Great post by Eric Proulx who is the social media and FaceBook expert for RealEstate.com. After going public, it looks like FaceBook has made it harder to reach your fans "encouraging" you as a page owner to buy advertising to reach your fans.
There are a lot of interesting features that have been rolled out for Facebook page managers recently. The scheduling function and admin roles assignment have been the two most talked about features within the real estate, social media sector of Facebook. Yet there are two other features that deserve attention because they will doubtless change the way we look at Facebook as a networking channel from a community manager/marketer’s point of view.
If you manage or own a page, you may be familiar with some of the features I’ve mentioned above. Let’s take a look at what happens when you try to create a post as a page. You’ll notice that on the bottom left side of the status bar is that little clock, which is the new scheduling function. Closer to the “Post” button is the brand new “Promote” button.
Once you click on this button, a nifty drop-down bar will appear, giving you a list of prices with an estimated reach number next to them.
The price-range will vary based on how many fans you have. It’s strange because the estimated reach is not even a percentage of your total fan base. If you already have your billing information entered into Facebook, then save and you’re done! If not, it’ll ask you to enter your credit card information to check out.
Wait, that’s it?
Yup, Facebook made it so that you can now create an ad as easily as you created the post itself with the purpose of getting more people who like your page to see your posts.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would I even bother about this to begin with? There is another function that came out around the same time as the promoted post function. Coincidentally, Facebook also started showing you the reach of each post you’ve ever posted, and it ain’t pretty. It’s about as depressing as when they started putting up the number of calories next to menus in restaurants.
It might just be me, but I first thought, with a 5,000 fan base, I’d be able to reach at least half of my audience just by posting, right? However, an important thing to realize is that you could never reach 100 percent of your audience all the time. I like about 20 different pages could you imagine what my newsfeed would look like if I saw every post they ever posted all the time? Chaos. This new statistic (I’m guessing) was put there to invoke the same initial reaction I experienced when seeing these numbers right in my face.
Just as a disclaimer, prior to running this test, I had no idea how Facebook advertising worked. After fiddling around with it for about an hour, I came to the page shown above, which allowed me to see the overall performance of the ads I’ve created (aka the ads that were created from clicking the promoted post button).
It made zero sense to me.
It was only after an intense workshop followed by heavy tutoring from one of my co-workers, that I was able to understand what it all meant. The more I look back on the tests I’ve run on this promoted post function, the more I’ve come to realize how dangerous it is for page administers, and how this is an ingenious way for Facebook to make money.
I’ll avoid getting technical, but this is basically what you need to know. When you click that “Promote” button, you are in essence creating two ads for a post. One ad will target those who like your page, and another will target friends of those who like your page. Basically, you’re advertising your post to people who already like your page, and then advertising their activity to their friends, thereby expanding your reach to beyond your circle. In theory this is a good plan, but take a look at the targeting parameters Facebook automatically sets up for you.
I’m not so sure how this list of countries was generated but it is not the target audience I want to aim for. This is a huge waste because not only am I targeting whole countries I don’t need my ad to be shown to, I’m decreasing my chances of getting someone who sees my promoted post to like my page.
Furthermore, there is a new metric that has been introduced by Facebook, and it is extremely important to understand the difference between the two. CPC (Cost Per Click) pricing is set for those who want people to click on their ads whereas CPM (Cost Per Impression) is set for those who want to increase more likes. The idea behind CPM is that Facebook will now charge you every time someone sees your ad versus charging you for every click. The idea behind this type of pricing is that cost per 1000 impressions sounds nice, but you’re still guaranteed no action. It will be up to you to decide which pricing will be more beneficial to you, but during my time advertising with Facebook, CPC has proven to be a much more cost-effective plan.
There have been some great updates made for Facebook page admins which makes managing a page easier than ever. That said, be wary of the allure of gaining more social awareness for your content and page by using “Promoted Post.” There’s nothing wrong with spending marketing money on Facebook advertising, but please take the time to research how it works instead of just clicking the easy set up button. This button was made for page managers like you and me who don’t know anything about Facebook advertising. Having Facebook auto-generate our ad campaigns can only mean more spending less efficiently.