The Facebook algorithm changes have many Facebook page owners in an uproar, especially those who paid to acquire their Facebook fans.
I manage nearly 20 fan pages and can confirm a startling drop in what's been an already declining reach over the past year. Compared to only a month ago, organic views have declined as much as 40% for some pages.
While it may be tempting to jump ship for another channel, there are some things to consider first. Facebook currently has 1.26 billion users - and over 80% of those users are actively engaged on the channel. That's one of the highest user rates of any other channel on the web. In addition, Facebook integrates with thousands of other applications, which has enabled Facebook to claim 26% of all social shares.
For those who have spent time or money to establish a business presence on Facebook, my short advice is to stick around. You may have to spend more - time or money - to reach your goals. Still, Facebook advertising is relatively inexpensive and provides the added bonus of being able to target the specific audience you're trying to reach.
The truth is, Facebook advertising can help achieve a variety of goals such as building a targeted following, increasing visibility, and driving website traffic. Some attractive options for advertisers include:
- A choice of up to six different images to accompany the ad copy so you can monitor the results and choose the best image for meeting your goals.
- A variety of image choices such as your own photos or free photos from Shutterstock, which are helpful for those in service-based businesses, where strong visuals may be lacking.
- Ad placement options such as the newsfeed or the right column (or both) to determine which one can achieve the best results for your business
Facebook allows you to choose ad types based on the results you want to achieve. Here are two advertising options and some of the results we've seen.
Page Likes. This option positions the business to drive new 'likes' or fans to their page. I highly recommend this for those who are just starting out on Facebook and are creating a new fan page, or for when you feel it's time to reach a new audience. In fact, over the past few months, it's been the most effective way to increase likes on my own page as well as my clients' pages. You can set a daily spending limit (as low as $1/day) and target your audience based on characteristics such as age, gender, location, interests, and marital status.
In this new Facebook environment, it's important to put your best foot forward and call attention to what you want your new fans to see when they like the page. One tactic is to 'pin' a post to the top of your page. Pinning page content keeps that post at the top of the page for one week.
Page Post Engagement (Boosting). Boosting a post allows you to increase the post's visibility to either current fans or targeted non-fans (or both). I've boosted several of my own posts as well as posts for my clients. The cost starts at a minimum default of $5 (which you can change to a lesser amount once the ad is set up in the ads manager). According to Facebook insights, the boosted posts have increased reach, on average, by about twice as many people. I recommend only boosting posts that include a specific call to action such as asking your audience to attend an event, visit your website (and include the link) or sign-up for your newsletter.
It's too early to tell how much the boosts will pay dividends in the long-haul, but it's worth spending a few dollars to test the waters.
I think that a lot of small businesses are still getting used to the idea of spending money on Facebook. If you are committed to Facebook long-term, then I would say it's worth consideration. Strategically spending a few bucks can put a small business in a better position to succeed.
Photo Credit: Cheap Facebook Ads/shutterstock