It wasn’t that long ago that Facebook launched business pages and life was good. Businesses could share company information and promotions to connect with customers and prospects, building a community with no investment other than their time. The opportunity was huge as more than 1.4 billion users have Facebook accounts across the world and the site gets 900 million visits daily. That’s a lot of fresh eyes for your business.

It was relatively easy for even a small business to build a community and attract several hundred views a day, but then things changed. About 18 months ago companies began to notice a dramatic decline in their interactions. Facebook explained they were changing the way businesses appeared in news feeds, limiting their exposure, even to people who officially liked and followed pages. Good news for users who felt their feeds were overwhelmed by company updates, but bad news for business owners who had gotten used to the free exposure.

I can’t blame Facebook. They provide a valuable service and can’t be expected to provide it for free, so it is now a “”Pay to Play” world on Facebook. If you want to emerge from the shadows of the news feed and get back out in front you need to invest in Facebook advertising.

Fortunately these ads are relatively cheap for the reach they deliver. For as little as $5 you can boost a post or run a small ad. The price is right, but there is much more value to a Facebook ad than just cheap exposure.

You see Facebook knows a lot about people. Who they are, where they live, whether they are married, have children, like the arts, own a home and so much more. As an advertiser, you can leverage that information to customize the audience who will see you advertisement. This sophisticated targeting allows you to present your message to a select group of customers or prospects, based on characteristics you define.

You can also decide if you want ads to appear in the desktop news feed, the mobile news feed or both. You can use your web and email analytic tools to deliver your messages on the platform your customers and prospects are most likely to use.

The ads then appear right alongside regular posts in the news feed. The more you can make your advertisement look like just another status update the more likely they will be noticed and shared stretching your advertising dollars.

Want to know more about how to use Facebook advertising? Download our new guide and you can Dominate Facebook.