Should you advertise your small business on Facebook?
There’s a lot to like . . .
1. 175+(updated) 400+ million active users – Even if just a small fraction are your ideal prospects, that’s still a lot of people!
2. Demographic targeting – You can target by gender, age range, education, etc. and throw in some keywords so you are tightly targeting your ideal prospects with your ads. The great thing is these are people who have self-identified themselves as members of a particular demographic and, because of the social nature of Facebook, have incentive to be honest about the information they share about themselves. This provides advertisers with one of the most accurate ways to target a particular demographic group on the web.
3. Geographic targeting – Facebook users can indicate where they live which provides a great opportunity to target people in a specific area.
4. Social action ads – When you add the social action option to your ads, Facebook “will attach a story about any relevant interaction that a user’s friends have with your brand or business on Facebook as the headline for your creative.” So, for example, if someone joins your group on Facebook, their friends with similar interests could see your ad that has the headline along the lines of “Your friend Sally has just joined the group The Rise To The Top.” This certainly brings a nice credibility and interest factor to your ads.
5. Low competition level – Facebook advertising is still in its infancy so there’s not as much competition out there as there is for say, Google Adwords. That means you can potentially reach a lot of prospects for very low costs per clicks or impressions.
There are some things not to like (or at least be wary of) . . .
1. Timing – Search engine marketing is great because you attract people who are actively typing in keywords and phrases related to your products and/or services. That means at that very instant there is nothing more pressing on that prospect’s mind so there’s no better time to get your company’s marketing message in front of them. That is not the case with advertising on Facebook.
2. Interruption advertising – This is closely related to timing. Because you’re catching prospects while they’re chatting, catching up with friends, stalking ex-es, etc. you have to interrupt them from whatever they’re doing to get them to notice your ad. That’s not to say it’s bad, but prospects are not in that mindset where they’re actively looking for what you’re offering. Think of it more like advertising in a magazine than search engine marketing.
3. Credibility factor – Have you seen those ads that have blanketed Facebook about how to get $12,000 from the stimulus package or asking how many eyes the baby in the ad’s very disturbing picture has? Yeah, they’re annoying. No, they’re not relevant to the vast majority of people. And I think they’re affecting the credibility of the advertising space on Facebook.
4. Still working out the kinks – Again, Facebook advertising is in its infancy, as is marketing on social sites in general. Social media companies are still trying to crack the code on how to increase the performance of paid ads on their sites and make them more appealing to advertisers. Facebook is continually modifying and trying to improve the functionality and effectiveness of paid ads, but they still have a way to go.
So should your small business advertise on Facebook?
My answer, as it is most of the time: do a small test and see. You can budget a few hundred bucks or so a month, experiment, and see what kind of results you get.
My impression is that for now the small businesses that will see the greatest results are ones primarily interested in branding themselves within a particular demographic and local businesses who want to raise awareness in their area (I recently read that some dentists were finding phenomenal results with Facebook ads).
I plan to start experimenting a bit with Facebook advertising and will report back here when I have some info to share. And if you are advertising on Facebook, please share your experience in the comment section below.