Will you be paying up?

Stand and deliver! Will you be handing your cash over to Facebook to guarantee exposure for your business?

Stand and deliver! Will you be handing your cash over to Facebook to guarantee exposure for your business?

With so many small businesses relying on Facebook as a means to promote their wares and services but, more than likely, unlikely to have access to social media advice or the time to research and subsequently digest the changes which has seen organic reach drop significantly, I am asking: will you be paying up?

Or indeed have you? And, if so, what kind of results did you experience?

I am interested in talking to small business owners who have decided to pay for Facebook advertising after the social media platform limited visibility of companies’ posts to their fan base. Just 1-2% of fans will see the posts of companies whose pages they have liked unless businesses pay for a wider reach. Some social media pundits even predict that soon it will tail off to nothing which means the only way a company can ensure its fans see its content is to pay up.

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s advertising profit practically tripled in the first quarter of this year on a 72% increase in revenue – profit increased to $642 million, from $219 million for the same period last year and revenue was an almighty $2.5 billion, up from $1.46 billion in the same period last year. A bit of a different picture to its position less than two years ago when it was generating losses.

But Facebook isn’t taking any chances and is actively wooing small businesses with a series of workshops or ‘tours’ in the US, according to The Drum, media and marketing online magazine, in a bid to persuade them to take up advertising. Small businesses in five US cities will be able to take part in Facebook Fit which aims to demonstrate how to best use the platform as an effective marketing tool.

Small businesses are notoriously difficult nuts to crack whichever side of the pond you happen to be working and residing. They are often owner drivers or solopreneurs who are running on a shoestring so finding advertising spend, let alone the time to dedicate to ensuring they receive the most bang for their buck, is probably not even on their radar.

Whilst social media may be a relatively inexpensive advertising stream, Facebook is currently offering its ‘start to success’ campaign which provides a host of support from its in-house team for a cost of £15 per day. But with a minimum 30-day period that’s still a whopping £450 (although the small print says £30 which doubles the figure – either Facebook is hedging its bets, can’t make up its mind or slashed the initial price following little take-up but forgot to amend the Ts and Cs) whichever figure it is, it is one most small businesses will struggle to justify.

Meanwhile, for those companies who have both the resources to advertise and understand the mechanics which deliver the best returns, there’s a host of advice out there. Social Media Today has a huge range of articles from writers who know their stuff including Mary Chevalier who has analysed clients’ Facebook ads to ascertain which trigger the highest response and concluded a ‘call to action’ and a link should be incorporated. Of course, ultimately, it depends on your content, the strength of your offer and your targeting and whilst it may not be scientific, anecdotal evidence is helpful, especially if you are only just starting out.

If you’re a small business owner who has experimented with Facebook advertising, I would love to hear your views and any lessons you may have learned. Simply contact me via this blog, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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