Facebook is the undisputed giant of the social media world. With nearly 17 Million monthly active users as of August 2017, it has absolutely enormous reach globally.
This massive potential for reach is not the only factor that makes Facebook advertising an attractive option. It is relatively easy to get started in, can help you target very specific audiences, provides fairly in-depth analytics, and can be a cost effective tool for any size budget.
Done right, Facebook advertising can help you effectively reach the right market, without diluting your brand.
That said, using Facebook advertising means you are targeting people through a platform that many consider a private sphere for day-to-day communications – so the potential for coming off as intrusive or annoying is one that needs to be examined and avoided.
Brand Dilution Through Over Use or Expansion
A brand can become diluted when it is overused or when it is used in a manner that alienates consumers from the positive emotions they have felt for the brand in the past.
These issues require poor marketing decisions independent of your Facebook campaign, but it is worth noting that you need to have a good understanding of the essence of your brand before you undertake your Facebook advertising.
You should establish what your brand represents for current and potential customers so that you can use the right messaging and imagery for your Facebook ads.
For example, marketing giants like Nike seek to create an association with their brand that extends beyond just the products themselves and to a lifestyle or attitude (‘just do it’). This way, their campaigns have cohesion and consumers have one uniform concept – or essence – to identify with.
If you get this wrong by conducting a fragmented campaign with no central message, Facebook advertising has the potential to dilute your brand by reaching a huge number of people with a message that does nothing for (or even damages) your brand.
A bad ad is a bad ad, no matter the format, but in a worst-case scenario, a misjudged or bungled ad on Facebook has the potential to go viral.
Keeping this in mind, once you do find out what attracts consumers to your brand, you can avoid any campaign elements that do not align with their expectations, and can use Facebook to strengthen your brand by reinforcing the identified positive ideas and feelings.
According to The Theory of Effective Frequency, consumers need at least three exposures to a campaign to be positioned to react – “Curiosity”, “Recognition” & “Decision”.
Positive and Negative Social Media Experiences and Your Brand
Social media platforms don’t just allow consumers to feel positive or negative emotions towards ads, but to react both publicly and immediately.
This interactive aspect does pose some risks, for example frustrated consumers can post damaging comments that may influence others, and thanks to recent changes, are even able to leave an ‘angry face’ emoticon as a one-click reaction.
These negative experiences can, for the most part, be avoided with the right advertising approach, and when they do happen being smart and courteous in response will minimise the damage – and even potentially strengthen your brand or company’s reputation.
Importantly, the opportunity for consumers to react and interact positively with your company or product on Facebook outweighs these negatives, with paid advertising significantly boosting your ‘organic’ reach.
One feature of paid Facebook ads that is worth examining here is the option to place your ad in the newsfeed, right-hand column, or both.
Ad Placement Options
Ads in the right-hand column do not offer Facebook users the option to directly comment, ‘like’, or react. On the plus-side, this means that you will not need to monitor and respond to comments, but it also means people won’t be able to tag their friends, share the post directly via their timeline, or ‘like’ the ad, leading to their network potentially seeing it.
Right-hand column ads will, however, take users directly to your website’s home page or a product page with a single click.
An eye-catching image combined with a single tagline is all you need for these type of ads, and a major benefit is that (for some web browsers) the right-hand column ads scroll down with the user as they move down their newsfeed, remaining in view until they click through to another page.
Newsfeed placement for your paid advertising, unlike right-hand column, allows users to respond to and interact with your ads much like they would with posts from their Facebook friends and pages they follow.
You will need to monitor and respond to comments, but this will give you opportunities to connect directly with customers and prospective customers.
You will also be able to ask any Facebook users posting complaints to contact you via private message or email, hopefully diffusing any negative situation and demonstrating to other users that you take your customers and product seriously (it is worth having something in writing in the ‘about’ section of your Facebook page explaining that you reserve the right to delete any abusive or aggressive comments or posts).
Selecting newsfeed placement when you set up your ad campaign will also give you more space, so select really good quality images. You will have more space for text as well, but where text is concerned it is important to remember that less is more.
Newsfeed ads also give you options for the ‘call to action’ button, such as ‘learn more’ or ‘like page’ options. This means that as well as enabling users to comment, share, like or visit your page, newsfeed ads can direct them with a suggested one-click action that suits your current advertising goal.
The most important placement option when you are creating new ads is the mobile selection. With ever increasing use of mobile devices for social media and web browsing across most, if not all demographics, there is great value in having you ad showing in Facebook’s mobile app.
Like the newsfeed option, mobile ads appear as posts when users are scrolling through their feed, and you will reach current and new customers while they are commuting, on holiday, or checking their feed on their phone or tablet while relaxing away from a computer.
For both mobile and newsfeed options you can upload a number of images per ad, and users can scroll through to see these without having to click through.
Multiple images has potential to get users actively engaging with your content right in their newsfeed, and also means that with a good understanding of your target market you can choose a small range of images that will relate specifically to different demographics within this market.
You should carefully consider how you use this feature, however, as you don’t want the extra images distracting from your messaging, presenting an inconsistent brand identity, or overwhelming users.
Keeping Your Ad Campaigns Fresh
The Facebook ads manager app is a user-friendly interface for managing your ads and campaigns, and will allow you to make changes to your ads, your targeting, or create new campaigns and ads quickly and easily.
While including a number of images in a single ad, as mentioned above, is one way to make your ads less repetitive and better engage Facebook users, you will be better off dedicating time to creating all-new ads with a single image (or at most 2-3 images), and changing up the wording of your ad text.
Try running an ad for a week before changing it; once you have run a number of ads you can refresh and reuse them in rotation.
The ads manager app allows you to create campaigns, and then create ‘ad sets’ within each campaign. Ad sets can be activated, or deactivated and saved easily, with all of the ads in a campaign visible and accessible in one place, as well as their key reach and budget stats.
Quality Content and Post Boosting
Paid Facebook advertising shouldn’t replace quality content posted regularly on your brand’s Facebook page, but should work alongside posts that offer insights into your business, product or industry, helping your audience feel connected to your brand.
Your advertising should expand the number of people who follow your page and see your regular posts in their newsfeed.
Your ‘organic reach’ (the number of people who see your posts by following your page or seeing their network interact with you page and posts) is a fantastic advertising tool in itself and growing this should be a key aim of your Facebook advertising strategy.
Modern consumers, and social media users in particular, are overloaded with advertising and images every day, so it is worth considering spending some money with a social media specialist to help your posts (not just your paid advertising) stand out.
‘Boosting’ posts allows you to push the reach of any of your regular posts using the ‘boost post’ button you can find on each post to your business page. You can also assign individual posts from your page with an advertising budget and target audience.
You don’t need to have planned to boost a post in advance, so if you notice one of your posts is generating a lot of engagement or interest you can maximise its success by spending a little of your advertising budget to increase its reach.
Trial and Improvement
Facebook’s paid advertising user-friendliness and on-the-go flexibility is great news for those looking to create effective advertising for their business, even with a limited budget.
While paying to have professional-looking content and images developed will certainly help, the scalability of Facebook marketing means you can easily do it yourself if you’re just starting out.
The Ads Manager app allows you to target audiences from extremely niche to incredibly broad, estimate ad reach in advance, and then provide a wealth of feedback and insight on your campaign’s performance.
While you should aim to gain a good understanding of your brand and consumer base before advertising, paid Facebook advertising will allow you to fine-tune an advertising approach that strengthens your brand as you go.
To sum up, make sure you keep your content and paid advertising fresh by using a rotating schedule, boost your ordinary content to maximize its effectiveness, and leverage your organic reach to ensure you are getting the most out of your Facebook presence.