I had always wanted to try a Facebook ad. Suddenly last spring an opportunity arose when the school board decided – at the very last minute – to approve open enrollment (a new option in our state) for students who live beyond our boundaries.
With only a four-week application window, no advance notice and a tiny budget, I decided social media might be my only affordable option to get the news out quickly.
The process is easy: On your Facebook page, under the gear symbol, click “Create Ad.” Then, just follow the steps.
To create your ad, use a compelling picture, some bullet points that appeal to your target audience and include a link to your website. You can create several different ads if you wish, and the campaign will use them in rotation.
Can you afford this? Yes, because you set the budget up front. Facebook will not exceed the financial limit you set for your ad campaign. You can choose whether you want to be charged by the number of impressions (CPM) or by the number of clicks (CPC). Research on the helpful blog AllFacebook reveals that bidding CPC will have better success because Facebook tends to position these ads higher on the page, in areas that get more clicks.
You can select target demographics for your ad by geographic range, gender, age, education level, and even individual interests (e.g. crafters, museum-goers, sports fans, fast food eaters, book lovers, etc.). Looking at your page insights will give you some clues. For example, my fan base is 80-percent female, age 25 to 55.
Then choose your target dates and launch your campaign. Yes, it’s that easy.
Did it work? Yes, but definitely not in the way I expected.
I had hoped my ads would dramatically increase the number of applicants for open enrollment, but this did not happen. Attempting this over Spring Break definitely hurt this marketing push.
What did happen was that in just two weeks, I added 250 fans to my Facebook site. Total cost was $250 – just $1 per fan.
Because I purposefully targeted a broad demographic of students and parents surrounding our district boundaries, these new fans may become interested enough in the school district to move there, or transfer in when the time is right.
If you have not yet tried a Facebook ad, invest $50 and dip your toe in the water. With practice and strategy, this can be a useful tool in school PR.