Love it or hate it, Facebook is a great tool for advertising your business and connecting with your network. While the social media outlet has made it more difficult to reach people organically, it does have inexpensive paid options that can deliver a good return on your investment. Premium Facebook features-paid ads and boosted posts-are very effective. Here’s what you need to know to plan your campaigns.

Paid Ads Facebook has paid ads that show up in the middle and to the right of each user’s feed. To help improve user experience, Facebook has very strict limits on how much text can be included in the picture for your ad-it cannot go over 20% of the image space.

Highly visual ads perform the best because of the way users interact with their feeds, so consider having a professional take a photo or make a graphic. Of course, you can always use your own photo if the quality is good enough.

Enter a text headline and subhead. You can easily experiment with words and phrases, but calls to action such as “Download a Free Coupon!” perform the best. You can also set different goals for these ads. Often a good promotion that sends people to your website will still result in additional Facebook likes, but each type of ad will have different settings and a slightly different format.

Boosted Posts You can pay to “boost” an existing Facebook post to push it to more people outside of your regular fan base. Under the published post, simply hit “Boost Post.” You’ll be asked what audience you’d like to reach (people who like your page, page fans and their friends or people you target using their demographics). Then, you can choose parameters such as location, age and even personal interests. Set how much you’d like to spend over how many days, and Facebook will give you an idea of how far your dollars will propel your post. For instance, your post may be seen by 1,500 to 4,000 people for just $10 or $15. Considering that you can choose a very narrow audience (such as women between the ages of 35 and 45 who live within 25 miles and like fashion) and set a low budget while getting your ad in front of thousands of the exact people you want to reach, boosted posts can be a great form of advertising with good ROI.

Make sure you are familiar with how to use Insights, which is a built-in tool that allows you to track user interaction with your Facebook page. You also need to track your website with Google Analytics or something similar. No matter whether you’re looking for more likes and followers, website visitors or visibility for your business, a small budget can go a long way. Happy posting!

Samantha Toth is the resident Marketing Rockstar for Innereactive Media, a full-service marketing company specializing in the optical industry, in Grand Rapids, MI.

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