• Should You Promote Your Small Business' Facebook Page?

Should you pay to promote page likes?
Facebook offers a few different types of advertising, but one that caught my eye as being potentially helpful for a small business building their social presence is known as “promoting page likes.”  This just means that you’re paying to promote a page with the goal of receiving more likes.  I decided to conduct an experiment to see if this would actually work for picking up likes quickly.

First things first, why should you care about getting likes?  When someone likes your business page, any updates you post to your page will show up in their news feed.  That means that even if they never visit your page again, in amongst the things their friends are posting, they’ll see what you’re posting as well.   That gives them a chance to like your post so that all of their friends can see it too.  This is how things go viral on Facebook.

Setting up an ad on Facebook is a snap.  They walk you through the steps of what you’re promoting (i.e., a Facebook page, event, or another website entirely), whether you’re promoting the page in general or a particular post, and whether or not you want to promote it socially.  Promoting something socially means that the ad will show up in the News Feeds of the friends of people who have liked your page with the words “So-and-so likes Company X”.  Rather than letting your page stand on it’s own merit, you’re adding a strong dose of social credibility.  This gets people saying, “if my friend likes it, maybe I should check it out.”

For my experiment, I decided to spend $10 a day for six days to see how much visibility ThriveHive could get, and how many likes we would receive.  The budget was sized to mimic something that a typical small business would be willing to spend (meaning that not all of the data is statistically significant).  To help improve the odds of getting liked, I targeted the ads to small business owners, age 21+.  Here are the results:

We spent $58.91 over the course of six days.  Our ad was seen over 95,000 times, and clicked 58 times.  That’s a Click Through Rate of 0.06% (pretty average for a display ad), a Cost Per Click of $1.02 and a Cost Per Thousand Impressions of $0.62.  If I were sending people to a page where they could buy something, those might be good numbers, but remember I’m just fishing for likes.  Seems like this could be a little pricey, so let’s dig a little deeper.

Those 95,000+ Impressions came from 8,105 individuals, meaning the ad was seen an average of about 12 times by each of them.  That’s pretty good exposure.  Of those people, 58 of them clicked on the ad to view our page and 7 of them liked us.  That’s a Conversion Rate of just over 12%, which would be great if I were selling something, but at $8.41 per like is… not so great.

Does Facebook’s ad platform work?  You bet.  We paid money, got exposure and picked up a quick 7 likes for less than $60.  If you’re promoting a large company with a big budget just for social media, this could make a lot of sense for growing your Facebook following.  For the small business owner however, it looks like your advertising budget will probably be better spent on something that is directly driving sales.  Try building your Facebook following the old fashioned way, with fresh, compelling, original content.  It’s a little more work, but it’s a great habit to get into and saves your marketing budget for more sales-focused activities.

Obviously our experiment is just one data point – have you had a different experience using this Facebook advertising tool?  We’d love to hear from you!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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