By: Nikith Deo
Some people think Facebook is a dying social network. In a sense, it is... Organic reach is dropping. In February 2012, organic reach was about 16% and now it's at just about 2%. The bottom line is that it's getting harder to reach people and keep them engaged. If you don't know what you're doing, you WILL lose money. Here are a few do's and don'ts to consider when jumping into the world of Facebook marketing.
Do: Know who you want to target
Catering your content to your target audience is KEY! Looking at all the targeting criteria Facebook has to offer can be daunting. You can target demographics like age, occupation, income, geographic location, education level, interests, buying habits, and more.
Chances are that you already have a target audience. Who buys your product the most? Who engages with your social media content the most? If it's women in their 40's you can target them. If it's men living in Florida who are interested in roofing, you can market to them. You have a lot of options, just make sure you pick what suits you best.
A helpful exercise is to create personas of people you want to target. Make them representative of each distinct demographic. If you have a greater percentage of people who align with a certain persona, cater your content more to them. Just be sure not to neglect anybody!
Do: Have a clear Call to Action (CTA)
Facebook Ads include call to action buttons which let you decide what you want your audience to do after interacting with your ad. Once you know who you want to target, consider what you want them to do for you. Should they sign up for a newsletter, join a mailing list, sign up for a free trial, etc.?
It is important to know what stage of the conversion funnel your customers are in. If you are focused on conversions, a "Buy Now" button may be appropriate. Use this when targetting people who already know about your product and are most likely to convert. If you want to increase awareness, a "Learn More" button may be more appropriate. Use this when targetting users who may not know about you and are prospective customers.
Make sure your call to action button aligns with who you are targetting. If your CTA is too vague or you choose the wrong button, you are likely to experience poor results. When you are spending money on advertising, a poorly chosen call to action results in thousands of dollars of lost revenue.
Do: Keep content concise
Be brief! 81 percent of people only skim the content they read online. If you want to keep them engaged, create content that stands out or ads value and present it clearly. If I'm scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook feed, it is your job to stop me and get me to engage with your content.
While Facebook may not have a character limit like Twitter does, every character still matters! The shorter the post the higher the engagement. Posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher engagement. Even more concise posts, ones with less than 40 characters, received 86% higher engagement. While a 40 character post may be hard to stick to, remember this is a general statistic. Your audience may read more.
Suppose you want to advertise your blog content. Posting the whole blog or even one paragraph of it on Facebook, while convenient, is overkill. You don't know if the people who see your post want to read your blog. It is important to let THEM decide whether or not they are interested. Make "Learn More" a CTA button. If a user is interested in your blog, they can click on the button and be redirected to your blog. That's a conversion for you!
Don't: Get complacent
Complacency is the enemy! Keep testing, see what works. A/B testing is important in the world of advertising as you may make mistakes. Some content will be ineffective, continuing to run such content will waste money. Stick with what's successful. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Large companies often split test ads. They will test two versions of the same ad on their target audience and see which one is more effective. Things to test include word choice, image choice, CTA button, etc. Picking the right combination of these things is crucial to ensuring your hard-earned money doesn't go to waste.
Look for differences in impressions, clicks (CTR), sales (conversion rate), money spent, and most importantly, Cost Per Sale (CPS). Analysis of these metrics will let you know which ad provides the most ROI, or as I like to call it, the best bang for your buck!
Don't: Spend more than what you have
After spending so much time crafting the perfect ad and choosing who you want to target, it can be tempting to just post the ad and forget about it. Unfortunately, you still need to set a budget.
Marketing on Facebook can be advantageous because you don't have to be a millionaire in order to achieve success. Low budget campaigns can still bring in the dough, if you spend wisely. Facebook lets you cap your spend. Set a maximum you are willing to spend on a campaign, once you reach that number, the promotion will automatically stop running.
After you've grown your audience to a comfortable point, it gets easier to reach them. Set them as a "Custom Audience", seek lookalike audiences, and re-target. Saving successful audiences makes it easier to benefit from your hard work!
Don't: Thoughtlessly Boost Posts
But, boosting is so convenient... Unfortunately, it can be a huge waste of money when used incorrectly. Boosting posts can be useful if you want to increase reach as it essentially gets the post to be seen by more people. It is not effective when trying to increase conversions.
If increasing conversions is your goal, try starting a promotion. You will have a lot more options to reach your target audience. The problem with boosted posts is that you only have to set the "general" targeting to your users and their location, set the budget, and then your good to go. You are limited to one audience at a time, have no placement or device targetting (desktop vs. mobile), and have a limited duration of ad flights; there's no ongoing option.
While clicking that beautiful Boost button is so tempting, set aside 10-15 minutes to promote your posts properly. Use Facebook's Ads Manager and adjust targeting to maximize your total Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Trust me, your wallet won't regret it!
Entering the world of Facebook Marketing can be scary, but success isn't impossible. Get your toes wet before jumping into the pool! Careful consideration of these do's and don'ts should be a great step in the right direction for those getting started. Remember, it will only get easier. Take the time now to make sure your campaigns are the best they can be, and in the future, you will have to do significantly less work to replicate your success.
About the Author:
Nikith Deo is the Digital Marketing intern for Sparrow Marketing. He is a senior marketing student at San Jose State University.