Facebook provides your travel practice with a variety of advertising vehicles for promoting your page. Like all advertising, one of the key objectives, and difficulties, is converting your advertising dollars into a measurable return. I have experimented with a number of different Facebook advertising vehicles with great success in terms of generating Likes and Engagement. I am less confident of the success in our monetization of those metrics into actual revenue, however. Nevertheless, I am impressed the the ability on Facebook to target and reach a demographic of people. I suggest some small investments by those of you willing to experiment and would love to hear any feedback on your own experiences.
Firstly, don’t feel you must jump right into paid advertising. While you can limit your daily spend and exposure, it is still very important to have a plan laid out and a method of testing and measuring your results. Read as much of Facebook’s own materials on paid advertising as well as excellent resources such as http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com.
A good place to begin your tutorial on Facebook advertising is http://www.facebook.com/business. You will find a wealth of information on Facebook’s tools and various strategies. Because these resources are so complete, I’ll not replicate their information here. Instead, I will point to the two or three techniques I have used to build the Fan audience at www.facebook.com/travelhoppers.
The step by step guide to advertising at http://www.facebook.com/business/connect describes several types of ads from which you can choose. I have had most success with a standard ad seeking Likes on my page. Facebook allows you to target people who have already expressed a Like for particular pages or topics. For example, you can target people who like “Traveling” “Culinary” and “Anthony Bourdain”. Most often, I further refine my target by choosing to select only the friends of people who have already Liked my Page, as this provides instant credibility in the form of a “testimonial” from a friend.
On the Page you wish to promote, there are a number of ways to get to the page where you create an ad. You can get there through the Admin Panel or you will likely see an icon like the one displayed here next to your cover graphic. When a viewer clicks on the ad you create, you can choose the destination to which they will be taken. Thus, you can have them go to your Facebook Page, or to your Website or to a landing page you have created. For now, let’s have them go to your Facebook Page.
The Create an Ad section will step you through the process of creating your ad. Depending on your travel practice you may choose from a wide variety of possible strategies. In future columns we will explore possible individual strategies for various types of practice. If you already have Fans, you can target only Friends of Fans. Using geographical limitations like the United States or people who have Liked your hometown are other worthwhile considerations. You can set a bottom limit on the age of the demographic targeted to keep people too young to be deciding on travel plans from clicking your ads.
You can set an absolute cap on the amount of money you spend a day. Go with a low limit as you experiment, perhaps $10.00 and set a limit on the number of days to only a single day. This will give you an opportunity to analyze your results. A final setting will be to select either “clicks” or “views” as the metric by which you are charged. I use “clicks” as a more definitive measure of results.
The price you pay for an ad on Facebook is determined by auction. The secret to getting results is to experiment and test. The possibilities are many and the varieties of demographics nearly so.
Don’t begin to advertise on Facebook, or anywhere else for that matter, until you have spent the time necessary to read and study the tools and develop a set of strategies and tactics against which you can measure and test.