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Want More Customers? Learn the Secrets of Facebook Advertising

Just because you don’t have the marketing budget of a “big” brand doesn’t mean you can’t be successful and compete against e-commerce giants and big box retailers for market share. In fact, niche and specialty stores have competitive advantages such as flexibility, faster execution and unique products and services.

As a business owner when you hear digital marketing it can be overwhelming as it is often assumed you need to invest in pretty much anything in the digital mix to acquire new customers, with so many social platforms out there it's hard to choose, that’s why you want to prioritize in order to maximize your efforts and resources. Luckily you can engage with practically the entire running community utilizing only two social platforms – Facebook and Instagram.

Since Instagram advertising became available, advertisers can easily run and manage ad campaigns across platforms. If your business doesn’t have an Instagram account don’t worry, you can use your Facebook Page as the voice of your Instagram ads.

There are numerous articles available on “how to” use Facebook and maximize its advertising tools, from targeting the right audience to the importance of using videos and even on how much you should spend on advertising…all important points, however you won’t find much information about the platform and its algorithm so here’s what you need to know about Facebook (consequently Instagram) and how to make them work for you and your business.

Why Facebook first?

It’s the world’s most popular and established social media platform with over 2.2 billion active users, it’s also home to many “running pages and groups” among all social media networks. According to the National Runner Survey (Running USA) Facebook is the primary social media channel when it comes to running related information.

While Facebook’s mind-boggling user numbers make it the undisputed king of social media, the company’s hottest acquisition – Instagram, now commands one of the highest audience engagement rates attracting younger audiences (including millennials) as well as women.

Why your Business Facebook Page is not enough

While having a Facebook page and developing a follower base is important the harsh reality is, that for any post you publish, as few as 2% of your followers will see it, that means that if you have 100 followers and you publish one post a day, only 5 people potentially will see that post. Yup, shocking huh?

Ultimately Facebook is a business so if you want to reach your followers as well as new and potential customers, you’ll have to pull out your wallet to make sure your communication gets through.

Facebook advertising bridges the gap between the online and offline worlds, helping businesses achieve their end objective of driving customers into their store. Once you understand the Facebook algorithm, you’ll see how powerful the platform can be in helping you grow your business.

Understanding the Algorithm

Facebook knows more about you (and your customers) than you know about yourself. It’s a better predictor of your habits and behaviors than you. Scary but true!

Most people who run Facebook ads think they control who can see their ads by selecting a “desire target audience”, but this cannot be further from the truth. The algorithm only takes about 10% of what you tell it to do and decides the rest on its own.

Facebook has the steering wheel, not you. It has real-time access to everybody in the platform and it knows all of their data including their entire user history, so the algorithm wants to make sure it matches the right message to the right person at the right time.

Working with the Algorithm

The Facebook algorithm has the network, the knowledge of everyone on it and the natural selection engine capable of iterating more variable combinations in seconds than a thousand scientists could in 5 years.

What it doesn’t have are the “initial conditions” needed for a successful campaign. Initial conditions are the “Audience–Message–Creative” combination that together are key to appealing to the correct user and getting them to engage.

In a constantly changing environment such as Facebook, variation is the key to success and survival in the platform. Without variation the algorithm will jam and your ads will stop getting traffic and fail faster than you can imagine. This is why many people struggle with Facebook ads.

Preparation is Everything

A runners success in competitions depends on how well they’ve prepared so on race day they can focus on execution! This is the same for using Facebook ads, to run a successful ad campaign, preparation outside the platform is 95% of the battle and only 5% execution.

New or novice runners are always seeking for advice from experienced runners, in fact professional runners are likely to have a coach too. The same is true with business owners when trying to get into digital marketing no matter how long you’ve been in business. If you already have a digital marketer within your team, you’re likely dominating your market, if you don’t its best to request help when it comes to nurturing your business biggest asset, your customers!

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