Facebook doesn't play fair. Even if you work hard to build up a fan base, and create a constant stream of engaging content. Facebook will only display your content on a very small percentage of your fans' newsfeeds, unless you pay them to do so.
This sounds a bit like the whole Facebook thing might be a waste of time, doesn't it?
Don't worry - this is where it gets worthwhile. Facebook advertising offers exceptional value for money. We believe it's the best way a small business owner with retail premises could spend money on marketing, and we're not on commission!
With Facebook advertising you can start campaigns that will run with a total budget of £50 or less, or based on as little as £6 per day, and you'll get reports that tell you how many people saw your advert (and you'll watch your follower count grow).
There are many types of campaign available and this can be a little overwhelming but their titles give an indication of how they work, and which one you choose depends on what you would like to achieve. There are options to drive traffic to your website to make purchases, or to sign up to events, but we recommend starting with a campaign focused on getting more page likes, to get an idea of how it works.
The targeting is the clever bit. If you did a leaflet drop, or took a newspaper advert, you'd be hitting a total scattergun approach - with no control over age range, sex, interests or profession. Facebook advertising allows you to configure all this as well as a very detailed geographic control.
All this targeting is great, but it's worth spending a bit of time figuring out who you want to target before you invest any money the paid adverts. What type of customers are the most profitable for your store? Once you decide on who you want to reach and launch a campaign targeted at this demographic, you’ll notice your page’s fan / follower count increase.
But what’s the benefit of that? If you don’t sell products online and your end goal is purely to get people in to your store, what is the point of a campaign to increase your social media following?
You are raising awareness of your business. People who had not heard of your business have seen your ad and on some level are now aware of your business. This is where it is important to bear in mind both the number of likes achieved by the campaign and also the reach. A ‘like’ is a very strong commitment from a Facebook user. It’s effectively that person saying to all of their friends and family that they support your business, and (on some level) recommend it. What we know is that a significant amount of people who choose to 'like' a business on social media intend to shop there.
There will be a much higher number of people who were served the advert but did not click ‘like’, and within this audience you have raised awareness of your business. It might not immediately equate to money in the till, but if your advert is worded well and explains your offering to the local community, Facebook adverts can form a strong part of an awareness campaign.
The above results from a Facebook campaign give an idea of what kind of results you could expect from a £50 advert set using specific demographics to target a particular type of customer, in a local area covering 2km around an independent store. You can see that the cost per like comes to 89p, which is excellent value.
Twitter publish statistics indicating that 72% of people who follow a business intend to purchase from them, and we would expect Facebook statistics to be along similar lines.
Looking at the above campaign as an example, if we achieved 56 likes then we could reasonably expect 39 of these to become customers, perhaps with a little more nurturing and encouragement through the right type of content over the days or weeks following the paid campaign. That brings the cost of those new customers to £1.28 each, which (depending on your business type and model) represents excellent value for marketing spend and will be difficult to beat using alternative methods. Bear in mind also the value included in the 'reach', where we can see nearly 2000 people had the advert appear on their timeline.