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Build your Facebook fan base with targeted ads

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By Laura Christianson
Relationship Marketing
Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
I work hard to craft engaging Facebook updates for my brand page. I publish tips, questions, photos and links — all the stuff the "experts" say I should be posting.
But only 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.
Facebook provides an array of advertising options that increase the chances of our pages getting liked and our updates getting noticed. One of my 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 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." This type of ad reaches people who have not yet liked your page.
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 snippet of information pulled from the "About" tab.
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."
From there, write a custom 25-character headline, 90 characters of ad text, and upload an image that's 100 pixels wide by 72 pixels high. You can target your ad by location, 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. 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. Promoting a post does not mean it will display in the News Feed of all your fans; it merely moves the post higher in the News Feed so there is a better chance your fans will see it. Promoted posts include the word "sponsored" at the bottom.
As long as your post adheres to Facebook's advertising guidelines, you can promote recent status updates, photos or videos. You can promote a post to people who already like your page and their friends, or to people you target by location, age range, gender and language.
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.
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:
Know the goal you plan to achieve.
Target a specific audience.
Include an eye-catching image and a strong call to action.
Test multiple versions of your ad and monitor your ad's performance.
Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro (bloggingbistro.com), a Snohomish-based company that specializes in social media marketing, content writing and custom website creation. Contact her at 425-244-4242 or laura@bloggingbistro.com.

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