Last week, we talked about Why Facebook Ads are Worth Your Time. Now that we know the why, we need to chat about the how (how do we actually run an ad), what (what should we write, what graphics should we use) and when (when should we run the ad).
This week, we will address the how. How do we actually run an ad? Although this may seem like a no brainer, running an actual ad (as opposed to just boosting a post) can be a bit intimidating. No worries. We’re here to break it down for you.
Step 1: Go to https://www.facebook.com/business/
Step 2: Select the Create an Ad button on the top right corner.
Step 3: Choose your Objective. If you aren’t sure what to choose, you can hover over each option and an explanation will be given. If you are looking for a further explanation, or need help choosing an objective, contact us!
Step 4: Decide whether you want to run ad or more than one. You can find this option under the objectives. In the past we’ve done one, two and three ads. Running more than one ad allowed us to learn what works best. Our ads had different images. However, you can use the same image, but test different wording, including a different call to action. For simplicity sake in this post, we will choose one ad. You will want to leave A/B testing and Budget Optimization as is, give your campaign a name and select continue.
Step 5: Depending on what you chose for your objective, this step may look a bit different, but the basics are the same. You will want to give your ad set a name, choose where you want your traffic to go (if applicable), etc.
Step 6: Choose your Audience. This is the same, no matter what objective you chose. Facebook allows you to become very targeted with your audience. They even give you a handy dandy meter so that you know if your audience is too broad or too narrow. Your target audience will depend on your goals, but we love that we have control over who sees our ad and who doesn’t.
Steps 7 & 8: Choose placements and budget. We recommend editing your placements and deselecting right hand column and marketplace (unless applicable). Finally, choose your budget and select continue.
Step 9: This is where you actually create your ad. Enter your content, upload your graphic and select confirm.
This is a very simplified step by step guide, but a great place to start. For as little as $20, you can create an ad that is seen by thousands of people. Creating Facebook ads that convert is a marathon, not a sprint, but well worth learning. Each time you run an ad, you are able to see how it performs and then make adjustments for future ads. As always, if you get stuck, we’re here to help!
With over 2 billion users, Facebook is a cornerstone of communication. However, many mom and pop shops, especially in rural communities, refuse to embrace this new style of communicating. While leveraging this form of advertising can be a bit daunting, taking the time to learn (or spending the money to hire someone to learn), can give you a return on your investment. In the next few weeks, we will walk you through the Facebook ads process, but today, we’ll take a few minutes to discuss why it’s worth your time and money.
Before we begin, let’s chat about who uses FB and who doesn’t. The world of social media advertising can be a bit daunting, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. Every business, big or small, has to have some form of advertising. While there are several social media platforms, we recommend picking one to get started. Run an ad, test the results, adjust and do it again. Facebook is a great place for a rural small town business to start for several reasons.
- Facebook is most likely where your consumers are. According to Pew research, almost 2/3 of America adults are on Facebook. 29% use Facebook every day at work (much to their bosses chagrin). If you are looking to target the average American adult, FB is a great place to start.
- They are inexpensive. We recently ran a Facebook ad for a client who leads fitness classes. Since we are just starting out in the FB adversing world, we followed the experts advice and kept our budget small. For $20, we were able to target women ages 24-65 in a typical midwestern small town. As a result, we received 81 link clicks (that means 81 people wanted to learn more), and almost 3,000 people had the ad appear on their screen. While our conversion rate isn’t what we’d like it to be (yep, still learning), we can’t think of any other advertising way in which a simple $20 bill result in 81 people taking a closer look at a product. Plus, our client gained some new page likes. Even at it’s worst, for small towns businesses, FB ads still pay.
- It’s relatively easy to target who you want to target. Facebook ads allow you to target your ad to people based on geography, age, gender, interests and more.
Will Facebook ads solve all of your marketing problems? Of course not. However, as social media use continues to rise, business owners need to embrace the trend to not only thrive, but to stay afloat.
Not sure where to get started with FB ads, but not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Contact us to learn about how you can grow your business through ads.
Last August, I was appointed to the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force (that’s a mouthful!). The purpose of the task for is simple; to ensure that ALL Iowans have access to fast, reliable internet. It’s no easy feat, especially since there currently isn’t a reliable data to pinpoint who is and isn’t connected. However, just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary.
While I could drive home the importance of the internet, tell you why it’s important to have access to it (education, healthcare, business are just a few reasons), I think we all know that internet access is vital for a healthy, growing community. So instead of rehashing the same arguments over and over, I’d like to share a different perspective. My experience with this task force is so much more than a mere lesson on connectivity. Rather, it’s been a lesson on leadership. Working alongside some of Iowa’s most talented, has been a privilege AND a learning experience. Here are just a few of my observations.
– You don’t know all the answers. It’s easy in leadership roles, whether at work, at home, in church or in our community, to think that we have all the answers or to be afraid to admit when we don’t. In a recent conversation with Governor Reynolds, she admitted that she didn’t know something about Facebook analytics. But, that struck me. The leader of the number one state in U.S. isn’t an expert in everything and doesn’t pretend to be. Perhaps that’s why we’re number one.
-Take a risk. By far, every time I attend a meeting, I feel like I am dumbest person in the room. I’m not just saying that either. The room is filled with extremely intelligent go getters who are changing their communities for the better. But, last July, exhausted after a quick trip to Canada, I stayed late at work one night and filled out an application for this task force. I didn’t think I had a chance at being selected, but for some crazy reason, I was. I took a risk and put myself out there, which isn’t always an easy thing for us MidWesterners to do. But, sometimes, smart risks pay off. I’m guessing that at some point, each person in that room has had to risk hearing a no. Whether it was running for office, starting a company, applying for a job, at some point, each person there risked rejection. One of my observations about rural Iowa is that we spend way too much time worry about what others think. We work hard to stay out of the spotlight. Sometimes it’s because we are humble, but often it’s because we don’t want to become the center of gossip. Sadly, this leads to communities where people don’t stand up for it is right and don’t live up to their potential. I’ve learned that calculated risk is always worth it in the end.
-Give someone else a hand up. At every task force meeting, there is usually some time to network. Looking around the room, hearing bits and pieces of conversations, the same thing occurs each and every time. Someone helping someone else. Whether it’s sharing their expertise in a certain area, or chatting about how to improve one’s rural town, someone is always extending a hand of help. Before our last meeting, I was lucky enough to have lunch with Danna Larson, CEO of Rural Revival. Her willingness to take the time to meet with me and to give me some free advice has helped launch my business to a new level. Although I’m still not where I want to be, it’s the Danna’s of the world that will help me get there. My job is to find another person, extend reach out and extend my hand of help. Which brings me to my next point.
– Keep moving forward. It’s easy to stop because we’re number one or because you found the solution. But, as a group, we have collectivity decided that we cannot just concern ourselves with connecting rural Iowa today, we need to look at have upload and download speeds for tomorrow. Bare minimums aren’t good enough. What if this attitude permeated our communities? You can be proud of who you are and what you are doing, while still working to improve. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Rural Iowa is a great place to live and work. But maybe, just maybe, we can become even better.
There you have it! Just a few lessons learned from my experience serving on the Empower Rural Iowa Connecting Task Force. I am honored to be a part such a great initiative, and I am even more honored to call rural Iowa home.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing some simple steps we can take to increase your website’s rankings when it comes to search engines. This is called SEO. Another simple way to get your site to the top of the list is to properly utilize headings.
What are headings?
Headings are those areas of text that stand out in a blog post. They go from H1 (heading 1) to H6 (heading 6), with H1 being the most important. Take a look below at what each looks like:
What should you put in these fancy headings? The answer is simple. You want to put your keywords in these. Will this make you rise to the top of Google? Nope. It will, however, help. As this article from a company specializing in SEO states, “If you want to rank for it, you will have to write about it.”
However, there are a few things to remember when adding keywords to headings. The main one is this. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, stuff your headings with keywords. In previous posts, we used a shoe store as an example. The shoe store’s headings should not look like this:
SHOES, FOOTWEAR, BLUE SUEDE SHOES, BUY
You always want to write for the reader. A better example would be the following:
What are Blue Suede Shoes?
The Top Five Benefits of Blue Suede Shoes
Notice that the keyword(s) are in the heading, but not randomly put there in a cheap effort to generate more traffic.
How Exactly do I apply headings?
Changing your text to heading form in WordPress is as simple as highlighting the text and using the drop down menu to assign it a heading value.
What Heading should I use?
H1 is the title of the page or blog post and should only be used once. When you create a post, WordPress automatically places the title at the beginning of your post, so H1 is already done for you.
H2 tags should include your keyword(s). Using multiple H2 tags is pefectly fine. For instance, I have used them at the top of each paragraph of this post. You will notice, they are smaller in size than the title of the post at the top.
The rest of the tags (h3, h4, h5, h6) should highlight text in order of importance. Most posts and/or pages don’t use anything beyond an h3 tag unless there is a lot of content.
Finally, do not skip numbers. It is important to use h1 tags, then h2. You don’t want to skip over any headings.
Headings on the internet are like headings in a newspaper. They allow the reader (and search engines) to know what the post or the page is about when it is quickly scanned.
Other Benefits of Headings
Headings also help readers stay on a page longer. This is called a bounce rate. You want to keep readers on your page, and actually reading the content. One way to do this is to employ the use of headings so that your readers can easily scan the post.
Most people don’t read in depth anymore (let’s be honest, we have a shorter attention span than a goldfish). Employing headings not only increases your chances of ranking higher on Google, it keeps readers engaged.
In conclusion, headings are a great way to not only increase traffic to your site, but make your pages and posts more readable. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love a post that is quick to read and easy to understand?!
A few weeks ago, we discussed what SEO, or search engine optimization is. Today, we are going to discuss how you can improve your SEO and attract more visitors to your website using one of the main components of SEO, relevance. Because, as we all know, a pretty website does no good if no one can find it!
If you remember, there are three main components that search engines use when someone types a query in the search bar. They are relevance, usability and authority. The first aspect of SEO that we will cover is relevance.
What is relevance? The answer is simple. It is finding a web page with the right words. Relevance is why you don’t get information about penquins when you ask Google what the best restaurant is in your neighborhood. Penguins are irrelevant to your question. In order to ensure that your potential visitors are finding your site, you want to make sure that you are using the correct keywords. Your keywords need to be relevant to what your website is all about.
There are some amazing tools available to help you find keywords that fit your organization. For instance, say we wanted to open an online shoe store. One keyword would be shoes. But, if someone typed in shoes as a query, he or she would not get your particular website. Instead, we can use a tool, like Keyword Explorer, from Moz, to help us determine additional and more specific keywords.
Using Moz’s tool, here is a list of addional keywords:
- shoe stores near me
- online shoe store
- shoe stores in the mall
- men’s shoe stores
- women’s shoe stores
- shoe stores near my location
- shoe shop
These are just a few examples of different keywords that can be incorporated into our fictional website to better guide potential customers to our site. The more specific you are with keywords, the better. Taking the example above, selling shoes online is a pretty broad category, which is fine. But, let’s say you sell not just any shoes, but men’s blue suede shoes. Your keywords should be “men’s blue suede shoes”.
Please note, you do NOT, want to stuff your website with keywords. Placing keywords throughout your website, does not help SEO, it actually hurts it by penalizing your website when it comes to search queries. Keyword stuffed websites become irrelevant, not relevant. Placing the word “shoes” too many times on your site will make Google (or other search engines) read your site as spammy. Quality content (or authority) is so important that it is another component of SEO that we will cover in the future. For the time being, know that your content needs to be authentic, not stuffed with spammy keywords in an attempt to gain more traffic.
There are a few places which you will want to place your keywords for best results:
- Site Title (aka Title Tag). Your site title can be found under settings and then general. In this area, you can enter not only the name of your website, but a keyword or two to describe your website. Take a look at the blue field in the New York Times site title. Instead of just stating New York Times, there is a dash with a site description behind it. This is your title tag.
- Page Description (aka Meta Description): Below the New York Times title is a brief description of the site. This one is a bit tricky. Although having keywords in the description doesn’t affect rankings, it can influence clicks.
- Post Names. By default, WordPress gives your posts weird names like www.nashcreative.co/1294949. Instead, you want to change this (once again, this can be found in settings and then permalink). Instead of the default setting, chose Post Name. Google is better able to tell what your post is about.
- Headings. Your keyword(s) should be used in headings of your website. Headings aren’t just for formatting and making your website pretty. They actually have a purpose when it comes to SEO. We will discuss headings more later this week, but for now, just know that search engines use headings to understand what your site or post is about.
- Images. Yep, that’s right, images also lend to SEO. Giving your image the right file name is crucial. Instead of 124345.jpg, you should give your image a name the describes it. For instance, bluesuedeshoes.jpg lets search engines know that the picture is one of blue suede shoes. WordPress users can also easily at alt text and title text when using images. This is dual purpose as not only does this help with SEO, but it allows users with visual disabilities to employ the use of screen readers and know what the image is all about.
These are just a few basic SEO principals that will help your website’s rankings. When it comes to relevance, making sure that you have used the right keywords in the right places will not only help you better organize your thoughts and information, but also ensure that your website’s content is relevant to potential search queries.
The hole of SEO is deep, but do not worry. Taking just a few simple steps, like those listed above, can help even the most novice blogger gain a bigger following.
As always, if you have any questions or if you would like further help with SEO, we’d love to help! Contact us to schedule an appointment!