For some time now, advertising on Facebook has been considered one of the most difficult channels to receive a return on your investment. What people don’t realize though is that Facebook can be one of your most effective advertising channels, provided you understand the basics of how to advertise on facebook effectively, as well as what to expect from using Facebook as an advertising channel. (If you’re new to Facebook here are some tips on how to set up an effective Facebook page.)
I’ve used Facebook most recently for promoting the free download of my new thriller novel, The Trouble With Being God, but I’ve also used it for a variety of additional sites and products. Throughout the promotion of these different products, there have been several lessons learned that I’d like to share to help you advertise on Facebook effectively.
Advertise on Facebook effectively by remembering these rules:
Facebook Is An Effective Branding Platform
Whether you’re with a major company or have a small cult following, Facebook is a great place to advertise. By putting together a Group on Facebook you can easily have a place for fans of your product to congregate, as well as to keep them up-to-date on the most recent news about you or your product. Try pulling in an RSS feed from your official blog as an extra way to engage the user. The most important thing to remember here is that people on Facebook are there to be on the site. You don’t want to take them away to engage them with your brand. Instead you want to engage them on the Facebook platform and hopefully get them to share their excitement regarding your brand with their friends.
Once you’ve set up your Facebook brand presence, be sure to promote it from your “official” site as well. Chances are high that many of your customers are on Facebook, and if they are already a fan of yours they would like to share it with the world. Not only does being a fan of your product get them more in tune with you, but it can also set them apart as “tastemakers” on Facebook, leading their friends to follow.
Facebook Is An Effective Awareness Platform
One of the best uses I’ve seen for Facebook is for building awareness of an unknown product, brand or service. As mentioned earlier, my most recent use of Facebook has been in promoting my new novel. Of course, as an unknown author, publishing and marketing my book completely independently requires first building awareness of it even existing. This is where Facebook’s advertising system can truly shine for authors, musicians, local business, etc. (Of course there are multiple parts to the awareness puzzle, but for this article I’m going to stick to just the Facebook advertising portion).
The key to effective awareness promotion on Facebook is targeting. When you create an advertisement on Facebook the most valuable tool is #3 in their ad setup: “Reach the exact audience you want.” Try to think of who would be interested in your product (in example, a book). Target in directly to the key interests that you see them sharing. What worked best for me was to think of similar books or movies to The Trouble With Being God, like the David Fincher’s movie Se7en, or books by authors such as Cormac McCarthy, Dan Brown and Chuck Pahluniak, and target people who have actively said they are fans of them.
Of course, the other part of the puzzle is building an ad that is eye-catching and contains effective copy that matches what would be expected to intrigue that target. Be sure to include your URL in the copy as well, since as stated earlier, Facebook users don’t generally want to leave the site. Of course you want to have anyone who does click on your ad go to your site too, but I also saw a marked increase in direct traffic to www.beinggod.com simply by displaying the URL in the copy.
All this said, do not expect a very high click through rate on Facebook. Again, Facebook users are on the site for a reason, and are very unlikely to want to leave based on an ad. This is generally true of most social media sites, but especially the case with Facebook since it has done such a great job making the site an inclusive platform, barring the need to leave.
Don’t Build a Facebook Application Unless It Has a Purpose
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Facebook you know what their applications are, and if you use them you know why you do. The most effective facebook applications are ones that either enhance a user’s facebook experience by integrating information from other sites a user is a member of (such as incorporating your Flickr feed), or those that serve a purpose all their own (such as a game).
If you’re looking to sell a product, a Facebook application is probably not for you. If you’re looking to improve your branding, be sure to keep in mind that the most effective apps for doing so are those that further enhance the Facebook experience. Improve a user’s experience and they’ll happily use your app – and their friends will see it too, thereby improving your brand reach.
Facebook Is Not a Direct ROI Sales Platform
Above all, when advertising on Facebook do not expect to see a large direct return on investment. You are likely going to spend more money than you’ll directly make back through click-to-final-sale conversion. Of course it’s not impossible to do so, but when advertising in social media, the focus needs to be on awareness versus instant return.
What you will get from advertising on facebook, so long as you focus on advertising and targeting effectively. is a very large base of users who you can either a.) strengthen a current relationship with or b.) easily target millions of people who are quite likely to have an interest in your product (even though they don’t know it yet).