If you’ve got a Facebook page for your business, you’ve noticed the push for using Facebook’s advertising. As a publicly traded company, Facebook has to make money, and they’ve set their sights on advertising to boost revenues. Then they quietly disabled functionality like scheduling posts for businesses not using advertising. It eventually came back, but businesses felt strong-armed into advertising just to continue using Facebook.

Before you decide if advertising on Facebook is right for you, you need to ask yourself some questions. How are you using Facebook? Are you promoting a new product, sharing what’s happening on your website or just staying in touch with fans during your slow – or busy – season? What’s your goal? Do you want more likes on Facebook or more paying customers? Will Facebook ads turn those likes into paying customers? Facebook offers three levels of advertising for businesses based on your needs. Knowing how each level works can help you decide if advertising on Facebook is right for business.

Marketplace Ads

The first is the original marketplace ads that you’ve been used to for a while now. They appear in the right hand sidebar of Facebook and you’ve surely gotten a laugh at some of the incorrect targeting. Marketplace ads are similar to Google AdWords in how it’s a small ad without much content and therefore are the cheapest advertising option Facebook offers.While not very intrusive, marketplace ads were an omen that Facebook was finally getting serious about monetizing.  Marketplace ads are meant to drive traffic to established content. You can set them up to link to Facebook apps, events and pages or directly to your website. They’re a helpful tool if your goal is to increase site traffic.

Premium Ads

The next step up is premium ads that appear in the center of users’ news feed with rich content like videos, polls or a large piece of content. To use premium ads, you have to work with the Facebook account team and premium refers to the content shown as well as the cost. There is a significant jump in what you’d pay over the marketplace ads, however there is benefit of working with the Facebook account team and better exposure for your ad to your target market. Consider premium ads if you want to highlight a new product or service since they encourage users to engage, like and share content within Facebook which can increase your page’s visibility.

Sponsored Stories

Sponsored stories is the newest type of ad Facebook is rolling out and you’ll be able to leverage the positive feedback from fans into ads by creating an ad based on their interactions with your page. When someone leaves a positive comment about your post, you can turn it into a sponsored story that appears to their friends. This is different than the typical friend activity we already see in news feed. It’s pay to play so Facebook is making sure the interactions are shown in sponsored stories. Similar to premium ads, sponsored stories are meant to get users engaged with your content with the added credibility of your fans vouching for your business.

To make any Facebook advertising successful, you need great content to back it up. Organic growth will always be more valuable than an ad campaign so if your content is fantastic, your fans will like it and share it for free. Facebook is constantly changing what kind of content is valuable and will be shown to users. Your content on your page is what you can control, so make it the best.