Everyone’s talking about it, and you can’t help be curious.
Ever since Facebook’s Organic Reach Massacre of 2013 when the social network began to drastically cut unpaid post reach, Facebook ads have become an extremely hot topic.
“After years of pushing brands’ reach lower with one hand (and opening marketers’ wallets with the other) Facebook has finally announced the end of organic social marketing on its site.” (Source: Forrester)
But as Forrester research asserts, “it’s not as if marketers could count on much organic reach or engagement anyway. Ogilvy reported that in February 2014 large brands’ Facebook posts reached just 2% of their fans (a number that was falling by .5% per month).”
Facebook, the social network, initially gained adoption among marketers as a free way to communicate with people, but Facebook, the publicly traded company, has increasingly moved marketers toward paying to access those same people. – AdAge
As Forbes contributor Ewan Spence suggests, “Brands must now have Facebook down as a ‘paid channel’ on their marketing budget so they can work campaigns around this fact. The free ride and access to Facebook’s user base is coming to an end.”
Do Facebook Ads make sense for my business?
If you’ve identified Facebook as an important social media marketing tool, you’ve likely decide to bite the bullet and consider dipping your toes in the Facebook ads pool.
I’m a huge proponent of Facebook ads for small businesses – after all, I’ve built my consulting business around them. But that doesn’t mean they’re a good investment for everyone. We’re talking about spending money on something most people don’t understand very well. There aren’t that many areas of our lives and businesses where we’re willing to take that kind of risk.
So, before you jump off the paid social media advertising cliff with everyone else, make sure Facebook ads actually make sense for your business. This short checklist will give you a clear answer and help you decide on next steps:
You’re willing to take the time to learn.
Facebook ads is like just about everything else in your business: it takes time and experience to learn how to really master it. But the problem is that it’s not like another social media network where you can afford to spend months becoming a pro – you’re paying for those ads, even the ones that don’t work very well! You need to spend, both, time and a little money before you start seeing results.
You know how Facebook marketing works.
You know that it’s not enough to simply increase the number of likes on your Facebook page. You know that Facebook post engagement doesn’t mean anything if people aren’t visiting your site, joining your email list and becoming customers or clients. And because you know this, you aren’t going to do something silly like boost random posts. Why not? Because it’s a complete waste of money. Instead, you know you should be sending people to your website with a call-to-action to get them to join your email list.
Your social media strategy goes beyond Facebook ads.
Before you pull the trigger on your first (or next) email list building campaign, ask yourself this: what happens to these people after they get on your list? Anything? Sure, they might get periodic updates from you like your newsletter or links to company blog posts, but what’s your plan to get them from passively opening emails to becoming customers or clients?
My recommendation is that you get a sales funnel in place before you start putting money behind Facebook ads. It doesn’t have to be this advanced series of 10 emails funnel, but if I get on your list it’s because I have a problem you seem to have the solution for. So, set up a simple autoresponder sequence that helps me get to know your business, shows me different packages or products, and maybe even gives me the chance to jump on the phone or get my questions answered before I decide to open my wallet for you.
You set up conversion tracking.
This is one of the easiest “tech” things you’ll ever have to deal with, and yet so many small business owners skip this step entirely to get Facebook ads up sooner than later. If you’re going to invest money in your business, you need to analyze what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t skip conversion tracking – it will literally take you under ten minutes to put in place. Get the super simple instructions here.
So, you’re telling me not to use Facebook ads?
If you got to the bottom of this list and realized that you shouldn’t be investing in paid social media advertising yet, that’s okay! Don’t rush to try something new just because everyone else swears by it.
It’s okay if you don’t have time to read a ton of “best practices” articles. It’s okay if you need to work on that sales funnel because your priority right now is bringing in revenue.
Getting these pieces of your business in order is fundamental since they will help you scale your business faster and more effectively. Once you do decide to invest in Facebook ads down the line, the results you see will be more clients, more customers, and more sales.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Claire Pelletreau is a Facebook ads consultant and confessed conversion junkie. She’s been playing with Facebook ads since 2011 and sharpened her skills running some of the most visible online campaigns of the past few years. Now she applies everything she learned to helping other small businesses bring in more subscribers and sales than they ever imagined. Click here to grab Claire’s free step-by-step guide to list building with Facebook ads. Connect with @clairepells on Twitter.