Facebook advertising doesn’t work. At least that was the claim from someone I was talking to who had spent $12,000 and gotten almost no results. Wow. No wonder they felt that way! But I asked them to see what they had done and I’m not surprised that they didn’t get the results they were hoping for.
While advertising with the social media giant may not work for everybody or even be a good idea for all businesses, there are many industries or destinations for whom Facebook might be the best deal out there. Done correctly, Facebook ads can be quite a bargain and highly effective.
Another thing I really like about Facebook is that, since the platform knows so much about the people on Facebook, you can really target the advertising. For example, the people whom I was talking to who had wasted 12 grand on advertising were in an industry that’s super hot right now and has a very specific and loyal fan base.
Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube advertising can be terrific deals that really target your prospects well. Those companies (Facebook owns Instagram and Google owns YouTube) really know a lot about their users so that’s something you can use to your advantage.
For example, do you want middle-aged people who like Ford and live within 50 miles of your location? No problem. What if you’re a restaurant and want to target people within a certain income category that happen to be within 20 miles of your location? Done. Are you a night club looking for unmarried people? Easy.
You can whittle down the categories that you use to deliver your advertisement so that the audience you want is the one who sees that advert. I work with a destination that targets people who like certain outdoor activities within 100 miles of that destination and it’s highly effective.
If you’ve spent all this time asking people to “Like” your Page on Facebook or subscribe to your channel on YouTube you can also specifically target those people. After all, they have already taken action in expressing an interest in what you’re doing so you know they have some level of interest. Now you can target those people to regain their attention.
But then there’s the message itself.
You can target people in pretty fine detail but then you also have to grab their attention with the message itself. This was where my friends with $12,000 failed. And I believe they failed miserably.
Unfortunately their thinking was very much aligned with print advertising and, specifically, brand awareness in that medium. That clearly didn’t work here and the ads that might have gotten results in print didn’t do a thing for them here. Plus, my gosh, they really did spend a lot of money on this medium for nothing.
When you think about your behavior on social media or the Internet you are either there for a specific reason, such as to Google a place or topic, or because you’re goofing off while doing something else as in the case of Instagram or Facebook. When you went to Facebook, for example, you didn’t go there to see ads. You just know you’re going to.
So if those ads don’t speak to you, you’re not going click on them in the first place. That’s also true of Instagram - the platform is all about photography and beauty so boring advertisements with mediocre photography are going to lead to lousy results. Period.
Your messaging on social platforms has to be fairly specific to the people whom you want to reach and then has to be a message they want to react to. The images you use literally have to stop people from what they were there to do, check in on the latest gossip, and change gears to look at what you want to sell them.
So beautiful pictures and compelling text are the keys here. Destinations and dining have a wonderful opportunity in this case but we all can take some great pictures, I hope. I’ve written an article about photography and another about using light in photography. If you’re going to work on one skill that will make a huge difference in your business, photography is probably the one that’s going to provide the most immediate payback.
Of course hiring a professional photographer is my first choice but you don’t always have that option when shooting a picture of a moment or a specific item so learning to take advantage of the incredible phone that you have might be one of the best investments you can make. And you can do it all online.
Remember the old adage that a photo is worth 1000 words? What words are people thinking when they see your photo? Honestly a halfway decent photo that you took generally tells a much more accurate story than stock photography.
So I do believe that, for many businesses, social media advertising might be one of the best resources available. It’s very inexpensive, you can target the audience very specifically, and you can measure the results immediately. If things aren’t working you can make minor or major changes and measure those results.
And you don’t have to buy a giant block of advertising and sit back and hope as you would with print. Measure, measure, measure and adjust. Sometimes a little difference makes a big difference!