Creating Ad on FB to Help with Program Enrollment
October 12, 2018 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Greetings All! I am managing a new program for families experiencing housing instability and evictions. We are having a challenge getting the word out about the funding and help available with our program. Someone mentioned to me that I should look at targeted paid Facebook advertising. Does anyone know if there is a way I can have a paid target folks that are goggling 'rental assistance'. Any help is appreciated! Thank you!
posted by Boyd to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Does anyone know if there is a way I can have a paid target folks that are goggling 'rental assistance'. Any help is appreciated!

You cannot on Facebook. You can on Google Adwords.

However, this is arguably not a great use of funds and runs the risk of being an out and out waste of funds unless y you have experience and expertise in targeting and managing Google AdWords. I would look to see what expertise is available to you in your state, federal or local non-profit network. Have you already exhausted outreach both in person and via Facebook contact with local food pantries, daycares, churches, flyers at A&P-not-Whole-Foods, and community/neighbourhood groups?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:19 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Y - what DarlingBri said. For adwords, you need to set up landing pages and a conversion / lead tracking process. Assuming you have a properly maintained and staffed facebook presence, facebook ads might provide more fine tuned demographic control, but you need to be very careful you don't run afoul of their half-hearted consumer protection filters. Don't let anyone talk you into display ads because they're cheaper (they're cheaper for a reason!) Try to avoid mobile ads if you can (depends on your target audience... if you know they're searching on their phones, you may not have a choice to reach them). Lots of complications... you're better off working with someone who's done this a few times until you get a feel for it.
posted by cfraenkel at 2:04 PM on October 12, 2018

A great way to get words out about your program is hospital social workers. 1) medical conditions create lost wages, job instability and loss of employment 2)people in housing crisis show up looking for a place to sleep and want resources ALL THE TIME.

15 minutes and a Microsoft word flier would be enough.

Other resources are local nonprofits focused in housing, and other agencies with high risk populations (food pantries, disabled adults , DHS offices, veteran services, at risk youth services) will know people almost immediatly.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:38 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Every community these days has a Facebook page called something like (city name Yard Sale) or something along those lines. I live in a relatively small town of 35, 000 people. And there are maybe 25,000 people in this one group. I really don't like Facebook but this is how to reach EVERYONE here. If someone is not on Facebook their friends and family will tell them about things that could help them.

There are several groups on fb for my town so I just searched my town in FB and I noticed this one group had more, many more ppl in it than any of the other groups.

There is also a group here called (city name rentals) but not a lot of ppl have joined that. Most ppl offer their rentals on city name yard sale.

posted by cda at 12:52 PM on October 13, 2018

You may have done this already, but:

I would start by searching online for “rent assistance [your city/county]” and other relevant terms. Then contact every legitimate site that pops up at the top of those search results to get your info listed on their site and/or into the hands of their employees.

I have searched for and used emergency rent assistance several times in the past. I absolutely wouldn’t have trusted or clicked on an ad on Google or Facebook at all.

Adding to what folks above have said, I would also post flyers at laundromats, libraries, bodegas and convenience stores, health centers/clinics and similar places where people are out and about in their day-to-day life.

Also, don’t forget to interface with elderly support agencies and community centers, if seniors qualify for your program.
posted by Tiny Bungalow at 11:22 PM on October 13, 2018

Hello! I work in social media! I'm going to try to keep this brief and punchy in the interest of not throwing a bunch of industry word vomit your way, but please feel free to PM me for more info—I'm happy to put this ridiculous skill set to good use.

Facebook ads! They can be powerful when done correctly, but I definitely agree with the others upthread that they should just be a piece of the total marketing mix and networking with other local non-profits and service providers and making sure they have your informational flyers and/or business cards prominently displayed or have the information they need to recommend your service to their clients is way more critical than online ads (but you already knew this).

If you already have flyers/graphics/brochures for your program, great! If you need to make some but don't have a graphic designer or marketing department to assist (if you do, DEFINITELY contact them first), Canva is free and has a lot of great templates. Honestly, Microsoft Office 365 has come a long way with their templates as well, but I definitely recommend using a template if you're not a designer—homemade flyers just don't cut the mustard anymore.

I don't want to get too into the nitty gritty of Facebook ads here, so here's a link to Facebook Blueprint, which is a really valuable free resource for getting training on their marketing tools and techniques.

The biggest things to keep in mind for Facebook ads are:
-Headline should be short and super enticing, e.g. "Let us pay your rent!" or something less scammy-sounding
-Image(s) should be engaging, high quality, LEGALLY yours to use, and have minimal or no text
-Make a Facebook-sized and Instagram-sized version of each image for maximum cross-platform optimization
-Definitely look into things like FB Canvas, lead generation tools, carousel ads, etc. Think outside the static image!
-If you already have an email list of clients/interested parties, try making a Lookalike Audience for FB ad targeting. It's terrifyingly Big Brother-ish in how it works, but it is pretty effective. Otherwise, check through the demographics information in their ad manager area and try to brainstorm some audience "personas" for targeting.

Finally: Tiny Bungalow's suggestion is a really good one, but I'd even take it a step further and take this opportunity to beef up the SEO on your program's website (or webpage, if you're affiliated with a larger organization). Brainstorm all of the different ways someone might look for "rent assistance [CITY]" or "housing aid" or what have you and rewrite your website/page copy to work some of these phrases into your page as naturally and organically as possible. Search engine optimization can be a really powerful way to make sure your website or webpage is making it onto the first page of Google results when people search for specific terms.

To hasten the Google indexing process, you can submit your website/page here once you've made your updates. Google likes to move at their own pace, but this might help your information show up a little higher in the search rankings.

This...did not end up being brief OR punchy, but I hope it is helpful to you! Good luck!
posted by helloimjennsco at 8:15 AM on October 17, 2018

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