If you have been using Facebook to promote your business for a while, you will have noticed since October 2017 that the number of people who are seeing your posts has dropped by a rock in the deep blue sea. You may also have noticed though, that every now and again you post something that bucks the trend and is seen by loads of people – leaving you puzzled and scratching your head wondering why that particular post did so well, when the rest were barely seen by 200 people.

One thing we sometimes forget, is that Facebook is business A big business. It is not a public service, it is there to make money for its shareholders and it does that by selling ads. And none of us would be paying for ads, if we could reach all our potential customers for free.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Facebook needs to restrict how much success you are getting for free, if it’s ever going to coax you into spending money on ads!

Facebook wants and needs you ads to be a success for you. They know that if you are getting brilliant sales from your Facebook ads, that you will spend more and more on them.

Facebook knows that it can offer something that no other advertising model can offer – and that is the mechanism for you to create and pay for advertising that will only be seen by the precise and exact buyer profile that you know you need to reach.

Maybe you are a family law firm, and you specifically want to reach parents with children, within a close proximity of your office, who have identified themselves as ‘single’ (there’s a good chance those people may need legal support with access, custody or even divorce). You can set up your ads to be seen by those people.

Maybe you are a financial adviser, and you specifically want to promote your pensions advice to women, aged 48-55, with a higher than average net worth. You can specifically target those people.

Perhaps your business sells products or services for babies, children or parents with young families – you can create campaigns that are only seen by prospects who meet that exact requirement (Mothercare, take note!)

Facebook adverts

I come across a great many business owners who say to me “Facebook doesn’t work for us” and I just know that they cannot possibly be using it in the most effective way.

I am often told that “Facebook is no good for selling business to business” but this is also entirely true – they believe this because they have not been shown how to target their ads, so that they are only seen by owners of locals businesses.

However, setting up a great audience is only part of the process. This in itself is relatively useless, unless you know how to create compelling Ad content that will stand out from the crowd. That will make someone stop as they are scrolling. That will speak directly to the person you are trying to target and say to them “I know what you are looking for and I have it here. Come and take a look!”

Measuring the effectiveness of your ads is also vital. Many businesses I work with, approach me for help after spending a couple of hundred pounds on ads they have created themselves who feel that they have not gotten anything out of it. I ask them what they set out to achieve from it (website traffic, Ecommerce sales, email addresses, comments on their post, new likes… etc) and they say they don’t really know. Just “more sales”.

Facebook is a powerful and cost effective tool, but to do it successfully you need to have a clear objective and a way of measuring results. Setting up multiple, low budget (£1-2) campaigns and split testing the conversion is a great way to get started. But to do this effectively it should work alongside your Google Analytics – giving you visibility of the traffic and conversions you are getting from Facebook, allowing you to see which pages on your website are being viewed, which pages people exit from, which content they are most interested – allowing you to react pragmatically to convert that prospect into a buyer.

Join our Facebook Group and take a look at our Courses both of which help small business owners acquire accurate and helpful training – at a price they can afford.

We also set up and manage ad campaigns, for those who would prefer to hand it over to someone else.

With organic reach continuing decline and Facebook aggressively trying to push its business users into paying for ads, one might wonder how much longer businesses can continue to see a return from their Facebook page without accepting the need to parting with cash. For those businesses who jump on the Paid Ad train early, they have a golden opportunity to leap ahead of their competitors who are still relying on organic growth. They might have bigger audiences than you, but take a look at their posts – do they have thousands of ‘likes’ but only a handful of engagements on each post? If so, it is likely they are not paying for ads and in that case now is the time to strike!