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How to Not Waste Your Money on Facebook or Instagram Ads

Have you been trying to figure out whether spending money on ads is a good idea? Well, you’ve come to the right place! To help you sort out this dilemma, we asked Patreon creator and social media expert, Suzanne Yada, to talk to us about ads.

This 57-minute video includes an in-depth workshop and a Q&A session that walk you through the whys, the hows, and (most importantly) the how nots of social media advertising.

Suzanne is the founder of digital consulting agency yadaCreative Digital Marketing and specializes in Facebook and Instagram marketing for businesses and creatives. On Patreon, Suzanne is known as “Little Spiral,” a singer-songwriter, pianist, and violinist. Her experience as a Patreon user and online marketing professional give her some unique insights into how Patreon creators can promote their businesses.

If you’ve been asking yourself:

  • Are ads a good idea for me?
  • How do I get started?
  • How much do I need to spend on an ad campaign?
  • What do I need to know about my audience?

Awesome. Then this workshop is a great place to start.

Ads are a great way to get your name and business in front of an online audience. Facebook and Instagram offer a lot of options for membership-based businesses to spread the word. But an effective ad campaign requires preparation and in-depth knowledge of your audience.

Ready to get started? Watch the cast now, or scroll down to read the top 10 things you need to know about advertising your business on Facebook and Instagram.

  1. Facebook and Instagram are the most sophisticated ad platforms ever. Today’s ads are targeted, effective, and accessible to everyone. They’re especially great if you don’t have a lot of time and they play well in combination with other marketing efforts.
  2. Creating an ad campaign is a great way to introduce strangers to your business. A well-placed ad has a much wider reach than just the audience in your social media networks. And it has the capacity to keep your number of followers growing!
  3. Ads can also help you convert current fans into patrons. Ads are great for getting people who know your work to sign up for email lists, sales, events, and even eventually donate to your Patreon page. They can also work well for time-sensitive offers with a deadline.
  4. Before committing to an ad campaign, you’ll want to make sure there’s a bigger plan in place. Be aware of your customer journey and how you strategically place ads for maximum effect. Ideally, you’ll plan use ads to encourage strangers to become fans and fans to become patrons. What you should NOT do is try to convert strangers into patrons, says Suzanne. “One, they’re not ready. You’re not asking for marriage on the first date. You want to get them into a relationship first.” In her experience, this is where people waste the most money.
  5. It takes more than a few “touches” for strangers to become customers. Your customer journey has at least five levels to it: not knowing you exist, knowing you exist but not being interested, showing some interest, comparing you to others, being sold on your idea, and finally, becoming a fan and telling others about you. It takes an absolute minimum of 6-7 “touches”, or reminders, of who you are and what you do for a stranger to turn into a potential customer. Consistent marketing and advertising sends out multiple touches and makes those cold prospects warm to the idea of buying from you.
  6. Creating specific audiences to advertise to can help narrow your focus and attract those warm prospects. You can easily customize ads to target people who have already interacted with your online brand, whether they’ve liked your page, visited your website, or signed up for email list. According to Suzanne, it’s best to wait until you have 500-1,000 people interested in your work before starting to advertise. And remember, you will have different audiences at different stages of your customer journey. Do NOT use the same ads to talk to the same people in the same way. That’s where customized ads (aka retargeting) comes in.
  7. Video is a super effective way to create fans AND keep them. Some platforms, like Facebook, actually allow you to advertise directly to anyone who is watching your videos. Any way you can narrow your audience down to people who are already interested is a win.
  8. Instagram boosted posts aren’t very effective yet, so focus on getting to know Ads Manager instead. Ads Manager does come with a learning curve, however, which is why we have people like Suzanne to help us out. She offers walkthroughs and one-on-one hourly sessions. Facebook Blueprint is a great resource for tutorials as well.
  9. Test with small spends first before putting in the big bucks. For saving money, this is the way to go. Testing your ads will help ensure that you are connecting with the right audience. With her music, Suzanne has an idea of who her audience is, but even she needs more information before making a financial commitment. “I want to make data-based decisions with my money, not necessarily gut-based, which is very hard for us artists.” Once you have a better idea of where your audience is, you can start putting more money on that.**
  10. It’s hard to estimate how much you need to spend on ads. There are just too many factors that affect ad spend like what offers you’re advertising, your deadline, competition from other businesses, and timing. Full-on funnel building can start at around $500 a month for ad spend. But with a warm audience that you interact with consistently, spending $20-30 here and there can be really effective as well.