Facebook Grants & Ad Credit Updates: How to Apply and What to Expect

In March, Facebook announced it’s plan to award $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses struggling due to COVID-19 and its effect on the economy. In the original announcement, Facebook said the goal was to help small businesses offset costs including rent, operational costs, workforce retention, and connecting with their customer base.

They’ve just recently released more information on these programs and how small businesses can participate. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.

Who is Eligible?

The program is open to up to 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries. To qualify, each business must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Employ between 2 and 50 people
  • Been in business for over a year
  • Experienced challenges related to COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Facebook is currently doing a rolling release for applications across the U.S.  New York City and Seattle were the first to be eligible starting on April 18. Companies in San Francisco were eligible to begin the application process on April 20. On April, 22, more areas of the county will be opened to eligibility. 

Businesses will have 2 weeks to send in their applications. Decisions will be made within a few weeks after the application window closes. Facebook has not released a guideline on how long decisions will take to be made.

You can check to see if your local area is now eligible, by clicking the See Available Locations link in the Who’s Eligible section.

If you are in an area that is eligible to apply, you’ll be directed to a new page to begin the application process. For those located in areas not yet eligible, you’ll have the option to enter your email address to receive future updates.

How Can Funds be Used?

If you are eligible for the cash grants and/or ad credits, you may be wondering how you can utilize these funds. Facebook has created this program to assist with a variety of costs and expenses. Just a few of the ways you can use funds include:

  • Assist with rent
  • Cover operational expenses
  • Keep workers employed
  • Connect with customers

How to Get Started

Even if these grants and ad credits are not available in your area today, it’s a good idea to start planning ahead and gathering the information you’ll need for the application. Here’s how the process will work.

Step 1: Check to see if grants are available in your area by clicking here.

Step 2: Verify your business is eligible and meets the guidelines listed above.

Step 3: To apply, you’ll need to supply at least one of the following documents:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Business license
  • Official registration
  • Proof of incorporation
  • Partnership documents
  • Contact information 
  • A brief summary of your company

Step 4: Prepare a short write statement on how the funds will be used.

Step 5: Submit the application.

Following application submission, Facebook may reach out for additional information or to have various questions answered before notifying grant recipients that they have been award funds. You can find more information about the application process here.

Facebook Grant Supports Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19

As thousands of small businesses across the country are being impacted by the spread of COVID-19, Facebook has announced a new grant to help support these companies.

Today, Facebook announced a $100 million program to provide cash grants and ad credits to those small businesses affected. The announcement said, “We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.”

Available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses across 30 countries, the grants would average $3,333 per business. More information is forthcoming along with information on how to submit applications. 

Facebook says its goal is to help small businesses offset costs including rent, operational costs, workforce retention, and connecting with their customer base.

You can find more information about this grant program here.

Additionally, Facebook has put together additional resource tools that you may find valuable as you move through this challenging time. 

The Multi-Location Marketers Guide To Facebook

If you operate a multi-location brand, you need to be active on Facebook at both the brand and location level.

Thankfully, this is easier to do on Facebook than it is on other social media platforms. Multi-location brands can create a Brand Page on Facebook, as well as individual Location Pages under their corporate account.

While this makes Facebook marketing easier for multi-location brands, many brands still have trouble with Facebook marketing.

To help you develop a balanced strategy between your brand and your locations, we’ve created the following guide to Facebook for multi-location marketers.

Corporate vs. Local Control

The biggest question for any multi-location marketer on Facebook is how much control locations have over their pages. Some brands prefer to give each location a lot of leeway in how they operate their Location Page. Others prefer to control each page at the corporate level, ensuring a consistent brand voice and overall strategy.

Most brands find success with a middle-ground approach. On a corporate level, they create strategies, guidelines, resources for Location Pages. They also track and analyze Location Page data in aggregate.

But the day-to-day operation of the pages is usually performed by the location itself, and there’s room for each location to tailor uniquely tailor its content.

Location Business Information

Maintaining accurate business information isn’t the most glamorous task in the world. But it’s a crucial part of local marketing.

Every day, millions of users go on Facebook to check for local business information. If that information is inaccurate, you not only lose a sale. You also risk toxic feedback from unhappy customers. Incorrect local business information on Facebook can also re-appear on other websites, like Google, who scrape Facebook for business info.

To keep this information accurate, you’ll need to include Facebook in your local listings management strategy. You’ll also want to put protocols in place at the location level to ensure this information is always up to date.

Organic Content Creation & Scheduling

On Facebook, multi-location brands need to be active on a local level. The majority of Facebook engagement for multi-location brands occurs on Location Pages. What’s more, this engagement has a stronger correlation to purchase behavior than engagement on Brand Pages.

A popular approach is for Location Pages to share or repost the Brand Page’s content. While this is much cheaper than creating original content for individual locations, the content might not resonate with local consumers the way it should.

Some brands get around this problem by encouraging locations to mix it up. They provide branded content for all locations to post. But at the same time, they suggest that locations also post original content.

Another strategy is to create detailed guidelines and content templates to help locations create original content. This way, you can achieve a consistent voice and a high level of quality across Location Pages. But you’re still delivering unique local content.

Paid Advertising

In recent years, Facebook has begun to challenge Google’s dominance in paid advertising. And thanks to features like Local Awareness ads and Call-to-Action buttons, Facebook’s perfectly suited for multi-location businesses.

Local Awareness ads target users within a certain radius of a business, with the option of further targeting according to age and gender. If you have Location Pages set up for individual locations, you can run Local Awareness ad campaigns at the brand level or location level.

Facebook Ads also include the option of Call-to-Action buttons, which are great for local businesses. This button can be used to give directions to your location, prompt a delivery order, visit your website, call your business, or almost any other standard action that you’d want from a customer or client.

Reputation Management

According to one recent survey, roughly 93% of consumers say that user-generated content informs their purchasing habits. The most influential type of user-generated content? Online reviews.

Right now, Facebook is one of the top sites for consumers researching online reviews. What’s more, Google uses Facebook reviews to calculate the rating for Google Reviews. This makes Facebook one of the most important platforms for reputation management.

Your locations are in a much better position to respond to online reviews. They’re more knowledgeable about the location and they can quickly and directly address any complaints. Because of this, it’s typically best to have locations handle the actual responses to reviews.

However, it’s crucial that you have guidelines for how locations manage their reviews. Most customers who leave negative reviews will return to a business if their service issue can be promptly resolved. But to make that possible, you need to ensure that locations follow review management best practices.

6 Facebook Metrics You Can’t Ignore

One of the perks of marketing on Facebook is the sheer amount of data. On other platforms, key metrics are impossible to track or require third-party analytics. Meanwhile, Facebook gives you all kinds of data about your page, your posts, your audience, and your ads.

All of this data is invaluable for marketers. But with all of the different charts and figures on Facebook Insights, important data can get lost in the noise.

Unsure which Facebook metrics your business can’t afford to ignore? Here are 6 that you need to be tracking.

1. Cost Per Click/Impressions

What it is: These are the two most popular pricing options on Facebook Ads. With cost per click (CPC), you’re charged every time a user clicks on one of your ads. With cost per impressions (CPM), you’re charged for every 1,000 impressions.

Why it matters: Whether you opt for CPC or CPM on a given ad campaign, you’ll want to track the figure carefully to avoid overspending on ads.

2. Post Impressions & Reach

What it is: Impressions count how many views your posts receive, while reach measures how many users see your posts. If an individual user views one of your posts twice, that counts as two views for impressions, but only one view for reach.

Why it matters: These metrics allow you to track the visibility of individual posts. By measuring the engagement count for each post against its reach count, you can measure the rate of engagement.

3. Page Engagement, Impressions & Reach

What it is: Facebook also tracks your engagement, impression, and reach metrics in aggregate for your entire page, which can be viewed in line chart form over time.  

Why it matters: Page-level engagement, impression, and reach metrics allow you to track the impact of your Facebook marketing efforts and identify macro-level trends.

4. Page Likes

What it is: On the Likes tab, you can view the number of new likes and unlikes for your page charted over time. This tab also includes net likes (calculated by subtracting unlikes from likes).

Why it matters: Tracking your likes will allow you measure the growth of your Facebook fanbase. It can also help you pinpoint negative actions that cause your net likes to drop.

5. Referral Traffic

What it is: Facebook referral traffic tracks user activity on your brand’s website that originated from Facebook. Unlike the other metrics on this list, it’s found in Google Analytics, not Facebook Insights.

Why it matters: If you rely on Facebook as a source of traffic for your website, this will allow you to track and measure how successful your page is at funneling traffic to your website.

6. Post Engagement

What it is: Every time a user takes action on one of your posts, that action counts as an engagement. Facebook tracks engagements on each post in two categories, “Post Clicks” and “Reactions, Comments & Shares.”

Why it matters: Engagement shows you which posts on your page are resonating with Facebook users. This can help you choose which posts to promote and which types of content to create in the future.

Using Hashtags for Local Marketing

If your small business is active on social media, you need to be hashtag fluent. In the right hands, hashtags can help your small business reach a much larger share of local customers. But in the wrong hands, hashtags can be easily abused, with cringe-worthy results.

While hashtags are easy to misuse, they’re not that difficult to master. With a little work, you can tag your way to a much stronger presence on social media.

Types of Hashtags

On a basic level, hashtags tend to fit into three general categories. Different types of hashtags work better for different types of posts, so many sure you choose the right tag in each instance.

  • Branded Hashtags. These are hashtags specific to your brand, such as your name, your tagline, a campaign tagline, or the name of a product/service. They can be used to encourage customer interactions or raise awareness.
  • Trending Hashtags. These are hashtags for trending topics, which tend to be generated by current events or viral content. They can be a good way to gain visibility, but only if you can post high-quality, relevant content.
  • Content Hashtags. These are hashtags that add information to the post (e.g., “Join us at #UnionSquare for #FreeSamples”) or recontextualize other parts of the post (e.g., “#FeelingBlue? Kickstart your painting project with a free color consultation”).

Guidelines for Different Platforms

In addition to different types of hashtags, you’ll need to be thoughtful about how you use hashtags on different social networks. Here’s a quick look at hashtag best practices for four popular networks.

  • Facebook. While Facebook supports hashtags, they aren’t widely used or especially effective. Use hashtags sparingly in your Facebook posts.
  • Instagram. Hashtags are a crucial feature of Instagram marketing. Aim for 5-15 hashtags per post. Tip: Instead of adding all of your hashtags to your original post include some in comments.
  • Pinterest. Smart hashtag usage can increase your visibility in Pinterest search. The network will display your first four hashtags, so include between 4-10 per image.
  • Twitter. Twitter’s the network where hashtags first took off. But with Twitter’s character limit you’ll want to limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post (or none at all).

Hashtags for Local Social Media

The hashtag strategies that work for national brands aren’t always a good fit for local businesses. Here are a few smart ways that local businesses use hashtags on social media.

  • Local Trends. When hashtags trend locally, they appear in the feeds of users from that area, but not in the feeds of other users. Since a pool of local users is smaller than a national or global one, it is easier for local businesses to stand out with locally trending hashtags. You can use hashtags to cheer on local sports teams, announce local events, or encourage donations to local non-profits.
  • Niche Hashtags. Local businesses should be wary of mega-popular hashtags. Instead, you should target niche hashtags that are relevant to your business. This will make your content more visible to the right kind of people, which boosts your chances of engagement. Try using a free tool like Hashtagify to identify the best hashtags for your business.
  • Social SEO. 65% of shoppers perform online research before they visit physical stores. Much of that research occurs on social media, where hashtags can give your business a boost in search results. On hashtag-friendly platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, you can tag posts with the name of your city/town and products/services to increase visibility (e.g., “Get a #CouplesMassage in #Topeka”).
  • Franchise Tags. If you’re the owner of a franchise location, branded hashtags can be tricky. If you simply echo your franchisor’s hashtags, you won’t stand out. To create a branded hashtag for your franchise, see if you can find a catchy way to combine your brand or your core product/service offering with your street address, neighborhood, or city.
  • Have Fun! Social media gives you the chance to forge more personal connections with your customers. So don’t be afraid to have fun with hashtags. Your #ThrowbackThursday post might not rack up hundreds of likes, but it will help your customers see a more personal side of your business.

General Tips & Guidelines

To wrap things up, here are three general guidelines to help you incorporate hashtags well and avoid embarrassing situations.

  1. Think Before You Tag. A number of businesses find themselves in hot water when they unthinkingly use risqué or offensive hashtags. Even if you’re using what you think is an original idea for a hashtag, make sure that it doesn’t have an unintended meaning.
  2. Don’t Go Overboard. Cluttering your posts with hashtags not only makes them difficult to read, but it’s also considered a social media faux-pas. So reel in your inner graffiti artist and go easy on those tags.
  3. Tag Naturally. When using hashtags, it’s tempting to adopt popular slang or reference current trends. This is a smart strategy, but only if you can use these terms naturally. When businesses try to use slang or make references they don’t know, the results stick out like a sore thumb.

Why Brands Can’t Afford to Ignore Similar & Lookalike Audiences

Modern digital marketing campaigns make extensive use of retargeting, showing paid ads to users who have already interacted with a brand’s website, paid ads, or social media content. When implemented correctly, these types of campaigns have far stronger metrics than their non-retargeted counterparts, making them attractive to business and marketers alike.

While retargeted campaigns are well worth the investment, there are drawbacks to retargeting. For one, it takes time and money to develop retargeting audiences. For another, these audiences are limited to users who’ve already interacted with your brand. If you’re looking for new prospects, you won’t find them in your retargeting audience.

While some digital marketers will use the terms “similar audience” and “lookalike audience” interchangeably, it’s important to note that these are two separate tools.

Similar audience is a feature on Google Ads. This feature is based on remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), i.e., users you are retargeting because they’ve interacted with your website. When you use RLSAs in a paid search campaign, Google will analyze the search behavior of your RLSA audience. It will then give you the option of expanding your campaign to target a similar audience. This is a group of users whose search behavior closely mirrors your RLSA audience.

But what if there was a simple, low-cost way to double or triple the size of this audience? And what if you could target new users in the process? That’s where similar audiences (on Google Ads) and lookalike audiences (on Facebook) can make a huge difference in your digital marketing strategy.

Lookalike audience is a feature used for Facebook ads, which works similarly to Google’s similar audiences feature. However, Facebook isn’t using search behavior to build this audience. Instead, it bases your lookalike audience on features like user interests and demographic data. Facebook also allows gives you control over the size of your lookalike audience. Smaller audiences will mirror your original audience more closely, while larger audiences reach more users.

In both cases, there are limitations to these tools. Both features require a large enough sample size to create a mirror audience. Google will only give the option of a similar audience if your original RLSA has “at least 1,000 cookies with enough similarity in search behavior.” Facebook requires at least 100 users in your source audience, but it recommends using a source audience of at least 1,000 users.

These concerns aside, the question for marketers is simple: Do similar and lookalike audiences work?

Why You Should Invest in Similar and Lookalike Audiences

If digital marketers have learned one thing over the past decade, it’s that Google and Facebook know what they’re doing. So it should come as no surprise that brands who’ve adopted similar and lookalike audiences have seen impressive results.

In simple terms, these features allow you to target a larger base of potential customers while retaining the positive metrics of retargeted marketing. In numerous case studies, mirrored audiences on Google and Facebook have had similar engagement and conversion metrics to the audiences on which they were based. In terms of purchasing behavior, it’s almost like cloning your most promising leads.

Even better, mirrored audiences can significantly reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. While there is an investment of time and money to develop your initial retargeting audience, it costs much less to mirror that audience via Google or Facebook. Not only are you practically cloning your best leads, but the cloning process also costs pennies on the dollar when compared to traditional lead acquisition.

Ultimately, similar and lookalike audiences are a near-foolproof way to get more value out of your current retargeting data and increase the overall efficiency of your digital spend. However, there’s one important catch. For these features to work, you need to be targeting the right people in the first place. That means investing the time and money it takes to build high-quality source data for your brand.

The 5 Things Every Marketer Must Know About Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads are quickly becoming an integral part of every marketer’s social media strategy, and it’s easy to see why. With over 2 billion Facebook users monthly, Facebook has become the world’s most popular social media platform.

While everyone jumps on the Facebook advertising bandwagon, many marketers aren’t seeing the results they expected when they started experimenting with the platform. Typically, there are two scenarios to blame for this: a low cost-per-click (CPC) that isn’t leading to conversions, or a CPC that is too high. So what’s a marketer to do?


Understanding Social Search


When it comes to running Facebook ads, many marketers employ the same strategies they use when managing Google AdWords. This is a problem, because with Google, prospective clients and customers are looking for you, your services, or a business like yours. They already know what they’re looking for, and they’re actively interested. This is much different than Facebook, where users are viewing a variety of information from photos to news stories and there’s lots of competition for their attention. Facebook ads need to be immediately engaging in order to garner consumers’ attention and drive leads.


So how do you achieve the best results with Facebook Ads? Here are 5 things Facebook advertising pros do to elevate their social media marketing:

1. Carefully Choose Ad Placement


While Facebook offers quite a few ad placements on their platform, there are three locations that are most commonly used: Desktop News Feed, Desktop Right Column, and Mobile News Feed. They each have their own benefits and drawbacks, but if you master them, you’ll be able to deploy your ads more strategically.


Desktop News Feed – This priority placement tends to result in higher conversion rates, but because it’s the top option for most marketing campaigns, ad placement here is the most competitive and expensive.


Desktop Right Column – This ad space is not nearly as in-your-face as ads in News Feed, and works well for retargeting, but is not ideal when targeting initial engagement.


Mobile News Feed – Consumers are accessing Facebook from mobile devices much more often than from a desktop, and right now, initial engagement and brand discovery can often be attained at a much cheaper rate on mobile. This makes Mobile News Feed ads the best bang for your buck.


2. Carefully Choose Who Sees The Ads

When it comes to optimizing Facebook Ads, choosing the right audience can be more important than the ad creative. Equally important is keeping in mind the conversion you’re ultimately aiming for and defining your audience around your advertising goal. There are three ways to define your audience within Facebook Ads Manager and how you use them can impact your marketing efforts:

Core Audience – This allows you to choose your audience based on multiple characteristics, such as location, age, behaviors, and interests.


Custom Audiences – This gives you the ability to upload a list of contacts you’d like to target. There are many data categories here, but the most often used are phone numbers and email addresses.


Lookalike Audiences – This allows you to find people who share similar characteristics to your customers.


3. Choose The Call To Action Carefully

Your call to action (CTA) is just as important as knowing who and where you’re targeting, so every ad you run should have a CTA that clearly directs the action users should take. After deciding on your marketing objective, choose the CTA that best supports your marketing objective:


Website Conversions or Clicks to Websites – This is the most common CTA, and drives traffic to your website. Just be sure that your landing page is optimized for the best user experience. For mobile ads, this means making sure your landing page is tailored for a mobile experience.


‘Call Now’ Buttons – With so many Facebook users already on their mobile phones, phone-call CTAs are an easy way to encourage engagement. Try Local Awareness Ads, they help you reach people who are near one of your business locations, and allow customers to call you right from their Facebook News Feed. Learn more about Local Awareness Ads here.


‘Send Message’ CTA – This is a new CTA for Local Awareness Ads, and gives customers a convenient way to get in touch with your business quickly, which in turn can lead to more sales for your business. One caveat – if you use this conversion method, be sure you’re prepared to respond to customer inquiries in a timely manner.


4. Choose How To Differentiate Ads Carefully

With the who, where, and how covered, it’s time to focus on how to make your ads stand out from the crowd. Instead of focusing on just a logo in your Facebook ads, invest some time in creating product-focused graphics or images that help convey your brand’s accessibility. The most well-rounded campaigns feature multiple ads with relevant and consistent messaging. These ads can then be rotated to avoid ad fatigue.


5. Test And Update Ads Regularly

It’s hard to predict what kind of ad designs will work best for your product, or which audience will be most likely to buy your products. That’s why whether you’re a beginner or pro, A/B testing, or split testing, is the key to successful Facebook ads. While the endless opportunities of Facebook testing can make it somewhat cumbersome, the payoff is well worth the trouble.

Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform and it’s only getting bigger, so a knowledge of Facebook marketing is essential to any marketer’s toolkit. Whatever your comfort level with Facebook advertising, these tips can help keep your Facebook strategy fresh as you continue to experiment with ad types, creative, and audiences.