Facebook recently achieved the 1 billion mark – right now there are more than 1 billion people using Facebook in one way or another. With so many people it becomes a natural advertising platform, although, unlike AdWords people are still trying to figure out actually how to advertise on Facebook.
There’s a big difference between advertising on search engines like Google and Facebook. On Google people are already looking for products and services so when they conduct a search they are almost ready to buy.
Facebook is a networking platform. People are looking for connections whether they want to make those connections with family members, friends, colleagues, strangers or brands. They are not looking to buy products or services.
So when you advertise on Facebook you are not trying to sell straightaway. According to this blog post on Kissmetrics, you are trying to generate a demand, not fulfil it. If people buy your product or service through Facebook advertising, well and good, but otherwise you’re raising awareness. Through your advertisements you are trying to connect. You want people to like your Facebook fan page so that you can engage them.
Since you cannot normally sell directly through Facebook, what should your advertisement achieve?
As mentioned above, you can encourage people to like your page so that they can see your future updates on their timelines. You can encourage them to sign up for your newsletter. You can ask them to participate in a survey in lieu of some prize. You can also launch a campaign or an event and create an advertisement for that.
It differs from business to business. Bigger businesses create entire applications people can use. Smaller businesses on the other hand can simply encourage people to follow their updates.
A great thing about advertising on Facebook is that the targeting can be really narrow. Although Google is a bigger advertising platform the targeting can be better on Facebook. You can target your Facebook advertisement according to age, gender, interests, education, location, relationship setting and even colleges and schools. This level of targeting is hardly available on any other platform. Read the above-mentioned blog post for a detailed description of how to effectively use Facebook advertisements specifically for your business.