Facebook and Instagram Ads can be effective for any small business if used to their full potential.

Don’t let anyone tell you Ads do not work or no one goes on Facebook any more other than your Mum and Auntie Sue sharing lost cat posts and commenting about dog poo in the local community group.

There are 1.49 billion daily active users on Facebook, using the app up to 8 times a day and spend an average of 35 minutes a day scrolling and interacting. 

And if you’re not on Instagram, you probably should be sooner rather than later.

1 billion people use Instagram every month and 500 million access Instagram Stories everyday. 200 million of those users will visit at least one business profile daily. (2019 Hootsuite)

Facebook and Instagram Ads can be so effective for your business but only if you lay down the fundamentals of any marketing campaign to maximise your potential. You need the right proposition (your amazing product and service) that reaches the right people (your target audience) ensuring you’re in the right place (Are your audience on Facebook and Instagram, and when and where do they look – mobile, desktop, messenger, stories?) 

Here are some very important things to think about before you part with your hard earned cash so you get a return on your efforts, instead of just paying it directly into Mr Zuckerberg’s pocket. 


Going into using Facebook and Instagram Ads with a clear objective will make it easier to set Ads up but Facebook will help you get what you want, if you know what you need.

For example, if you want to grow your email list, the lead generation campaign will help you encourage people to sign up.

If you want to launch a range of new products, a conversions campaign with a carousel advert style, targeting people that have already visited your site or purchased from you, will make those sales objectives more likely to be achieved.

If you are in the infancy of your business, think sales funnels. Selling to a cold audience will get you minimal results. Warm them up first and let them get to know and trust you!


So lots of people are on Facebook and Instagram and it is likely that your audience are too. You just have to find them.

Take some time to think about your customers.

Demographics – Age, sex, where they live, how much they earn.

Life Milestones – Where are they in their lives – Single, in a partnership, married, renters or house owners, kids, no kids?

Personality – Are they living their best lives 24/7? Emotional or logical? Spontaneous or thinkers? Trendsetters or followers?

Lifestyle and Social Media Habits – Do they work full time/part-time, 9-5 or weekends? What do they do on the weekends and evenings? What social media platforms are they on and when?

Interests – What do they have in common with your brand? Crafts, sports, business, parenting, self-care, theatre, heavy metal, e-books, running, wine, DIY, Sustainability, Mountains, Online shopping, Surfing, Cameras. This is just a mini list of the types of interests you can use to build a profile of your customers.

Information Sources – Do they read, listen or watch? Book reader or phone scroller? Do they buy online regularly or prefer to actually go into a shop (people still do!)

I appreciate as a small business you won’t have all of this information in a data format so your gut is where you start. What you can do is ask people that walk into your shop or subtly add in a couple of questions in any lead generation you have.

You can collect demographic data from your Facebook and Instagram Insights page. Facebook Ads have the ‘Audience Insights’ tool which is great to analyse your audience selection or your page followers and drill down into else they are interested in and pages they follow.

If you have Google Analytics linked to your website then check out the Audience section. It profiles your visitors interest based on their masses on data collected (Just remember to have a privacy policy and cookies permissions on your website so you are GDPR compliant)




You ultimately want people to buy from you so how do you do that? Why do you buy things?

  • Whats your motivation?
  • What could be an objection?
  • What problems are you solving?

Fashion Brand

You need/want something new to wear for an occasion that is affordable and from a sustainable source

The models used in photos don’t reflect you

You need something delivered tomorrow


Craft Product

You have just moved house and want to buy some new prints to go on the walls

You can’t afford it until pay day

You will have a unique handmade product on your wall that no one else has whilst supporting a local business.


You can use Ads to combat those objections. For example on the fashion brand, that person is ready to buy. Have more than one ad for your different audience types and point out the delivery perk – don’t use a one size fits all approach. On the crafts product, engage with them first and encourage them to have a look at your website. Once you have captured them as a lead, you can retarget at a different time when they might be ready to buy.

All of this depends on creative that is going to stop those thumbs scrolling. Think about your proposition, branding and the thing that is going to make them interact.

Look at the ads that are displayed in your feed – Do they have great photography and caption, a video, an offer, a free download or trial? What would make you stop, look and potentially buy?




Ok, so you have got them interested. Where are they going?

Social Media pages – If it’s a bit of a ghost town, you might want to focus on increasing your organic engagement first. There’s so much you can do to optimise your profile and post content to get people to like, comment and share.

Make sure its a nice welcoming place when they arrive otherwise you will lose them immediately and your money. Bored. Next.

Your website – Is it up to scratch? Have you got a nice big call to action on your home page to lead them to find out more about your brand and potentially purchase? Is it optimised for mobile and tablets?

Always think mobile first and optimise your site to lead people to where you want them to go with less scrolls an fewer clicks.

If you haven’t got a website yet, concentrate on getting people to like your page and increasing your audience size.

You can create specific lead pages so there isn’t any other noise so you can capture those emails.

If you’re in the conversion goal mindset, link them to the specific product page, not the homepage




You are paying to play with Facebook and Instagram Ads.

The lowest amount you can spend is £1 per day, but to be honest that isn’t going to have a massive impact. You get what you ask for. Facebook will estimate the potential reach based on your audience and its not much with a quid.

Think about how much you can afford and the potential return. You don’t have to run ads every day either. You can set time specific campaigns, analyse the results then start again with a new mindset and a bit more knowledge.

You can use Ads to reach a new potential audience initially and then you need to work hard on your Facebook and Instagram accounts to keep them engaged and move them through the funnel from an ‘I like this post’ to ‘I’m interested in you’ to ‘I love what you do’

Test your content, audience types and call to action buttons using a lower budget initially. If you’re getting a reasonable number of interactions or website traffic then scale up the budget to maximise the results. If it’s not working then tweak, test, repeat.




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