Get the Most from Your Facebook Ads

Brands on Facebook need to use both free and paid placements in order to get any traction. Organic reach on Facebook has been ratcheted down to all but zero. Meanwhile, Facebook ad opportunities abound.

Facebook is the most robust platform when it comes to social advertising. It offers a generally low cost-per-click and potential for a good return for dollars spent. That is, if you get it right.

Set the Right Objectives

When you set up your Facebook Ad, the first thing you’re asked to select is your marketing objective. The right answer depends on what you want your ad to achieve.

Target the Right People

Getting clicks from people who aren’t in your area or who can’t use your services is not helpful. You need to spend time to narrow the audience that will see your ad.

Before you create an ad, spend time to carefully define your target audience. The more you know, the better you can focus the reach of your ad.

  • Custom audiences – Create your own targeted audiences
  • Lookalike audiences – Facebook finds you new audiences that are like your existing contacts
  • Interest-based targeting – Narrow your audience by interests
  • Demographic-based targeting – Define your audiences by demographics such as age, location and gender.

Set a Reasonable Budget

The Facebook bidding process can be tricky. Facebook will offer a suggested budget. Go with that, and then adjust up or down based on your results.

This means paying attention to your ad performance and spend before the campaign ends. The right corrections can save you from getting poor results.

Be Eye-Catching

Facebook ads use images, video and text. The visuals are key to getting attention.If your image isn’t strong enough, people won’t click on your ad. for the best results:

  • Use an original image rather than a stock image
  • Be upbeat and positive
  • Be visually interesting

Use the Right Words

Your visual will get attention. Your words need to sustain that interest. You want to compel people to take your desired action.

  • Use words that speak to your audience
  • Focus on what the audience needs
  • Create a sense of need or urgency
  • Keep it short

Include a call to action. What should the reader do next? Make it clear and easy. If you ask them to click, make sure that when they get to the next step there is a clear connection to the ad.

As soon as you begin to see your CTR fall as your frequency rises, then you’ll know it’s time to change up your ad.


Marketing on Instagram

When Pew polled US adults in early 2018, 35% used Instagram. Instagram users grew in 2019 as people looked for alternatives to Facebook. Businesses can engage on Instagram with the right digital marketing approach.

Have a Content Strategy

Attracting followers and getting their attention is all about sharing the right content. Effective content builds trust, entertains, and inspires.

A content strategy is the plan of action to present your brands to your target audience. It names the types of content to share, the resources needed to develop it, and the timing of postings, among other details.

The right strategy for your brand accounts for your goals and the broader brand presence you’re looking to build. 

Build a Visual Story

Instagram is a visual platform. Brands seeking to engage on Instagram must offer visually compelling content – beautiful, artful, striking.
Visuals are key to get users to stop and pay attention.

Investing in great images and video is a must. Instagram offers an array of filters and other tools for improving visual presentation. Establishing a clear look and feel will help people to understand your brand.

Create Discussions

Getting connections is great. Turning those connections into people who are actively interested in your brand is even better. You want people to move you toward your goal of sales, taking action, sharing your information, etc.

Conversations created through Q&A, polls, and comments convert followers to engaged participants. Seek to create conversation through all of your activity on Instagram.

What We’re Not Supposed to Talk About

“No religion or politics.” That’s a rule we very often establish in professional settings. We don’t want to offend any of our office mates, employees, customers or suppliers (to say nothing of keeping the peace at Thanksgiving Dinner).

At first glance it makes a ton of sense to avoid these topics. Since there is so much weight attached to them, it is only natural to avoid strife and issues which get in the way of our normal professional or friendly relationships. Why deal with the controversy when we have so many things in common?

Like a lot of things, though, it only really makes sense at first glance. Once we scratch the surface, the case gets less compelling. Normally, it would be appropriate to try to be clear on what “religion” means and what “politics” means, but instead let me further confuse the situation by adding the third topic that people do not want to talk about: “philosophy.”

People avoid talking about philosophy, not because it is controversial, but because it is supposedly too boring, or too nerdy, as only pointy-headed bearded old people with pipes waste time pontificating on such things. But is that the right approach?

Lets start with a scenario we use with students in my Civics and Community class:

Bill loans Fred a calculator. A week later, Bill asks for his calculator back. Fred has four choices: a) give it back, b) ask for more time, c) avoid Bill’s calls, or d) simply refuse and keep it. The answer is pretty straightforward.

Now change the calculator to a sword. The discussion is likely going to be similar. One last change: pretend that Bill has gone wacko, three-fries-short-of-a-happy-meal crazy in that week. How does that change our thoughts on things?

This scenario is not only a more fundamental approach to the many things that we argue about today (property rights, sharing, friendship, and even safety and mental health) it is also the precise philosophical query which almost zero politicians and activists actually have regarding gun laws. 

It is a discussion that has been had before… by Plato (or if you prefer, Socrates), in the “Dialogues” nearly 2500 years ago (OK, it wasn’t a calculator). Why politicians do not pursue wisdom in this way is debatable, but whomever or whatever we blame is immaterial. 

And it would remiss to try to depend on a media industry that is, in every way imaginable, lost. Regardless of whether their intentions are noble, the entire marketplace of ideas in the public sphere from the fourth estate is as inept as the politicians in which they cover, if for no other reason than the fact we can not even identify who is a member of this estate and who is not.

So, since it is not being done by “the public” it is left for us in the marketplace to pick up the slack. It — the marketplace of ideas — is also foundational, and essential, to the Western tradition.

These types of deliberations are not only foundational to politics, but how we relate to each other in general as human beings. They also seldom lead to hard, fast, and definitive conclusions. In other words, it’s not science. These deliberations tend to tap into a different set of ideas than science, namely one of “values” as opposed to material facts.

Since we just celebrated MLK Day, a little known quote from the reverend should prove useful: 

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

How many of us, honestly, chose our careers or businesses on the basis of scientific certainty and reason? It’s hard to think of any reason why we would.  We normally choose our paths — especially more risky paths like quitting a perfectly good job and starting something from scratch — based on a set of values and ideas which cannot be pinned down logically or mathematically.

It is simply not advisable, or even feasible, to sanitize our business interactions of all principles and values. The important thing is to focus on those values and not get caught up in personality wars and talking heads.

We must not only exercise our muscles of shared inquiry, we must also embrace the fact that there could be disagreement on our values or principles; and this does not mean we should not discuss them. It means we have to discuss them in order for them to have meaning, and we have to learn from others through their values as well. 

What we’re not supposed to talk about is precisely what we have to talk about. Tune in to the latest episode of Great Conversation(s), a project of IndED.


William “Butch” Porter is a Louisiana native and graduate of Physics/Astronomy from Louisiana State University. He worked for a college marketing internship through a publishing company out of Nashville, TN. After earning his MBA from the University of South Carolina, Butch took stints in the telecom and insurance industries before striking out to form Independent Education (IndED), a “great ideas” based, shared-inquiry learning center preparing students for the “social duties and the functions of self-government. IndED recently launched a sister endeavor called “Great Conversation(s)” which helps adults find ways to meet, discuss, and deliberate on important topics and ideas of value.