Small Coffee Business Advertising on Facebook and Instagram

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Stop clicking the boost button! Never, ever click this blue button again. This button may as well say, “Just take my money”. 

If you’ve clicked this button, it’s okay. Don’t blame yourself. Facebook makes it sound appealing on purpose. “Just click this little button, pay a few bucks, and your post will be seen by more people.” That sounds good, but is it? If you have used this button, have you been happy with the results?

Why the Blue Boost Button is your enemy

I don’t think it’s controversial to say Facebook wants to earn money, just like any other company. The problem is always how. Facebook could make joining the site cost money, but then they would lose a huge portion of their users and kind of shift the point of the platform. After all, Facebook is pretty much the social media giant, but no one thinks of social media as something you pay for. 

So instead, Facebook uses their huge network of users to their advantage and creates an advertising platform where people can pay to put their ads in front of those millions of users. This is realistically a best case scenario: Facebook remains free to the everyday person while  businesses get a new way to advertise. However, Facebook’s ad platform is not very easy to use. There are a lot of controls and options which is a good thing for a big business with a dedicated marketing team, but it’s too much for a small business. So Facebook’s next problem became, “How do we get small businesses with simpler goals to pay us just like big businesses?” 

Enter the blue boost button. 

The blue boost button claims to give small businesses the benefits of digital advertising with a much more streamlined process, but it doesn’t. If you’ve ever boosted a post on Facebook, you know what I mean. Yes, more people do see your post, but what does that actually do for you? And more importantly, how do you know? You might notice an uptick in customers after you click the boost button, but was it really down to the button, or just coincidence?

The boost button can bring you good results, but the problem is by clicking it you’re gambling with your limited budget when you don’t have to. Facebook’s advertising platform for big businesses is right there, just waiting to be used. Yes it is more complicated, but the benefits are night and day.  

Should you advertise on Facebook at all?

Short answer: Probably.

Longer answer: Many small businesses, coffee shops included, do not have a marketing budget. First of all, you should create one, but that’s not the current issue. Without a marketing budget, it can be hard to know if spending money on advertising is the right move. There are definitely less costly options out there to explore first, but there are two times when you’ll see the most benefit from spending money on advertising

  1. In the first 1-3 months as you open. This can be a huge push. It’s reasonable to spend as much on advertising in this period as you might in a whole year once you’re more established. 
  2. When things are running smoothly and you’re looking for growth. Growth can be a tricky thing for coffee shops. Throwing a little money at the situation can be surprisingly effective.

Still, the blue boost button is enticing for a reason. The idea of just putting a little money into the magic Facebook machine and having it spit out more business is really appealing. That’s not how it works, although it’s not impossible to reach a point like that with consistent optimization. With enough tweaking, you really can reach a point where all you have to do is put money into ads and get profit out, but there’s a lot of steps to take before that. 

Get Ready to Advertise

Before we talk about how to use Facebook the right way, we need a plan. Without a clear idea of what you will do with Facebook’s ad platform you’ll either become overwhelmed and quit or lose money, and neither are what you want. 

Come Up With An Goal

Never spend money on something without a goal in mind. That’s life advice, but it goes double for advertising. Before you spend a cent, know why you’re spending it. 

Everyone wants more money, but that’s, like, step 4 of a series of goals. Work backwards. How do you want to get more money? Can you handle more customers, or are you better off trying to get your existing number of customers to buy more? Can you handle selling new products, or do you need to make do with what you have? 

There’s no one right answer because every shop is in a different market facing different challenges. If you need some more advice on the best way to earn a profit in your coffee shop, we cover that too. 

Once you have a goal in mind like “take x number more online orders” or “collect y more customer emails”, you are ready to move forward. 

Define Your Audience

Almost as important as your goal is your audience. It’s crucial that you understand who you’re trying to draw to your shop. A city is a good place to start, but having specific zip codes is better. It can also help to think about demographics a little. Will your shop appeal more towards working professionals or students? With Facebook advertising, you don’t want to narrow your audience too much, so pick a couple factors that are most accurate to your ideal customer and go with those. 

Create an Offer and an Action

The last crucial step is to come up with what you’ll be offering and how you want potential customers to get it. A discount is always a good option, but it’s not the only one. You don’t even necessarily have to offer any kind of financial incentive. Your offer could be a new drink or simply that you’re now open for business. You just need a reason for a potential customer to care. 

Once you have your offer, the potential customer has to get it. This could be straightforward like a discount code to your online store they get from an ad, or it could be more creative like an entry for a contest if they sign up for your email list. Whatever you choose, these two pieces make up your “call-to-action”, or CTA as they’re known. “Get x by doing y” or “Just do y and you’ll get x!” You get the idea. 

How to Advertise on Facebook (and Instagram) the Right Way

With your plan in hand, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Sign up for a Business Manager Account

Facebook Business Manager unlocks a lot of tools to make marketing on Facebook and Instagram better and easier. It’s required if you want to use the better ad system. 

Navigate to Ads Manager

Once you’ve got your Business Manager account, go to the ads manager section. Here is where you’ll be able to see your ads and even posts you boost in greater detail. To get started, click the green Create button at the left.

Create a Campaign

Facebook ads are structured in three tiers: campaign, ad set, and ad. Your campaign is where you define your goal, as we discussed above. The ad set is where you define your audience and a few other options, and finally your ad is where you define your offer. 

When you create the campaign, you will be asked for an objective. For this example, we’ll be using Traffic (to a website) but you should choose whichever objective fits your goals. Once you’ve chosen your objective, be sure to name your ads something descriptive so you can easily find them again if you need to. 

A/B Test

A/B Tests are to determine which of two ideas you have for an ad works better. They can be very useful, but for now it’s safe to ignore this option.

Campaign Budget Optimization 

This feature is more useful if you plan to have a very complex campaign. For most coffee shops, it’s safe to ignore. 

Review Campaign Creation

The next page will allow you to review your campaign options and choose a few extra. 

Special Ad Category

This should never apply to a coffee shop. Don’t enable it. 

Buying Type

Generally your only option will be auction. Even if you see others, auction is usually what you want. 

Campaign Spending Limit

This can be an extra safeguard against spending more than you intended when advertising online, although for simple campaign setups it is not really necessary. 

Set Ad Set Options

Traffic

A website is the most common place to direct online ads. If you chose a physical location to direct people to at the campaign level, you won’t see this option. 

Dynamic Creative 

Feel free to try this option if you would like to make the ad creation process very easy. However, we typically don’t recommend it because you can’t necessarily control the content of your ad as well as you may want. 

Offer

Creating an offer is a specific type of ad. Again, feel free to experiment with it but it will probably not be very relevant for your coffee business. 

Budget & Schedule

This is one of the more important sections. Importantly, it is usually a good idea to choose lifetime budget instead of daily budget. This helps make sure you don’t spend too much, and it allows you to only show your ads on days and times you know your customers are active. The most common times to advertise are in the morning, lunch, and after work. 

It’s difficult to recommend how much you should spend because every business is different. However, the less you want to spend, the less time your ad should run. If you can spare it, $200 is generally a good amount to experiment with while not investing too heavily into advertising. 

Audience

Another one of the most important sections is defining your audience. This is especially relevant for coffee shops where it is largely a waste of money to advertise outside of your city or county. Custom audiences use external data sources to create very specific and useful segments. You don’t need to worry about that for now.

Instead, search for the area around your coffee shop and select it. We also generally recommend choosing only the people who live in that location instead of people who also recently visited that location. 

Beyond that, you can get more specific with age and gender, but for many coffee shops location will narrow the audience enough. If you continue to advertise on Facebook, you may find more specific demographics work better, but it’s best to figure that out through experimentation instead of assuming. 

Detailed Targeting

You can also exclude people with certain interests from your ad. This can be a very powerful tool, but it is more advanced and often more work than what’s needed for a coffee shop. 

The next box asks whether you want to turn detailed targeting expansion on or off. As long as you don’t make your audience too specific right off the bat, it’s better to leave this option off. Turning it on will allow Facebook’s algorithms to find people it thinks will like your ad but who don’t match your criteria. As long as you’re mainly targeting based on location, you actively don’t want this option because it might grab people who would never realistically come to your coffee shop.

The last variable is a connection type. A connection is an action someone has already taken to interact with your business, like liking your page. Depending on your ad, you may want to target people with a specific connection, but it won’t be necessary for a general purpose ad. 

Placements

If you choose Manual Placements, you can decide which places on Facebook and Instagram you want your ad to show. For example, you can decide you don’t want your ad to show up in stories. Placements can be useful to manipulate but feel free to stick to automatic placements if you’re unsure of which placements are best. 

Optimization and Delivery

Coffee shop owners can mostly ignore this section. These options are for people who really want to tinker with their ad performance. 

Ad Options

Identity

This is simply choosing which Facebook (and Instagram page if connected) you want to be associated with the ad. 

Ad Setup

Here you will choose what you want your ad to look like. Many ads are single images or videos, but there is nothing wrong with trying out the other options as well. Just make sure whatever you choose fits with what you’re trying to advertise. 

Fullscreen Mobile Experience

Feel free to play with this option, but we won’t cover it too much here. An Instant Experience keeps people on Facebook to help facilitate the conversion process. For example, if you want someone’s email before you give them a discount, you can use an Instant Experience to do that.

Media

This is the visual component to your ad. It can be a picture, series of pictures, or a video. Note: Facebook penalizes images with too much text in them. Try to keep the image mostly clean and leave the text for the fields explained below. 

Primary Text

The “post” of your ad. This text will show up above your ad, and is usually a little bit longer to describe the offer. Note: Very long blocks of text get cut off, so try to write in a way where you first couple sentences make people want to learn more.

Headline

This should be where you put your offer in the simplest terms. “Free espresso shot with a bag of beans” or “Grand Opening” are things you might see here. 

Description

This is the third text field that will go below your headline in most cases. Use it to further explain what you’re advertising. Note: whatever you type in the description does not show on every ad placement, so make sure it’s not essential to understanding your ad. 

Destination

If you are publicizing an event, choose Facebook Event. Otherwise stick with Website. 

Website URL

This is the link you want to direct people to when they click on your ad. It should probably be your store or a specific product, not just your home page.

Display Link

If the link you are directing people to is ugly or maybe you are using a subdomain when you want your main domain to show, you can change what link people see here. Most coffee shops don’t need to worry about this one. 

Call to Action

The call to action is the thing you want people to do, as we discussed above. Choose whichever option is appropriate for your ad, and then it will show up as a button people can click when they see it. 

Stories Customizations

This simply lets you change the background color of you ad in stories if the media doesn’t fill the full screen it’s being shown on. 

Tracking

This section is where you tell Facebook how to track the results of your ad. As long as you have your Facebook Pixel set up, you’re good to go here. 

Ad Preview

This is simply a window that allows you to see what your ad will look like in different placements. This isn’t a perfect preview, but it gives you a good idea of where your text will show up and if your media looks okay.

An Alternative to Advertising On Your Own 

Phew, there’s a lot involved with setting up even a simple Facebook ad, and we didn’t even cover the photography or graphic design required to create the visual component of the ad. This overwhelming amount of options is usually where coffee shop owners get stuck and just don’t do it. 

Instead of getting stuck, Bellissimo Coffee Advisors is here to help. We can manage all these options for you, including the more advanced options that we had to gloss over in this article. Just reach out to us on our consultation page to get started. We’ve helped hundreds of coffee businesses reach profitability and grow. Let’s work together. 

Are you entering the coffee industry?

Hey, we’re Bellissimo Coffee Advisors. A team of coffee professionals determined to help people just like you succeed in specialty coffee. 

We’ve been around 30 years and have helped thousands of coffee shops all around the globe open and stay open well into the future. Learn from our experience, give your business the best chance to succeed.

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