3 Benefits of Facebook Ads

It is no secret that Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world with over 1 billion users.  Can you imagine just being able to reach out to a fraction of those 1 billion users to tell them about your business? 3 Benefits of Facebook Ads What would that do for your business?  If utilized properly the benefits Facebook Ads provide to businesses are endless and will drive the right type of potential customers to your website’s door.  Here are 3 amazing benefits Facebook Ads provide for small and large businesses alike.

  1. Retargeting

What is retargeting?  Also known as “remarketing,” retargeting is when online advertising uses information from a previous web search to influence ads on future websites visited.  How does this work?  When a user visits other websites, a cookie is created on their computer with that website’s data.  Later on, that same user visits Facebook like they do several times a day.  Facebook is able to read those cookies and use that information to place ads from the websites the user was previously on that day or days before.  Keeping product engagement after the consumer has left your website is a huge benefit Facebook Ads offer your business.  It’s the very reason you see ads for the products you recently searched for.  And, this benefit is available to all businesses using Facebook’s advertising platform.

  1. Audience Engagement

Facebook users share mostly everything about themselves over their profiles. It is the easiest way for users to tell their friends what is going on in their lives.  If they’re happy, sad, overwhelmed, where they are going on their next vacation, or something as simple as they are sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  This real-time data is insanely valuable to marketers and is used by Facebook’s algorithm to direct the appropriate Facebook Ads, giving businesses the opportunity to get in front of these users at the most opportune moments.  In addition, Facebook has many different variables available to the marketer to target, including age, gender, income, location, and most importantly interests.

  1. Word-of-Mouth

For decades word-of-mouth has been considered the best form of advertising for businesses.  If potential consumers hear good things from their friends and family they are more likely to try the product or service.  When a user clicks the like button on a product or service page, that action is shared with all of their friends.  Instead of the user only telling their core group of friends that they like something they are telling a large extended network of friends.  Take a look at how many Facebook friends you have that is how many are going to see that you like “XYZ” product, if only a portion of your friends look at that and like it as well you are hitting a customer base you never could have imagined.

The benefits of social media marketing should never be undervalued, and nowhere is that more important than with the benefits Facebook Ads provide.  There is an old advertising quote “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  Facebook has changed the way you advertise your business, instead of blindly putting ads out in the public hoping for a response.  They put your ads in front of the people who are looking for products and services that you offer and those consumers share that information with all their Facebook friends.  Making the benefits of Facebook Ads go way beyond just one click.


Have you been successful with Facebook ads? What made your Facebook ad so successful?

What the #? Hashtags are Coming to Facebook

Facebook HashtagsIn every class and presentation I do, I always tell people to keep Twitter and Facebook separate.  They use two different languages.  Facebook is all about “natural language”.  We post the way we speak.  We use full sentences, and have posts that can go on for paragraphs.  Twitter is the complete opposite.  It’s all about brevity.  After all, you need to fit everything into 140 characters (and we recommend only using 120 to allow for retweets).  That includes any links, and hashtags that you may use.

What is a “Hashtag”?

In it’s basic form, a “hashtag” is an organizational tool.  It is a way to search for tweets that have a common topic or idea.  For example, if you search Twitter for #HungerGames or #Bacon, you will get every tweet that uses these hashtags, and would be able to follow conversations and find out who says what about a certain topic.  Anything can be a hashtag, and no-one owns them.  While teaching my class at Hofstra University on Digital and Social Media, I use the hashtag #HofstraDigital so that the students can communicate through Twitter, and with me, on any topic they wish.

In addition, if you use social dashboards like Hootsuite, you can set up columns for specific hashtags to follow, and you will see all tweets using that hashtag in an organized fashion.

Hashtags can also be found on other social networks, including Pinterest, GooglePlus, and Instagram, and I’ve even seen them on T.V. shows, so that people can follow the conversation about the show in real-time (#thefollowing, #BigBangTheory).

So, it would seem a natural progression that hashtags would move to Facebook, where over 1 billion users visit daily.

Should I Care?

In short, yes.  Hashtags are coming.  There is no way to stop this.  They are a great tool to organize conversations and topics.  But, I don’t think it will change the way people interact with Facebook, at least not in the short term.  People are used to longer posts, and that won’t change with the use of hashtags.  They would be embedded within the posts.  An example could read:

I can’t believe that #target is not going to match their on-line price with their in store price for me.  That is #badbusiness.

This would allow Facebook’s Graph Search tool to offer up conversations around hashtags, when searching for the store “Target” or the phrase “Bad Business”.

This will also allow businesses to search around terms that they feel would be relevant to their business.  Target, for instance, would find this post by searching #Target, as would anyone else, who could then join in the conversation.

It would become a great way to engage in a conversation around a specific topic, and allow you a broader reach than just your friends or fans.

Facebook could even go so far as to offer a dedicated page for hashtag searches, where people can save specific terms to be constantly updated (GooglePlus offers this).  It may allow deeper and more meaningful conversations among people, and create new relationships.

Facebook could even begin to roll out a new advertising platform that would appear only on these hashtag pages, where advertisers could directly target people searching specific words or phrases.  It would bring a more targeted audience to your brand.

In the end, there is no stopping the hashtag, whether you #love it or whether you #hate it, it will begin to show up in our news feeds.  Why not #embracethehorror?

What do you think?  Do you #like them or #hate them?  Sound off below.

 

Resources:

3 Changes to Facebook Pages: Replies, Cover Photos, Hashtags

Hashtags: from Twitter to Facebook

Facebook Plans to Introduce Hashtags, Reports Say

Facebook Working on Incorporating the Hashtag

The Ever Changing Facebook

New Facebook News FeedI’ve been writing this blog for for almost 3 years, and it seems that I’ve written about changes to Facebook at least once every few months.  This month is no different.  On Thursday, March 7, 2013, Facebook announced drastic changes to its newsfeed.  They have decided to unify the newsfeed across all devices, desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile, and to provide a better “newspaper” like experience, providing “all the news that you want to see.”

In addition, Facebook will begin to sort the newsfeed chronologically, and will place a greater emphasis on pictures and videos.  In fact, they are increasing the size of the newsfeed, and decreasing the size of the two sides.  There is also talk that they are removing the ticker from the right side, and that sponsored stories are now going to be placed within the newsfeed, as they currently do, only bigger.

The question remains, how does it affect business?

The biggest change for businesses will be the increased size of posts, pictures and videos, but a decrease in screen real estate where ads currently reside.  But, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since Facebook is unifying the look across all platforms, ads will begin to appear in their mobile apps.

BUT, Facebook is also introducing (or re-introducing) sub-feeds, where you can organize your newsfeed according to specific criteria.  Through the new “all friends” feed, users will be able to see only those updates that their friends have posted.  There will be no updates from business pages at all.  Users can even focus their newsfeed to their closest friends, excluding all others.

Facebook is also going to implement feeds specifically related to photos and music, which may be a boon for advertisers within these respective genres.  They can target their ads to only show up for users within these respective feeds, which may lead to greater engagement.

They are also implementing a new “following” feed, which will aggregate all the stories from the brands that you follow, and also will show ads from all brands.

So, will these new changes be accepted, or will their one billion users revolt, as happens whenever a change is implemented?  Only time will tell.  What do you think of these changes?  Will they affect your use of Facebook?  Will they affect brands ability to connect with you?

 

Resources

Facebook Newsroom

The NEW Facebook News Feed: Everything You Need to Know

What Facebook’s New News Feed Means for Marketers

Facebook’s new News Feed: Bigger is Better

Hands On With the New Facebook

Facebook Takes on Google with Graph Search

Facebook Graph SearchEver since I started using Facebook, I’ve never found their search function very useful.  Results were never exactly what I was looking for, and my attempts at locating useful information left me empty-handed.  I always looked to Google to find exactly what I was looking for.  Despite the recent article outlining a great Facebook search “trick” earlier this week (see Facebook Introduces ‘Graph Search’, but this Search Secret Already Helps Marketers), Facebook really had no handle on search.

Now, that all changes.

What is Graph Search?

Graph Search allows users to search for anything connected with them through their “social graph”.  This new search tool basically searches through everything you have ever done on Facebook, and everything your friends have done and shared publicly, and answers your search requests with that information.  Facebook is going to give you the exact information that it thinks you want, based upon your connections within the site.

For example, if you search Google for restaurants, you will get many pages of restaurants that may or may not fit what you are looking for.  Search Facebook for “restaurants my friends like” and you will get very specific results, based upon your friends “likes” and comments.  Based upon the theory that we “trust” our friends on Facebook, these results will more likely result in a purchase, or a visit.

This is great for business.

If you are a small business with an optimized Facebook page, and lots of connections, Graph Search will customize results to the individuals that are searching based upon their connections, and not any SEO tricks and not based upon the popularity of your site.

More importantly, as research has shown, consumers are 71% more likely to choose a product or service when a friend recommends it to them within social media (see Consumers 71 percent more likely to buy based on social media referrals).  Word of mouth marketing is alive and well!  Remember, people do business with people that they know, like, and trust.  And, if a Facebook friend has used, recommended, or “liked” a business, there is an inherent level of trust in that recommendation.  And, that is the information that will be served through Graph Search.

In addition, businesses with a physical location may benefit most from Graph Search.  Especially if they encourage people to “check in” to the location.  This will provide Facebook more information to provide your friends searching for similar businesses.

In order for graph search to meet its full potential Facebook business page users will need to make sure that their information is complete, including the address, and make sure that the category your page is in is the correct one for your business.  You don’t want your jewelry company being listed as a non-profit, now do you?  The more information you provide on your business page, the more accurate the search results will be.  In addition, the more people that check-in or “like” your page, the more likely it will show up when searched for.

How do I get Graph Search?

Right now, it is only in beta, but you can apply for Graph Search by signing up for an invite.  I signed up two days ago, and received my Graph Search today!

So, are you impressed?  Does this fill a need you had?  Will you use it?  Let’s discuss it in the comments!

 

Resources:

 

Introducting Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search: The Experts Speak

Is This The Facebook Search We’ve Been Waiting For?

Facebook Graph Search: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Social Network’s Big Announcement

How Graph Search can help users see the world through different lenses

How Facebook’s Graph Search Impacts Small Businesses

Facebook Changes Privacy – For the Better?

Facebook Banner PrivacyThis past Wednesday, Facebook unveiled changes to their privacy settings, and as usual, this has caused quite a stir amongst their 1 billion users.  But are these changes something we should worry about, or is Facebook making our privacy a bigger part of their plan?  Only time will tell.

For now, we are left with the changes that will be occurring over the next few weeks, as they roll out to their full membership.

And, what are the changes that we will see?

Most importantly, members will no longer be able to hide their profile from Facebook’s search function.  Until these changes take effect, users who didn’t want to be found via Facebook’s own search function had the opportunity to “hide” themselves, so that they would not come up when people searched on their names.  According to Facebook, this was not a feature that was well-known or used by a large percentage of people (“a single-digit percentage”), however it was available should people want the benefits of Facebook without being “found”.

Another change will be a refreshed Activity Log, which is where you can review all posts, comments, likes, and shares you’ve made since you joined Facebook.  Now, there will be more information about your personal data, photos and status updates spread across Facebook.  In addition, they are rolling out a new Request Removal Tool that will help you ask people that have uploaded photos of you to remove them.

In addition, Facebook will be providing information about content you have chosen to hide from your Timeline, and whether that information may still appear in other news feeds and searches.  This is especially helpful if you have shared something and later decide to remove it.  This new notice will show you who else may have shared the content, and where it is still visible.

The final change will be the context menus where privacy settings will live.  Currently, the settings are spread about several different menus, depending on what content you are looking to secure.  Going forward, the privacy settings will be called Privacy Shortcuts, and will be a single, organized menu where adjustments can be made.

All of these changes, except our ability to hide our profile, will make it easier to control what is seen and by whom.  And Facebook is taking an active role in helping us see where our content is visible, including pictures and videos.

What do you think of the changes?  Are they for the better?  Worse?  Does it matter?  Let’s talk.

 

Resources:

Facebook Changes Privacy Settings

Facebook Changes Privacy Controls, Forces Users to be Searchable

Here’s What the New Facebook Privacy Settings Will Look Like