Facebook has over a billion members. No matter what your personal feelings are about the site, there is little doubt it represents a huge market waiting to be exploited.
The bad news is that Facebook is trying to forcing businesses to pay through the nose in order to tap that market. But the good news is that we are have a simple step to exploit Facebook without your bank account being used and abused by Mr. Zuckerberg.
Can you still build a huge following on Facebook through non-paid viral posts? Theoretically, the answer is “yes.” However, organic posts only reach an average of four percent of companies’ followers, so the practical answer is “no” – unless you have an inherently viral product or service to promote. Few businesses do.
To make things worse, Facebook is going to continue reducing the reach of organic posts. The following language was included in a letter to major FB partners this past year:
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”
“We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.” (emphasis added)
Put another way, building a healthy following on Facebook is going to require slapping a credit card down for all but the most viral of businesses.
Just because you’re obviously going to have to pay, it doesn’t mean you have to pay exorbitant amounts in order to get your posts seen on Facebook. The key is to have a plan and take a few important steps. The first step is to learn how to target the right Facebook users. [Link to Swiping Your Competitors Facebook Fans Article – coming in “attitude” set of articles] The second step involves the creation of your advertisement – actually, your advertisements.
People are strange. They are so strange, in fact, that companies have to spend billions of dollars a year to study what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating effective ads. An advertisement with a red background might get no reaction from consumers, while the same exact ad with a green background might do very well.
So, how do you know which ads work with your target market on Facebook?
But you can find out.
By testing different ads.
While Facebook is trying to forcing businesses to pay big in order to reach consumers, the company is at least providing a great platform for the actual advertising process. To this end, you can run just about as many different ads as you can dream up, to evaluate what works and what doesn’t.
To do this, visit your Facebook Ads Manager. Create the text for your first advertisement, and then add six different images sized 600 pixels by 225 pixels. Mix the images up. Try different genders, different beauty levels and so on.
Once you’re finished, return to the main Ads Manager page and create another marketing piece with different text and different images. The goal is to create as many different combinations as possible.
Isn’t running all these ads going to be expensive? Not necessarily. To avoid a financial disaster, set the budget for each ad at just $2 a day. Facebook will then run each ad while automatically rotating the six different images you uploaded for each one.
Let the campaigns run for a week or two. At that point, the analytics provided by Facebook should clearly reveal which text/image combinations produce high click rates and which do not. Delete the non-performing ads and put your money into the ads that worked best, to maximize the return on your advertising dollars. Repeat this process every two months to create new ads before your current ones become stale.
Test, Test and Tune
Facebook advertising campaigns are a lot like car engines. You need to tune them regularly to get the best performance. If you follow this strategy, your campaign should purr like a finely tuned V-12 Ferrari engine – and Zuckerberg won’t be able to buy a real Ferrari with your ad dollars.