Facebook has taken a significant amount of criticism recently. If you listen closely, you’ll hear rumblings from marketers and businesses that Facebook is no longer the number one social media tool for marketing and promotion. Historically, Facebook has provided useful demographic targeting tools for marketers. However, after the IPO, many marketers who invested in Facebook expected to see significant enhancements to the marketing tools available in the platform. Unfortunately, these updates have been slow to arrive. As a result, many marketers are becoming increasingly frustrated with Facebook and are moving their advertising dollars to other social networks. In a recent and damning indictment, General Motors ceased all paid advertisement on Facebook, publicly claiming failure to see appropriate return on their investment.
My response: “Many Marketers are not looking at the big picture when it comes to social media.”
Are you using Facebook because everyone tells you to do so? Are you on the network because you have a specific marketing goal and are using Facebook to support it? If your answer is the former, you will struggle to prove ROI. If you identify with the latter, then congratulations!
Even with its slow growth in marketing tools, Facebook still offers valuable options for targeting its 1 billion users.
The Argument for Brand Awareness
Consider this: Facebook recently reached one billion members worldwide. That means one billion people who have specific interests, one billion people who have favorite brands, and one billion people to whom businesses have real-time access. From a brand awareness standpoint alone, the number of people with accounts on Facebook is proof that your business can gain a significant amount of brand awareness from Facebook advertising. Having your logo and marketing messages appearing along the sidebar of Facebook provides immense value from an awareness perspective.
People may already be talking about your brand on Facebook. Let’s look at GM again. It took me about 30 seconds to find a lead on Facebook by simply typing a product name into the search bar and looking for public posts about their products.
As the proliferation of social media continues, conversations like these are taking place every moment of every day for thousands of products and brands. It’s irresponsible of us to neglect this valuable lead channel.
Beyond employing basic advertising and lead capture techniques, build communities full of brand ambassadors. When you build a community of people through “Likes”, you are creating your own focus group. These people are happy to share their thoughts with you and the Facebook community. When you combine feedback from Facebook with other marketing tools like Google Search Trends, you will have more information at your fingertips than you will know what to do with.
Limit Wasted Advertising Spend
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, GM currently spends nearly $1.8 billion every year on advertising. Like many companies, much of this budget is spent to ensure the brand remains front of mind for potential car buyers. If a company like GM stops advertising with Facebook citing a lack of ROI it must mean something, right?
Let’s compare advertising on Facebook with traditional advertising like billboards and television.
One of the tools Facebook provides marketers is granular targeting. Because Facebook users provide information when they sign up, then continue to provide information when they “Like” brands and share content, Facebook can provide a business that is paying for advertising with a specific targeting opportunity. If you spend the time to learn who your customers are, this targeting is invaluable. Facebook allows you to narrow down specifically who will see your ads. If your most profitable customers are men ages 24-29 in the northern United States with an interest in automobiles and a love for peanut butter, you can narrow your targeting and your ad will only appear to that specific demographic.
In traditional advertising it’s much more difficult to narrowcast as efficiently. You may hit one part of your target demographic, but it’s difficult to imagine a scenario or environment that would allow you to reach such a specific demographic while minimizing wasted budget. With Facebook, the narrowing of your target spending provides you with a much higher ROI because you’re presenting your ads to those most likely to purchase your product.
My Final Plea
If you think Facebook marketing is not for you, you may not be giving it the opportunity it deserves. Nowhere else can you find a network of a billion people who are sharing their opinions and “Likes” with all of their friends. Use targeted advertising to your advantage. Make sure you know your target demographic beforehand. If you spend the right time on traditional marketing strategy and integrate your social strategy into it, you will see your expectations met.