Facebook. What started as an online connection point for college students has skyrocketed into a billion dollar business in less than a decade. It doesn’t really matter why or how Facebook grew to become such a prominent fixture in the way we do life, what matters is that you are leveraging Facebook to benefit your business. If you ignore this powerful medium, you are missing out on reaching an audience of 750 million and growing.
If you are just starting out, it can feel overwhelming to come up with a strategy for your business’ presence on Facebook. This new series will address issues, suggest solutions, and offer success stories to inspire you to think creatively about how Facebook can take your brand’s exposure to the next level.
Before we begin, please know that we are assuming that you already have a basic understanding of how Facebook works and how individual users interact with others using this platform. Our focus in this series will be on how businesses/brands can initiate, grow and maximize relationships with customers online.
Is Advertising on Facebook the Best Place to Start?
Some businesses are tempted to believe that the quickest and most obvious way to jump into the Facebook pool is to invest some dollars on advertising. Facebook offers brands a variety of advertising options. It’s important to read through the information they provide here on their website as you work to develop an advertising strategy. One of the attractive elements of Facebook advertising is the ability to target specialized demographics. Facebook allows advertisers to communicate directly with people who have already indicated an interest in a certain product. For example, in a personal profile page, there is a section to list out favorite movies. You may want to advertise directly to people who like comedies or dramas. Better yet, you may want to advertise directly to people who like chick-flicks, or Meg Ryan movies, or women between the ages of 30 and 40 who like Meg Ryan. Facebook allows advertisers the ability to market to this level of detail, based on what users have listed in their own personal profiles.
The options are limitless, but the impact is limited if you don’t offer your audience a chance to interact with your brand. Rather than straight forward “billboard” style advertising, a more strategic approach is creating some level of interaction between you and your audience. Facebook users don’t like the idea that they are “being advertised to” and the way around this is starting a conversation and avoid “talking at people.”
We think the best place to begin is not through traditional advertising but through building and cultivating an online community using a Facebook Fan Page. Once you have a user connected to your fan page, you have the opportunity to continue the conversation and social online interaction that makes this medium so powerful.
Before you dive into advertising on Facebook, be sure you have an established place for Facebook users to connect with your brand inside the Facebook platform. In our next post, we will begin to unpack a basic strategy for engaging online audiences through Facebook, starting with creating a Facebook Fan Page.