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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2014

Boost the Value of Your Facebook Use

Advertise and expand your marketing reach via social media

If you think your business is not ready for a global reach, think again. In today’s world, with virtually everyone “plugged in” to social media, there are few advertising outlets more topical, timely and constantly evolving than websites like Twitter and Facebook — and the latter can offer advertising access to customers the world over.

For mortgage brokers and originators, Facebook makes it easy to boost your online presence, create customized advertising and get the word out quickly about your business. Countless mortgage banks and brokerages already have a social media presence, but if your company still is missing out on Facebook, now is the time to sign on.

Importance

Whether you are trying to attract customers to your business or draw prospective customers’ attention to a special event or promotion, Facebook has three key advantages.

  • Reach
  • Customization
  • Easy analytics

Facebook has a staggering reach, with more than 1 billion active users worldwide. Because it’s such a vast social network, Facebook is a virtual spider web of connections among users, and word can spread quickly if users “like” your company’s page. With many site members logging in several times each day, you can spread the word about your business with lightning-fast results.

Social media doesn’t rely on a one-size-fits-all template that only targets a specific audience. By using the ad-creation tools on Facebook, you can create multiple ads for different audiences, target a specific audience based on the promotion or event you’re advertising, and even manage your advertising budget to fit your business. You can craft an ad that targets a local audience — or a global one — and because the ability of its users to advertise effectively is important, Facebook is working constantly to make its advertising more advanced.

The gratification of instant feedback is a valuable feature of Facebook’s advertising platform. You can stay on top of how your ad is performing based on statistics that are aggregated about its cost and number of views throughout whatever time period you select. After even a few days of running your ad, you should get a sense of whether it’s doing its job. If not, it’s time to revisit your ad concept.

Getting started

Of course, to advertise on Facebook, you must have an account. You can create a page for your business that is independent of your personal page. Separate accounts enable you to keep your personal and business presences distinctive, and you can have a different password for your business account that other employees can use without accessing your personal account. Make sure that you include your business logo on your Facebook page so that new and returning customers will recognize your brand.

Facebook offers tips for creating a user-friendly page. Include a cover photo, for instance, that represents your business. Post updates for your customers regularly but not overly frequently; visitors to your page will want to know that you are on top of your social media presence, but they won’t want to be bombarded by material. Keep posts short and accessible. Visitors are looking for a snapshot of what is happening with your business — not a treatise.

As with any other form of advertising, gather the materials and information necessary to create your ad. This might include website addresses, dates and timing for special promotions, logos, graphics and photos. The Web address that you list in your ad can direct visitors to an external website such as your company’s site or a special site that you’ve established for a promotion. Make sure that you don’t incorporate any copyrighted materials for which you don’t have rights. Ads should be heavy on images and light on copy.

Creating an advertisement on Facebook is a step-by-step process that walks you through your options. In addition to creating content, you will be able to define the length of time you want your ad to run and how you want to manage your ad pricing. Pricing options include paying “per click” when users click on your ad, or paying “per impression” when users merely view your ad.

You can pay for your ads via PayPal or a credit card. Facebook also allows you to establish a daily cap on advertising so that you can control your budget.

Determining your target audience has much to do with the type of advertisement you’re creating. Are you looking to reach existing customers? Attract new customers? Offer a special incentive or run a promotion? Facebook allows you to advertise by specific demographics — age, gender, location, even interests or keywords. Targeting your audience by their connections will allow you options that run the gamut from reaching out to users who are your Facebook friends to accessing the entire body of the network’s users.

Of course, this type of efficient targeting means that you’ll have to think carefully about your advertising goals. More is not always better. If, for example, you’re seeking clients in need of mortgage loans, you don’t want to target teenagers. Similarly, if you run a local business, you can target the Facebook users who live in your area and exclude other regions of the country.

In any case, Facebook includes a feature that allows you to see how many users you will be reaching given the demographic parameters you established. If you feel the number is too high or too low, you can adjust your parameters accordingly.

Keeping up

Advertising wouldn’t be half as valuable as it is without the ability to analyze its effectiveness. Fortunately, advertising on Facebook affords you easy access to how your ad is performing so that you can judge its effectiveness and make changes accordingly. Be sure to do the following.

  1. Analyze. By analyzing the click-through rate on your ad, you can see how many Facebook users are following through when they see your ad displayed. If you have multiple ads running, you can gauge which ads are the most effective. Since Facebook is engaged constantly in improving its services, the site is tuning its metrics to be more user-friendly.
  2. Keep it fresh. Since Facebook allows you to see how your ad is performing in a relatively short amount of time, it’s easy to know when something isn’t working. This rapid feedback allows you to re-think your advertising strategy and develop new advertisements accordingly. The ability to adapt quickly and change an unsuccessful approach will save you time and money, as well as offer your customers fresh content on a regular basis.
  3. Manage your budget. Each time you create an ad, you can change your pricing structure. If the cost per click pricing isn’t working for you, you can change to a cost per impression model, and you pay a set amount for every 1,000 ad views. You also can set a new daily budget cap if you find that you’re hitting your cap swiftly.

•  •  •

One of the distinctive features of a Facebook presence is that it’s an interactive platform. By setting up a business page that new and existing customers can access independently or through targeted advertising, you can offer users the chance to weigh in on a post or “like” your content. This creates a dialogue with clients, as well as an opportunity for rapid response to their needs and concerns. 



 


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