One of the big things that businesses struggle with is building up their Likes on their Facebook page. While Likes do not typically translate directly to sales, they do offer us an audience that has 'raised their hand' to say they want to hear more from us.

And that's a good start, right?

Building your Likes also has a few other benefits, such as an implied increase in potential comments and engagements, audience reach (friends of friends, for instance) and long-play benefits like branding recognition, etc.

For most small businesses, running a campaign on Facebook simply to boost up your Likes, however, isn't a smart strategy. People aren't on Facebook to buy (in most cases), they're there to see what's going on with their friends and relatives, check in at various stops, or play games. Your widget store or chimney sweeping service isn't on their minds, so wasting a bunch of money trying to get them to notice you with no prior knowledge of your business may be a bad idea.

But I've got a plan - one that's working fairly well for several of my clients, and I want to share it with you. It's all about striking while the iron is hot - after they've already been exposed to your business (website).

Setting the Stage - the Pixel

The first thing we need to do for this to work is to set up your Facebook retargeting pixel on your website.

Retargeting pixel? What's that?

Well, a pixel is a small piece of code that resides on your website. When someone visits your site, this code is activated and a piece of code is stored on their local computer. Similar to a 'cookie', this code does nothing to the user's experience, and only works when activated at a later time. When that same visitor, after visiting a page on your website (maybe a blog or services page) then visits Facebook, Facebook matches your pixel with their Facebook login and you have an opportunity to show that person an ad.

Since they just visited your site, and we can assume you provided them with some great content, this is a great time to ask them to Like your page.

So let's set up your pixel. (NOTE: The directions & screenshots in this tutorial are from the desktop version of Facebook ads. You can do it on other systems, too, but the pictures/links may not match up)

First, you'll need to set up an advertising account on Facebook. Don't worry, they aren't going to take any money from you (yet).

Once your business account is set up, you need to set up your tracking pixel, if you haven't already done so.

Click the three lines in the upper left corner of your screen, then choose All Tools and then Pixels.

Next, click the Set Up Pixel button

Next you'll be asked how you want to install the pixel code.  For most people, this will be option 2: Copy and Paste the Code.

Next you're going to get your code.  It's a long page, but don't worry. We're only interested in step one here.

Mouse over the code area in step 1.2 and click it to copy it to your clipboard.

Congrats! You've built your custom tracking pixel! Now you need to get it installed on your website, which we'll do next.

Install the Tracking Pixel on Your Website

This is going to be different for each reader, so you may have to do a little looking around in order to figure out just where to put yours.  For this example, I'm showing how to do it with a WordPress website. My theme is called 'Avada' but many themes have the same (or very similar) options.

In the back end of your website, click on Theme Options. Some WordPress themes actually list Theme Options in the left column, usually near the bottom.

Next, we need to find the Advanced area where we can paste our new pixel code.

Once on that screen, you'll see a box labeled something like 'Space before </head>'.  That's where you'll paste your code.  Don't forget to hit Save!

Build Your Custom Audience

Next, we need to build an audience. An audience could be a lot of things, but we're interested in building an audience of your website visitors. Click audiences in your ad manager.

Click the Create Audience button in the top left, then Custom Audience.

We want to start tracking our website visitors, so select Website Traffic.

Next, we want to customize our audience.  While you could track and show ads to anyone who has visited your website in the last 6 months, that'd probably be a waste of your money. Can you imagine some website you looked at months ago following you around begging for your Like months later?

No, we want to build a very small window of time where the person sees the opportunity to Like your page right after they've been exposed to some of your great content.  My recommendation is 4 days.  Here's how it should look:

Click the Create Audience and you're all set.

The Final Piece - Build Your Ad

Finally.

That was a lot of work to get to this point.  The good news is, once your pixel is set up, you don't have to do it every time. So future ads to this audience will only require you to, well, build the ad.

So let's get started.

Head back over to the Facebook Ad Manager. In the upper right corner, choose the Create Ad button.

Facebook wants to know what your objective is each time you create ads, so they can optimize it for the best results. In this case, we're looking for Brand Awareness, so select that. Don't forget to give it a title that will remind you what this ad campaign is about. (NOTE: Facebook changes these objective names from time to time, so it may be slightly different at the time you're reading this.)

Next Facebook will have you tell them what audience you want your ads to show to.  Since we've already built our audience, this section is going to be really easy! Just choose the 1-4 day audience you created earlier.

It should be noted here that you can also fill in some of the other sections, if you want to really narrow down your audience beyond just the people that visited your site in the last 4 days. If you only work in a specific town or geographical area, you may want to change the 'United States' to just your city +x miles. If you only want people from specific age groups to see the ad, you can modify that too.

You will want to exclude one group of people: People that have already liked your page! No sense in showing them ads to Like your page, right? Do that in the Connections section:

Once you've set that up, scroll down to the Budget & Schedule area.  This is where you'll set how much you want to spend each day to get Likes. This will really depend on your overall traffic, but for most small business owners, this can be set to just $1 or $2 a day.

Next, give your Ad Set a name.  This is where I'll remind myself that these are LIKE ads to RedCanoeMedia visitors 1-4 days.  Or something like that.

Hit Continue.

The last step is to pick a few pictures that reflect your brand or message. I recommend picking 4-6 pictures, as you never know which will perform best.  If you don't have pictures, use the Free Stock Images from Facebook's library.

Choose your text and ad title. Be creative. Remember that the person seeing this ad has just visited your website within the last 4 days, so they're vaguely aware of your brand. Speak to that fact.

Once you've set your ad copy, it's time to start your ad! Hit the Place Ad button and you're finished!

Typically Facebook will look over your ads to make sure there are no violations of their Terms of Service, and then your ads will start showing.  If you just set up your 4 day audience, then your ads may not start showing immediately because there haven't been any visitors to your website yet.  It may take a few days to build up that audience.

Trimming the Fat

After a week or so of running your ads, you'll start to get some data about their performance.  Log back in to the Facebook Ad Manager and click to your Ad Set. You'll see the 4-6 pictures that you chose, along with their stats.  Typically one or two of them will be doing better than the others.  It's time to turn those non-performers off.

If you don't have some Likes after a week, you may want to change up your messaging. Are you asking them to Like your page? Are you telling them what you'll do? (More tips like the article you read, other information on your industry, etc)

This entire plan depends, of course, on the amount of traffic your website is getting. If you're getting just a few visits a day then it's going to be tough to get this entire program to work. If that is the case, your next step is to get more traffic. Feed the funnel.

Some Examples

Here are a few examples of Facebook LIKE Ads that we have running for a few of our properties

RedCanoeMedia.com

CastIronFreaks.com

SwimSTL.com

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.