Facebook Marketing Part 1--Using Analytics and Ads

When you started a cake business, the first thing you probably did after getting a website set up (or possibly before) was to create social media accounts.

You know how I feel about social media…People spend too much time trying for big follower numbers and not enough time trying to target their actual customers. It makes no sense to sell to people who will never buy from you.

So for your social media efforts, where should you focus? It’s better to be thorough on one social media platform than to be scattered on many. Facebook is the platform that I’d recommend for everyone who runs a local, product-based business, simply because of the sheer number of people who are using it. I've written about Facebook ads before, and even with all of the recent changes in the Facebook algorithm I still think they're one of the best values in social media advertising.

Facebook gets a bad reputation for not showing business posts to everyone, but it also makes it very easy to target your real customers by using Facebook analytics and ads. The key is remembering that your business page is for your fans, NOT for yourself! Very simply, post things that they like to see, and Facebook will show your posts to more people, which gives you more engagement, and that’s the basic goal.

Facebook defines engagement as likes, comments, shares and clicks. The more engagement you get, the more your posts are shown to more of the people who have liked your page. If you post things that your fans like, and they engage with the post in some way, Facebook will decide that it’s a good post and will show it to more of your fans.

Start by posting photos relating to your business, and post a lot, 4-5 times a day. Don’t worry about posting too much, because the limited number of posts that Facebook shows people will guarantee that only your most hardcore fans will see everything you put up!

Some ideas for things to post are photos of your cakes, behind-the-scenes photos, shared content from other people (cakes you like, tutorials, etc.), and videos of your cakes. Take pictures of everything, and use older photos to add content. Also remember to ask questions to get responses, because when people post comments Facebook rates that post as being more engaging.

Do this for a couple of weeks, spreading out your posts throughout the day, so that you can see what types of posts your audience likes. If they respond to “behind the scenes” photos, post more of those. If they like photos of cakes, post more of those.

During this time, check your analytics by clicking on “insights” at the top of your business page. On the left side of the page, click on “posts” and scroll down to see the report of which post got the most engagement. “Reach” shows how many people’s timelines the post appeared on, but you want to look at engagement to see how many people actually interacted with it. 

After a couple of weeks of this, choose a popular post that’s a cake photo or something else that represents your business, and use that to create an ad.

With a very small budget, you can buy Facebook ads that will reach only the people in your area who are your potential customers.

For instance, if you’re running an ad featuring birthday cakes, you can choose to show the ad to women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are mothers of preschoolers, who live within 10 miles of your location, and who have liked parenting groups online. Whether you want to get that picky is a different issue, but the ability to reach that specific a group and only spend $5 in doing it is a very effective way to reach potential customers. (Read this article for more information about targeting ads)

To create an ad, click on the “down” triangle at the top of the page, near the lock icon. The dropdown menu will open and you can click on “create ad.” This will take you to the Facebook ad center and the options to place ads will be opened up for you.

The first section will define your marketing objectives. Depending on what you want to do, the ability to target your audience will change, with some objectives giving you the ability to choose a more specific audience. Take a little time to poke around and see what your options are, but most businesses should choose something from the “awareness” category, or the “consideration” option of sending people to your website.

Follow the prompts to create your ad, but keep in mind that you want to reach the people who will actually buy from you. Make sure that you’re targeting people close to you who are in your customer demographic, not other cake decorators or people in different countries. For the placement section, make sure to click on edit placement, then remove everything other than Facebook. You want to pay for ads on Facebook, not on other platforms.

**Edited to add that you can also target people using the connections section that appears on some options. When it asks about your targets' interest, type in other facebook pages that you think your customers will like, like The Knot for brides, or Parenting Magazine for parents of little kids. Facebook will also give you suggestions if you type in one word, but this can help you find people who are already interested in what you're selling.**

For budget and schedule, make sure to set a daily budget and a start and stop date. $5 a day for three or four days is enough to see what happens with a specific ad, and if it’s going well you can always extend it. Also make sure to specify that you want to pay for link clicks, not impressions, if you have that option. (Impressions are when Facebook shows the post to someone. You want to be sure they not only see it, but that they also act on it.)

Try this for a month or two to see if you get more local traffic and engagement. One way to find out where your fans are from is to either ask them directly, or to do a giveaway for people in your area. That will draw out your local fans and you can interact directly with your potential customers.

Next week, part 2, which will deal with what to post and not to post on Facebook to get Facebook to show your posts to more people!

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

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