By Kona Gallagher –
Loudoun, Virginia Economic Development
Chances are, you're one of more than one billion active users on Facebook. There's even a pretty good chance that your company is one of 25 million small business pages housed on the social
network – but are you taking full advantage of your Facebook presence?
In the face of Facebook's constantly changing algorithms, it's sometimes difficult to know if you're making an impact. Are you effectively reaching your current and potential customers, or
is your voice getting drowned out?
More than ever, Facebook page administrators are running into a recurring problem. You have a number of people who have taken the time to “like” your page, but when you post a message, it’s
only reaching a small percentage of those people. This is done by design: Facebook wants your advertising dollars, and they've created a system in which you need to pay to play.
While this seems discouraging, there's actually a silver lining: Facebook ads can be incredibly effective for small businesses –
at a fraction of the cost of traditional ads.
Think about it: you could spend $1,000 to run an ad in your weekly local paper, or $5,000 on an ad in a regional business journal. You would have decent local and regional reach, but whether
or not you'll actually receive a return on your investment is debatable. With Facebook, however, you can spend as much or as little as you'd like, and tailor your message specifically for your intended audience. You'll have instant metrics that tell you what's
working and what's not, giving you the ability to spend your advertising dollars in a laser-focused way.
Last year, after years of running traditional ads, Loudoun Economic Development decided to put some money into social media advertising. It was a fraction of our ad budget, designed to test
out this new advertising channel. We saw results almost immediately. Our Facebook posts were reaching more people, and our page was getting more “likes.” We were building our audience rapidly, and they were becoming more engaged with our message. In the first
month, we achieved a whopping 79 percent growth in Facebook “likes,” almost doubling our audience.
While being popular on Facebook is great, it shouldn't be your company's goal, nor was it ours. Success in social media advertising is based on people taking action beyond just “liking” your Facebook
For example, if you run a retail store and post a coupon on your Facebook page, you can measure success by how many purchases that turns into. For us, we measured success by how many people
were leaving our Facebook page and visiting our website. In our first month, we had a 53 percent increase in unique website visits. The month after, we increased
that number by an additional 43 percent! But here's the astounding statistic: the number of visitors who clicked through to our website from Facebook increased by 950 percent!
Not only were we building an audience, we were building an audience who cared about what we had to say –
and we didn't break the bank doing it.
To get started with an advertising campaign on Facebook, you can
go right to the source, or get more info first by reading “Effective Tips for Creating Successful Facebook Ads,”
or “The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads for Startups, Small Businesses and Nonprofits.”
Content contributed by Kona Gallagher of
Loudoun SourceLink, a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.