Is Facebook Advertising Worth it?

Facebook is free, isn’t it?  Well, if you’re a user yes – accounts are free and you sign up at no charge.  If you’re a marketer – yes it’s free too.  You can get a page set up for your company or brand at no charge.  The question I get the most from small business owners is: after I sign up, how do I get people to like my page?

Let’s remember one thing: Facebook is a business.  They have spent lots of time and even more money trying to monetize the service and rake in some serious cash.  Is it working? Yes, it is – big time.  Forget all the chatter about their sloppy IPO, Facebook is getting better at making money and with a global reach of 1.01 billion (!!) monthly active users there’s no stopping this freight train.   As CNBC put it, Facebook is a money machine, and if you are looking to market your company, their advertising platform is a way to get this money machine working for you.

Facebook’s advertising platform puts all that personal data you’ve shared with Facebook to work for the marketers that are trying to reach you (See?  Nothing is really free, is it!).  Did you recently get engaged and update your relationship status?  Get ready for all the ads you see to be from wedding-related businesses.  Have knitting as one of your interests?  I bet you see ads from crafting companies.

So, if you’re a small business – is Facebook advertising worth the money?  Consider this: for a few hundred dollars (or even less) you can directly target people in your city, neighborhood (in some cases), gender, age and more.  You can target your fans, your fans and their friends, or users you have yet to connect with.

For example: in October, Thrifty Foods opened our second location in the Courtenay/Comox area.  At the store opening, we had a little fun with a giant pumpkin – wheeling it in on a gurney as a tie-in with the hospital foundation that benefits from the sale of our pumpkins around Halloween.  When photos were posted to Facebook, we ran a sponsored story of the first photo.  For about $150, this photo was seen in the newsfeed of 74% of people who are on Facebook in that area and the photo got 228 likes, 28 comments and 18 people shared it with their friends.

It’s a great photo (which helps), but it certainly opened my eyes to the benefits of Facebook advertising – and it’s so reasonably priced for the reach.   You can set a budget large or small, by day or week, and spend as little or as much as you wish.  You can create a campaign to encourage likes to your page or highlight specific posts.  Even for the smallest of businesses, I would encourage you to add it to the mix.  More and more, you’ll need to advertise to increase your reach on Facebook (and yes, by all accounts they are making it that way on purpose).

Sarah Roberts

Sarah Marlayne Roberts is a public relations and digital media strategist based in Victoria, BC. She has extensive marketing, social media, public relations, and special events experience from her work in television (CTV Television, Canadian Idol, Juno Awards, The Bachelor Canada) and with some of Canada’s most vibrant brands including The Edmonton Oilers, the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company and now, Thrifty Foods. Her focus at Thrifty Foods is on the company’s digital presence including the web and social channels, working to reflect the in-store experience online. In her spare (?!) time, Sarah also blogs about pop culture and other stuff you shouldn’t live without at STUFF by Sarah and works with small business clients on maximizing their online presence.

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