Have you already got a Facebook page set up? Chances are you’re not alone. It’s an absolutely crucial point of contact with parents both old and new. It’s an essential part of your nursery’s marketing strategy.
But if you’re looking at Facebook as a way to improve your occupancy, it’s probably not going far enough.
Facebook Advertising though, that’s where the real magic happens. But why? And what? And how?
That’s where we step in.
Why should I use Facebook advertising?
Facebook adverts are posts that appear on people’s newsfeeds on Facebook. They are highly targeted based on information Facebook collects, and look very similar to regular posts from someone’s friends or pages that they follow. But what’s the big deal?
It reaches new people
At best, the current images, videos and messages that you’re posting on your Facebook page are reaching your existing parents or those who have already heard of your nursery and have headed to Facebook to check it out.
But if you want to increase your occupancy you’re going to want more than that. Facebook advertising allows you to reach out to people who have never heard of you before, or have heard your name but forgotten all about your setting. It lets you speak to parents and carers who might otherwise have chosen to enrol their children elsewhere.
Simple and cheap
Of course, reaching new people is pretty much what all advertising promises.
But the difference with Facebook is that compared to other platforms such as Google, it’s relatively simple to set up. And compared to other more traditional media it can be considerably cheaper and much easier to control. Speaking of which…
Speak to the right people
If you place an advert in a paper or put a leaflet through a door, you have no idea if you’re talking to the right people.
But with Facebook’s targeting settings, you’re able to make sure you’re talking to parents, and can even go further in targeting specific age ranges or interests. That’s where Facebook really sets itself apart.
Convinced that you’re going to give it a go? Luckily, you’re a few simple steps away from getting set up:
- Set up Business Manager – Business Manager is the place where you’ll manage all your advertising. To get this set up, all you need to do is head to The Business Manager Page and claim your page, or head to your Nursery’s Facebook page and click on the three dots next to ‘Share’. On the drop-down menu select ‘Ads Manager’.
- Set up a payment method – Once you’re in, navigate to ‘Billing and Payments’ and enter the card details that you’d like to use to pay for the advertising. Don’t worry, nothing will be charged until you start your Facebook advertising for real. Here, you can set up when you’d like to be charged and set a maximum budget to make sure you don’t overspend.
- Add Accounts – You might want to let other people access the Facebook advertising account too. There are different levels of access and you can organise it all in the ‘Add Account’ menu option.
- Choosing an objective – Now that your account is set up, it’s time to start a ‘campaign’. This is just a word for a group of ads, and you’ll see the different options on the main page of business manager. You’re probably going to want either Brand Awareness if you want to increase your profile, Traffic for directing people to your site, or Message if you want people to get in touch directly.
Reaching the right people
OK, so we’ve started our first campaign. You’ll be asked to enter your location and time zone, and then onto a slightly scarier form about Audiences. But don’t worry, it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. All you’re doing is choosing the right people to target your Facebook advertising with.
Ignore the Custom Audience box. This is for more advanced Facebook advertising, but if you are interested you can find out more over here.
You’ll want to select ‘People who live in this location’ from the drop-down menu, to make sure you’re excluding people who are simply visiting your town. Then you simply choose your location area, based on how far out you think people are willing to travel to come to your setting.
Age, Gender, and Languages
You may want to choose to target a certain age range based on your understanding of the age ranges of parents in your area. You don’t want to exclude young couples, but it’s probably a safe bet to say you want to target people from their mid-twenties and up.
You’ll probably want to target both men and women unless you’re offering some sort of mother’s or father’s day special.
As for languages, you obviously want to target English. But if you know there is a high population of people with English as a second language in your area, don’t forget to include those languages too.
Now, this is a section that you can leave blank. But if you want to be more specific about who you are talking to, this is where you can really get clever.
You should definitely look at targeting New Parents (0-12 months), Parents with Toddlers (1-2 years) and Parents with Preschoolers (3-5 years). These are all options you can choose and Facebook will sort out for you.
Other than that, it’s about thinking about what sets your nursery apart. Perhaps you want to target parents with an interest in nature if you’re a forest school nursery or other interests that relate to some specialism. Take the time to think about the type of people who would be interested in your setting. The more information you can add the better, as the rules mean that Facebook will target anyone with one or more of these interests.
Show me the money!
While the budget and spending of this whole thing might be the most daunting, it’s actually one of the easiest parts.
- The budget – The best thing to do here is to set a daily budget and unlimited time, as you can edit the advert later without having to make the whole thing again. But if you’re concerned about forgetting or overspending you can set a ‘lifetime’ or total budget and a finish date so you know exactly how much you’ll be spending and for how long.
- Ad delivery optimisation – If you’re after the most visits to your website, you’ll want to choose pay per click. If you want the most people to see your ad, then choose pay per impression. An impression simply means the people seeing the ad. We definitely recommend choosing pay per click.
- Ad bidding – This is the process through which Facebook decides whose advert goes where. If you’re new to this, you’re going to want to choose automatic bidding. But if you are interested in manual bidding, here’s a helpful guide.
Time to make your advert!
Next up, it’s time for the fun stuff. It’s time to make and share your advert.
What type of advert to choose?
Here it really is up to you. You can choose from a single image, a carousel (a scrolling set of images), or a video. We’ll talk more about what the content of these should be in a bit, but you choose whatever you think will be the most engaging for your potential parents.
We’d recommend starting with choosing a Desktop News Feed advert, although Mobile News Feed ads can be a good idea too. They just tend to be a little more expensive as more people tend to click on them.
You want to make the image as engaging and eye-catching as possible for busy people scrolling through their feed. Consider using some text on the image itself with your main message, as this will appear larger than the other text options you have.
Consider what parents would want to see. Happy children, pictures of your best provisions, or your great outdoor area.
You can use free image editing resources to do this, our favourite is Canva, but there’s a whole range in our article about the best digital tools for your nursery.
The best tip here is to keep it short and positive. You don’t have much time to engage a busy parent, so try and get the key information in and no more.
Consider offers you’re currently running or clear reasons for them to find out more. You want to give them a good reason to click and take a look, and this could be by showing social proof. This is crucial for any business, but particularly for nurseries, where parents are going to be swayed by proof that you offer excellent care. This might be Ofsted or other accreditations you have, or it could be quotes from existing parents at your setting.
If you’re adding a website to send parents to on your advert, you do this by clicking ‘Add a website URL’. You do have the option to link to your Facebook page or events, which might be good if you are having an open day that you want to direct people towards. You can also encourage people to message you directly.
But if you are directing them to a website, think about the best page you have. Many companies will make specific pages for their adverts, called landing pages, which pack in all the best features and finish with an easy way to get in contact.
If you don’t have the time or skills for this, make sure that the page you’re sending them to has clear information on how to take the next step if they are interested in finding out more or signing up.
And you’re all set!
Now you can click publish and you’re all ready to go! You can easily track the results of your adverts in the Facebook Business Manager by looking at the analytics, and more informally by finding out where new parents found out about you.
Make sure you’re constantly checking back on these, monitoring how they’re doing, and trying new things out. This is the best way to find out what works for you, and then you’re able to put more budget into the methods that are working.
If you want to find out more, here’s a few fantastic (and free) resources for a more in-depth look at Facebook Advertising:
Free nursery marketing guide
Interested in more? Download our full guide to promoting your nursery, completely free.