Last week I read this excellent article from Jay Baer. In it he discusses why you could be wasting your advertising budget on getting Facebook Likes.
I love Jay Baer’s stuff, he’s constantly challenging the norm and if you agree or not he forces you to think again.
I read the article and tried to agree, but I just couldn’t. The first sentence I can get with. You’d be foolish to spend your entire advertising budget on getting Facebook likes but should you abandon the practice altogether?
The essence of his argument is that it’s cheaper to get people to click a website link on Facebook than go to the effort of getting them to Like your page. But I would argue that by doing this, you might get website clicks but you are missing out on the benefits of Facebook.
What’s the value of a page Like? That’s a big question and to address it I’m going to tell you a story of how I did it wrong the first time.
What I did wrong
When I started out on Facebook I wasn’t a marketer. I was someone starting out in business doing what I could in order to promote it. I was one of the first people I knew to get a Facebook page and I soon discovered I was going to need fans (as Likes were called back then).
This page was for my first business, a small eco-friendly corporate gifts company.
What did I do to get fans? I begged and begged and invited and invited. I spammed my friends, asked my Twitter followers, emailed my list, ran contests. I did everything. The result was that I built my fans slowly over a long period of time.
What did I get from this? Yes I got a lot of advocates, I got a lot of people to like my page at a time when Facebook still showed every post to everyone who liked it. Because most of the people who Liked were people I knew, I got a great response. I made sales occasionally directly from Facebook.
However… I wasn’t attracting the right people. I loved Facebook, but the value of the sales from my friends would never be enough to sustain a corporate gifts company. In reality, you’d have to question the logic of running a Facebook page for a corporate gift company at all but that’s another day’s discussion.
The problem I always had with building my audience this way was that it was hit and miss. A Like is just a number, it doesn’t represent a potential customer or even someone who falls into your target market. This is why I disagree with Jay.
How would I do it now
Facebook ads weren’t available when I started that first page and when the first appeared I was sceptical. I have become a convert. Now when you start a page, instead of begging and spamming you can, with a good ad campaign build an audience of exactly the right people. You can target potential customers directly and get them to take the first step down the sales funnel. Liking your page.
What Jay says is true, a Like doesn’t mean much, it costs to buy them with advertising (although in Ireland I’d expect to pay less than 25c per Like) and you can’t guarantee you’ll reach all of them with, organic, non-boosted posts.
I disagree that a Like is worthless. It is a step in the right direction, it’s a public show of interest in your business. Once you’ve captured their interest you can start to target ads at them. Knowing they are the right people. More importantly knowing that they are not just the right people but the right people who already have an interest.
As well as that you will reach a percentage of them with your organic posts. I wouldn’t underestimate this reach. The average figures Jay quotes are important, but you can be better than average, lots of my clients are. The beauty of non-commercial organic content is that it is shown to your top fans, the ones who really want to see your content, the ones that will like and share your posts with their friends. These are often your existing customers and your brand advocates. They are the people who will spread the word about your business both on and off Facebook.
These people are far more valuable than those who just find your website through an ad. Reaching customers regularly with your Facebook content keeps you top of their mind, they are less likely to abandon you for a competitor.
What’s my solution?
Firstly allocate a portion of your Facebook advertising budget to getting new page likes.
When I set up Facebook advertising campaigns I split the budget between three goals:
1. Getting Facebook likes to the page
2. Getting website clicks or conversions from existing page likers
3. Getting website clicks or conversions from non-page likers
To be successful at any of these you must target your ads at the right people. Here are three easy ways to do this:
1. Set up a hyper-targeted ad
It’s a good idea to create a basic buyer personas for each type of customer you want to attract and create ads designed to capture their attention. Now you can target them directly using Facebooks targeting options.
The more targeted your ads are both creatively and technically the better the result.
For example, if you are targeting local people make sure you show the location of your business in the creative and name the town you are targeting in the text of the ad.
2. Use Custom Audiences
If you have an opt-in email list you can upload this to Facebook. When you do this Facebook will try and match these emails with Facebook users and will create an advertising audience from this data. This is a great way to target existing customers with your Facebook Like ads.
To set up a Custom audience:
Access your ads manager
Click on ‘Tools’ on the top menu and select ‘Audiences’ from the drop down menu
Click ‘Create Audience’ and select ‘Custom Audience’ from the drop down
A new window will open. Select ‘Customer List’
You have the option of uploading a file with email addresses in it, copy and pasting or importing a list from Mailchimp.
It can take some time for Facebook to process the audience.
When the audience is ready you can access it when you create your ad you can select this custom audience from the targeting section.
Facebook allows you to add a pixel to your website that will collect data on website visitors. If these visitors are Facebook users it will create an audience from them, you can narrow this audience by location, interests etc using Facebook’s targeting feature.
When Facebook has collected an audience of at least 1,000 people you can target ads at them.
To set up a Retargeting pixel:
From Ads Manager slect ‘Tools’ and then ‘Audiences’ from the drop down
Click ‘Create Audience’ and ‘Custom Audience’ from the drop down menu
A window will open, select ‘Website Traffic’ from the options
Choose if you want to target all visitors or visitors to a specific page and give the audience a name.
Facebook will prepare your audience. To get the code that needs to be added to your website click ‘Get help’.
This will give you the code you need to insert in the <head></head> section of your website in order for it to start tracking visitors.
- Don’t’ blow all your Facebook advertising budget on Facebook Like ads
- Create buyer personas for your target market and create ads that will appeal to them
- Use targeting, custom audience and remarketing audiences to ensure you are attracting the right people to your page.