Facebook Ads – Affordable and Effective for Nonprofits

Beth Kanter is the brilliant mind behind Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one most popular, not to mention longest running, blogs for nonprofits on the web. With her over 30 years of experience within the nonprofit sector, she has become one of the nations leading authorities, the guru if you will, on how nonprofits can successfully use the emerging world of social media effectively to promote their cause.

In her most recent blog March 2, Kanter describes how Facebook’s ads can be an affordable and effective way to market your nonprofit to the local public. She also provides a link, to an excellent resource for Facebook ad beginners, How the Create Epic Facebook Ad written by the co-author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies, Andrea Vahl. This e-book describes how these Facebook ads work, how they are created, how they are tested and who should be targeted in these ads.

“Placing ads on Facebook provides a targeted advertising strategy because Facebook knows the demographics and interests of its millions of users,” says Kanter. Facebook ad’s run on a “bidding system.” This means that organizations and advertisers “bid” for likes or being added as interests on people’s personal profiles. The more likes or adds an organization has, the more people they are likely to reach. A majority of nonprofit organizations use these Facebook ads in an effort to gain more fans, however, they are also excellent way to increase engagement or gain visibility within a larger market.

This method has proven to be effective for the AXIS Dance Company out of Oakland, California who designed a strategy for Facebook ads in an effort to engage more fans by utilizing testing and targeting. This being their first attempt at Facebook advertising they decided to start simple. The ad consisted of the AXIS Dance company avatar, the slogan “Change the way you think about dance forever,” and “Like” us on Facebook.

In order to test how effective their advertising would be, they took out 2 ads targeting people within a 50 mile area. The first was able to reach a greater number of people because it targeted people within broad categories of interests such as #dance or #disabilities. The second ad, however, was much more narrow because it targeted people who “liked” specific companies in this particular community, such as the San Francisco Ballet.

After one week of testing the ad the AXIS Dance Company’s Facebook page experienced a noticeable spike in its Page Views as well as Reach. In just one day the small nonprofit organization received 17 likes and 67 page views. Now that they are beginning to see a positive change in their online presence they have decided to remove the general ad and start advertising events and other more specific AXIS news.

This is just one example of how Facebook ads can be a great resource for Nonprofits!

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