17 Frequently Asked Questions About Facebook Marketing
The Energy Circle team has had Facebook on the brain recently! Between an internal presentation by Digital Marketing Accounting Manager and our resident Facebook guru, Rob Wilbur, and a recent webinar with Josh Kennon, our Director of Marketing Operations, we’ve been doing a deep dive into Facebook marketing and the role it can play in your digital marketing strategy.
We know that people often have questions about how important Facebook advertising is, and whether it’s right for their HVAC, home performance, solar, or better building business. So, we decided to put together a list of 20 of the questions we get most often about this important social media advertising platform. Is your Facebook Ads-related question answered here?
1. Are my customers actually on Facebook?
Yes! The data shows that use of Facebook in particular among older generations is rising rapidly—users 65 and older are the fastest growing group on the platform. Your customers are on Facebook far more than you probably realize, making this platform an essential component to a digital marketing strategy.
2. I don’t like Facebook personally and I don’t use it, so why should I advertise on it?
As Josh explained using an apt (and very controversial in our office Slack channels) metaphor during his recent webinar appearance, just because you dislike mint chocolate chip ice cream doesn’t mean it’s not in your best interest to sell it—plenty of other people do, and you could be losing out on business. If you aren’t on Facebook, it’s likely that your competitors are, and they’re interacting with your potential customers without you.
3. Are organic posts officially dead?
It’s true, you’ll need to do more for your HVAC, home performance, or solar company than just post organically on your company’s Facebook page—the days of organic reach are largely over for our industries. But that doesn’t mean there’s no value to organic posts—there’s lots of data showing that brand relevance and brand activity is still important. When a potential customer goes to your website and your social media pages to see if you’re a trustworthy company, they’ll want to see recent activity.
4. What’s the difference between boosted posts and targeted ad campaigns?
“Boosting” a Facebook post is one of the easiest ways to reach out to your potential customers. With one click, a boosted post can dramatically expand your post’s reach. An actual targeted ad campaign, on the other hand, gives you much more control over where your ad will be placed and who it will be targeted to. Boosted posts and targeted ads don’t look that different to the user who is shown them, but it's quite different on the back-end.
5. Do you need separate accounts to run ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger?
Nope—the short answer is, they’re all controlled by one platform: Facebook Ads Manager, and you can make things as simple or complex as you’d like. You don’t need a separate budget or even a separate ad creative… unless you want it.
6. Didn’t Cambridge Analytica ruin Facebook advertising?
Prior to the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook, the platform’s ad targeting capabilities had more options than they do now. But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is no longer able to target the specific demographics or audiences that you need to grow brand awareness and generate business for your company.
There are also workarounds for savvy digital marketers. For example, “homeowners” or recent home buyers are targeting categories that are no longer available on Facebook Ads, but Google Ads has recently (and quietly) added homeowners as one of their own targeting categories. If you create a remarketing list based on people who engaged in “homeowner” targeted Google Ads, and use that list to build a campaign in Facebook, you’ll still able to reach the same audience.
In short, Facebook advertising is not as doom and gloom as some people make it out to be, and there is still plenty of benefit to advertising your business on Facebook today.
7. “I already tried Facebook and it didn’t work. Isn’t that sufficient evidence to abandon the platform?”
The important point here is that you ask why your previous Facebook marketing campaigns didn’t work. Were you trying to use Facebook as a primary lead generation tool? We find Facebook most effective as an awareness tool to reach new customers at the top of the funnel. The key to successfully growing your business using Facebook is taking advantage of its strengths and figuring out how to incorporate it into a well thought out and integrated digital marketing strategy.
8. Where is Facebook in the sales funnel?
Simply put, awareness is the primary driver for Facebook advertising, putting it at the top of the sales funnel. Facebook is great for getting cheap volume and plenty of eyeballs on your brand. Facebook can also be used towards the bottom of the funnel, though, as you get closer to closing, with it’s retargeting capabilities.
9. How many leads can you expect as a result of Facebook marketing?
If a digital marketing company promises you a certain number of leads as a result of working with them, you should run for the hills—quality digital marketing doesn’t work that way. A real life example of an Energy Circle client’s recent campaign had 7% of their leads come from Facebook. That might not seem like a whole lot, but remember that Facebook is used most effectively early on in the sales process, and that the 7% doesn’t include people who were remarketed and retargeted.
10. How does Facebook retargeting work?
Facebook retargeting allows you to create custom marketing lists of people who have already interacted with your brand—they could have visited a certain page on your website or watched a specific video, or you could already have their email address or phone number—and lets you create a specific remarketing campaign to target them again and get them closer to closing.
11. Where should I be advertising—Facebook or Google Ads?
The answer to this is “yes”. You should definitely be doing both! There are a number of unique advantages to both Facebook and Google Ads, and a successful digital marketing campaign rarely puts all of its eggs in one basket—it’s a balanced and coordinated effort that plays to the strengths and weaknesses of each advertising platform.
12. How much should I spend on Facebook advertising?
Everyone’s business is different, and depending on the unique needs and the size of your company, it’s difficult to just give a flat number to spend that will work for everyone. One of our current Energy Circle clients just ran a 4 month, $1,000 a month Facebook campaign, and ended up with an average cost per lead of $30. With the right strategy and mix of advertising tactics, similar results are possible!
13. How can you see your competitor’s Facebook marketing campaign?
As part of Facebook’s pledge towards transparency, you can now see exactly what ads your competitor is running and how much they’re spending to run them! Go look up your competition (from the company’s Facebook page, go to Page Transparency, click See More, and then go to Ad Library) and find out what they’ve been running. Are they pushing a one note narrative? What can you offer that they don’t? This is a very useful (and underutilized) tool that can help give you a leg on some of your ad efforts.
14. What is “Audience Building”?
Audience building through Facebook advertising refers to finding and connecting with groups of people who are likely to be interested in your content, and then nurturing that connection by organizing those users into categories and continuing to tailor your content to their specific interests in increasingly more relevant and customized ways.
15. Why is “Audience Building” an effective use of Facebook advertising?
One marketing challenge facing many home services businesses—especially in the HVAC, home performance, and solar industries—is a lack of awareness or recognition of their name or “brand”, and a lack of understanding about their services. A lack of awareness means fewer people actively searching for your products or services—we refer to these consumers as being near the “top of the funnel” when it comes to how likely they are to become a quality lead.
Reaching these “top of the funnel” people with content that introduces your brand, and informs them about your services, increases the likelihood that, when they do actively search for a related HVAC or solar service—they’ll recognize (and click on) your company’s listing because it’s familiar. Or, better yet just search for your company name directly. Building awareness and nurturing relevant “top of the funnel” audiences like those you can build through Facebook advertising is one of the most effective ways to lead motivated and interested potential customers down the funnel toward your stronger conversion tactics, like organic search and PPC.
16. How do I get started finding a relevant “top of the funnel” audience to target with Facebook advertising?
Facebook offers many options for building audiences. As we’ve mentioned above, you can find and target users based on interests, demographics, geo/location, or combinations thereof. One way to define and grow a relevant audience quickly, though, is by creating a “lookalike audience”, which is made up of users who have similar profiles to those on a list you’ve pre-defined—for example, an email list of past customers.
A good quality email list can be uploaded to Facebook where it is then cross referenced with other user profiles to build an audience with similar interests, demographics, and online behavior to your previous customers, that can now be targeted with Facebook ads. In many cases this technique can exponentially increase the size of your audience and the reach of your Facebook advertising content.
17. Is Facebook a good lead generation tool for HVAC, home performance, and solar companies?
In general, we know that Facebook is an excellent tool for building brand awareness, and growing your relevant top of the funnel audience base. In the better building and clean energy industries specifically, where lead generation is often the top priority for digital marketing, Facebook acts as a critical support mechanism for the other, more lead gen-focused tactics in the marketing tool box.
Direct leads generated from Facebook advertising are typically on the lower side, when compared to methods like paid search or even organic website traffic. But in the home services industries, where credibility and trust are critical to actually converting those leads into booked projects, building that trust starts at the top of the funnel with brand awareness. Awareness (built through Facebook advertising) leads to interest (fostered through quality website content), which leads to active searching (bolstered by PPC advertising and strong SEO), which eventually leads to conversion. Facebook advertising is an essential first step in the lead generation process and feeds the rest of the digital marketing tactics as well.