Looking to leverage social media and make the most out of your online advertising campaign? It helps to understand the elements and nuances of advertising on a site like, say, Facebook. It’s not your regular 30-seconder on TV, and it’s also not your typical Flash banner ad placed on the center of a computer screen. Social media has changed plenty of ‘games’ – these include online advertising.

Not too long ago (but long enough in Internet standards), Facebook launched a unique program for online advertisers. The massively popular social networking site let them create targeted campaigns based on location, age, sex, keywords, education, workplace, relationship status, interests, languages, and pretty much anything filled in by Facebook’s 400 million-strong mass of users. Advertisers can set up how much they want to spend, when they want their ads to be shown, as well as how the pricing for ad placement would be determined – pay for clicks or pay for views?

If you own a small business and think that majority of your target audience are Facebook users, then it might be worthwhile to give Facebook advertising a try. Just be sure to design and run your campaign in a way that gets you the best bang for the buck. Here are eight great tips:

1.Know who you’re targeting. It’s better to be targeting fewer people who you know will definitely click your ad than focusing on a large segment that finds what you’re selling only somewhat relevant. With the amount of data one can access on Facebook, your advertising campaign cannot be a simple hit-and-miss thing. The key is to get better click-through rates (or CTR) and lower cost-per-click (CPC).

2. Segment. As mentioned above, the more targeted the campaign is, the better. Don’t advertise to users in, say, Canada if you’re not shipping there. Don’t include men – as well as women below 18 – as part of the group who’ll see your lingerie ads. Reach out only to Facebook users who qualify as the ones who’ll click on your ad.

3. Humanize. Facebook users are usually in profile-scanning mode. If it’s appropriate to be using people in your ad image, then do so – even if it looks amateurish and uploaded by a user. It’s probably more likely to get their attention than a typical banner which your audience might be quick to dismiss as “oh, just another ad”.

4. Keep ‘em fresh. It’s not always a good idea to recycle materials from a previous campaign and just upload them on Facebook. (These might be better off at your Fan Page.) Make sure your offers are new and up-to-date. This, of course, means no Christmas sale offers on April or May.

5. Simplify your text. It pays to make it easier for Facebook users to read your ad copy. Avoid wacky font types and confusing color schemes. Simplify and, if possible, capitalize: the technique has been proven to convert higher in pay-per-click campaigns.

6. Call to action. Don’t be vague in writing out the copy of your ad. Be specific, concise, and persuasive in telling your targeted Facebook users what exactly you have to offer. No beating around the bush – and don’t forget to include a strong call to action that would get people to click through. Even if you’re not selling anything – just making an announcement, say – you can still attach social actions (“Like”) to your ad and make it more relevant to those who see it.

7. Choose the right landing page. So you’ve gotten people to click on your ad. Now is your chance to hold them in thrall. Make sure they arrive at the ‘right’ landing page – ‘right’, meaning it matches the offer that first caught their attention on Facebook. If you confuse the users – or make them click too many times to get to where they want – then you risk losing their attention. Worse, you might even be mistaken as a spammer.

8. Test, test, test. The same rules of pay-per-click advertising apply on Facebook. Conduct split tests, regularly track and monitor your progress, and leverage the insights and information that Facebook provides on who’s clicking your ads. From there, you can prune and polish to improve the effectiveness of your campaign.