When it comes to digital marketing, the only thing that doesn’t change is the fact that change is constant.
When Facebook went public just three years ago, we knew that things were about to change. Shareholders would be expecting the company to be profitable and want a return on their investment. So Facebook would have to figure out a way to monetize itself without damaging the experience enjoyed by more than a billion people. No small task, but they’ve done so…primarily on the backs of small businesses.
Not that long ago, in my workshops and in this column, I said that marketing had moved from the former “pay-to-play” to “play-to-play.” As recently as three years ago, this was indeed the case. But Facebook has changed all that.
According to Facebook, only 16 percent of business posts actually reach their intended audience. This is discouraging for most, making them throw up their hands and say, “Why bother?” The fact is, now that Google is able to view Facebook pages, an active business Facebook page often shows up in rankings – sometimes higher than the business’ actual website. That alone is why you should be participating effectively on Facebook. Also, since only 16 percent of posts actually show up on newsfeeds, this is one of the biggest reasons why you should actively try to get more business Facebook page “Likes.” The more “Likes” you have, the more people you’ll be exposed to with your 16 percent reach. But few shops seem to bother to make the effort. That’s unfortunate for them, and here’s why.
According to HubSpot’s “State of Inbound 2014-2015 Report,” 80 percent of marketers they surveyed indicated that social media, even in the last six months, has become more important for lead generation than ever before. And that trend will continue to go up for at least the foreseeable future. What this means for you and your business is that you should be using the targeting technology that social media sites such as Facebook offer to reach people in your community who haven’t necessarily already “Liked” your business Facebook page. Therefore, just having a Facebook page isn’t enough, and just posting regularly to it isn’t enough either. To be truly effective on Facebook, you must regularly pay the small amount necessary to expand your reach and engagement.
There are several affordable ways you can get your brand out on Facebook to reach more than 1,000 people within just a few hours, in most cases. You can create an advertising campaign where you make certain offers available, do actual ads or offers that will show up on people’s newsfeeds, or choose boosted posts that are just like regular posts that get “boosted” so they show up on more people’s newsfeeds. Another option is to promote your page to try and get more page “Likes.”
With Facebook advertising, you approach each ad as a campaign and consider the following:
- What is the objective of your ad?
- You target the specific audience you wish to reach
- You get pricing from Facebook for the outreach you want
When you’re ready to start your first Facebook advertising campaign, you click on www.facebook. com/advertising. Look for the green button marked “Create Ad” and you’re on your way.
From here, you must choose your objective. Your choices are varied, but not all options necessarily apply to an auto repair shop. For most of your purposes, you can choose to have people come to your website, increase conversions on your website, boost your posts, promote your Facebook page (to get more “Likes”), reach out to people near your business, raise attendance to events you participate in (such as charitable events, open houses, etc.), get people to claim an offer or get more people to view a video you posted.
Next, you determine who you want to reach with your ad. You want to start with the U.S., your town and the radius around it that you draw work from. Choose the age group and gender you wish to target. There are even more demographics you can choose from and interest areas you may fill in, and it’s fairly intuitive as to how to proceed with these steps.
Next, you need to set up your budget. You might be surprised at how many people you can get your logo in front of for the amount of money you spend. For $10 per day, for example, Optima Automotive could take the opportunity to boost a post to a 10-mile radius around our headquarters, and Facebook estimates this will reach between 1,600 and 4,100 people per day!
An important point here is to understand “reach” versus “engagement.” The ideal is to have something interesting enough to get more “Likes,” shares, comments and clicks to your website, etc. So, taking the time to advertise and spending the small amount of money required must be accompanied by something worth public attention and engagement to be most effective.