Using Facebook Ads in Your Social Media Marketing

I have written much about the importance of small businesses engaging—not advertising—through social media. I have also discouraged small businesses from explicitly marketing or promoting themselves on these channels.

Such tactics turn off followers more quickly than they get them, and is antithetical to the purpose of having a social media presence in the first place.

However, at the same, some social media channels do offer outlets for outright promotion and advertising, and I would like to take a moment to talk about the benefits of these.

Two years ago, working as the Director of Web Communication (which included online marketing) for an organization I was given the opportunity to test the effectiveness of using social media as an advertising platform. For a particular campaign and promotion, our marketing department decided that in order to spread brand awareness and bring attention to upcoming events, they would purchase a "vehicle wrap" (that is, wrap one of the organization's vehicles in decals) for about two thousand dollars.

I chose to allot one thousand to Facebook ads for a period of three months.

To me the results were astounding and demonstrate the strengths of using social media for outright advertising.
At the end of three months the marketing department could not say really how effective their strategy was. They had driven the vehicle in a couple of parades around the state, but had no idea how many of our target demographic had seen it or even responded to it. To make matters worse, the vehicle sat parked at the organization for much of the time.

For my effort, I used micro-targeting strategies to fine-tune who would see my ads. I targeted Facebook users by region, age, activity and interest, and then ran multiple ads for different characteristics or region (shaping the message of each ad for each difference).
At the end of three months I could say with certainty that almost 100,000 people within our target demographic were reached by the advertisement. I could say how often they were reached and when. I also knew that close to one thousand of those in our demographic investigated our brand by clicking the ad to go to our Facebook page, and then further clicking through to our website.

In short, I knew how effective the ads were, I was certain that the money I spent matched my goals (raising awareness and promoting the upcoming events), and I also knew for certain that I only spent money on the people I wanted to see my message.
These are all the benefits of using this type of advertising, and I encourage small business owners to use these mechanisms as another outlet for promoting their brand.

The two social networks that offer the best platforms for advertising right now are Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is still experimenting with their promotions platform and is currently only accepting national brands (or brands willing to spend a lot of money). YouTube, while effective as a channel itself, really only offers the types of ads you would purchase through Google, so there's little chance of really micro-targeting (the real purpose to use these types of ads in the first place).

To help you understand how to use these effectively look at the wealth of resources on the web and elsewhere to learn about important elements like analytics or measurements (Facebook actually has a free training program to support you).

As a further incentive think about the following. The price for ads is are set by a bid system. When you decide to purchase ads the price is set according to the demand for the demographic you are targeting. If there is more demand for your demographic, you will pay a higher price.

I recently ran a campaign for a local client targeting Facebook users in El Paso, Las Cruces, Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico. The bid price for El Paso users was over $3.00 per 'action' (a click on the ad or a page-like), while the price for users in Mexico was less than 75 cents. The Las Cruces bid price was less than $1.25.

The upshot is that the Las Cruces market hasn't yet been touched by businesses using Facebook ads, so the prices are still low. If you begin advertising right now, you will garner more attention than if you wait for everyone else to advertise too.

Word One Consulting
clint @
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005