Facebook advertising is a must for just about any consumer centric company. The combination of reach (1.4 Billion+ people. Yes, let that sink in.), plus best in class marketing and advertising tools is unmatched.
The question is when do you introduce Facebook ads to your marketing mix.
Facebook has evolved significantly over the past couple years. The strategies employed in years prior aren’t as relevant in today’s market, so it’s important to understand what you can achieve from Facebook today.
First, yes, organic reach is pretty much non-existent. The game has changed, starting from scratch is more complicated, and the strategies for growth are different in 2015.
Let’s look at how you should approach your Facebook presence in 2015.
Phase 1: Set Yourself Up for Facebook Success
You have your product or service. You’re ready to start building a Facebook audience. Here’s what any new business should set up initially.
- Set up a Facebook business page. Fill out the profile completely. This includes a profile photo, cover photo, and About Us information like website, category, descriptions.
- Use your Facebook page to push out content. You should have an SEO strategy in place and Facebook is a great way to share the content you’re gathering and producing. Google also likes a well rounded, engaged social presence and they use social signals to verify you’re legit and people find you interesting.
- Build your Facebook audience. You will want social proof for your Facebook page, so you’re going to need a base of Likes on your Facebook page to show you’re real. The way you gain those initial Likes should be closely managed though. And this is where buying some Likes may be okay.
Just be sure to use Facebook ads.As tempting as it is to go buy 10,000 fake Likes on the cheap, stay away from these tactics. Fake likes aren’t going to engage with your brand or buy your product. A page with 10,000 likes and no engagement is much worse than a page with 1,000 Likes and a strong amount of engagement. (Remember, Google likes engagement.)
So how do you get your first batch of likes?
The first step to getting Facebook Likes is to invite employees, as well as family and friends who’ll find your content interesting. They’re the ones that will share your posts and advocate for you within their own social networks.
Next, this is where allocating a small amount of your marketing dollars towards Facebook may make sense. Don’t spend much here – just enough to boost your Likes a bit. The reason being these Likes won’t engage at a rate that will be meaningful to your brand, but they will provide value.
You can expect to get likes from $0.05 to $0.75 a Like. Depends on how niche and how competitive the landscape is for the audience you want.
There’s a great case study from Neil Patel, a well known digital marketer, on jump starting a Facebook Fan page in 2015. You’ll find more great tips on growing your Facebook Likes. Check it out here.
- Install Facebook’s Website Custom Audience pixel. This is one of the more underutilized tools out there and the potential revenue it can generate is incredible. The best part is it’s free to set up. Startups, SMBs, Fortune 500 companies and everyone in between can take advantage of this tool.
Basically the Facebook Website Custom Audience pixel will keep track of users who’ve visited your website – no matter where they came from – and put them into a pool you can use to target later.
Even if you’re not planning to run Facebook ads just yet, you should install the Website Custom Audience pixel. You’re likely running search and email campaigns at this point, so there’s traffic running to your site and it’s worth starting the data collection process.
Once you’re ready to start with Facebook ads, you’ll have a valuable targeting pool on hand. An audience you know has awareness of your product or service.
Phase 2: Know What You Know
So this brings us back to the original question. When should you start putting ad dollars into Facebook?
Here’s a list of items you should already be confident about before starting with Facebook ads. If you jump into awareness or customer acquisition with Facebook before having these items sorted out you’re going to waste money.
- You have a product or service people want. Yes, this is important. If you haven’t figured out product/market fit and you don’t know who will buy from you, stay away from Facebook ads. You can use other channels, including offline tactics, to get traffic and understand your ideal customer.
- You have a solid website/landing page experience. If your website or landing page doesn’t convert, you’re not ready for Facebook ads. Get your website experience nailed down. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should know what you’re trying to achieve, and how your current landing page helps you towards that goal.
- You’re running search campaigns. If intent driven audiences aren’t converting for you, there’s still work to do.
- You’re running email campaigns. You need a place to nurture the relationship with potential customers. Someone may be interested in your product or service, but they may not be ready to buy. Email is a great way to continue the conversation once a prospect discovers you.
- You’re achieving manageable conversion rates. You know your Cost per Acquisition, understand your average subscription rate, sign-up rate, order rate, and/or average order value (whichever metrics are relevant to your business). If you’re confident about your conversion metrics, you’ll have a baseline when testing new acquisition channels.
Phase 3: Run Facebook Ads
If you read through the first two sections and nodded yes to the above then you should be ready to get into Facebook ads.
The timeline in which the above occurs can be as short or as long as you need. The key is to know your audience and have the tools in place to capture and convert prospects.
There are also companies who can run Facebook ads in lockstep with the above activities. If you’re going to consider this option, you should be a pro at Facebook ads or partner with someone who has the expertise needed here.
If you’ve tried your hand at Facebook Ads and you’re struggling to get off the ground – leave a comment below or you can contact us here.
Image Credit: Joshua Earle