Facebook plays a large role in many businesses' marketing strategies. Although business pages on the social networking site may have once been just a simple brand extension and a place where companies could connect with customers, it has become a dynamic advertising platform that can produce the same types of results as search engine optimization.
"Before last year, Facebook was all about what happened on Facebook," said Bob Buch, CEO of social advertising firm SocialWire. "Ad campaigns were about buying likes. In 2013, there was a major shift, and Facebook began tapping into direct-response advertisers [and marketing] products to custom audiences. This transformed their ability to drive traffic off-site."
Paid Facebook ads can be a huge source of traffic that ultimately leads to sales, but only when they're properly planned and executed. Buch advised social marketers to keep these three things in mind when planning Facebook ad campaigns: [Should Your Small Business Advertise on Facebook?]
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- Think of Facebook campaigns as search campaigns. Buch said companies should plan a Facebook campaign the same way they do SEO keyword campaigns. For example, a shoe company might purchase the keywords "riding boots" to have their ads appear to individuals searching for that term, rather than wasting money on untargeted ads that are unlikely to convert to sales. The same concept should apply to Facebook ads. When creating campaigns, you can work with a third-party partner to create a custom audience of people who have made purchases that are similar to your product or service.
- Keep your ads fresh. Running the same campaigns for your products and services over and over again will quickly get old to your Facebook audience, and that could make them hide your ads from their newsfeed. Keep customers interested by updating pictures and copy for your ads.
- Remember that customers don't come to Facebook to buy. When people Google a specific product or service, it's generally because they intend to purchase that item. But when people log on to Facebook, they're not there for the ads; they want to connect with their friends. The goal of any successful Facebook ad campaign is to grab potential customers' attention enough that they will either go back and Google your product later or, better yet, click through to your website right from Facebook.
Originally published on Business News Daily.