Once upon a time, in a digital land not so far away, Facebook was too green of a social networking platform to be thought of as a viable option for paid advertising. This was further underscored by the fact that standing up a business page and engaging with interested parties was (and still is) free – so why bother, right?
However, Facebook seems to have evolved from a brand-empowering free-for-all to a more pay-to-play model, with many businesses and organizations reporting negative turns in their reach metrics. According to Facebook, this is attributable to the fact that more content is being shared, and this competition has pushed Facebook to make alterations in how they qualify and prioritize what they consider to be the most “relevant” pieces of content.
This shift has left a lot of marketers wondering: “Should my business advertise on Facebook?”
While there is no straightforward, one-size-fits-all answer to that question, here are four tips to help you get started if you’re considering advertising on Facebook for your business:
1. Is Your Audience On Facebook?
Before you do anything, it is essential to research where your audience is first before you try to reach out to them. So ask yourself: “Does my brand provide a product or service to a demographic that uses Facebook?” If the answer is no – which sometimes is the case – then Facebook advertising is probably not a worthwhile investment.
2. Be Action- And Timeline-Oriented
If the answer is yes, your desired audience is on Facebook, remember that — just as with website copy — a lack of direct language in your ad copy will result in confusion and ultimately a low rate of conversion. Your Facebook advertisements should feature prominent, action-oriented language – download, buy, like, etc. – so it is clear what you want someone to do. Vague advertisements geared toward general “brand awareness” will more often than not become a blur as someone scrolls past them in their News Feed.
3. Target Your Audience
If your brand is new to Facebook and you do decide to advertise, it might be tempting to put your name in front of as many users as possible by casting a wide net with few audience-targeting parameters. But acquiring “likes” or engagements from people who ultimately have no interest in your brand means there is a good chance they will remove themselves as a supporter of your business down the road – if they bother to click on your ad at all.
So while a more targeted approach may not give you the massive boost you’re looking for initially, you will connect with people who are more likely to stick around for repeated engagements long after your campaign ends.
4. Test Different Strategies
As a Facebook advertiser, you are able to run multiple ads at the same time. Take advantage of that feature by testing different advertisements concurrently with controlled budgets . For example, you could create tailored advertisements for specific demographics or test different versions of your ad copy to see what gets the most traction. Then, once you have run a variety of campaigns, take a look at your performance metrics to see what works best. This will help you spend your advertising dollars more wisely, since you’ll know the best ways to maximize your results.
Facebook advertising may not be for all businesses — giants like Trader Joe’s and Apple don’t leverage social media at all as part of their marketing strategies — and you may determine that it’s not for you either. But to classify Facebook as irrelevant is, in my mind, a bit foolish.
As much as people want to mitigate the value of a “Like” on Facebook as simply a metric of vanity, a higher number can give your brand legitimacy. This is important to consider since 80 percent of all buying decisions now begin online with research and Facebook recently boasted 1.35 billion monthly active users in the third quarter of 2014.
If you decide that Facebook advertising is the right solution for you, make sure you have a clear understanding of the people you’re trying to reach, as well as a well-defined strategy around what you want to accomplish through your campaign. Because while Facebook campaigns can provide substantial value to your marketing efforts, your results will only be as good as the efforts you put behind them.
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