Did you know that writing a column that has the word “Facebook” in its title will trigger daily phone calls and emails from their marketing team? It’s not rocket science I guess, but is something I didn’t consider when writing my last column for Travel Agent Diaries telling of my intention to work on social media marketing.
Within hours of the post going live, I received the first phone call from a live person asking if I would like some help with ads on Facebook. What surprised me most was the live person when I listened to the voicemail; and it was a little flattering, but then the truth sank in and it was definitely creepy. Creepy because of the speed and efficiency with which this massive enterprise focused on me, a lonely home-based travel agent who mentions she might want to spend a few bucks on ads to promote a trip. Imagine what this kind of private sector speed and efficiency would do for the IRS or the NSA considering their technology—really creepy! What I realized is that Facebook is a powerful, well-oiled machine intent on making a profit and that’s not to be taken lightly.
I’ve read a number of recent articles explaining why Facebook ads simply are not worth the money and they fed my skepticism. The writers claim the primary goal of such ads are to make money for Facebook and do nothing for the bottom line of your own business. Even if the ads convert to page “Likes” or post “Likes.” in the end, the question is whether they convert to sales. On the other hand, others have shared their stories of successful sales using only Facebook marketing. Their post goes viral and success follows. Which of these are we to believe? I think the likely answer is that both are true. My experience with the efficiency of the Facebook marketing team has shown me that this is a powerful tool; and when used correctly, can successfully bring attention to your product or business.
Since that article last month, I have experimented with four different ads on Facebook in two different campaigns. I’ve tried promoting a group cruise of Norway in June of 2014 with a pre-cruise land package in Amsterdam. I used one ad to promote the event, and another to promote a post about the event. I spent a whopping $7.12 on this whole campaign and received only 6 “Likes”, but over 6000 people may have seen the ad that would not have seen it before. Recently I added a more general campaign to generate more page “Likes;” thinking that in the long run, the goal is to have a larger Facebook audience. I’ve only been running this campaign for 3 days, but have 14 clicks on the ad. These results are inconclusive, meaning I am giving it more time. I did increase the daily budget to $3 per day for this ad and have found already that the exposure (i.e. number of people who might see the ad) is exponentially greater as a result and it is still very affordable. By the way, the budget amount is the maximum you are willing to pay either per day or per campaign and the astute Facebook team determines how and when to show the ad in order to stay within the budget. The ad is removed from view automatically if the daily amount is reached. So, far, I can’t claim that my ads have converted to a sale, but that is not surprising. Most advertising takes time to show results and the beauty of social media is that it is designed to foster relationships. Relationships are good because over time they do often result in sales. It’s a cycle that may not show on a graph immediately. I will continue to experiment with F***book ads in order to come to my own conclusions. Do you think you might “Like” to try social media ads for your business?
A quick update: Perhaps the cycle is working faster than expected. While writing these words this morning, my page received 2 new “Likes” from my new ad campaign, and I received two inquiries from potential new customers on that Norway cruise. Both of the inquiries came from people who live halfway across the country and saw my ad. Hmmm, not bad I guess for $7.12 and three dollars per day. Or, maybe it’s just creepy?
Pam Hallberg is a travel consultant who enjoys arranging food and wine themed tours and cruises. She owns her own home-based business, Hallberg Travel & Tours: Creating Tasteful Travel Experiences.