This is a question that has come up quite a bit on the Costaconnected Facebook Group

Because Facebook are cracking down on incorrect use of profiles to promote businesses – which is a good thing – more and more people are creating Facebook pages for their business.  This is as it should be… however they are then learning to their disappointment how Facebook restricts distribution of the content, and how most people who have Liked your page will never see the stuff you are posting on it.

Whilst there are things you can do to try and promote your page’s content as widely as possible and get that engagement up, obviously Facebook wants you to pay them to promote your content on your behalf. Most businesses need to advertise, and this might or might not be an appropriate way for you to do so.  For a lot of people advertising on Facebook is an unknown area, and whilst it can be highly effective for the right business used in the right way, it can also be an excellent way to waste large amounts of money.

Is Facebook advertising for you, for your business? In general terms it’s impossible to say, and it’s an extremely specialist area… I could advise you in a consultation whether it might be appropriate as part of your marketing mix, but I may well recommend engaging an expert to actually create and manage the ads for best use of your budget.

But some options don’t require a developer account or open-ended payments, and  if you are feeling drawn to that ‘Boost’ button next to the disappointing distribution figures on your page posts, here are some things to think about.

pay to reach new customers

Facebook CAN help you reach the right people

The really good and unique thing about Facebook advertising, even simple page post boosts (which any one can easily set up and test for a fixed cost), is the precise targeting.

For example, lets say you are a hairstylist in a specific town on the Spanish coast.  You use your page to share information about offers, photographs of your work, and so on.  Right now you are running a promotion on highlights and lowlights, and you want to attract new customers to check it out.

So you create your best post with an attractive image and a link to your promotions page on your website, and then you hit the ‘Boost’ button… what then?

The first thing is to select to Boost the ad to people chosen via targeting. Unless you have an extensive following of very well-targeted page fans, and your contact is aimed specifically at them, I would NOT pay Facebook to reach them! You want to make the most of your opportunity to reach out to new prospects.

So, then you get the opportunity to select your audience by location, age and gender – you are paying, so you can choose, to only promote to people within say 20km of your town (because however attractive your offer, people will only go so far), only to women, only to certain ages… you know your customers, you decide.

But the powerful bit is the ‘interests’ targeting.  You need to reach more people than those who have liked your page, but you can use the fact that people have liked other pages to your advantage.  For this hair colouring example, you could choose to target people who have shown an interest (ie liked a page) related to relevant brands such as L’Oreal, Tresemme, or maybe salon products, or certain fashion or image magazines or websites… Your best bet is to put a selection of as many relevant interests as you can in that box, and see what it does to your numbers in the box at the end – your ad will be shown to between x and y people for a charge of… (you can change this and I would recommend starting low – say $20, this is less than €15!)

For a local business like this I would not expect numbers to be high, but if it means they are going to show it to just 600 people, you will know they are the RIGHT 600 people – in your area, interested in what you are offering, and in your ballpark demographically.

You can also use this kind of targeting quite successfully for advertising events as well.

But here is something else which is important to consider: what do you want people to do, after reading your post – and is that in itself worth paying for?

If your page is selling your products or services and you have a particularly enticing ad that links through to a special offer for example, that might be a good one to actively promote, because you will be able to measure the impact and benefit immediately from it.

But is it worth paying people just to visit your website – if you then don’t have a means of capturing their interest and recontacting them – or even worse, paying them just to like your Facebook page?  I would argue that this would hold true for very few businesses.

So, you need to consider the entire path you want people to follow on seeing your ad, work out your break-even… for €15, how many new customers do you need to book an appointment at your salon? Maybe only one, if you look after them and they become a client for years…

If you have any questions just ask on our Facebook group or tweet @casslar, I will do my best to help you make good decisions about whether or not to give Facebook your money!

Costa Connected, for Costa Blanca News, August 25th 2014  ©Maya Middlemiss, Casslar Consulting SL

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