Well, the bad news is yes. What is the good news? The answer is also yes.
In 2015 Facebook changed its algorithm resulting in fewer friends or fans seeing what you post. Currently, as few as 5-10% may see any given post. Reason being, says Facebook, otherwise you would be served up an average of 1200 daily posts on your news feed. Facebook explains it determines which posts are most interesting to you and selects those to appear in your newsfeed. For businesses that means you are reaching even less of your fans than you need and want in an organic post. And if you include sales messaging like “buy”, your post will be banished to Devil’s Island never to be heard from again.
Many see this move as a ruse on Facebook’s part to monetize social media, and they would be right. However, Facebook advertising – or paid posts -has five great aspects going for it:
- Facebook can zero in on your interested target. Ad manager lets you select geography, gender, age and other demographic criteria, as well as interests. For example, you want to produce a Beatles retro party in San Diego. You have the ability to target only those people in San Diego between the ages of 18-30 who are interested in the Beatles. The drill-down is pretty granular for interests and can include even a specific band. Amazingly, Facebook won’t let you add an interest not on their list which seems to include all human interests!
- Facebook is where everyone is hanging out. According to Pew Research, 71% of internet users use Facebook – a majority on mobile.
- The cost is ridiculously inexpensive. You can reach thousands of interested consumers pay as little as $15 per day or as much as you want, and the number of people you reach will increase accordingly. For small businesses this is a great tool.
- You will discover who’s interested – An upgrade available this month provides rich information on the fans that engage with your ad – click, share, comment, etc… After advertising you will know age, gender and other demographics about your interested consumer.
- Facebook advertising is flexible – An ad executive you are not, but not to worry. You can start a campaign and adjust as you see what works and gets the most engagement. The wording can be changed, the photos can be changed. You can even wait for an organic post get lots of response with your fans and then “boost.” FYI, an eye-popping photo is the most-important tool for a successful ad.
In a recent survey for a music festival, it was determined that roughly 20% of the attendees learned about the event through social media, while less than 5% did through print advertising. Gone are the days of placing an expensive display ad in the local newspaper and hoping the right people will read it.
Keep in mind that Facebook is more about nurturing your customer base i.e. fans, and keeping you connected and top of mind. Also, it’s not meant to be your go-to sales channel, and many small businesses make this mistake. They think that they are going to generate hard sales from Facebook advertising. No, the phone is not going to ring off the hook. Success comes from developing an integrated marketing and sales strategy that incorporates email and other great tools like Facebook advertising to create awareness, interest, and retention.