Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pondering Facebook Advertising - Part Two: Are You a Good Fit?

Last time I gave an overview of Facebook advertising and the basic difference between selling products versus services.
A key point is: You're sending people to your landing page. That landing page has a job to do. Don't confuse the Facebook Ad's success in getting people to CLICK with the landing page's success in getting them to take the next step (buy, fill out a form, pick up the phone, etc.).

The goal of your Facebook ad will be to get someone to click the ad. Period. After that, it's up to you.

So what works well on Facebook? Great question. Facebook is an interesting medium. In addition to having rich demographics, it's a generally fun place. And there are a variety of people online. As with all advertising, you have to look at

- Who is your target?
- How do you isolate them?
- How do you attract them?

We'll talk about those next time.

For now let's consider what you're trying to sell and whether it "fits" on Facebook.

What are you selling? More importantly, how can you present what you're selling? For the sake of argument, let's say you are a technical consultant selling the standard array of hardware, software, installation, maintenance (managed services), and cloud service offerings. Immediately you see that you have the same challenge here as with every other bit of marketing you've ever done: Your competition sells the same thing.

- - - - -
Disclaimer: This advice is NOT intended for big companies with big budgets. You can just buy as many ads as you want and place them over to the side. Your target will be inundated with your message until they click.

This advice is for companies with a smaller budget who aren't going to plaster Facebook.
- - - - -

If you sell yourself as a commodity, even on Facebook, then you're competing on price. Not a good strategy.

And it's worse on Facebook because the pages fly by, which means the ads fly by. Before you can say "We are a managed..." CLICK they're gone! So you need to stand out and you need to define either a Solution that people are looking for or address a Pain Point they want to get rid of.

Put that thought on hold for a moment while we consider who's doing this clicking. Again, you'll use demographics to narrow your market. You're not looking for the I.T. guy, right? He thinks you're going to replace him (probably true). You're not looking for every business on earth. You're not looking for everyone who works in a small business.

You are looking for business owners and decision makers who just happen to be cruising Facebook.

Unlike a magazine or an industry-specific web site, the audience on Facebook didn't wander in looking for work-related topics. They probably did not hit the search field and type in "computer help." No, they checked their profile, looked at the news feed, responded to a funny video, and commented on a friend's status.

They are "at home" in their environment and not really in the mood for you to knock on the door and hand them a business card.

Put yourself in that mindset. I've said many times that people don't like to be sold but they love to buy. That's doubly true on Facebook. Facebook is a medium that allows the participant to completely control what they see. Have you noticed that you can actually opt-out of an advertisement? See the same ad 1,000 times and never clicked? Make it go away and hope the next ad is more interesting.




See where this is going? Consider the mindset of the person cruising Facebook. Do they want cloud based offsite storage? Probably not . . . at least not right now in this context.

People aren't wandering Facebook looking for business solutions. They're wandering around relaxing, exchanging pleasantries, and joking around with friends. And, of course, business owners are also tuned into the networking, etc. But they're exercising emotions here, not looking for a rational answer to a problem.

So you need to figure out whether you can posistion your service to appeal to that mindset. Appeal to the emotional.

Luckily, this means humor is completely appropriate. Even anger. Graphics are good. Anything that can appeal to the non-rational part of the brain that's browsing Facebook looking for entertainment.

If you can't help yourself and everything you produce ends up as a list of features, then Facebook advertising is probably not for you. If you can appeal to the emotional side and offer up benefits or solutions, then it's worth exploring.

Reality Check
A few paragraphs back I defined you as a left-brained, linear-thinking, serial-processing techno-geek. If that's true, you need to get some help before placing ads on Facebook. You need to find other ads that work. You need to talk clients about why they click. You need to hire a right-brained person to help you appeal to the emotional side of your prospect.

Even if the person you're targeting is totally left-brained and linear/rational (and they probably are), those aren't the traits they're using when they're on Facebook. For this short period of time, they're soaking in the experience of the right brain, exploring and enjoying the experience. Meet them in that environment and you just might get a click!


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