If you use Facebook you will have noticed the winds of change blowing through the site over the past few months particularly new ‘timeline’ page layout. You now have the full width image across the top, a smaller profile shot to the bottom left of that and room for some top line information about yourself. The timeline itself runs in reverse chronological order down the page.
If you are a business owner and want to create a page for your business, it works in the same way – in fact the layout is perhaps better suited to a business. The main headline shot is perfect for a relevant brand related image, the profile shot is for a company logo, the ‘about’ section allows for a short introduction to your business (see below for a little known grocer’s page). The timeline allows you to make posts and interact with your audience.
Facebook gives businesses three ways to market themselves. They can 1) create a page, 2) create an ad or sponsored story and if they are feeling adventurous they can 3) create a platform which transforms their website into a Facebook friendly social experience. Most people are familiar with creating a page so I will focus number 2 for this introduction.
Say you own a small chain of upmarket wine stores in the Birmingham area called Theodore Wines (posh enough?) and want to use Facebook to promote your business. What might your Facebook Marketing Plan look like?
These need to be clearly defined. You might use Facebook to build brand awareness (e.g. by encouraging people to ‘like’ your page) or you might want to grow sales. Theodore Wines decide on the following:
1) Increase footfall in their stores by 10% over the next 3 months
2) Quantify the source of the extra footfall (i.e. the Facebook campaign).
They already have a Facebook page with 650 ‘likes’ but need to extend awareness beyond their existing ‘fans’ to achieve their objectives. They will drive prospects to a landing page on their website to drive the next action.
This is critical, especially considering the nature of the product and the campaign objectives. The sensible approach would be to build a profile of existing in-store customers and work from there. Facebook allows targeting of ads by location, education and work information, age, gender, age, gender, likes and interests and so on. Theodore Wines will target Facebook users with the following profile:
- Aged 40 – 60
- Live in Birmingham, UK
- List any of the following as interests – ‘Wine, cookery, fine dining, entertaining’.
- University educated
Once they have entered that information, Facebook would provide an estimated ‘reach’ which is an estimate of how many people would see the advert. They may then change the targeting criteria to increase or decrease the potential size of the audience. They may need to broaden these criteria to increase their reach.
Design an engaging advert
Accurate targeting is important but the campaign will not achieve its objectives without an engaging advert. They decide the following:
Title – ‘Love wine? Discover Birmingham’s finest purveyors’
Body copy – ‘Visit one of Theodore Wine’s 6 Birmingham stores to enjoy a free wine tasting event.’
Image – a shot of a couple within the target age range enjoying a glass of wine
Remember, the objective is in-store footfall and Theodore Wine’s is a premium brand. Rather than simply offering discounts they decide to encourage people to attend an in-store event to sample their wines. Prospects clicking through will go to a specific campaign landing page and enter their name and email address. Theodore Wines will then email them back with details of their nearest tasting event and customers will print the email or quote a unique code to gain entry to the event.
Managing the advertising budget
Theodore Wines have a budget of £3000 for the campaign. Facebook provide two ways of paying for the campaign – CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per impression). They decide on the former and set a daily maximum budget of £300. They then need to select a bid-price for their click thoughs. This is not an exact science because bid amounts will fluctuate depending on how many other businesses are targeting the same demographic. Facebook suggests a bid amount of £1.20 per click but as the campaign progresses Theodore Wines discover that an average bid amount of £1.05 allows them to achieve the desired number of click throughs.
Theodore Wines soon learn that they need to monitor their click through volumes and bid amounts on a daily basis to ensure that their ad is being served and that they are generating a sufficient number of click throughs. They soon realise that this requires a little more work than a traditional off the page advert but there is also more in-depth information on the performance of the campaign.
Learn and improve
Facebook provides some very useful information about the performance of the campaign. Everyday a member of staff is responsible for reviewing the following:
- Volume of impressions – the number of times the ad has been ‘served’ on a Facebook page.
- Volume of click throughs – the number of prospects who have clicked through to the campaign landing page.
- Prospect demographics – the number of click throughs against the various targeting criteria selected.
- Number of visits to the landing page
- Number of prospects entering name and email address
- Number of prospects visiting each of the wine tasting events.
- Amount spent on wine at each event.
- Overall increase in in-store footfall over 3 months.
As the campaign progresses they will use their learning to improve the targeting of the campaign as well as testing different versions of the advert. They soon learn that continually using campaign performance information to improve the campaign is the key to success.
Ultimately, the final ROI will define whether the campaign was a success but without a clear marketing plan the campaign would be unlikely to achieve its objectives. How many companies clearly plan their Facebook campaigns? On the right is a list of the ads that were served on my page this morning. Of the four you can see I would only consider clicking on the bottom one because it is targeted at me based on a specified interest. Perhaps the Right Guard could have been targeted more effectively. There must be hundreds of thousands of Stone Roses fans on Facebook but I have not listed them as a band I like. I use deodorant but who doesn’t? Take a look at the ads served on your page. How many are obviously targeted at you?
Clearly, Facebook offers some exciting marketing possibilities but companies looking to use these need to remember the marketing truth that badly targeted adverts don’t work. Some companies are running very successful Facebook campaigns so maybe internet advertising can work after all. If it’s planned properly that is…