There is an almighty argument in the B2B world around the use of Facebook as part of the communication mix. We’re sure like others out there we were hoping it would just die out, but it hasn’t. So to round that off, Facebook is right for some and not for others. Those who are anti-Facebook argue that if your audience isn’t engaged in it then it’s useless. Those who are pro-Facebook praise it as the perfect tool to engage your community on a personal level for social media marketing. As far as we’re concerned, Facebook is a great place; if you are hung up on the platform you need to go back to your strategy and start again.
Take nearly everybody in the modern world, put them into a profile engine that they spend over two hours a day engaging with and you have open access to get to the one-to-one conversation you have always wanted. That IT guy that likes ‘Family Guy’ and has two kids and a labrador? Yep, that’s Mr Smith, and you can target him directly.
Avoid Facebook dangers
But before talking about the amazing playground of Facebook advertising and how you can go and play, we need to talk about the dangers of social advertising in general.
The social world is a place controlled by the audience, not the brands, and Facebook in particular is the most social and personal environment of them all.
The old-school advertising tactic of ‘keep interrupting until they listen’ will not work; your strategy has to be focused on adding value to the audience.
Don’t shout, add value
Adding value to social advertising can be delivered in many ways. Here are a few examples of campaigns that have been proven to work:
A like-minded community: Create a page that is aimed at liked-minded individuals to interact, share and learn. This adds value for an individual with a certain interest, encouraging them to visit the page.
An event: The real world/social crossover is getting ever closer and whether you are creating a webinar or a face-to-face meet up, it’s a great way of getting advert click-throughs and brand engagement.
An engaging content piece: Video springs to mind first of all, but what about interactive PDFs, blogs and debates? Let your mind run riot.
Idea generation: The word ‘crowdsource’ gets used a lot, but there is nothing that people like more than giving you their opinion.
An app: Facebook apps are a nightmare as the platform is in constant flux, but if you can create something that is really useful, your audience will jump on it and share it with everyone.
The advertising options
Facebook has developed its advertising massively over the last year or so and we industry bods have seen the learnings get implemented to bring the platform up to what is a very usable advertising space. You get three options:
1. Object advertising – Anything you have on Facebook can be advertised: pages applications, profiles etc. You can’t change the title or the picture, but you can write a description to get people reading and clicking. In association with the targeting, this really does work well to build communities and interest.
2. External advertising – Anything you have that isn’t currently on Facebook can be advertised. This is known as placing external URL adverts within Facebook. Again using the targeting options and setting the right CPC (cost-per-click) can give a really good response.
3. Sponsored stories – This is really new; it allows brands to share other people’s stories, updates and more. It is limited to your friends, e.g. if you mention IBM, IBM can share that with your friends as a sidebar advert. A lot of updates get lost in the Facebook stream and this is a great way to keep it relevant and in view of the audience.These adverts can be location and/or demographically targeted, but more than that you can target down to likes and interests or people who are connected with certain pages. You can even target friends of people who are already engaged with your group or application.