The promises splashed across the Facebook for Business homepage are fairly outlandish: find new customers, boost sales, meet your business goals.
Dig a little deeper, and Facebook’s marketing promises become even more specific, with statements like: most online advertising reaches only 27% of its intended audience. Facebook’s average is 91%. You can find some other interesting stats in our recent articles Facebook Statistics in Australia: Use them to Stand Out from the Crowd and Australian Social Media Statistics 2013 vs 2014
If I had to take a guess, I would assume that these types of impressive statistics wow and bamboozle some small business owners and non-marketing professionals. I would also assume that the reaction of most small business owners and non-marketing professionals would be to set up a Facebook business account immediately and then proceed to plough hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars into Facebook advertising.
There is no denying the popularity of Facebook. Over one billion people use Facebook. According to Social Media News, in Australia, there were over 13.2 million Facebook users in June 2014. Facebook has been downloaded on three out of every four smartphone devices, and more than 50% of Facebook users check Facebook every day. People engage on, and with, Facebook.
Regardless of how popular Facebook might be, unless social media platforms are used selectively and efficiently, the likelihood of boosting customers and sales, and achieving all your business goals is (in my humble opinion) fairly unlikely. So, to help you achieve the best possible outcome from your Facebook advertising spend, here are a few handy hints.
1. Establish your goal
Before you commit even one cent to a Facebook advertising campaign, establish your goals. Do you want more website clicks or conversions? More page likes? Increased post engagement? Event responses? Even app installations or engagement? Every one of these metrics is very different, so be sure that you know what your end goal is before you get started. Once you know what your goal is, you will be able to select a Facebook advertisement to match; depending on your goal, Facebook offers (and is intuitive enough to recommend) eight different advertisement formats.
If you’re new to Facebook (and your only fans are your Mum and your best mate), I’d suggest opting for the ‘Pages Like’ goal. Use this goal, and associated advertisement type, to build your audience and encourage more people to like your page. More likes makes you look popular, which encourages more people to like you (on Facebook that is!). After all, there isn’t much point send out updates and special offers if you have no one to send them out to!
2. The creative is important
A compelling advertisement creative can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to Facebook advertising. So, a few pointers. You have the option to upload multiple images for the same campaign. So, for the first few campaigns, take advantage of this feature. See which images get clicked on, and which don’t. Then, for future campaigns, opt for images that have a higher success rate. In addition, make sure that you customise the headline for your advertisement. By default, the setting will be to display a headline this is the same as the name of your Facebook page. Instead of leaving it as is, include a more compelling, enticing headline; a headline that people actually want to click on.
3. Use Facebook advertising to increase mailing list subscriptions
Facebook has an advertisement type called ‘Offer Claims’. This little tool allows you to promote a special offer or deal to Facebook users. You can use it to give away a free e-book in exchange for providing an email address to subscribe to your mailing list. It is often useful to target just your Facebook fans in the first instance. If your promotion proves popular with your fans, then push it out to a wider audience.
4. Use Facebook to promote special deals
See above. Except, instead of offering a free e-book, give your fans a coupon for a special offer that can be redeemed at your bricks and mortar (or online) store. You might offer a two-for-the-price-of-one special, or a 25% off coupon.
5. You don’t need a Facebook page
Just in case you didn’t already know, you don’t have to have a Facebook page to create a Facebook advertisement. If your objective is simply to increase website traffic and website conversions (rather than increasing page likes or fan engagement), then you can run an advertisement without a Facebook page. Just keep in mind that if you don’t have a Facebook page, your advertisement will only appear in the right hand column, and never in the news feed.
6. Sponsored stories can be effective
When a person interacts with your Facebook page, event, or offer, a post (otherwise known as a story) is generated. These posts naturally appear in the news feed, and can be seen by all the friends of the person interacting with your Facebook page. If you opt to make a post ‘sponsored’, this increases the likelihood of people seeing your post.
7. Control your costs
Don’t adopt a ‘set and forget’ attitude to your Facebook advertising. If you do, next time you log in, you might be slugged with a hefty bill! First of all, select a bidding option. You can choose to bid for clicks, impressions, or something more closely linked with your over-arching goal (like page likes). Facebook’s settings are automatically configured so that your bidding option aligns with your goal. So, if in doubt, just leave the setting as they are.
Also, be sure to set either a daily or a lifetime budget for your campaign. As the names suggest, a daily budget caps total daily expenditure, removing your advertisement from news streams as soon as your daily cap has been reached. If you choose a lifetime budget instead, your campaign will run until your budget is reached.
Keep in mind that you can alter your Facebook advertisement campaign at any time. You can extend or shorten the campaign end date or budget at any time.
8. Target a Specific Audience
Facebook has a range of demographic targeting mechanisms built right into it. It allows you to target audiences based on age, location, gender, work, interests, relationship status, and even education. So, make sure you use these options. This might mean that you first need to do some research into your ideal demographic. If you have a bricks and mortar store, focus on people in your local area to increase foot traffic. If your business sells cosmetics and women’s clothing, narrow down your audience to females between the ages of 21 and 50.
9. Post frequently and consistently
Once you have a burgeoning Facebook fan base, be sure to post regular updates. Updates that provide useful, engaging, relevant content. Content that informs, educates or entertains. It is estimated that only 16% of your audience will actually view your updates, so the more regular, the better.
10. Use Facebook Insights
As with any type of advertising campaign, it is important to measure your success and implement changes to improve your next campaign. So, be sure to use Facebook Insights, monitoring which posts have been most successful, generated the most clicks, the most page likes, the most sales.
Still need help?
Facebook itself offers a program called ‘Start to Success’, designed specifically for new advertiser. The program itself is free. Although, you need to spend a minimum of $50 per day, for four weeks, on Facebook advertising in order to qualify. So, if you’re happy to invest $1,400 in Facebook advertising, you will receive access to a dedicated account manager who will help you develop a customised advertising strategy, create targeted advertisements, and track and optimise campaign performance.
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