Social media channels are just one avenue for small businesses to leverage in marketing themselves to larger audiences. Up until 10 years ago it was impossible for a local business to have the kind of exposure that these channels offer today. This is the first of a series of posts from Shelley Rostlund, Digital Consultant at Harbour 32.
In this post I’m going to explain Facebook Advertising – as this is talked about a lot.
The first thing that is important to mention is that there is a lot of homework to be done before you launch into any paid route of marketing. With digital advertising, much like traditional advertising – you need to match your message, with the right audience.
With digital advertising however, you have a few more things to think about like: (a) choice of channel, (b) content format and (c) using multiple sets of information which are engineered over a period of time towards an ultimate outcome.
Your goals for campaigns on social will also have to adjust over time and will be slotted into segments with mini-goals. The reason for this is that your goals at the start of a campaign will differ from your ultimate goal / outcome that you want to achieve by the end of your efforts.
Facebook (of all social media platforms) has the larger amount of information or data for you to use to decide how to structure your campaigns. Important to note – the data it holds doesn’t “attach” it to a human…it merely gives you the ability to put your piece of content (“ad”) in front of an audience who displays an interest in what you do. You don’t know who they are – but, by way of many, many maths calculations – Facebook has selected them as the most responsive audience to show your ad to.
How much should you budget for?
Creating and managing Facebook Ads is a specialist skill nowadays – it isn’t just about clicking the “boost” button. So, I would say that you either spend some time learning the skill properly – or you engage someone to manage the campaigns for you.
You need to therefore think about management cost and ad spend cost. We suggest to clients looking at getting serious about outcomes from ads to look at spending £100 per week on ad spend, and that will translate to approximately £125 to £175 of management time per week. (So total of around £500 to £750 per month)
How does it work in principle?
Facebook is absolutely brilliant and really clever – but you need to be patient. Social media as a whole is a slow burner – a marathon and not a sprint. You will be rewarded (in leaps and bounds) if you are genuine about why you are there and what value you bring to your audience.
You will be very serious about putting together content that your audience is deeply intrigued and interested in. Merely posting something with the hope of ticking a box is not going to get you anywhere on Facebook today.
When we say “ad” in the context of Facebook – it is NOT a selling technique. You do not just start selling to someone you just met, you will give them the opportunity to get to know you and trust you. Think about Facebook Ads in that way.
Our suggested framework is to look at your content in these “type” buckets:
If you are just starting out with Facebook and are still in the stage of growing your audience – you would focus heavily on (a) awareness and (b) engagement. This means the only type of content you would create to show people would be all about educating the audience about your service/product; getting to know how you work; introducing your team / product; behind the scenes; etc.
You main goal is then to grow your following – to have more people who genuinely like, know and trust you enough to click “LIKE” (to follow your Page and see you in their newsfeed).
You would run consistent campaigns over a duration of time to draw in cold audiences (i.e. people who didn’t know you). Your main goal is to grow that first degree connection (i.e. they are regular followers).
Once you grow your organic and genuine following, you can get smarter about your campaigns…and you can also start to introduce more “conversion” type content. BUT – you would only do this once you have warmed up your audience to the point that all you have to do is ask for the business – and you will get it.
Where can you learn more about how to do Facebook Ads?
There are three levels here I will suggest for you:
- Do It Yourself (FREE)
Facebook has a series of free training that they have put together to help educate Facebook users on Facebook Ads. It’s called Facebook Blueprint. The courses are online and free – however if you want to do a test to gain a certification, there is an exam cost.
- Specialist learning & support (PAID)
We suggest the very talented Andrea Vahl to all our clients. She is our chosen Facebook Trainer and is one of the originals in the Facebook Specialist space. She has a programme called “Facebook Ad Secrets” which also includes a very supportive and active Facebook Group, so you can ask as many questions as you like and you have access to Andrea, as well as other peers who are also doing what you are doing.
We like Andrea because she does her launches in stages for this course – i.e. she regularly updates her content, and then only opens selling it again once the updates are done. (She does not have this programme for sale all year round – so get on the list to find out when its released again.) Facebook changes regularly – so if you do look for another training provider – check that they regularly update the training material for you.
- Get it done for you (PAID)
While I will always advise clients to still actively try to understand this field, there is the logical argument for: leave this to the experts. If you can’t have someone within your organisation do the learning and stay on top of these specialist skills – we would suggest finding a partner to support you. We have a Facebook Ads specialist as part of our team (for example), so we manage campaigns on behalf of clients. We obviously work on goals and content together – then we crack on in the implementation and monitoring.
There’s no right or wrong answer – you have to find what works for you. I have found however that, over time, its important for businesses to build their in-house skills in this arena.
If you have any questions about Facebook Ads, please do comment below or reach out on our Facebook Page or Twitter. We’d be happy to answer them for you.
Look out for the next blog post in the series, which covers Twitter advertising.
Our guest posts are really valuable to our readers – expanding on many of the subjects that they need to get their heads around in the course of running and building their businesses. A big thank to you to Shelley for taking the time to put together this post to give you some insight into some of the priorities that smaller businesses need to focus on in the coming months and years.
Shelley works with us here at Clifford Towers and has helped us to enhance our digital skills and be more consistent in our communications with our clients. Harbour 32 is a digital agency based in Northamptonshire which focuses on web, social media and communications. You can check out their website; join them on Facebook or follow Shelley on Twitter.