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Episode 50: How to Run a Facebook Ad


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In this episode of Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential, we’re going to tackle one of the most talked about pain points of Facebook – Facebook Ads! 

Because this is SUCH a lengthy and intricate topic, we’re going to start at the very beginning and talk about the easiest way to run an ad on Facebook – boosting a post. 

There will be a deeper dive into Facebook Ads for you coming up in the near future, but let’s start with the basics now. Even if you already know how to boost a post on Facebook, this episode will help you feel more confident in what you’re doing and why you do it!

This is a big exciting episode – it’s only appropriate for our 50th episode – so let’s jump right in!

Let’s start from the very beginning… 

Why would you ever want to advertise on Facebook?

You can reach hundreds of people who might be interested in how you can help them or inspire them or teach them – but they don’t know about you yet. And you can do that for as little as $5.

Advertising on Facebook is extremely effective, and extremely affordable. The more money you spend on Facebook advertising, the more people you reach. 

Can you imagine, if you’re able to reach hundreds of people with just $5, how many people you can reach with a Facebook advertising budget of $25? Yes, you’re able to get your Facebook ad in front of hundreds or thousands of people in as little as 4 or 5 days, for as little as $5. Pretty incredible, right?

What would you want to advertise about?

If you’re a nonprofit who offers services, you can run ads like any other business that offers services. You can use your Facebook ad to get the word out about what you offer, your hours of operation, any special events you have, or fundraisers. You can tell Facebook to show your ad to people who would be interested in taking advantage of those services.

Even if your nonprofit or group supports an interest, or a hobby that doesn’t have a brick and mortar building with in-person service, there are still great reasons to run ads. 

Let’s say, you want more people to follow your page and engage with you, you can run a Facebook ad that will encourage people who may be interested to follow your page. This is a great way to grow your audience. 

For example, if your organization is a historical society, and you want more people to follow your page because you want to share stories, pictures and articles, a Facebook ad can make sure that people who may be interested in history or your topic can learn about your page.

Or maybe you have a fundraiser coming up or a giveaway – a Facebook ad can help more people learn about it, even if they don’t already follow you on Facebook. Earlier this year, one of my clients put $8 into a Facebook ad about a fundraiser they were having, and they raised $8,000. That was the only advertising they did for that particular fundraiser. One Facebook ad, for one week. Definitely worth spending the $8, right?

Another example would be if you’re running a Facebook page for a daily devotional, you can run a Facebook ad to make sure that people who are thinking about starting a daily devotion can learn about your page.

Now that you see why a Facebook ad may be right for you, let’s talk about the easiest, most basic way to advertise on Facebook. It’s called “boosting” a post.

Boosting a post on Facebook is hands down the fastest, and easiest way to get an ad running on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page for your organization, you’ve probably seen the blue button at the bottom of one of your posts that says, “Boost Post.” 

If you click on that Boost Post button, that means, you will add a budget and your credit card information, and then Facebook will show that particular post to more people – people not already in your audience. What exactly does that mean? It means when someone is scrolling through Facebook, that post will appear in their “feed” – the list of new posts - whether they follow your page or not. You’re paying for a targeted group of people to see your post.

You tell Facebook which audience you want to target. 

When you click on that Boost Post button, a new window will pop up and ask you what your objective is, and who you want your audience to be. You’ll see other options too, but for now, I want you to ignore those other things. Let’s keep it simple to start off.

The main thing you need to be concerned about as a new Facebook advertiser is your audience.

Remember, as a nonprofit organization, your audience is the person you want to help, or it can be your donors, or it can even be people who you want to recruit as volunteers. 

For an audience of the person you want to help – the person who needs your nonprofit’s services – think about that person’s age, male or female, where do they live, what are their needs, their problems, their interests? What is going to make them want to click on your ad? 

Remember – your audience is always asking the question, “What’s in it for me?”  Make sure you think about that when you’re creating your post that you’re going to boost. And keep it in mind as you tell Facebook who your audience is.  Knowing the answers to these questions makes it clear who to tell Facebook to show your ad to.

For a deeper dive into who your audience is, check out Episode 7 of Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential.

Now that you have your audience in mind – let’s go over the step-by-step process for telling Facebook. 

(Tip: It will be easier to go through this process on your computer)

First, click the “Boost Post” button.

Once you click the Boost Post button, a new window will pop up that says    OBJECTIVE and a couple other things. Scroll past those options until you get to AUDIENCE because right now, we’re going to stay focused on only this section of this new window. 

When you scroll down to the part of the window that says AUDIENCE, you can choose from one of these options

- People you choose through targeting

- People who like your page

- People who like your page and their friends

- People in your local area

People you choose through targeting – this means, you can choose specifically who you want to see your post. All you have to do to customize this option is click on the “Edit” button right next to it. This will let you edit the audience’s interests, location, ages, and gender. Once you click Edit, you can choose who you want to see your post. Men, Women, their age range, where they live, and you can even type in something to the “Detailed Targeting” box. This means, you can type in something like “airplane” – select that when it appears in the menu, and then your boosted post will be shown to people who are interested in airplanes. Save your settings once you’ve chosen your targeted audience.

People who like your page – I know what you’re thinking. “If they already like my page, why aren’t they seeing my posts automatically?” The simple answer is, there is a LOT of stuff on Facebook. It’s a competitive place. Facebook likes to show people popular posts, so if your post isn’t popular yet, this will help it get there by ensuring that the people who follow your page see your post.

People who like your page and their friends – This is a great option if you want to cast your net a little wider than just the people who follow your page. Why? Because many times, people are friends with like-minded people. If someone follows your page, chances are, they have a like-minded friend that will also want to follow your page. Also, as an added bonus, Facebook builds in a little bit of extra credibility for you with this option. When Facebook shows this post to one of your followers’ friends, it will tell them that their friend follows your page. Think about it – aren’t you more likely to engage with someone or something if you know your friend is already part of it? 

People in your local area – This is a great option for brick and mortar organizations. If you’re offering services, or you’re a community service organization, this is a great way to get the word out in your area. 

After you choose your audience, you need to select the DURATION AND BUDGET. 

Your Facebook ad, or in this example, your boosted post, should run for a minimum of 4 days. Facebook won’t let you run an ad for just 1 day at the last minute. They have to approve all ads, which can sometimes take 24 hours (sometimes it only takes an hour), so don’t wait until the last minute to boost a post.

Facebook recommends you spend at least $1 a day. You’ll see when you’re going through this process on your computer or your phone (Tip: it’s easier on your computer), how to easily adjust the number of days and the total budget you want to spend. 

In this part of your screen, you will also see an Estimated People Reached. This is the estimate of how many people will see your post per day based on how much money and how many days you’ve chosen. If you want more people to see your post, you can go back and add more money to your budget by simply finding the post on your nonprofit’s Facebook page again. 

Once you’ve boosted a post, you won’t be able to go back and make changes to the text or image – once it’s posted to your Facebook page, you can’t edit it while it’s boosted, but you can delete it, by clicking those three little dots in the top right corner and selecting “delete from page.” You can also stop your boost, just locate the post on your nonprofit’s page, click on “View Results” and switch the “status” button from Active to Paused.

If this is intimidating or you’re worried about making a mistake, now you know how to “undo” a mistake! You have the power to experiment and try something new, because now you have a safety net. You know how to get yourself out of something if you mess up, which means, you can do this! Nothing is holding you back!

Okay, so now, we’ve set our AUDIENCE, and DURATION AND BUDGET, we just have to set up PAYMENT.

Under the DURATION AND BUDGET section, scroll down to PAYMENT, and add your credit card information. Check over everything one more time, and then click the boost button when you’re ready! And then your post is boosted – now you get to watch the difference the simplest Facebook ad can make for your organization!

A few troubleshooting tips:

  1. When you boost a post, sometimes you’ll have the option of “add a button” to the post. If you want to do this, the button can say things like “Learn more” and if your audience clicks on it, it will take them to your website. But if you’re not ready to add a button to your boosted post, and you’re seeing that you have the option to do so, just find the little section that says, “Add a button to your post.” Click that little drop down menu below that and choose “No Button.” 
  2. Make sure to use a picture and a few sentences with your post. Facebook says, “Posts that feature photos and videos tend to get more engagement than text-only posts.” That’s straight from the horse’s mouth, so find a picture to use with your post, and make sure what you’re writing to go along with it is short and sweet.

Get the free guide: What makes a good Facebook and Instagram Post

Episode 2 has great tips for creating posts: nonprofitpotential.com/2

  1. If you’re feeling nervous… Don’t be! Think about the reason you want to boost a post. It’s because you want to grow. You want more people to see your post. You want more people to follow your page. You need it because you have something beautiful and amazing and something that will help people and enrich their lives… and this is how you reach people in 2020. This is how it works now. This is just Facebook, and yes, it can be confusing, but you can do this! Remember that! You can do hard things – and now you know how to do this! DM me or email me to let me know how boosting a post went for you.

Tip: Print these notes and use them to help guide you through the process of boosting a post!

Don’t be nervous. You can do this.  I promise, once you take that first step, the second, third, fourth step – ALL THE STEPS – will come so much easier. All you have to do is click that Boost Post button and start the experiment. There are people who need to see your post, but they don’t know about you yet. Don’t deny them of that help you could give them because of a fear of Facebook.

I am so proud of you for getting out of your comfort zone so that you can help someone in need and spread the word about your nonprofit. YOU. ARE. AMAZING. I can’t say that enough.

Until next time!

Links mentioned in this episode


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