Unlocking the power of Facebook for your food business – part 1

Facebook advertising

Facebook is the perfect precision marketing tool for your food business and is capable of delivering a high volume of potential customers to your website. Unlocking its power gives you access to the most advanced targeting system in marketing and advertising. The cost is very low (literally a few pence per result) and the returns are potentially very high.

If your posts on your Facebook page aren’t getting much traction, or your boosted posts are getting seen but not generating any actual sales or leads, this blog will help you level up.

Before we get into it, if you haven’t already, you should check out our other blogs aimed at food brands …

7 essential tips to help you show food provenance – talks you through how to tell your story authentically online to build your brand and your provenance

Sell your products in your sleep with e-commerce – explains why e-commerce is a great way to take your food brand to the next level and runs through some great tips on how to drive customers to your site.

This blog picks up from there and walks you through a few ways you can use Facebook to target with laser-like precision the people who are most interested in your products. Unlocking the power of Facebook advertising is a huge subject – much bigger than one blog will allow – so we will serialise this topic. Make sure you don’t miss out on follow-up blogs by subscribing to our newsletter, which features lots of practical, actionable advice on marketing your business.

Posts vs Adverts

For the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on Facebook adverts rather than posts. Posts appear on your page and in the newsfeeds of some of your followers. Posts on your page are great and give you an opportunity to set out your brand identity. They aren’t that great for generating leads and sales because only a small portion of your followers will see your posts – and no one outside your existing followers will see your post (unless one of your followers shares it on their timeline).

Facebook updated its news feed algorithm a few years ago, which limited the organic distribution of promotional posts. There was a bit of an outcry from page managers because it made advertising necessary to reach a larger audience. But the trade-off is worth it. There is a romantic notion that organic reach and engagement is better (and there are some instances where that’s true). However, organic results are unpredictable at best – what worked last month might bomb this month. And that’s no good as a business owner. If you invest time in doing something you need consistent, predictable results – and Facebook advertising gives you that.

Boosting your posts allows it to be seen by a wider audience – an audience you can define by demographics and their interests.  And you end up paying just for people seeing your post. It’s also worth noting that boosted posts sit on your timeline and are visible to all (until you delete it).

With adverts, you can do all of the above – and much more. There are so many more targeting options tucked away inside Facebook advertising, so you can really drill down into specifics. You can define your objective for the advert – brand awareness, reach, lead generation, click-throughs, etc, etc – and only pay for the results. For example, if you select click-throughs as your objective, your advert may reach 10,000 people but you only pay for the 100 people who clicked through to whatever web page you defined when making the advert.

The other huge advantage of adverts over posts is that adverts do not appear on your timeline. This means you can create copies of your advert and then target different audiences. You can then see which audiences respond the best to your advert and make marketing decisions based on that data.

They are two ways to create adverts in Facebook – through Advert Manager or Power Editor. Power Editor is by far your best option. It has way more features than Advert Manager so you can use it in a much more forensic fashion. The more data you get from each advert feeds into the next campaign, so your returns increase every time your advertise.


If you are new to Facebook advertising, it’s worth taking a moment to define what we mean when we talk about targeting. In a nutshell, it is the process of defining the audience that you want to see  a particular advert. The targeting is layered, so you start by choosing the gender (male, female, both) and age range (from 13 up to 65+ and everywhere in between). You can then choose the location to target – you can target specific countries, towns, and cities OR just drop a pin in a map. In both instances, you can broaden the radius of your choice by up to 40km.

Where Facebook gets really interesting is in how you can target people through their interests and other lifestyle indicators. The range of options here are seemingly endless: you can target vegans, people into organic food, people who like farmers’ markets. Facebook is taking people’s interests from the type of content they are engaging with – so people don’t have to have vegan listed in their profile, they just need to have engaged with content about veganism.

You can also target people based on what Facebook calls ‘life events’. If you’re food brand does some kind of gift box or hamper, you might want to target people with an anniversary coming up. Likewise, in the run up to Valentine’s Day, you can target people in a relationship.

We recently did some work with a local steakhouse, who wanted to increase bookings. We devised and executed a Facebook campaign that targeted people with anniversaries coming up. We split the campaign so one ad was targeted at males and another targeted females. We spent £50 a month on Facebook advertising, which generated an average of 12 extra bookings over a month. The average spend per booking was £84, so the steakhouse netted an extra £1,008 per month. For a £50 spend, getting £1,008 back is a great return.

Hopefully, that has piqued your interest and given you a small taste of what Facebook advertising is capable of. In the next blog, we’ll look at getting started with you campaign.

If you liked that, you might also be interested in …

Sell your food products while you’re sleeping with e-commerce

So you’ve built your food business and done the markets, the shows, and you’re stocked in some retail outlets. How do you get to the next level? If you haven’t got it sorted, e-commerce is the answer.

Nick Glaves

Like your food brand, Red Stag was born from passion

Your food business is born from passion and driven by sheer determination. You need an agency that matches those qualities pound for pound. Find out more about what we can do for you.

Food Provenance

7 essential tips to help you show food provenance

Food provenance is vital for any artisan or specialist food producer. Here are our top tips on how to show provenance and build brand identity in an authentic and truthful way.

By | 2017-11-16T15:48:20+00:00 May 18th, 2017|Categories: Food, social media|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Bought up on the South Downs, Dan maintains his passion for hiking and dog-walking in his adoptive Yorkshire. He often bolts off on a Friday for an impromptu camping trip with his daughter and dog and returns with a ton of breathtaking photos and many tales of getting lost and the resulting serendipitous discoveries. An avid fan of Instagram, Dan is behind the popular @dogwalkdiaries

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