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If you thought the benefit of having a Facebook page was that it was free, you’re not alone. But Facebook has changed as it’s grown up and now offers more and more paid services.

As a restaurateur, is it worth it to pay to advertise on Facebook?

Happy Couple In A Coffee Shop Using Digital Tablet

Will it ruin the vibe you’ve worked so hard to cultivate? The truth is, paying to advertise on Facebook can be very effective when used smartly, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either. You can design your ads to stay on brand and in the same voice as your regular social posts.

Convinced it’s worth a try? Before you get started on your first ad, keep these tips in mind.

Drive your guests to real action.

Before you design your ad, think about its purpose. Do you want more followers, or do you want people to come to an event? Determine your purpose and design your ad with a specific call to action for that purpose. Make it clear how users can RSVP to an event, buy a ticket, or sign up for your newsletter. Whatever it is you want them to do, make it easy to accomplish.

Advertise to the right guests.

Facebook offers the flexibility to narrow down who your ad will be targeted to. Before you determine your targeted audience, look at your analytics and look at your current levels of engagement. Keep in mind that while it may seem tempting to advertise to the widest possible reach, that’s not money well spent. You want your ad to go to the people most likely to act on it.

Design your ad well.

Good images are absolutely essential to a successful ad. Make sure all visuals look good. Avoid too much type, and design your ad to fit Facebook dimensions. (Please!) Nothing is worse than an ad that is blurry, stretched, oddly positioned or full of too many words. People are scrolling through a flurry of visuals all the time. Your ad need to stand out and catch their eye.

Stick to a budget.

Facebook allows for a lot of flexibility on how much you spend on advertising. If you’re uneasy about advertising, start with a small budget that you are comfortable with. Just keep in mind that no matter how little you spend, you still want to get the most out of that money by targeting the correct people with a clear call to action.

Don’t worry yourself with putting your guests off. As social media has evolved, users are used to being advertised to and actually like it when it’s pertinent to them.

As always, take some time after your ad ran to gauge its success. Did you get the results you wanted? Did you spend too much, too little? Did you reach the right people? Facebook Ads provides lots of data after your ad runs. Review it and use that knowledge for your next ad campaign.

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.