Facebook Advertising – Is it really worth it?

by guest author Karen Cunningham

So, now you’re on Facebook. Everybody is, right? But where are your customers?

When I first set up my own Facebook business page I must admit I was surprised not to gain new likers automatically. I know that sounds odd. I mean, I wouldn’t dream of opening a store on the corner down the street, not put out a word of advertising and expect to show up on my first day to find the customers lining up around the block. Facebook is no different. It’s not enough to set up your lovely new biz page. You need to let your customers know where you are. And where is the best place to find new Facebook likers? That’s right, on Facebook.

By all means go ahead and advertise your Facebook page in magazines, flyers, on your business cards and at your stall, but Facebook advertising will offer you some key features that other advertising methods will not.

Find your ideal customer

I know everyone bangs on about ‘knowing your target market’, but it really is very important. If your ideal potential customer is 30-45 years old, female, married with children, living in Australia or New Zealand, then you won’t want to spend your money courting a 60-year-old single male living in Peru. Facebook advertising lets you specify exactly who you want to show your advert to so you don’t waste your time and money on anybody else. You can choose location, age, gender, their interests, relationship status and education level. You don’t need to select every category there is, but it does pay to have a clear idea in your head before you begin.

What do you want to pay?

Facebook has two payment options: cost per thousand impressions (when someone is exposed to your advert), or cost per click (when they actually click through to visit your page, whether or not they choose to ‘like’ you). I choose cost per click for my Little Bellies Dinnerware ads, which will keep the overall cost down. You can also choose your ‘lifetime budget’: the total amount of money you wish to spend over the time you run your campaign. I have run two campaigns and specified a maximum spend each time of $30, so it’s reasonably priced if you just want to give it a go. You can adjust your figures along the way if you find you’re not receiving enough clicks, or if it’s chewing through your budget too quickly.

Your social reach

This is just a fancy way of pointing out that when someone likes your page their friends will also see that action in their newsfeed and might consider popping over to have a look themselves. Also, if they happen to be within your specified target market and your advert is shown to them, they will see underneath the advert the names of their friends who have already liked your page.

What’s your offer?

Once you’ve targeted your ideal customer have a think about why they should like your page. Give them some incentive to click your ‘like’ button. Are you launching a new product soon? Offer a discount or a free gift with purchase, available only to Facebook likers. Perhaps a PDF guide-to-something related to your biz that they can download. Be creative.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Actually, it is kind of what you say. You have 90 characters available in the body of the advert to get your message across. But don’t feel pressured to use every single one. What is most important is that you say exactly what you want your future customer to know and what’s in it for them.

Test your ads

Transient

If you have a budget that will cope with trying out different adverts, use it. The screenshot pictured here shows two different adverts I tried at different times for Little Bellies Dinnerware: both adverts had the same goal (to gain likers that might purchase my product when it becomes available) but used different photographs. I kept my text the same as my message to my customer didn’t change, but I did have more success with my ‘smiley kid’ photo (78 clicks and 50 new likes) compared to the single plate image (46 clicks and 33 new likes). Now is probably a great time to mention that the reports Facebook can generate for the performance of your adverts are super-helpful. You won’t get that kind of conversion info from a newspaper ad.

You’ve got ‘em, so now what?

It’s all very well to find new likers for your page, but don’t forget to keep them engaged. You now have a new audience waiting for something great from you, so make sure you give them great content. The point of using social media is to humanise your biz, let your customers interact with you in a way they would never be able to do by walking into your store or visiting your stall on market day. It’s a way to gain their trust and keep your name in their minds so that one day when they need you, they’ll know just where to find you.

Above all, take the time to clearly define who you want to reach and what you want them to do once you’ve found them. Source a clear and captivating photo to go with it (try photopin.com or foter.com for free ones. Stay away from blue colours if you can as it will stand out more against Facebook’s blue theme.) Then go forth and multiply (your likers)!

Karen Cunningham is the stay-at-home mum of two boys, aged 5 and 4, yet is busier than she has ever been. Karen splits her time (not very evenly) between graphic design, writing and starting her children’s dinnerware business. You can read more from Karen and follow her progress here.

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