We’ve been in the senior living marketing business for quite a few years now, and we’ve determined that nothing intimidates senior living operators and marketers more than the word “Facebook.” When we add the phrase “ad campaign,” they’re ready to run for the hills…
But it usually only takes one marketing metrics report to convince our clients that Facebook is your friend, not a foe. The fact is, seniors are logging into Facebook 2.46 times per day and spend over 30 minutes browsing daily, meaning Facebook has now become prime real estate for paid advertising campaigns. If you’re shying away from Facebook and not taking advantage of the platform’s paid advertising opportunity, you’re basically saying you don’t want to reach seniors, convert leads into prospects and drive up occupancy at your independent and assisted living communities.
But we know that’s not actually how you feel. So now that you know Facebook is a key channel for advertising your business, let’s dig into the basics of a successful Facebook ad campaign.
Running vs. managing Facebook ad campaigns
Facebook makes it easy for anyone to create a Facebook Advertising Account and start running ads. But a poorly conceived Facebook advertising strategy will be expensive and won’t generate the ROI you’re looking for. There’s a significant difference between simply running Facebook ads, and actively managing a successful Facebook ad campaign. And that difference can amount to quite a few dollar signs.
Think of running Facebook ads more like crossing your fingers and hoping everything works out for the best. A common mistake companies make when advertising to consumers on Facebook is approaching the campaign without strategy and analysis: they create an attractive ad, build an audience segment and then pay Facebook month after month to display the same ad — even if that ad is performing poorly.
If your marketing team has a “set it and forget it” approach and isn’t clued into the ROI figures attached to your Facebook ad campaign, you’re just running ads — you’re not strategically managing them. Managing a successful Facebook ad campaign means having clear goals and constantly assessing data to determine whether your campaign is meeting those goals.
Setting up a successful FB ad campaign from the get-go
1. Determine clear goals: Start with backwards-planning. Consider your goals for this advertising campaign: what do you want to achieve? Do you want to drive traffic to your business’ website? Do you want to capture a lead’s contact information? Too often businesses make the mistake of simply creating an awareness campaign, showcasing their product or services via a beautiful visual ad, without any thought to how they’ll be able to track generated leads. Your Facebook ad must have a clear goal (beyond “make consumers aware of our company and service”), one that includes a call-to-action (CTA) that will either drive traffic to your website or support your inbound marketing efforts.
2. Pick a slice of the population: Who are you trying to reach? Selecting a relevant and specific audience segment is critical to setting up a successful advertising campaign. For paid advertising campaigns to support inbound marketing efforts, your campaign message has to be relevant to your target audience, meaning you have to consider your target personas when you design your campaign. At the most basic level Facebook’s Ad Manager allows you to find your target audience by inputting demographic descriptors such as age, location, interests and income. Use this tool to help you identify the right audience, and segment ads according to their demographics. When you become more experienced in Ads Manager you can expand to Lookalike Audiences and Customer Audiences to hone in even more on your ideal audience.
3. Make sure every aspect of your campaign message is aligned: every Facebook ad campaign should have three components — an image, clear message and specific CTA — and these components should be aligned and support your campaign goal. Use data driven testing to determine which graphics and messages are resonating with your audience. Facebook Ad Manager allows you to create multiple ad creatives and audience segments so that you can test different combinations and statistically determine which delivers the best ROI.
Monitoring and tweaking your ad campaigns
Remember, you want to be managing a Facebook ad campaign, not just running one. This requires your marketing team to monitor what messages, graphics and calls-to-action (CTAs) are resonating with your target audience — and which are ineffective and should be discontinued. You’ll need data specialists on your team to follow the insights from the campaign results and constantly and incrementally improve your campaign’s message, visuals and target audience to ensure you’re not running ineffective campaigns and hemorrhaging advertising dollars.
It can sound intimidating to create and manage so many ads and audiences simultaneously, but active management and testing is the only way to generate a positive ROI on Facebook ad campaigns. Online advertising has introduced new complexity, but also allowed modern marketers unprecedented insight into which advertising tactics are working.
In the late 1800s John Wanamaker famously said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” The beauty of Facebook is that it gives detailed data about how your ads are performing in real time on your senior audience. In the hands of a skilled digital marketer, this data can inform advertising decisions and delight clients and audiences alike.