5 Reasons Facebook Ads Are Crucial for Local Businesses (and How to Use Them)

Facebook Tips & Tools

Facebook Ads are not a novelty in the digital marketing realm, but their impact on advertisers only continues to grow stronger. With the social media giant’s most prominent algorithm change, it is now virtually impossible to gain any visibility or tangible results without paid ads and promotions. Thankfully, it’s a worthwhile investment, as Facebook Ads can bring impressive results. Here’s why they’re an especially important strategy for local businesses and the most vital aspects of making Facebook Ads work for you.

1. Facebook is the best platform for reaching your audience

As a local business, you’re in a rather different position from non-local businesses when it comes to digital advertising. How?

Well, the biggest factor to consider is that people are most likely not going to be searching for your products or services on Google. In the local business arena, word-of-mouth still reigns supreme, and when it comes to the products/services that people are already buying on a regular basis (such as groceries or cosmetic services), they’re either going to the nearest business available or the one recommended by a friend.

This means that in order to drive people to your store through online ads, you need to deliver your ads on a platform where your local audience is going to see them. Your audience isn’t searching for you on Google, but they are already on Facebook. So although it’s important to keep your Google listing updated, Facebook advertising is what enables you to reach the right audience and increase brand awareness.

For example, if you’re offering dry cleaning services, a well-placed, well-designed and enticing Facebook Ad can persuade someone to give your business a chance, even though they regularly take their dry cleaning elsewhere. Furthermore, reaching a wider audience and gaining a voice on this platform will help your business stay top-of-mind and potentially drive word-of-mouth referrals.

2. Effective Targeting

Facebook Ads enables impressively insightful targeting strategies, and its precise targeting options are certainly the biggest driver of advertising success.

As a local business, you’re not only limited to your city, but you can get even more specific and ensure your ads are served to the prospects that are only a short drive or walk away from your location. By using Audience Insights, you’ll be able to learn more about your target audience based on your existing customers. With a better understanding of their interests and behaviors, you’ll be equipped to optimize your ads as well as to find new targets that are likely to be interested in your business.

Ultimately, these targeting options will help you direct your efforts towards the people who are most likely to do business with you and vastly improve your visibility because you’ll be reaching them at the times they’re most active on the platform.

3. Driving Repeat Business

Another important tactic is engaging past customers, as this has been shown to help increase conversion rates and decrease cost-per-lead. Now, you’ll have your regular customers and then those who’ve visited your store once, the latter being a group that will especially require your efforts to re-engage them. Again, Facebook’s targeting tools will help you do this effectively and drive repeat business by extending various offers to the people who’ve previously visited your store. This is available through Facebook’s “Targeting by Custom Audience” option.

4. Measurable Results

There’s no guessing with Facebook Ads, and you won’t need to call in an expert to help you with performance tracking. Using Facebook’s Ads Manager, you’ll be able to stay on top of all the metrics that matter, such as clicks, impressions, and many others. You’ll have all the results in one place, as well as an option to tie your offline sales to your Facebook campaigns.

5. Real-Time Advertising

The Ads manager not only allows you to track your results but to also test your ideas and adjust your ads in accordance with the given results to improve their performance. You’re able to use split testing to help you determine which strategies work best and thus optimize your campaigns for better performance.

All these tools and options have made Facebook advertising real-time. Unlike with radio ads or print media, you’re able to track your efforts at any given moment and if something isn’t working well enough, you’re able to adjust it immediately. And that’s an absolute winner that makes Facebook Ads one of the most cost-effective advertising strategies out there.

Are you ready to get started?

The platform has made Facebook Ads really simple for the user, which is a giant relief for all the hat-changing, jack-of-all-trades, small business owners out there. Social Media Examiner offers a neat and detailed guide for getting started with Facebook Ads as a local business; here, we’ll go through a quick rundown just to get you acquainted and show you how some of the previous points we’ve made are going to work:

  • Choose your objective. What’s the outcome you want from each ad? For example, that may be to drive in-store sales or to raise brand awareness.
  • Select your audience.The “Audience” panel of the ad set-up process is easy to follow and allows you to define the demographics, interests, and behavior of your target consumer to help you ensure your ads will be reaching the right people, at the right time.
  • Decide where to run your ad.This may include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and the Audience Network. The set-up panel offers automatic placement, where the platform’s algorithm will automatically show ads on any of the given platforms where they’re likely to perform best, based on the information you’ve provided about your target audience.
  • Set your budget.The next step is the budget set-up panel, which enables you to control how much you spend on your ads by setting a daily or lifetime budget. You’ll also set the time period during which the ads will be running and have a complete overview of the spending.
  • Pick a format.You’ll be able to work with a neat array of six different ad formats, including photo, video, and carousel. In the link we’ve provided, you’ll find plenty of useful information for each format and links to step-by-step instructions to help you in your creative processes.
  • Place your order.Once you submit your ad, the platform implements the ad auction system to determine the ad that will bring you the best results overall.

Extra tips for using Facebook ads

You’ll need some time to determine your Facebook advertising strategy and figure out which kinds of ads are going to work best for your campaigns. Here are a couple of vital tips to keep in mind to set you up for success:

a) Offer Valuable, Helpful Content

You want to pique your audience’s interest, and a good way to do this would be by entirely straying away from the traditional ad that’s looking to sell something. Instead, you can engage your audience with videos that are helpful, inspiring, or speak of common concern. Essentially, you’ll be positioning yourself as a valuable member of the local community. The video format will also help you add more authenticity and get your message across in a highly engaging manner. In the end, tell them about your business, how you can provide a solution or how the given topic relates to you, and where they can find you. an approach like this can do wonders.

b) Express a familiar local voice in your ad messaging

Don’t try to copy the big global businesses whose ads you’re seeing on your own Home feed. As a local business, familiarity and community are your biggest advantage. Don’t offer broad, generalized advertising messages, but speak to your audience directly as a member of their community. Recall common themes, inside jokes, and community concerns to establish an authentic voice and compel target customers to visit your store.

c) Utilize apps to promote coupons and offers

What will make someone walk an extra block to buy from you rather than from the nearest store?

Well, coupons and special offers are one tactic local businesses are wise to implement. You can use Facebook Offers or a third-party coupon app to promote your offers and get people to claim their coupons through Facebook. These tools are simple to use and it’s a great way to get people through your door.

All in all, the sooner you make paid ads a key part of your Facebook marketing efforts, the sooner you’ll be able to optimize them and reap the benefits. As a key takeaway, the most important thing to focus on is how you can leverage your position as a small local business and adapt your ad messaging to your target audience. Given the platform’s setup, you’ll have some of the most effective tools at your disposal to ensure the success of your campaigns – and maybe even become a local celebrity.