Paying for stuff is always bummer. Especially if you can get that stuff for free. And because signing up for a Facebook account is free, a lot of times brands feel as if they don’t need to make any kind of monetary investment towards their Facebook page. The unfortunate truth is that if you want your Facebook page to be worth your time investment, you’re also going to want to invest some dollars into it too.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network boasting 1.3 billion active users, 62% of them that log into their accounts each day (kissmetrics). That’s a lot of potential eyeballs for your business. Although the largest audience set falls between the ages of 18-29, there are also plenty of Facebook users that skew younger and older, meaning that no matter who you’re marketing to, they’re most likely hanging out on Facebook.

Now for the bad news. The organic reach for brand pages has fallen from 12% in 2012 to less than 6% today for pages with a small audience and less than 2% for pages with large audiences. Facebook is where your customers are spending their time - now it’s our time to figure out how we reach them while getting the best bang for our buck. 

One of the biggest reasons that Facebook is capable of becoming your best friend in social advertising is because they’ve set up their advertising platform so that you can seriously dial in on your target audience. By using your customers’ determined demographic and psychographic characteristics, you can create a really great ad that reaches the right people at the right time. 

Bear in mind that although having the ability to choose every detail about the people you’re targeting, it doesn’t mean that you should. Some presets are more useful than others. 

Location: This one is mandatory for anyone creating a Facebook ad. You can choose up to 25 countries to target per campaign. If you choose more than 1 country though, you’ll no longer be able to choose specific states or cities within each individual country. 

Age: While you’re figuring out what kind of ads will work best for your target audience, it’s a good idea to test different CTAs, images, and copy against multiple age ranges. Learning what type of language and imagery performs best will help you target your audience even more efficiently moving forward. Humor may work better for a younger audience while sports may perform better for older men. These are the kind of hypotheses that should be tested.

Gender: If your product clearly focuses on men or women, then this filter could prove to be useful for you. As an examples, if you’re not a beauty brand trying to market to women, then you can leave this filter untouched to target both men and women. 

Precise Interests: This section allows you to target people based on what they have listed on their Facebook profiles as an interest. This can be a powerful tool if you use it well. For example, if you’re a company like AG Jeans, you can target people who have liked the J.Brand Facebook page.

Broad Categories: You’re given a lot of options under Broad Categories and although it may seem like a good tool at first, you can often reach the same people more accurately by using other targeting options. 

Connections: Facebook allows you to choose to target Facebook users that are already your page fans or users that aren’t yet your page fans. This can become an extremely powerful tool for you when you’re setting up your ad campaigns. One brand reported seeing 7x larger click through when they targeted their existing fans.

Friends of Connections: Targeting friends of the people that have already liked your page is a great way to get some social proof and build your page following. Ads with this option enabled let your audience see which of their friends have already liked your page, encouraging them to like it too.

Advanced Targeting Options: For the most part, I would suggest steering clear of the advanced targeting options. This section allows you to target based on: Interested In, Relationship Status, Languages, Education, and Workplaces. Although these filters can be helpful for really narrowing in on your audience, they can also exclude a lot of your potential customers. Keep in mind that if a Facebook user doesn’t share this information on their page, they’ll be left out of your targeting.