Since the time my business, Techie2u Mobile Computer Repairs, was set up in 2009, it would be fair to say that I have tried most types of advertising and promotion. I have advertised via my own Website, newspapers, physical business cards, and flyer drops. You name it, I have done it.
I have learned many painful lessons along the way and spent many thousands of dollars from my marketing budget in attempts to grow my business.
Which brings us to the inevitable question: which advertising method is the most effective in terms of gaining actual new clients?
The Early Days
I was an early adopter of Facebook long before they started monetizing and introducing paid advertising. In these early days, I simply set out to network with as many people as possible in my local community and area.
This helped me get off to a really good start when my business was in the early stages of development. I quickly realized that more work was coming in from Facebook than via the company website (which in itself was performing well and had excellent visibility in search results).
My strategy when I started was to simply post regular little bite sized pieces of IT news stories as well as to ask questions like, “Are there any of my Facebook buddy’s out there in need of help with their computers”?
I found that reaching out with free advice eventually turned into paid jobs and I quickly built up an excellent business relationship with the people in my local community. Back then it was not uncommon to have 5 to 10 queries on my Facebook profile each morning, many of which turned into actual paid work.
Personal Profile or Business Page?
In subsequent years things have changed. Since Facebook’s IPO and Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision to cash in, the type of marketing that I was doing so successfully has very little effect now. That’s because, as you may know, the Facebook algorithm allows very few people to see your Facebook status updates. Some social media marketing gurus estimate this to be in the single digit percentage range which, from experience, sounds about right.
As a result of this, many people were not seeing my posts. I then decided to switch our focus to our business page, which is great in terms of keeping track of your “reach” and judging which posts are performing well in your local market. You can review the results daily at the bottom of each post. This is something you can’t do on your Personal Facebook page.
Many businesses I deal with fail to make the distinction between their personal Facebook page and their Business page. You can read more about the difference between the two here. It’s important to recognize the difference and focus your efforts on the right part of Facebook. You can also “like” other technology Facebook pages to find interesting stories to share with your followers.
It’s All About the Timing
Part of my success in quickly getting new clients is the amount of posts I put up on my Business page. I try to post new content each day at certain times. In my experience I find the most effective time of day is around 8-10pm. I encourage you to experiment with different posting times to see which works best in your area.
Another factor that may affect the amount of people that see your post is the actual time of the year. For example here in Ireland we tend to have a relatively good three month period from June until September with mild conditions more suitable for summer activities and the outdoors lifestyle. With such a short summer season we all tend to make the most of the good weather and get away from the PC’S when we get it. This, in turn, reduces the effectiveness of Facebook advertisement.
A perfect time to advertise on Facebook is something like a rainy day during the peak 8-10pm time slot in the middle of winter. During long cold nights folks tend to spend much more time indoors and online. This, in turn, provides your business with a captive audience. Be sure to use this time to promote your specials or maybe a discount it is worth noting that nowadays with the increase and popularity of Smartphones and Facebook phone apps that you now have a year round Facebook always on and connected audience.
To Boost or Not to Boost? That is the Question
If you want to quickly see results, you can target your potential audience on Facebook like never before. The “Boost” function at the bottom of your pages posts enables you to select nearby towns or areas. Heck list all the local population centres if you want, or even the exact distance from you which you want people to see your content and are willing to travel to.
To give your advert a better chance of being seen you can further target your products or services to a certain age group in those areas and even down to which gender you wish to see your promotion. This gives you the opportunity to showcase your business to many thousands of local people even using a low budget of your choosing. This can be as low as a few bucks if you prefer to test the waters.
Boosting has helped me grow my business by enabling potential new clients from miles away to see my promotions. Every year around Christmas we run a competition where each client that has availed of our services during the year is added into a free drawing for a brand new Laptop computer. This has proven itself each year to be a cost effective promotion.
To increase this promotion’s success, we have used the low cost Facebook advertising boost function to quickly make more people aware of it and this in turn has pushed potential new clients off the fence about giving us a try, leading to a major increase in business during this time period.
As the price of giving away a new laptop is fairly expensive, there was no better and cheaper way to quickly gain the maximum amount of publicity and return on investment than Facebook advertising.
Facebook Madmen: What would Don Draper do?
Once you’ve mastered boosting, the next step to use that old term is to “think outside the box”. Whether it’s a call to action or an image that will trigger an emotion, you’ll need to come up with creative ideas that will inspire and strike a chord with your viewers.
Contrary to popular belief, most folks actually decide to buy a product or service with their heart and not with their heads. So the more emotions your advert can trigger, the more chance you have of getting a call or an impulse purchase.
I am not talking scare tactics here. For example, you can inform people in your local area about the effects of the latest viruses. A perfect example is the infamous Cryptolocker virus. You can even explain how much faster you can make their painfully slow PC run by having it serviced by your company.
Lack of commitment on Facebook = Lack of Success
Many companies set up a Facebook Business page with all the best intentions, but fail to regularly update it with new content or offers. If you are not using paid advertising at this point, the “organic” Facebook audience quickly drops as the Facebook algorithm decides that your Business page is of no interest to them.
There is a bit of work involved in supplying the page with content and building up a regular audience. Luckily, posting an engaging update is as easy as creating an image and adding some text. If you have an artistic flair, you can create it yourself. If not, there are folks on places like fiverr.com that are willing to create beautiful graphics for incredibly affordable prices.
Once you have your masterpiece, you can post it directly to your Facebook Business page’s timeline within minutes. You don’t really need to employ an adverting agency to do this for you, and the time it takes is minimal compared to the benefits it produces. This can be done anytime you feel a slow day coming on.
It just takes a bit of commitment, like everything in business. So get creative and get your brand awareness out there on Facebook before your competitors beat you to it.
Have you had any success with Facebook marketing? Let me know in the comments below.