This post (along with other posts and pages on this site) may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase from an affiliate link, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
Facebook is the first platform most people think of when they hear about social media.
- There are over 2.23 billion monthly active users worldwide on Facebook, as of June 30, 2018 (Source).
- The US only represents 12% of Facebook’s entire user base. (Source)
- 82% of US adults between the ages of 25-29 use Facebook, and 78% of adults between the ages of 30-49. (Source: Pew Internet, 2018 )
- 74% of Facebook users say they visit the site daily, with around half visiting several times a day. (Source)
- eMarketer estimates that U.S. adults spend an average of 25.29 minutes per day on Facebook. (Source)
- Over 70 million businesses are now using Facebook Pages (Source)
- 5 million businesses are actively using paid advertising on Facebook. (Source)
So, its pretty safe to say that your customers are probably ON Facebook. But does that make it the right place for your business? Here are some of the primary reasons people use Facebook:
- To foster a sense of belonging
- Organizing events
- Keeping track of birthdays
- Connecting with friends & family
Chances are, your customers are part of the billions of people who use Facebook.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that it’s the right place to connect with them. Let’s say you run into your doctor at the golf pro shop (or craft store – whatever floats your boat). Would you want them to come up and ask how that rash is doing? Probably not! That’s what it’s like when you try to connect with your clients in a place they’re not ready to find you.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before embarking on a Facebook business journey:
- Are my customers likely to want to connect? (If your product or service is for a sensitive issue, the answer to this may be no.)
- Do I help people reach their goals for using Facebook (i.e., foster sense of community or belonging, organizing events, connecting with friends and family?)
- Do I have time to keep a page updated and respond to comments? Remember, it’s better to have no presence than a lackluster one.
In the case that you can answer yes to all three of these questions then Facebook may be a good choice for you. The next thing to decide is if you’re going to have a personal page (that doubles as your Facebook page), a business page, or a group.
Facebook Personal Profiles
Facebook personal profiles are the heart of Facebook. They’re where we share our funny dog pictures and wish our old high school friends that we haven’t talked to in 15 years “Happy Birthday.” You can add friends and family members, communicate on a personal level, and share photos, videos, and life updates. While Facebook prohibits the use of personal profiles primarily for commercial gain, you can optimize your profile to encourage engagement with your business. If you are planning on engaging in Facebook Groups as part of your amplification strategy, then you’ll want to be sure that your profile helps to share your business message effectively.
- Easy to set up
- You probably already have one (and a built-in audience with it!)
- Good organic visibility (Facebook prioritizes posts from individuals over business page posts)
- Facebook prohibits people from using personal profiles primarily for commercial gain.
- Limited to 5000 “friends.”
- You’ll need to understand the privacy settings to keep things like your family vacation photos private from your business followers
- No customization – i.e., contest plugins, tabs, etc.
- No ability to advertise your personal page (Cannot run Facebook Ads)
- No analytics
Facebook Business Pages
A Facebook page allows people to connect with your business. A Facebook Page for your company gives you many similar benefits to a personal profile, with some added benefits. You can share photos, videos, and updates about your business. You can also enable Facebook Messenger to allow customers to interact with you directly. Plus, you’ll gain insights into analytics and re-target followers and site visitors with ads.
- No limit to the number of followers or fans
- Ability to advertise your page and leverage Facebook Offers
- Access to Facebook Insights (aka Analytics)
- Customization options with plugins, tabs, contests, etc.
- Share the responsibility of posting with admin roles
- Built-in scheduling options
- Vanity URL makes it easier to share/promote
- You have primary control over your brand presence
- Not all of your followers may see your posts (priority given to personal pages)
- Harder to grow organically
- Conversations between fans are more challenging to manage
Facebook groups can be opened by anyone, for almost any purpose. When a Facebook Group is part of your marketing strategy, it can be a powerful way to connect with your prospects and customers and build community. You will be able to showcase your expertise as you answer questions in front of your group of raving fans. However, creating a Facebook group does require a more significant time commitment than a profile or page, as you’ll need to consider how you grow the group, foster engagement, and manage the rules that you’ll need to enforce.
- Designed for collaboration and conversation, not just brand presence
- Group members can help drive engagement
- Share the responsibility of moderation with multiple admins
- Groups are more visible in the newsfeed than Pages
- You can share files in groups
- No add-ons for aesthetics or promotions
- No Facebook Insights or analytics
- No vanity URL
- May be difficult to find the group without having a direct link or knowing someone in the group
- Requires a higher level of governance, rule-making, and rule-enforcing since virtually anyone can post in the group
- It reduces your customer’s privacy – as a member of the group, they can see what all other group members are posting (and other group members can see what they post!) This is an essential thing to consider if your business is around a sensitive subject, including health and finance.
If you’re choosing Facebook as an amplification platform, then you’ll definitely want a Business Page. Not only do you maintain more control over your brand presence, you get access to page analytics and paid advertising options. You will need a Profile in order to create a Business Page – so you’ll end up with both.
Beyond the organic reach of a Facebook page or group, Facebook also offers advertising options. As of September 2018, Facebook offered 11 types of ads:
- Video: Share high quality video (ideally under 2 minutes, although Facebook will allow video up to 240 minutes!) to show off product or service features, drawing your audience in with sound and motion.
- Image: Drive people to destination websites and apps through high-quality visuals
- Collection: Encourage shopping and browsing by displaying selections from your product catalog – customized for each person.
- Carousel: Can’t decide? Showcase up to 10 images or videos within a single ad, each with a unique link
- Slideshow: Slideshow ads are a hybrid of video and image ads – they play and capture attention like a video, but are easier to create with still images and stock photography.
- Instant Experiences: Formerly known as Canvas, Instant Experiences are full-screen rich media ads that create an immersive environment, like a storefront or lookbook.
- Lead Generation Ads: Lead generation is an add-on feature to image, video or carousel ads. Facebook will show a lead generation form when someone engages with the ad.
- Offers: Share discounts with your customers with the offer add-on to image, video or carousel ads.
- Post Engagement: Post engagement may be one of the most common beginner ad formats on Facebook where you simply boost one of your existing Facebook posts to drive higher engagement.
- Event Responses: Promote awareness and drive attendance at your event using an image or video ads.
- Page Likes: Need more likes on your Business Page? These ads that leverage video or image formats encourage likes and followers – giving you an increased reach over time.
Targeting: Facebook has three ways to reach your target audience.
- Core audiences: Select your audience manually using characteristics like age, gender, relationship status, interests, and location.
- Custom Audiences: With Custom Audiences, you can find your existing customers and contacts. You can reach them by uploading a contact list, retargeting people who visit your website, or existing users of your mobile app.
- Lookalike Audiences: Take your custom audiences a step farther with lookalike audiences and target people with similar characteristics and interests.
Pricing: Most Facebook ads are sold in an auction on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis. When you set up your ad, you’ll set your budget for the campaign as well as your target CPA.
Facebook uses a complex algorithm to determine who sees which ads, including how well your targeting meets the user and anticipated user experience with the ad – not just your target CPA. The cost billed to you is also a hybrid, so don’t be surprised when the charges don’t match up exactly with either your low or high bid.