My daughter and son-in-law manage one of the largest day camps in the Boston area and recently started working with a social media consultant, Blake Sunshine. I had a chance to talk with Blake and because of her extensive background after working at Facebook, she's a wealth of information, especially on establishing stronger reach.
Business is business and it doesn't matter what your specialty might be, the issue is the changing landscape for Facebook. In this outstanding first guest post, Blake jumps on the challenges we're all discussing and dealing with.
Blake spent over three years at Facebook helping brands meet their business objectives with social media. Combining that experience with memories and lessons learned from ten summers at camp, Blake has put together a comprehensive social media program to help summer camps reach new campers and increase revenue. Blake is also exploring how social media marketing can be used in all industries, including photography. Blake is a graduate of the University of Texas and currently resides in Austin.
The excitement for me is the way this applies to professional photographers. In fact, while Blake's core business is working with summer camps the demographics of her target audience are the same as professional photographers. Remember, 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a photographer in the portrait/social categories are made by women and it's the same for a family deciding to send a child to summer camp.
From the article: “And the unofficial advice from Facebook sources to community managers noted in the report? Expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future.” ZERO. This leaves all of us in a very, very tough spot. If we won’t be able to reach our own Facebook fans, how will we get the message out about our photography services? In order to figure this out, I have been asking myself a bunch of hard questions to understand how I should move forward with Facebook for my business.
Here are the tough questions I have been asking myself about Facebook.
- What posts should I pay to promote?
- What audiences are worth paying to reach?
- Should I reach my customers on desktop or mobile?
- Should I reach my customers on a totally new platform?
So, what should I do?
In my opinion, we will always face challenges from social media platforms as they change their organic structure. This has already been true for Facebook and Google and will likely be true for all platforms eventually. The best defense against these changes is to develop a paid strategy for your business on Facebook. Here is what a paid strategy on Facebook looks like for me:
- What posts should I pay to promote? - Posts that drive forward my top three business objectives: (1) traffic to my website; (2) newsletter signups; and (3) bookings. I also promote a fun post once a month to add value to my community.
- What audiences are worth paying to reach? - My main focus is reaching moms and local businesses, so I will only pay to reach those two audiences.
- Should I reach my customers on desktop or mobile? - My website is mobile optimized and I know my consumers are moving heavily toward mobile. Therefore, I am targeting them in both spaces.
- Should I reach my customers on a totally new platform? - For now, I am sticking to Facebook, but I will continue to evaluate Pinterest and Instagram for my business needs.
Now that I am ready to test my paid Facebook strategy, how do I go about doing it?
Don’t boost your post, learn how to create an ad!
Most people don’t realize that there is a very specific formula for creating an ad on Facebook. Boosting a post on Facebook is very easy, but in many ways it limits your targeting options. I always recommend creating an ad if at all possible. Here are the simple steps to create your first ad.
1. Download Facebook’s Power Editor and create your ad from there.
2. Create a Page Post Link Ad.
3. Upload one of your best photos for the ads.
4. Drive the ad to a section of your website with a clear action.
5. Target the ad toward your area and add in any additional targeting, such as moms only.
6. Display your ad only in Newsfeed.
7. Upload your ad to Ads Manager and let it run!
Here are some additional levers that will help improve your Facebook ads.
Creating a paid Facebook strategy can seem difficult at first, but as organic reach continues to decline, it is imperative that we are able to drive our business objectives forward. A paid Facebook strategy drives real ROI for businesses, so why not test it for yours?