Facebook Advertising

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In the coming weeks, we’re going to spend a bit more time trying to help you super-charge your own Facebook fan pages. From the content you post to the way you promote your page, there are a lot of things you can be doing on Facebook to get your business more attention.

And with 526 million daily active users, Facebook is definitely worth your time to know better.

Today, we’ll start with Facebook Advertising.

There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook Ads recently, and it isn’t hard to figure out why. Now that the company has gone public, the conversations about how Facebook is going to make money has gone from something us media geeks talk about to something scary investor and banker types talk about.

When GM announced this week that they were stopping their Facebook advertising campaign because the ads weren’t succeeding, the ad program got even more press. It was bad press, granted – but press nonetheless.

The simple truth about Facebook ads is that they help a brand get seen, but are not great for getting people to complete a sale.

Facebook Post ads turn a fan page's content into ads. They show how many people liked, commented on, or shared it.

Think about how you use a search engine: When you go to Google, you have something specific in mind you’re looking for. If you want to find some shoes, for example, you might know what shoes you want to find, or if there’s a store nearby that sells them. You are goal oriented on a search engine.

Social media users, however, is a bit more capricious. People don’t tend to go to Facebook to find something specifically. They stumble in to see what’s going on with their friends and family.

Ads that ask people to immediately buy something don’t tend to do very well. They ask a user to stop what they’re doing – which is fun and satisfying – and go to another web site to lay down their credit card. Advertisers who measure their success by how many sales they land because of an ad won’t see the upside of Facebook ads if they look at them this way.

On the other hand, ads on Facebook are seen. What’s more, they can target people in a geographic location, or who have an expressed interest in something.

Let’s say you own a shoe store in Ontario that sells Christian Louboutin shoes. You could create an ad that shows these shoes, and only show the ad to other people in Ontario, who have interests in fashion or luxury goods – or even have “Christian Louboutin shoes” listed as a specific interest. This kind of targeting limits the number of people who would see the ad, which means less money the store would have to spend on the campaign. It also means the people who do see the ad are exactly the right kind of people who would be interested in it.

You can't get this level of targeting unless you know this much about the people seeing your ad. That's information Facebook has in spades.

However, it still isn’t likely to get people to stop what they’re doing on Facebook and run down to their store.

Instead, it plants in their mind the image of the shoes the store put in their ad. People may see the ad a few times, and keep thinking about those shoes. The successful ad worms its way into a person’s head, and eventually makes them a customer. They may ultimately go down to this shoe store, or go on Google to do that laser-focused, goal-oriented search I mentioned before.

But it all started with the ad.

So if you aren’t going to ask people to go off Facebook when they click, where do you send them? To your Fan Page. One of the great new features of Facebook ads is that your posts can now be the content of the ad itself.

You can highlight a particularly engaging post on your fan page, and let that draw people onto your page. If they become fans, your regular posts will eventually make them consider becoming customers. A particularly awesome feature of Facebook Ads is that you can set up an ad that changes with each post to your Fan Page – so the content is always fresh. If people see one ad today and don’t click through, tomorrow’s ad might do the trick instead.

The point is to not think of these ads as a direct, immediate source of revenue. Instead think of them as an opportunity to find the right people who might be interested in what you have to say. Buying advertising for any business is always a serious commitment, so be sure your Fan Page’s content is going to be updated regularly and, frankly, be very awesome.

Facebook ads can only bring the horses to the water – what you say on your page is what will make them drink.

About the author

Rachel Coonley I'm a technical writer and certified (or should I say certifiable?) grammar geek with an affinity for cats, fake mustaches, zombies, organic gardening and, of course, healthy living. If you know what the Oxford comma is and your view aligns with mine, you might be my new best friend. Follow me on Twitter @LadyIsaGeek.

3 thoughts on “Facebook Advertising

  1. Alice Zizzo on

    Where will we be buying the adds? Do we know how much they will be? Will others that are not our friends be able to see the adds? Sounds very interesting.

    • To create an ad, you’ll go to your Fan Page and click on the button, “Build Audience.” You’ll see a selection beneath that to, “Create an Advert.” The cost will depend on how much you set your budget for, and how many people you target.

      Before you get to that, though, do a few Google searches for Facebook advertising tips and read the advice of some other people who have run their own campaigns. This is definitely something you should research before jumping into.

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