If you’ve been following our series on social media for the independent travel professional, you may have been inspired to dip your toe into Twitter or Instagram or perhaps Pinterest.
If you’ve chosen to dive into Facebook, you’re in good company. In the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which surveyed more than 2,800 marketers, 54% said if they had to select just one platform, it would be Facebook (followed by LinkedIn at 17%).
Sherry Heyl agrees. Heyl is the Managing Director and Partner of Sensei Project in Atlanta. For almost 10 years she and the Sensei team have worked in social media, strategizing with clients like Ottawa-based Novotel to integrate social technologies into their existing business processes. Their strategizing includes purchasing Facebook ads.
“We ran a campaign for Novotel Ottawa where we spent just $100, reached over 33,000 people and saw a 1.15% click-through rate,” she says.
Just like any social media endeavor, though, in order to get the most out of Facebook ads you need to take the time to understand them.
For example, Facebook ads are not just about visibility. “They can be about views, clicks, app installs – they’re very segmented,” says Heyl, adding, “with a focus on good copy, strong imagery, a good call-to-action along with specific targeting, you can see great value even at the lower end of the spectrum.”
So are Facebook ads a wise investment for an independent travel professional? The short answer is a qualified yes. While “Facebook has torpedoed organic reach to the point where it’s significantly less effective than it used to be, the sheer amount of rich data and targeted messaging means it has few equals.” The rich data allows you to target ads by income, by purchasing habits, by location and more.
Of course the next question on everyone’s minds is: How much? The answer is: As much or as little as you want. “You can have success raising the reach and visibility of your posts for just $2 or $3 per day. ‘Likes’ can cost you anywhere between $0.25 (if you’re really good and/or really broad in your targeting) to $2 to $3 or more per fan. The narrower and more specific your targets, generally the more expensive your ads,” says Heyl.
It sounds great, but just as with other forms of advertising, there can be pitfalls. “Say your ad has a typo, incorrect information in it, or worse can be taken as an insult to a certain group of people. Now it’s out there. No printers to call to stop the presses, and the visibility of people pointing out your mistake will spread. You can pause the ad, but the damage will be done and if the mistake is compelling enough you will see that ad run as a screen shot or meme throughout the web,” she says.
Final word to the wise: Proceed. But do so with caution.
For more information about purchasing ads on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/advertising.
For more about Sensei Project visit http://www.senseiproject.com/.