Many businesses have yet to grasp how powerful social media can be when it comes to building relationships with current customers and reaching out to potential customers. Week 2 of Facebook Marketing Bootcamp – a series of 6 online webinars designed to help B2C and B2B businesses get the most out of their Pages – emphasizes that “Facebook has the global scale of television, the precision of direct marketing and ability to harness the power of trusted connections between friends.” By using the tools provided through platforms like Facebook, businesses are empowered to effectively build their customer base and drive both brand awareness and sales.
Through two webinars hosted during week 2 of Bootcamp, Facebook marketing experts discussed the benefits of using both Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories to reach out to their market customers. Here are some highlights from week 2:
Types of Facebook Ads
Unlike routine posts to your Page’s wall which are only ever seen by your fans, with Ads you have the ability to reach those you are not immediately connected to. There are 5 main types of Ads that businesses can employ in their Facebook marketing efforts. Each one has different purposes, all of which will help drive traffic to your Page:
1. Standard Ad - connect your corporate website to an Ad
2. Application Ad - app developers, connect your app to an Ad
3. Like Ad - share your business’ Page through an Ad
4. Event Ad - advertise events to your target market
5. Page Post Ad – change any previous post on your business Page’s wall into an Ad (e.g. status updates, links, photos)
Creating Great Ads
Not surprisingly, when we create an ad on Facebook we should apply the same best practices we would use for ad creation in any other medium:
Target Effectively – Due to the nature of Facebook and the content users are encouraged to share, you have the ability to reach your target audience in ways that may not be possible through other databases. Facebook allows you to target by demographic and geographic (e.g. gender, age, relationship status, language, broad and precise location), by workplace and education and by likes and interests (e.g. favorite books and music, hobbies, political views).
Design an Engaging Ad – Getting the creative right in any ad involves a marriage between clear, succinct copy and relevant, evocative imagery. Nowhere is this more important than the fast-pasted, high-volume environment of the social media world. To engage those who will see the ad, use questions, offers and promotions and be authentic and action oriented.
Set the Right Budget & Bid – Just as with any other marketing effort, you need to set the right budget for your Facebook Ads. This will probably take a bit of practice and fine-tuning. Facebook’s Ad FAQ explains that “every ad is bid on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) basis. Each time a user views a page that displays Facebook ads, an auction takes place to determine which eligible ad(s) will be shown on that impression.” And with a smaller budget threshold, your ad will be included in less sidebar impressions reaching less Facebook users.
Analyze & Optimize – One of the most vital parts of any marketing effort is reviewing the results and using that data to improve the efficacy of any future campaigns. Facebook suggests creating multiple versions of your Ads; use multiple headers, images and body text and mix-and-match the different elements and evaluate what features work best. Then apply your evaluations to every future Ad. And don’t be afraid to switch it up, just to keep your target fans interested and engaged.
Sponsored Stories: Let Your Customers Do the Talking
As mentioned in my review of Bootcamp’s first week of webinars, it’s much better for someone else to say something nice about you than for you to say something nice about yourself. Customers referred through friends and family generate higher profit margins than other categories of customers.
Sponsored Stories take word-of-mouth marketing to the social media arena to great effect. Here’s an example of how Sponsored Stories work:
Step 1: John engages with your page, place, app or domain.
Step 2: A story is generated on John’s friends’ News Feed. Each of his friends has the opportunity to see John’s interaction, but not all of them will. This depends on their individual News Feed filters, the number of their friends and the quantity of posts already flowing through their Feed.
Step 3: You turn John’s engagement into a Sponsored Story. Like an Ad, this interaction will now be pinned to the sidebar of Facebook pages his friends’ view. Unlike an Ad, however, the Sponsored Story will show John’s friends that he “liked” or somehow interacted with your page, place, app or domain.
This is word-of-mouth marketing in action amplified at what Facebook refers to as an “unprecedented scale.”
Within the Facebook world, there are three key market segments that we as marketers need to focus on:
1. Fans of your Page
2. Friends of fans
3. All other Facebook Users
Your current fans will most effectively be targeted through engaging wall posts. Both Ads and Sponsored Stories are excellent tools to reach out to potential fans, but consider the power of word-of-mouth and its impact on friends of fans through Sponsored Stories. When compared to Facebook Users outside your own network, friends of fans showed a lift of:
1.6 times in brand recall
2 times in message awareness
4 times in purchase intent
Facebook calls word-of-mouth marketing the Holy Grail for marketers. It is the single most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, when you use it effectively, and Facebook has made it easy to wield.
Share some examples of Facebook Ads or Sponsored Stories that worked for you!