Each week business owners tell me that they don't use Facebook to market their business because of several reasons. The most popular reason being that business owners feel "duped" or taken advantage of because they have worked so hard to acquire Facebook fans that they can no longer reach due to algorithm restrictions. These people feel that having to pay for Facebook Ads to reach their already existing customers is just a ploy for Facebook to make money and is unfair to small business owners. I also often hear that some have not experimented with Facebook Ads because they don't know how to use them and feel that the process is intimidating.
Although I completely understand the concerns and apprehensions of having to pay to use Facebook to reach your customers, I don't fully agree with them. Here is why:
Facebook Is Not Free
Sure, signing up for Facebook and creating a Facebook Business Page is essentially free, but nothing beyond that is. In order to reach the target audience that you need in order to grow your business using the network, you will need to spend actual money. I can understand why this is frustrating especially when so many have worked so hard to grow their fan base to thousands of people who are genuinely interested in your brand. However, no other advertising medium is strictly free. Television, radio, billboards, print, PPC and other methods of reaching targeted demographics cost money. Most of them actually cost A LOT of money. (We'll get into that more in detail later.) If you become serious about using Facebook, knowing that you'll be paying a small budget to create successful campaigns will encourage you to create better content and put more effort into creating a solid strategy.
Facebook Ads Are Highly Targeted
When I show business owners and entrepreneurs just how specific Facebook Ads targeting can be, they're usually amazed, yet disappointed that it's taken them this long to discover that they could be reaching their target audience so easily. There are many different options within the Ads Manager that allow you to target people by their geographical location, age, gender, language, interests, mobile device and more. You can even target Facebook users who like the Facebook pages of your competitors. Conversely, you can also exclude people who like certain Facebook pages. You can target people by their income, job role, size of the company they work for, the charitable causes they donate to and even by the products they purchase online. The targeting used by Facebook is so detailed that it can be pretty creepy. Facebook also offers retargeting options so that products that you've been contemplating to buy online will frequently pop up in your news feed or on the right hand side of the feed.
Here is an example of how you would target a specific audience:
Brand: Local yoga studio running a New Year's promotion Targeting:
- Location: Charlotte, NC + 10 miles
- Age: 21-39
- Gender: Men and Women
- Language: English (US)
- Targeting: yoga, hot yoga, Lululemon, Athleta, bikram yoga
- Connections: People who like your page, Friends of people who like your page
As long as you know your ideal customer, you can reach people who are genuinely interested in your service or product.
You can even target customers who are near your business within a one mile radius. This would be ideal for retail stores or restaurants trying to lure in customers at particular times of the day. For instance a post could read "In the neighborhood? Stop in to The Roasting Company for lunch and try our famous homemade Chicken Pot Pie!"
Facebook Ads are Extremely Affordable
I know paying money to reach people on Facebook seems ridiculous and unfair to some but in reality it's VERY affordable, even for the smallest of businesses and budgets. On average for every $5 you spend on Facebook Ads, you should be able to reach about 1,000 people. Yes, 1,000 highly targeted people. There is not other medium that allows this type of reach at such a low cost. Even if you were to set aside a $50 monthly budget for Facebook Ads, you would still be able to reach about 20,000 people each month. This is HUGE. If you were to run an ad in a local magazine, it would cost you hundreds of dollars and you would only be reaching a very general demographic. You wouldn't be able to weed out people by age, interest or affiliations to other companies. Facebook only limits your daily spend to $1 a day so you could technically run an ad all month long for only about $30 and still be able to each about 6,000 Facebook users in your area and within your targeted interests. This fact alone should encourage you to experiment with using Facebook Ads. For example, this ad run by Eddie's Place only had $4 behind it and reached 844 people.
Without Ads Your Facebook Marketing Efforts May Be Pointless
Whenever I have conversations with Facebook page admins about their success with Facebook, I usually first ask them how many people they are reaching per post just by posting organically and without using Facebook Ads. The typical response is "about 20-30 people". I hope that we can all agree that marketing to just 20-30 people per post is a waste of time. Why would you take 5-10 minutes of your day (or much more) to create and post content that will only be seen by 30 people? The Facebook algorithm has changed drastically in the last several years and because of it, you can no longer reach all of your Facebook fans automatically.
Yes, Facebook has pulled a "bait and switch" by allowing us to acquire huge number of fans organically then preventing us from reaching any of them but then again, Facebook is a business and we are not entitled to use it without paying for the service that it provides. Sure, some content does go viral on Facebook but the majority of content being posted is not being presented to Facebook users because it isn't considered relevant to them by the algorithm. Unless you are BuzzFeed or ESPN, I highly doubt that you will be able to reach the amount of people that you desire without spending a bit of money. Creating a detailed strategy of your posts for each week and the people who you would like to target for each post will help you to increase brand awareness and increase traffic to your website. This is a post driving viewers to sign up for our newsletter, but without creating an ad for the post we only reached 7 people in over 24 hours.
Facebook Ads Allow You To Reach New Customers
Targeting fans of your page is unfortunately a little more expensive than targeting people who are not yet fans of your page. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Targeting people who have specific interests allows you to present your content to people who would most likely want to purchase from your company. And that is the ultimate goal, right? If the interests of the people who already like your page align with those that you are targeting, then your fans should be seeing your content as well. Additionally, the people who are not your fans may potentially become fans after seeing your promoted posts and ads. Win, win.
Facebook Ads Drive Traffic To Your Website
The ultimate goal of marketing of most businesses is to send people to the company's website so they can learn more about the product or service being offered. Facebook offers several different options to send users to your website including ads that provide a button to click to be directed or boosting a post with photos with a link included in a caption. It is sometimes difficult getting people to actually click through on Facebook links but with the right content you can send more traffic to your website and encourage people to buy tickets or products, sign up for a newsletter, enter a contest or read your company blog. This ad we have running is driving potential clients and customers to our website by advertising our trainings and consulting services.
Have you been going back and forth with the idea of using Facebook Ads for your business? Go for it! Facebook Ads may seem overwhelming but once you dive in and being experimenting, you'll quickly start to see results that are cost-effective and authentic.
Have questions about Facebook Ads for your business? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help!
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