Social networking sites like Facebook are the next big frontier for online advertising. Their audiences are large and inviting, and there’s ample opportunity to reach the users you’re looking for. But even with the large amount of potential Facebook provides, many advertisers don’t know how to approach the service, and sometimes the results aren’t predictable.
With a few things in mind, you can see impressive results from Facebook’s advertising platform. After the jump are five tips that have worked for us.
Identify Facebook’s Strengths
Facebook gives businesses the opportunity to reach their audience in a variety of different ways, but some approaches are more effective than others. Direct sales, for example, is tough. While a small chunk of users are ready to buy while using Facebook, the majority of users are going to make a purchase in the future.
Rather than focusing on direct sales, the strength of Facebook advertising is in building an ongoing relationship with your customer. Think about it: Facebook’s core service is helping friends, both local and long distance, stay in contact and keep their relationships. Make sure your advertising is centered around building and maintaining a relationship with your audience. Your goals should be focused on the long-term strategy instead of the quick sale.
Set Up A Public Profile
Since we’re building relationships with the Facebook audience, you’ll want to give them a way to reach out to you. Social advertising, after all, is a two-way street. Luckily, Facebook’s Public Profiles are built with relationships in mind.
Designed with businesses and organizations in mind, Public Profiles look and behave much like a user’s personal profile. The key differences are that they integrate with Facebook’s advertising platform, allowing Public Profile owners to easily advertise to the userbase and accumulate “fans,’ users who are interested in what you’re sharing. Public Profiles can send updates to their fans, which show in their home page feed.
This is a huge opportunity for advertisers. Once you’ve built a fan base, you can provide them with targeted, relevant updates quickly and easily.
More Ads, Less People
Most advertisers are used to the idea of creating an ad that targets every single person, then split testing to create variations. While this tactic is fantastic for Google, on Facebook you’ll probably just blow through your budget with nothing to show for it. Generic ads made for everyone might bring you a lot of clicks, but not a lot of results.
Instead, consider creating highly targeted ads for your Facebook campaigns. Ad copy should speak directly to the audience, and each ad should take advantage of the variety of different targeting factors Facebook provides. Here are a few examples:
This one’s familiar to most online advertisers. You can target your ads by country, state/province, city and metropolitan area. Note, however, that the location of your audience is derived by their IP address, not their stated network.
Another standard factor. Facebook’s userbase spans many different age demographics, so be sure to target the age range that’s right for you.
Here’s where things get interesting. Unlike Google, the keywords you target for your campaign aren’t terms users are searching on, but terms contained in a user’s profile. These can be Activities, Favorite Books, TV Shows, Movies and more. Here’s a place where brainstorming can get you exciting results… what is your preferred audience interested in, and how do their interests overlap with your offerings?
Another interesting choice. Looking to get your message across to a specific company employee? Facebook users not only include information about their careers, but also belong to networks of other employees from their company. Your message can be targeted to their group or industry and deliver fantastic results.
You can also target ads for specific genders, languages, education levels and even people on specific birthdays. This level of targeting is key to a successful Facebook campaign, so be sure to experiment with different approaches with different ads and ideas.
Set The Right Budgets, With Goals In Mind
With all the ideas and experiments you’re planning, it’s easy to quickly spend a lot of money on Facebook ads without any identifiable results. So set those goals early, with a budget to match. Remember that Facebook is better at building relationships than driving sales. With that in mind, it’s best to think long-term about what you want to accomplish.
Here’s where the Public Profiles really pay off. Your initial goals can be set around driving visits to your Profile and generating fans. That may not seem valuable right now, but those fans will get any additional messages and content you publish to your feed. Again, the strength of the relationships you build are key. Many advertisers see tremendous success in building their fanbase and regularly engaging them.
Write Engaging, Creative Ads
Expert Google advertisers know that winning ads include a strong call to action. Facebook is no different. Make sure your ads are clear, concise and tell the audience exactly what to do. The clear difference is going to be how that audience responds.
If you’re driving traffic to a Public Profile, your copy should appeal to the audience that shares relevant interests and entice them to find out more about you. Often, your audience doesn’t even know you’re on Facebook, so they’ll be happy to get your posts included in their feed.
If you’re driving traffic to a standard landing page, make sure your copy gives the audience a reason to leave Facebook, even temporarily. Just like content network advertising, your audience wasn’t actively looking for you, so make sure to give them something for their trouble.
Also, don’t forget to test different images along with different copy. One good image can boost your campaign’s performance in amazing ways.
All five of these ideas are important to running a strong campaign on Facebook, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. What has your experience been with Facebook advertising? What worked for you, and what backfired? Let us know in the comments below.