Written by Jim Hennessey

With 22 billion ad impressions created each year, Facebook is a fast and versatile advertising platform for your events. This self-service platform has an insanely granular level of targeting capabilities, remarketing functionality and other tools to connect with many of your audience targets in a cost effective manner.

Consumers are increasingly using Facebook to learn more about organizations, their services and events. Facebook’s advertising platform is a great way to promote your event. It is also a less expensive tool, allowing you to earn a lot more than what you actually paid for.

If your organization has a brand page, it’s easy to get started with Facebook Ads. Facebook for Business provides more detailed information on ads and other tools to promote your organization or event. To get started, access Facebook Ad Manager from your brand page.

Choose your objective
Facebook ads appear on the News Feed page, either within the feed or on the right sidebar. On average, News Feed ads get a lot more engagement.

There are a few different types of Facebook ads, so you need to set your goals appropriately. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Get people to register for your event? Or increase your number of page likes or followers? You probably have several objectives. If so, you may want to run more than one type of ad.

The names of the ads are self-explanatory (clicks, conversions, likes, app installs, etc.). Website conversion ads track the actions people take after viewing your ad, typically things like buying a product, registering for an event or viewing certain pages. You will need to install a tracking pixel on your website to track these actions.

If you select Clicks to Website, you’ll be able to add a call-to-action button to the ad, such as “Shop Now” or “Learn More.”

Target your Audiences
Facebook ads give you great flexibility to target specific audience groups that are the most likely to be interested in your event. Targeting options allow you to customize your ads based on the specific group of people you want to reach.

The easiest and most common targeting options are:

  • Location (Country, State, City, Zip) – This allows you to target by country, state or city (up to 250 cities at a time). There are advanced settings for additional geography based targeting.
  • Age – Facebook allows you to select your target group between the ages of 13 to 65.
  • Gender – Gender targeting gives the option for businesses to choose the gender to which they want to advertise.
  • Interests – This information is taken from users’ profile activities, interests, job titles, education, pages they have liked and groups to which they belong.
  • Advanced Targeting – This allows you to narrow down your target audience by using the profile information of Facebook users. Some of the profile information includes: Interested In; Relationship Status; Language; Education; etc.

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Set your budget and schedule
Once you have created your ad and selected your target audience, it’s time to set your budget and schedule the dates for your campaign.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how much to spend. Ideally, you should figure out what the value of your desired action will be (how much is each new Facebook fan “worth” to the business or what are you willing to spend in order to increase visits to your site or event registrations).

If you’re just starting out, it is best to set aside a small budget and test different approaches. The minimum ad spend is $5. Once you feel more confident that your ads are proving to be effective, you can increase your spend.

With most ads on Facebook, you have the option to pay per click or per impression. There are other advanced options within these, but that’s your main decision. Which should you choose? A good starting point is to think about your overall objective. If you want people to click on a link to your website, it probably makes more sense to pay per click rather than impression.

Ad media, links and content
Once you have set the objectives and targeting, the only thing left is the actual ad components. Facebook provides an easy interface to upload images or graphics for your ad. You will also provide web links for the desired user actions you are hoping to create.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating engaging content. Find out what your audience wants and provide it for them creatively. People share what’s good, follow what’s regular, and respond to what’s appropriate. And don’t forget, pictures and images that you use in your Facebook ads are the easiest and most effective way for an audience to relate and engage with your event.

It is important to remember that Facebook’s advertising guidelines include a 20 percent text rule, meaning that the text on ads cannot take up more than 20 percent of the graphic. This guideline is for ads featured on the News Feed.

Get going
Those are the basics of Facebook advertising to get your organization started. The more you work with the self-serve platform, the more you will learn about your options. So, go ahead and start exploring advertising with Facebook!

Jim Hennessey is Director, Consumer Marketing for Event 360. He leads the marketing for MuckFest® MS, the FUN mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. Jim also works with other partners on digital and social media strategy. Connect with Jim (LinkedIn, Twitter)

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