Get More Customers with Facebook Ads: Pandemic Version

Have you been hesitant to pay Facebook for your content to appear in your audience’s streams? Maybe you still remember the days when you could get good reach through just normal, consistent posting. 

Those days are long gone. 

If you want your audience to see you--and you really need that especially now--then you're going to have to “pay to play.” 

But just handing over the money to Facebook won't bring you the traffic and sales you want. You need to learn how to write effective social media ads. And during the pandemic, the most effective content has changed a little. Here's what you need to know in order to create ads that drive sales while most businesses are shut down.

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Your Audience Is Online Now More Than Ever

It doesn't take a marketing guru to figure out that people are online more these days. Many of us are working from home and need the distraction from our daily lives. While we probably see more people riding their bikes and walking then we have in the past, most of us are still spending a large chunk of our days on social media. 

And even though we are consuming more content, that doesn't necessarily mean that Facebook and the like have become more Democratic in how they feature content. If anything, more people are creating it so there's more competition for your audience’s attention. In order to get in front of the people who can make a difference in your business, you're going to have to use ads.

Learn the Technology

The first thing you need to do in order to be successful with Facebook ads is to learn the technology and process of creating them. Here are some solid resources on how to do just that:

Create Content That Attracts 

When most people think about ads they probably think of a clever jingle or an enticing offer. But the most effective Facebook ads also aim at connecting you with your audience. This is incredibly important during this time. Here is how you create ads that help you connect from a content perspective:

1.     Make the ad look like a post. You don't want the ad to look like an ad. While Facebook will attach the word “sponsored” underneath your name on the post, when people are skimming their streams that word won't always pop up to them. If your ad resembles a normal post, people will likely click through and read it. However, if it looks like a blatant act of self-promotion, they'll likely skip over it. 
2.     Play the small business card. People are incredibly tuned in to the plight of small business right now. If you operate a small business, tell them how important it is to support small businesses during this time. If your audience understands your small business is keeping local people employed, they will likely try to help by buying from you.
3.     Show appreciation. Your social media ad doesn't have to be about an offer you're extending. You can put money behind a post that thanks your community for their efforts during this trying time. People like those who appreciate others.
4.     Use creative offers. One local restaurant that had a surplus of vegetables, created raw veggie take out boxes. Social media is the ideal marketplace to help you sell a creative offer. Think about ways you can bundle your goods and services with things you may have extras of including toilet paper or paper towels.
5.     Sell gift cards. You can use an ad to remind people they can buy gift cards too. However, in order to save yourself some headache, if you are questioning your business’ financial solvability, it’s best not to drive your gift card business if you’re concerned you won’t be able to honor them.
6.     Make a sacrifice for others. If you have the means, create an offer that benefits others as well as yourself. Maybe you give a part of the profit to your furlowed staff or maybe you host an event like a car wash to help them. People love for their money to help as many as possible. It also builds community.
7.     Highlight the efforts of others. You’re not the only ones who need help and are trying to do amazing things these days. Use your social media to highlight what others are doing in the community such as showcasing businesses that have even given discounts to those who are helping. Keep in mind that while the content isn’t about you, the offer or call to action should be. The content promotes good will and gets attention but the call to action should direct them to something you’d like the viewer to do.

When creating content and ads during this time, work hard to build the trust factor. Be a good steward of the community. Help people and your audience will be more likely to help you as well. And always be thankful.

Remove Friction

The final thing you need to do to create effective Facebook ads is to remove the friction from the buying process. You want your audience to take action. So you need to tell them what you want. Examples might include:

Stop by today
Order online
Select your favorites online or discover new ones

After you tell them what you want them to do, make it easy for them to follow up. Buttons and URLs that go directly to buying or an online catalogue or even a targeted landing page are ideal to drive action. 

Directing them to your homepage is not a solid choice because it gives them an opportunity to get lost or may overwhelm them with information that is not what they’re looking for.

Social media ads are a strong method to get in front of your audience on a platform you know they're already on. While the suggestions in this article work for non-pandemic times as well, it is especially important right now to carefully create ad content that connects you and portrays you as a good neighbor. 

We're all in this together and if you fail to give that kind of message, fewer people will feel the need to support you. Right now people are looking to be kind. They want to help. That needs to be a strong focus in your marketing message in order to improve sales. 

Finally, even if your business isn't currently open you can still be a good neighbor. Highlight the work of others and thank those who have helped you. Staying top of mind will assist you in your recovery once you're allowed to reopen your doors. 

Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so. 

Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.


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