working for you.

Scale the campaigns that are working and pivot/kill ones that are not working. Feedback is essential. Try to get feedback from others about your campaigns and use it to improve your facebook advertising.

Happy Facebook advertising!!