Gone are the days of asking people to like you on Facebook or Instagram, then relying on your social media posts for some free advertising.
Back in February 2013, Facebook (which bought Instagram the previous year) tweaked its algorithm, so customers only see posts from businesses they interact with frequently—or from businesses that have purchased ads targeting them.
“There’s been a significant drop in organic reach,” said social media expert Crystal Vilkaitis during a SAF-sponsored webinar, Wednesday, May 31. “Only 1 to 6 percent of you fans actually see what you publish.”
Annoying as Facebook’s changes might be, you shouldn’t eschew the site, said the owner of Crystal Media. “It outshines all others in terms of traffic for people between the ages of 18 and 34,” she said. “And it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a big impact.”
To illustrate the power of Facebook ads, she shared stats of a client who paid $25 to boost a post one year compared to a free post the following year:
Total page likes: 5,500
Post views: 8,187
Post likes: 320
Post shares: 6
Post comments: 32 comments
Total page likes: 8,600
Post views: 2,548
Post likes: 89
Post shares: 1
Post comments: 10 comments
“Here, you see that even though the client had significantly more fans a year later, far fewer of them interacted with the post than when they paid just $25,” Vilkaitis said. “Basically, if you’re not using Facebook ads to support your Facebook marketing efforts, you’re wasting your time.”
She went on to share three ways Facebook ads help you grow your customer base:
- Advertise to a “lookalike” audience. “You can actually export your customer email list and import it into Facebook,” Vilkaitis said. “Facebook has tons of data and can identify people similar to your customers. These are great people to target with your ads.”
- Direct ads to people who’ve engaged with you on Facebook. “Someone who’s watched 75 percent of one of your videos is a pretty hot lead,” Vilkaitis said. Ads aimed at people who’ve previously checked you out can move these people “off the fence” and into your customer database.
- Use life events for detailed targeting. What do people as soon as they get engaged? “They immediately update their Facebook status to announce their big news,” Vilkaitis said. “Use this to your advantage!” You can set up wedding ads for women in a certain age range and mile radius who’ve gotten engaged in a certain time frame (say, the last three months). You can do similar things for anniversaries, birthdays, new relationships, new jobs and moves.
For more details, including best practices for creating copy and images for Facebook ads, go here to watch the full webinar.
Vilkaitis will also be among the featured speakers at SAF Palm Beach 2017. Sign up now to meet her in person.