Why Facebook ads might be a waste of your budget

A scary new video came out this week by science blogger Veritasium, who suggests that advertising on Facebook may not only be a waste of your marketing spend, but may also harm your brand.

The nice chap in the video can explain it much better than I can, so click on the image below:

It's been known for a while that buying Facebook Likes (i.e. fake fans) reduces your Page's engagement and therefore its visibility in your fans' newsfeeds. And it appears that buying Facebook adverts themselves, while a perfectly legitimate activity, may have a similar impact.

So what to do?

Boost your engagement

Facebook's algorithm tends to favour Pages and Posts with high levels of engagement, particularly comments and shares. So make sure that every post has maximum impact by:

  • Including a picture: people tend to react more to visuals on Facebook than to text.
  • Asking a question: "Here's the lovely sunrise from our office this morning, how's your weather today?"
  • Suggesting a share if you're offering something good: "Please share with your friends if you think they'd like a free cake too."

Here's how the Facebook page for our landscape photography business gets a high level of engagement for a small business:

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Become a specialist

Let's face it, most people don't go on Facebook to have a conversation about your spanners. Or your book-keeping services. Or your cloud computing software. They go on Facebook to see what their friends are up to, to see what's trending and to share what they're doing themselves.

But you may feel that you should be on Facebook nevertheless. In many sectors, it's almost a cost of doing business. So is there something you can become known for? An interesting, consumer-friendly aspect to your business? Something about your local area that you can become the expert on? Locally made yoghurt might not be that exciting to the general public, but sharing local recipes definitely can be.

Finally, be aware that Facebook is not a reliable plank of your marketing mix. Recently, it's making businesses' posts less visible by pushing them down the newsfeed (so that you'll pay to advertise them - fancy that!). Who knows what it might do in the future? So take a look at the other social media platforms out there, consider content marketing and don't forget the more traditional elements of the marketing mix.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Jane.