After many years of skepticism, Facebook has proven to be a successful marketing vehicle for thousands of store owners. Whether it’s through relationship building, exclusive promotions, product announcements or direct sales, Facebook is full of features to help you reach your loyal customers while exponentially expanding your audience. You’ve been utilizing these features to garner new likes, sell products, evoke shares, reach new customers and spark conversations around your brand.

Aside from your valuable time, have you dedicated a portion of your marketing budget to Facebook? A lot of independent store owners have mixed feelings about spending hard-earned dollars on Facebook advertising but the truth is, it’s worth it! Well, as long as you know what you’re doing. The first step in understanding the benefits of Facebook advertising is to know the difference between their ad products. By the end of this post you’ll be able to confidently decide which advertising solution fits your business goals.

What is a Facebook Ad?

A Facebook featured post

You see these every time you scroll through the News Feed, open a photo, check out upcoming events, message your friends, sift through albums and more. They are the ads in the right-hand column when you are surfing Facebook on your desktop.

A Facebook featured post

When a user clicks on a Facebook ad they are sent from their News Feed to a new destination such as your website, ecommerce store, Timeline, buy it now page, email signup, other social network, local listing and/or any website you decide to send your audience. Facebook Ads give you the opportunity to reach a much broader audience based on your targeting.

Why would I run a Facebook Ad for my store?

Let’s get back to the business goals we mentioned earlier. Before advertising on Facebook, you need to decide what you’d like to accomplish. Here are a few scenarios to help you decide:

  • You want to increase online purchases this month so you create a Facebook Ad promoting a sale, new product and/or seasonal fashion. Your ad could point directly to your ecommerce storefront if your message is broad. If you are promoting a specific product or line, you can send Facebook users directly to a product page.
  • Your grand opening is coming up and you want to spread the word. You can create an ad with an image of your new storefront and a message announcing the grand opening. Your ad will link to your website where users can learn more about your store and its location.
  • You have a nice following on Facebook but want to increase Likes before the holidays. You create a “Like” ad by selecting your page and choosing “Get More Page Likes.” You add about 15 new Likes per day so you decide to run the ad the entire month. Success!
  • You have an exciting event coming up and you want to have the best turnout so you create an ad to announce your event. Send users to your website or Facebook Event page where they can RSVP.

Think about what you are trying to accomplish this week at your store and start drafting up some ideas for Facebook Ads. Run your ad continuously or set a start and end date depending on your needs. Be sure to keep an eye on your ad’s performance within your Ads Manager and measure its success based on your initial goal.

What is a Promoted Post?

Promoted Posts are not always as easy to spot as Facebook Ads. If you like a particular page running a Promoted Post, their ad will look the same as any post coming from their page. The only difference is that “Suggested Post” is placed at the top of the post with a button to “Like Page” and “Sponsored” shows up very small at the bottom of the post.

A promoted post example in FacebookUnlike Facebook sidebar ads, Promoted Posts are visible on your mobile device as well as your desktop. If you don’t like a business page but see a post from them in your News Feed, then the business is targeting users outside of their fans. They’re most likely targeting “friends of fans” in order to reach a broader, like-minded audience.

As you are aware, Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm restricts the number of page posts your fans see. Promoted Posts are a great way to reach your entire audience for a cost. Unlike Facebook Ads, you can only target people that like your page and their friends with Promoted Posts. You can promote any post that is already on your Timeline and/or create one from your Ads Manager. An important restriction to remember is that if you are promoting an image post, the image must contain no more than 20% text or your ad will not be approved.

Why would I promote a post?

As mentioned with Facebook Ads, keeping your business goals in mind will aid your decision to promote your business’s posts. Now that you know the difference between Facebook Ads and Promoted Posts you can decide which one to implement. Similar to Facebook Ads, here are some ideal scenarios to run a Promoted Post:

  • You have an upcoming Open House and would like to include a special offer to your Facebook fans. You pay to promote a post that explains, “If you mention this post you’ll receive $25 off your $100 purchase.” During your Open House you have 65 redemptions!
  • You decide to keep your store open longer for the holidays. You want to make sure all of your fans are aware that you’ll be open late so you create a Promoted Post announcing your new store hours.
  • Your fall sale is your biggest yet and you want everyone to know, so you promote a few posts to announce and remind customers about your sale. Your inventory flies off the shelves and you’re ready for winter items.

Once you promote a post, navigate to the bottom to monitor the amount of money you have left in your promotion. When you reach your budget, your promotion will complete and you’ll have the choice to continue. Measure the engagement, clicks and conversions of each Promoted Post in order to make educated decisions on which types of posts to promote in the future.

So what are you waiting for? Now that you know the difference between Facebook Ads and Promoted Posts, you can dedicate a small portion of your marketing budget to make a big impact. As long as you have clearly defined goals and good messaging, a combination of Facebook Ads and Promoted Posts will increase sales, likes, engagement and exposure for your business.

Let’s start scheduling your social posts with SnapRetail today and see how we can help your small business grow!

Try it Now!