The third and final facet of our “In-Depth” social media series is the well-deserving, social media giant, Facebook.  While Facebook does have the most impressive statistics out of any online social platform, it is probably the least favorite (or most difficult) on which to effectively market on for free.  It should absolutely be noted, however:

  •   Facebook has 552 million active users that utilize their accounts every day and 955 million monthly
  •   93% of adult Internet users in the U.S. are on Facebook
  •   41% of B2B companies have acquired a sale through a Facebook lead; 67% of B2C companies

Source: Geoffrey Michael, How to Use Facebook as a Marketing Tool.  The San Francisco Chronicle: 10/4/12.

Having 552 million active users is beyond impressive, but the real challenge for companies and marketers alike is how to translate this huge user base into a customer base.  Fortunately, through research and personal experience, we can give you an overall guiding light on how to make Facebook into a wildly important resource.

Let’s start with the stuff you have to pay for (sorry).

Things like SEO and Google AdWords are huge in the marketing and advertising industries, and really help for companies to be selected by potential customer bases before their competitors are even seen.  Facebook takes this concept to a whole new level.  Odds are if you are reading this online marketing blog, you have a Facebook (if you don’t, play along).  Think back to when you set up your account.  You had to put in your name, your current city, your home town, where you went to high school, where you went to college, and you had to choose which network to be a part of.  All of these simple required fields when signing up for a Facebook account are shared only with those that you approve, but Facebook still holds all of the data and information as well.  That’s what makes advertising on Facebook SO good.  Odds are, through the interests you select, your location, where you’re constantly updating your status from, Facebook knows what you will buy before you even have a chance to search for it on Google.  Companies, especially small businesses, are really into this because they can essentially reach their entire target market using the really specific demographic filters utilized by Facebook.  It adds an entirely new level of accuracy and lead qualification where SEO and AdWords slightly fall short.

Facebook’s advertising charges in a basically identical way to that of a PPC (pay per click) campaign.  The difference is that these clicks are highly targeted demographically, which is why so many businesses will advocate advertising on Facebook.  They get more bang for their buck!  You may think that getting this process started would be extremely time consuming, but that’s the other thing that’s so great about Facebook’s paid advertising; it’s ridiculously easy.  Pretending that I am a small business owner, take a look at the simple step by step of how to jump-start your advertising efforts.

  1.  From your homepage, you click the drop down menu and hit “Advertise on Facebook.”  So far so good, right?

2. After clicking through, you have a few places you can go.  Clicking on “How it Works” gives you a point-by-point checklist of things to do before and during your ad campaign creations.  These are definitely steps that deserve a great amount of mindshare. Why advertise if your Facebook page is not optimized for people who want to “like” it or learn more?  Some of them include:

  • Create a company page with a unique cover photo
  • Like your own page and tell your friends to as well to drive traffic
  • Add a new post to your page at least once a week
  • Encourage check-ins, participation, or create an event
  • Engage with the people who interact with your page

 

3.  I’m going to continue through the process as if you wanted to create your business’s first advertisement.  If your company already has a Facebook, and IMS 360 does, you simply search and select your company.  If you don’t, you can put in your company’s website URL.  Or, if you’d rather, on the right is a list of anything Facebook can coordinate as the advertisement’s final destination.  For example, if you are an application maker (mobile or computer), you can set up the advertisement to link directly to the application.  Pretty cool stuff!  I selected IMS 360 Group’s Facebook.

4.  After you select your advertisement’s destination is when the real targeting fun starts.  You pick the location you want to target, genders, ages, interests, choose the objective of the advertisement, and set the payment options.  You can limit the amount of money you spend also, so once a certain amount of clicks are reached, the ad will be taken down.  After you select the pricing options, you’re basically done setting up your first ad!  They make it so easy!

We get that you don’t necessarily want to pay for advertising or marketing on a FREE social media site.  I probably wouldn’t use Facebook in general if they charged any kind of fee.  However, their advertising is definitely something to be considered, especially for small businesses with a very concentrated target market.  Check out this article featuring a woman with a gluten free bakery.  She was able to effectively reach her target market and bring in a huge influx of customers.  Give it a try and see how it works out!

Stay tuned for our budget-friendly piece on free Facebook marketing!

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