Unless your social media head was buried under a social media rock for the last few weeks, I’m sure you all know that last week was Chicago Social Media Week. Thousands of people invaded Chicago to attend dozens of social media-related panels and classes, from how social media is changing the job of DJ’s to getting advice on writing a “mommy blog”.

I had the privilege of teaching a master class on paid Facebook advertising to a standing room only crowd. The main focus of the class was on what I refer to as the “Five W’s of Facebook Advertising”. The class was targeted at intermediate users of Facebook ads and covered all the tips and best practices that can be used to bring your Facebook advertising to the next level.

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The ‘W’s’ themselves should look pretty familiar, but the information that went along with each taught everyone in attendance to really start to think outside the box on what can be accomplished with Facebook ads:

WHO are you advertising to? – Since it’s the only step in the ad creation process that is mandatory, many beginners will change their geo-targeting settings to their desired target area, and leave their targeting customization at that. What they may not realize is that Facebook has hundreds of potential demographic and interest-based targeting options. I stressed the importance of ad target testing and used a good example from a 435 Digital client where we increased their Facebook ad engagement by over 300% with a simple test of different ad copy targeted at specific age groups and interests. Don’t assume that interest-based targeting won’t work for your business or product. You’ll never  know if some outside-the-box targeting will work for you until you test it out.

WHAT are you advertising? – The short and easy answer is “my product or service”. While technically true, there’s so much more to this question on Facebook. What is your goal? Are you mainly focused on getting Likes for your brand’s page? Are you trying to move customers toward a transaction on your actual website? The targeting and ad copy for both situations are very different, so it’s important that you know what your ultimate goal is with each ad that you create.

WHERE do you want to show up? – Facebook ads come in many sizes and shapes. Each has their own pros and cons depending on how important your message is and how many people you’re looking to reach. Learning all the ins and outs of Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts will let you get your message to the exact people you need to see it.

WHEN do you want to appear? – The question of “When is the best time to push my content on my Facebook page?” has been around for as long as social media itself. And figuring out the best time to advertise and post to your specific crowd is sometimes an inexact science. The real takeaway is knowing when your target market is online and what their browsing habits are. Website analytics can be a good place to start if you’re really in the dark as to when your target market is interacting with your website.

WHY do you want to advertise? – This is another example of a seemingly easy question that actually has a more complex answer than many would think. Obviously you want to advertise to drive up awareness and interaction with your product/service/website. But what’s the specific goal you have? Are you promoting a contest? Do you want people to interact with your Facebook page? Are you looking to grab an email address to follow up on later with more information? Knowing what your exact goal is from the beginning will go a long way toward crafting your ad copy and strategy on Facebook.

If you want to see the entire master class in one place, it’s available online here. If enough people watch it, I might be able to use that buzz to get my own speaking tour. Look out, Cleveland!