I don't think that's an indictment of the site, though.
Facebook and Twitter are mediums for sharing and discussion. Traditional commerce feels a bit off, at best. If you want to use them to promote a business, you have to be participating in them on the same level.
I've used Facebook ads to promote a magazine and a podcast. In both cases, I saw much higher returns than with Google. I was asking people to come to the Facebook pages for the magazine and the podcast, and each page had a healthy amount of discussion and community because there was content for people to coalesce around. In our case, the ads did act as a primer for a more viral expansion, because there was something people could do and share on our pages.
I don't think Facebook is ever likely to become a good place for a 150-year-old B-to-B packaging service to do business. That shouldn't spell doom for the packaging service or for Facebook.
In the real world, there's a difference between promotion and advertising. You promote first and advertise once people know who you are. Then you run well-targetted advertisements aimed at the audience you want to reach. It's easy to forget that on the internet.
Often times people omit the low-cost promotional tools and run straight to the advertising. That's a big mistake in most cases.
1) Set up a Facebook page for your business
2) Learn to blog
3) When you are ready to try an ad campaign put a lot of legwork into it. Also look into site-specific advertisements for sites in related territory, etc.
Advertising is hard to get right. It always is. I would agree it's not an indictment against Facebook. It is an indictment of the hype of internet advertising though.
I like how they claim to have written the article before the facebook news (and only published after) -- and claim their business has been around longer than it has.
I wish there was a site, that had a list of online advertising success stories, and what strategies worked in each case. So if I am a 150 year old packaging business, I can simply look up businesses similar to mine, and see what kind of advertising worked for them. Of course, there is still no guarantee that it will work for me, but chances are a bit higher than blindly going to FB.
Sharing these tips with your competitors, especially in a scenario like this where you'd literally drive up the prices of your own ads, doesn't make much sense.
To me, the question right now is whether Facebook works for anyone.
I'm genuinely interested, because I've seen media-reported stories of many different kinds and sizes of organisations experimenting with advertising with Facebook, and I honestly can't recall a single one that had a happy ending. I realise that, as they say, the plural of anecdote is not data, but anecdotes can certainly suggest a pattern worth investigating.
This is where he went wrong; signing up to Facebook because a book said a business needs a Facebook page to be successful online is the wrong approach. If you can't explain why you're making a Facebook page it probably isn't going to work, even if you have no knowledge of Facebook as a platform you should still have knowledge of human behaviour.
We're not a traditional business (we're an internet forum) and we have close to 100,000 likes at the moment, the value of having likes is seriously overstated, we get maybe ~300 click through's when we post an article and engagement is dropping more and more, in fact the same can be said of Twitter, we have ~6000 followers and get similar click through rates when we post something. They're not bad to have (Facebook page, Twitter account) but they aren't worth the time investment in most cases.
It seems now that liking a page on Facebook or following a twitter account are hollow gestures that don't really carry any weight in the future.
everything I read about maximising your web presence and impact told me that SMEs must integrate and embrace social media
He did his research. He's reporting back it doesn't work.
It seems to me that the entire point of him writing this article was to warn other SMEs to not take that advice at face value.
My local sandwich deli has now decided to go all "social media". They have a big sign on the counter saying "please like us on facebook" and when you buy a sandwich the staff ask you if you are on facebook.
Something about the whole approach just feels wrong in a way I can't quite put my finger on. It just feels like them asking me to do what is basically a meaningless mechanical chore.
I've been wracking my brains to think of how I would try and exploit social networking if I was running that business but so far I have come up empty.
I think frankly that a social graph is best employed using graphing friendly rewards - mostly that is the social dopamine thing in our brains, but affiliates also work
In fact - is this being done?
Disclaimer: I am the cofounder of this company.
Afterward, perhaps a create-a-andwich contest. The winner is voted on by the community and the sandwich is available for a limited time. Successful sandwiches are added to the permanent menu.
Engagement for a sandwich place can be light. Just simple things that either directly benefit fans or don't require much from them.
IME, social networks are awesome for raising publicity if you can get your real fans to tell their friends about you, if whatever you do is something that will be genuinely interesting to those with common interests (which of course friends tend to have). It's a networking effect, a real-time version of good old word-of-mouth advertising, which has always been by far the best kind to have.
Weaker personal actions such as likes, follows, mailing list subscriptions and all that jazz might have some benefit, but I don't believe it's anything like as much. I'm thinking this is because these are personal expressions of interest, but in reality they probably have little if any networking power.
I lack faith that any sort of paid Facebook advertising will even have a positive RoI, based on a few small-scale experiments that I personally know about and on media reporting of larger organisations not doing any better. I suspect a lot of people treat these ads much as they would treat junk mail: just another form of spam to be auto-ignored, and probably subject to banner blindness by now.
If you're already in the store buying a sandwich, why are they even promoting the Facebook account? When I buy a car, the salesman doesn't ask me to go watch their commercial on TV afterwards.
Does the number of "likes" factor into how often their ads get served?
It's somewhat meaningless now, admittedly: I might not speak for everyone, but I've basically tuned out anyone "liking" anything on Facebook as white noise.
Personally, I dislike this sort of approach. If I need to like something to get something in return (sometimes a coupon or a download), I usually un-like the thing immediately thereafter and try to scrub all traces of it from my wall.
Yes, this is going against the spirit of the exchange, but it's my FB account (in as much as I can say it is), not yours.
Especially as there is no dislikes. What do 30, 1000 or 10000 likes tell about your company ? At what point do they measure success ?
For example, some of our competitors have around 10 times to 50 times the likes as us. But the difference in reactions to a post we might make is no where as much - they could be just 1.5 times to 2 times or even less.
Also, businesses indulging in purchasing likes, to showcase their fan base(really?) has perhaps contributed a lot to FB Ad purchase so far. So the past year or so, can be called the 'like' wave of FB/Social. The future is interesting!
You expected your page to go "viral". Your page for packaging products ... to go viral? The people who care about your packaging products are far between on Facebook. The people who care about packaging products will go into google and type "packaging products", or come from your existing referral base, or from leads generated by your sales department. It isn't critical for every business to have a facebook page or a twitter account.
Cats love boxes, maybe you can go viral by hitching your wagon to that meme bandwagon =)
Whoa, what? Advertisers can see my Facebook profile if I click their link? Talk about oversharing...
Page owners can see who likes them, and if your info is public they can view them as any other fb user.
Second, your question doesn't add to the discussion (thus a downvote). Mind your manners please.
There are effective two modes of advertising on the internet:
1. where the user seeks (search ads etc)
2. you push the ad on the consumer (content ads, facebook ads as of now)
#1 is clear and has a good enough match always.
To be on #2 - you got to appeal well to the audience. Facebook works wonders for food, travel, gifts and more. All things that qualify for impulsive buys. It is important to understand the marketing channel.
Facebook's only real profit driver at the moment is advertising to it's captive user base, however the ad's aren't that good to start with. It feels half hearted like they've gone, 'hey we'll stick some ad's....there', that's great they're all in one place at the right where I can ignore them.
I think a lot of people will start revising how much money they want to spend in terms of advertising and pull back from the least effective, which could very well be Facebook.
(interesting side note, the most effective corporate Twitter accounts I've found are the ones that don't bother trying to sell the product every 10 minutes, see Betfair Poker and Waterstones UK for good examples).
This is exactly how I feel. The only time I ever click a Facebook ad is to tell Facebook that it's not what I'm looking for.
All of the responses to these articles are usually "they're doing it wrong," which is more of an indictment of facebook than the multiple users who try out advertising and see no positive results at all.
Another thing to consider is that facebook was (still is?) in a quiet period due to IPO, and once it's over we will definitely see some good examples of how facebook ads work.
First there's this:
"Result? Two! €160 quid for two clicks, each of whom looked at two site pages."
"Clearly something is not right, so I decide to view the profiles of all those who clicked the ads. They hit one common spot – they were all in the UK. But they were aged from 13 to about 70, many were unemployed or in education, we even had a Muslim fundamentalist who is very concerned about things in Pakistan. Lots and lots of doting mothers with FB pages full of cutesy little life mottoes. "
Wait: is it 2 clicks, or 200 clicks??!?
I'm never clicking another FB ad again - it's kinda scary how much information the advertisers can get about their fans!
We tried Bing also, and they were really great at customer service; some guy talked to me for over an hour about various things we could try and they always got back quickly, but the CPCs were absurdly high.
In the course of some freelance work I came across a dental supply company where you could "share" or "like" every single product. I have yet to see business case for a customer publicly "liking" spit cups or custom-engraved toothbrushes. Or their FB friends wanting to know about it. Or any of that resulting in a sale.
For any marketing to work, you have be where your potential customers are. Yes, technically your B2B customer is on FB or Twitter, but for personal, not business reasons. Would you want your company's office supply company calling you at home?
Online marketing dollars for B2B are much better spent on search ads, where you have demonstrated interest and intent, or on display ads on industry-specific sites, or a social media presence where an industry-specific community already exists, e.g. on forums, or talking directly to your customers on Twitter.
"Yet in the poll of U.S. adults published Tuesday, only 13 percent said they trust Facebook 'completely' or 'a lot' when it comes to keeping their personal information private. A majority, or 59 percent, said they trust Facebook 'only a little,' or 'not at all.'"
That said, Paypal isn't exactly loved by many, and they seem to be doing well, so maybe I'm holding FB to too high a standard...
If you see your competitors (or people will similar products or services) using a particular medium it's usually a good bet to at least try. But even if you try you have to give it a test of quite a bit of time (and that depends on the product and amount of profit as well and other factors).
A good example of this is "back in the day" yellow page advertising. If you look at what the YP called "a developed" heading (like Plumbers/Printers/Lawyers) you will see many ads year after year that vary in size including many full page ads. So that is a sign that's a good bet for advertising if that's your business. Especially when you find out the high cost. And I built an entire business based upon starting with a small ad in a developed heading in the yellow pages. Ad went in. Calls came in. (Expensive but worth it. Picked up a major account and did it for maybe 10 years until I sold the company). To me it made sense that if year after year small businesses were spending big dollars to be in the YP that was proof that it worked (and to mention again it did work extremely well for me). Of course when your competitors who don't advertise ask you you downplay totally the value and bitch and moan to throw them off the scent.
I would suspect FB works the same way. (In fact that was my experience using fb for a particular product but I can't say I gave it much of a chance though but take that as another data point).
I also had a similar experience with "card decks" those mailers that go out to businesses offering products and services. Worked very well. Sent out a card in multiple decks for a product that others offered and leads came back just like that.
It's just interesting the amount of noise that goes along with the public markets. You have to take articles/news with an even bigger grain of salt when a public company is involved in the noise. You just don't know peoples' motives. I'm not saying that I think this guy is short FB, I'm just saying its possible, and that I didn't see as many of these articles one or two years ago, even though millions of SMEs were trying their hand at facebook ads back then.
1. TV had that kind of control as to interrupt people and give them no choice. But despite that they have to fight against people switching channels, as soon as an Ad appears on one.
The difference in case of FB is that one can easily choose to ignore the Ads. As you and me do. (Is it to fight that ignoring of the Ads, that on several occasions it is laced with a mild sexual overtone, at least the way the picture looks?)
2. By extension, of the TV Ad anology, FB Ads are for big brands. Meaning CPC is irrelevant, but big brands compete to be just visible to people, by just being there on the RHS.
(This one I have not read anywhere so far. But surely it can't be only me who has thought of it)
I don't foresee B2B businesses doing that well on social media, particularly in such a dull area. I don't think FB is to blame for this.
Part of my responsibilities are to manage social media for my company. We don't do ads on Facebook or Twitter, and the likes and followers keep coming in. We have consumer facing products. My strategy certainly amplifies our success on social media, but I couldn't do much without something strong to build around.
He would have more success with Google AdWords and a strong Web presence in general. We run Google AdWords, and I'm pleased with the results. We've never strongly considered ads on FB or Twitter.
Or they'll implode and we'll all likely end up without jobs.
People are getting bad ROI with Facebook because, they are comparing it to the ROI to the ads on Google. Ads on Google tend to have much higher ROI because they usually represent users already in need of your category of product. This is like people handing you shopping brochures when you go to a mall. You are clearly out to shop and hence the ROI on brochures will be higher.
"The template tells me I have targeted 178,000 people who within my interest range and selected demographics."
"Two! €160 quid for two clicks, each of whom looked at two site pages."
Facebook handed him the gun and he shot himself in the foot.
It does take a bit of work to fine tune each campaign & ads.
- test your images. drop those with ctr less than .06%
- test your age groups. look at your customers and decide the groupings.
- use precise interest. think your competitors, brand names, etc.
With $40 per day, if you split test properly, you should be able to find the audience at CPM $0.20, other than PPV, there's not a lot traffic sources than can give you such precise targeting.
PROOF: http://imgur.com/0dFFE - I'm still working on the CTR to .1% ... beside Conversion & Brand is what matter, NOT likes.
So, does having an interest in your homeland make you a fundamentalist all of a sudden? I'm Pakistani. I read and share stories about Pakistan all the time. Its offensive to assume that because I have an interest in stories about my homeland (which happens to be a breeding ground for religious fundamentalists), I'm a religious fundamentalist as well. (I'm not at all religious, actually.)
The pain is in first attracting the right people to click your advert. Then you need to get them to buy something. With such low conversion rates, the cost per click is too high for many to justify.
If your wanted end result is for people to check our your website, use fb ads to link people to your website. Better yet, you can use a page post link ad that displays both your fanpage (with a "Like this page" button) and the link to your external site, with a thumbnail.
Facebook is not a one stop marketing shop. It won't light a fire under a business unless a) that business is worthy of the fire b) that marketer is very proficient.
It sounds like neither a nor b were satisfied in this case.
Were the owner to spend more time educating his or herself on social marketing, I feel they would have received better results.
I don't blame any business for a lack of success on Facebook. I blame everyone promoting it as a business booster. When the whole world is screaming that you've got to get on Facebook you can't blame a small business owner for believing it.
I love getting my verizon support on twitter rather than on phone.
He will miss out on the truth. Which is that direct marketing will help get the results he wants.
But don't worry. Im working on that.
They tell me: "because Google is getting smarter and looking at social signals for rankings. I don't give a damn about those FB fans.. it's all vanity metrics. I want the damn rankings!"
What? I thought advertisers didn't have access to that info. That's pretty creepy. And while he's talking about them in the article, he should have thrown in their names and links to their profiles for good measure.
The outcome was predictable from reading the first sentence. This is not a story about any failure of Facebook, it's a story about not understanding how to market to an appropriate demographic.
The author is named Peter Faulkner.
No, a tag blob not a substitute for a proper byline.
The demographics between 13 and 60? Never, just never select to show ads for people below 20; they are always click-happy and with empty pockets (a.k.a. no conversions)