Inexpensive Facebook Ads Help You Quickly Build Your Fan Base

By Laura Christianson

I work hard to craft engaging Facebook updates for my brand page. I publish a variety of tips, questions, images and links – all the stuff the “experts” say I should be posting.

But only about one in six of my page’s fans see my updates in their News Feed – a statistic that applies to the vast majority of Facebook pages.

If that isn’t depressing enough, a study from Optimal Social says that nearly 50 percent of post engagement – likes, comments, and shares – takes place within the first hour. Facebook updates have an average life span of three hours, and are considered officially dead after 19 hours.

Facebook provides an array of advertising options that supposedly increase the chances of our pages getting liked and our updates getting noticed. One of our clients – a non-profit organization that is hosting an event for U.S. residents over age 50 – has been experimenting with a combination of two types of ads: Page Likes and Promoted Posts. For a grand total of $50, we ran three, two-day Page Likes ads that increased the organization’s fan base from 66 to nearly 800 page likes.

After the page’s fan base reached 400 likes, Facebook allowed us to run Promoted Page Post ads. Promoted posts appear higher in the News Feed, increasing the chance that a page’s fans will see them. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of ads.

Page Likes

In the lower left-hand corner of a page’s Admin Panel, Facebook prompts you to “Get More Likes” or “Boost Page.” This type of ad reaches people who have not yet liked your page.

Get More Likes

Setting up a Page Likes ad couldn’t be simpler. Click “Boost Page” and Facebook generates an ad populated with your profile image, your page’s title and link, and a tiny bit of information pulled from the “About” tab.

If you want to create a custom Page Likes ad, go to Facebook’s Ads Manager at facebook.com/ads/create. Below the prompt, “What do you want to advertise?” click the icon of the page you want to promote. Then click “Get More Page Likes.”

Facebook Page Likes Ad in Ads Manager

From there, write:

  • A custom 25-character headline that includes a call-to-action
  • 90 characters of ad text
  • Upload an image that’s 100 pixels wide x 72 pixels high

As you type in the headline and text, Facebook counts down exactly how many characters you have left. Here’s a sample Page Likes ad:

Page Likes Sample Ad

You can target your ad by location (country, state, city, Zip code); age range, gender, interests, and more.

Facebook will generate two or three ad units: a sidebar ad and a Sponsored Story that displays in desktop and mobile News Feeds.

Before activating your ad, set a daily budget, and be aware that the ad will continue running until you pause or stop it.

Promoted Posts

Once your page has 400 likes, every status update will include a “Boost Post” link. You can set up a Promoted Post from within the update itself, or from within Facebook’s Ads Manager.

Boost Post

Promoted posts include the word “sponsored” at the bottom.

As long as your post adheres to Facebook’s advertising guidelines, you can promote the following from either your personal timeline or your brand page:

  • Recent status updates
  • Photos
  • Videos

You may not promote group posts or private messages.

You can promote a post to one of two audiences:

  1. People who already like your page and their friends.
  2. People you target by location (countries) age range, gender (men or women), and language (all languages or specific languages).

Important Note:

Promoting a post does not mean it will display in the News Feed of 100 percent of your fans; it merely moves the post higher in the News Feed so there is a better chance your fans will see it.

The lifetime budget for a promoted post can range from $5 to $300 (the smaller the budget, the fewer people are likely to see the post). You’ll be charged only for impressions on your post, which may be less than your budget.

Steps to Success

If you’re considering running a Page Likes or Promoted Posts campaign, give your ad the best chance of success by remembering these four key points:

  1. Know the goal you plan to achieve.
  2. Target a specific audience.
  3. Include an eye-catching image and a strong call-to-action.
  4. Test multiple versions of your ad and monitor your ad’s performance.

Tweet This Post

Here are 5 ready-made tweets so you can share what you just learned. Tweet one or tweet ’em all!
-Simple steps for creating a Facebook Ad to get more likes for your fan page [Click to Tweet]
-Nearly 50 percent Facebook likes, comments, and shares happen during the first hour after a post is published [Click to Tweet]
-Facebook updates have an average life span of three hours, and are considered officially dead after 19 hours [Click to Tweet]
-4 critical things to remember before running a Facebook ad [Click to Tweet]
-Quick and easy ways to promote a Facebook fan page post [Click to Tweet]