Are you barely starting out in the wild world of social media? Are you a social pro who’s stumped by one certain problem? Either way, our social media expert Emily is here to answer your most burning questions! This time around: Facebook Ads and how to successfully network online.
Social media is fun and exciting, but it can also be a lot to take in. No matter how long you’re in the game, you can never know it all, because the rules keep changing! It feels like every time we turn around, a social platform has redesigned or changed its guidelines or completely reinvented one of its features. It’s hard to keep up, and even harder to determine where to devote your efforts.
Volusion social media expert Emily (that’s me!) is here to answer a couple of reader-submitted questions each month. Got a social media conundrum you need help solving? You can submit your questions in the blog comments below and I’ll tackle them in future columns.
1. What’s the best way to use Facebook Advertising for my page? Is it hard to set up? Is it even worth the money?
– Tim in West Virginia
In my experience, Facebook Ads can be a useful tool for driving more traffic and likes to your Facebook page. It takes a little bit of guess and check, though. If you’re looking for something you can throw some money at, set up once, then ignore and wait for the traffic to roll in, I have bad news for you: Facebook Ads take some work! Before you give Facebook your money, come up with a strategy. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Create an eye-catching, specifically sized ad image.
- Write or at least come up with ideas for copy and headlines for your ads. Keep it concise, you don’t get many characters!
- Decide who you want to target. You can choose from options like interests, gender, birthday, location, etc. Do you want to reach a wide audience or a more specialized one?
- Pick a budget and stick to it. You get to set your daily budget per campaign and it’s tempting to keep raising it to see more and more results, but keep in mind that the credit card info you give to Facebook is, in fact, real money you’re spending. You don’t want to commit thousands of dollars a month to social advertising if you’re not even profiting thousands of dollars a month yet.
Once you’ve prepared and brainstormed, set up some campaigns. The name of the game: optimize, optimize, optimize! Like I said, you can’t just set them up one time then forget about them. Check back in your Ads Manager a couple times a week. Which ads are getting the most likes and actions? What’s going on with your CPC (cost per click) numbers?
After you get a better idea of which campaigns are the most successful over the course of a few weeks, you can pause the rest of them and focus your budget on the ones that get results. Take note of why they’re successful, too. Is there a certain segment of users you’re targeting that really seem to take a shine to your ads? What do people tend to pay more attention to, sidebar ads or sponsored stories?
Finally, keep in mind that Facebook Ads are only a piece of the puzzle. If you have brilliant ads but your Facebook page itself is visually dull and only updated once or twice a month, most people who check it out won’t be very motivated to like it or click through to your actual site.
2. I want to follow blogs and other business owners in my industry on social media and I also want to be able to network with their writers and owners. I’m having trouble figuring out which users are worth my time and attention, though. How can I tell? And what do I do to make them notice me?
– Crystal in Oakland
Networking is undoubtedly an important part of doing business online, but I agree that it can be hard to know where to spend your efforts. A Twitter or Facebook profile might have an eye-catching icon and a cool business name, but what you’re really looking for are quality people with quality content behind the social media profiles, right? When looking for new users/businesses to follow, there are a few easy ways you can identify quality social users.
- How many followers does this user have? If they have barely any, that doesn’t bode very well for the popularity of their content and product (unless they’re brand new on the scene). If nobody else cares to follow them, you might not want to, either.
- How often are they posting? If they wrote one amazing blog post back in 2012 but that’s all they have on their blog, it’s a safe bet that they aren’t really online that much and any efforts to follow them and network will probably fall on deaf… eyes?
- Similarly, WHAT are they posting? If they Tweet a lot but it’s only personal stuff with no substance, that’s not very useful. If they only post funny meme pictures on their Facebook or Pinterest, that’s not very beneficial to you and your business, either.
- Look at who else they’re following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. That will give you some idea of the company they keep and the individuals and businesses they’re interested in getting to know. If they’re following similar small business owners in your industry, they’re probably a good bet for some networking action!
- How often is this person responding to interactions? If they often post quality links back to their online store or blog on their Facebook, but never respond to any Facebook comments they receive about the links, chances are they might not be that interested in interacting and forging connections on social media and consider it more of a content sharing source, and nothing more. Feel free to follow them and check out their blogs and sites, but don’t invest too much time trying to get in contact with them if all signs point to the fact that they’re not interested.
- Finally, let’s turn the tables for a second. How often are you posting and how high-quality are your updates? Why should someone you want to network with follow you? Make sure your content and social media practices are up to snuff before you attempt to win over new followers.
Once you’ve followed or liked someone and started paying attention to their social updates, there are a few ways you can grab their attention:
- If you’re shy, you can start by simply favoriting their Tweets or liking their Facebook or LinkedIn posts. (Or repining or liking their pins, liking their Instagrams, etc etc.) Not on every post though, you don’t want to look like a silent stalker.
- Ramp it up by leaving a comment, reply, or question to whatever they posted. Most people love receiving positive attention for their writing and work. If they’re a fellow small business owner like yourself, and not bombarded with a million Tweets per day like big industry moguls, they’ll most likely answer you.
- If you’re more of the brash, self-assured type, there’s nothing wrong with sending them a direct message after you follow them, saying something like “I love your site and your products! I also sell my products on my online store, www.myawesomevolusionstoresaddress.com. I’d love to hear your experience on dealing with customers who are looking for this specific type of product or feature in your industry when you have a sec. Is that an issue for your store? Thanks!” What’s the very worst that can happen? They won’t respond, and your life will go on.
Keep in mind that not all networking efforts will be successful – trust me, I’ve had some heartbreaks of my own. You can definitely make some meaningful connections, both personal and business, over social media – it just takes a little time and effort.
Thanks for reading, and if you have a social media related question you’d like me to help you with, please feel free to leave it in the blog comments below! I’ll be answering two to three of the most interesting questions per month.
-Emily Teachout, Volusion