It used to be that organizations would launch a Facebook page, invite some friends, post a little bit, and see organic growth. That was back before Facebook went public. Their main interest was building a user base, and monetizing their user base was secondary. When the user base got into the hundreds of millions and the next logical step was an IPO, Facebook needed to show revenue. And their ad platform has been rather effective in doing so.
At this point, a Facebook post will show to about 2% of your Page’s audience. This means if you have 30,000 “likes,” a whopping 600 people are likely to see it. And while 600 views isn’t horrible, the chances are you spent a good amount of money getting those 30,000 likes… meaning that your cost per impression is higher now than it should be. So what can you do about that? I’ll give you a simple example.
The small town in which I live in New Hampshire isn’t all that small (20,000 people, depending on the season). We don’t have a town newspaper to speak of (two weeklies - why two, I’ll never know) and the readership of these free papers is questionable at best. There is no town center to speak of, save for the town “transfer station” (read: dump) where, oddly enough, political candidates stop by during election season for that reason.
There is an over-30 basketball league in town with a rather limited budget. We don’t like to spend cash on advertising as all of the funds raised by the league go to benefit town parks and schools, so we need to be smart about what we do. The solution: a Facebook campaign at all adults over 30 who self-identify as residents of the town. (Why all adults, you ask? Just in case another household member says something like “Hey honey, have you heard about the basketball league?”)
The results from a few hours of tweaking along the way and about $80 in ad spend: 26 conversions (sign ups) at $225 per, or an ROI over 7,000%. (And for the unenlightened - yes, you can track conversions, all the way through the payment process. It’s beautiful for a CPA turned marketing guy like me.)
How does this apply for you? First of all, you can target your Facebook content to specific geographies, interests, age, gender… you name it. I don’t think this was Zuck’s intent when he started Facebook from his dorm room, but somewhere along the line the “like” turned into the most valuable weapon in Facebook’s armamentarium. Second, you can determine if Facebook is even a logical channel for you by testing content among specific demographics. (No, Facebook isn’t where everyone needs to be - there are many organizations for whom it’s just not a good fit).
Will Facebook advertising targeting work for everyone? Not necessarily. But if you know your target market and offer them relevant content, you’ve got a good chance. Just keep your eye on your goals and watch your campaign as it goes.