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Is Facebook Marketing Even Worth It If You Have Limited Time & Money?

     
3:14 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wondering how much time and effort we should really put into facebook marketing, since we don't have lots of resources.

We are something of a niche woman's clothing store. We've had brick and mortar stores for 15 years and we have been online since 2002 - maybe even longer.

Sadly, our facebook presence is pretty darn weak. We only have 192 likes and 5 "visits" to our site (whatever "visits" means).

I admit that we only made one post to our facebook page in all of 2014 and it said we only reached 3 people.

We do have some nice photos of our merchandise though.

So can you give us any guidelines on what type of marketing might work for us for facebook? Please assume that I have no knowledge of the various ways to market on facebook, because quite simply, I don't.

I see some of our competitors mostly post a photo and a brief description of their merchandise, or they just post some feel-good phrase on a cheesy graphic. Is that all it takes to get people to like your business page?

Thanks in advance for suggestions.
4:50 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The feel good phrase on a cheesy graphic is an attempt to get a few shares and likes. Since early last year that doesn't have much effect on getting traffic. Even to be seen by people who have "Liked" your page (but not "Followed" it) means that you need to spend money. FB is not a set-it and forget it answer for passive traffic generation. Is is now pay to play or else interact closely with your "fans".

This recent thread might help you decide whether to bother: [webmasterworld.com...]

I would say if your time and money are limited, a short trial should let you know whether the ads do what you want them to. FB isn't very good if you have neither to invest.
4:53 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the comments and the link, not2easy.
7:41 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"We do have some nice photos of our merchandise though."

Try to penetrate FB traffic using Criteo then, someone who can take your database of products (likely the same one you have already, used for Google Shopping), and do some Dynamic Display.
9:04 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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PPC advertising provided the highest ROI out of all our ad buys.
9:08 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the suggestion, RhinoFish.
9:15 pm on Jan 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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PPC advertising provided the highest ROI out of all our ad buys.


Thank you, KevinC:

I understand what you are saying, and back about 8 years ago, we used to KILL IT with PPC.

Gradually our ROI went down and to be honest, now we have only found it profitable to do PPC for JUST ONE PRODUCT - and we only can afford to do it in the run up to the holidays (it's a cold-weather item).

If anyone has a good resource for reading up and maximizing PPC campaigns, I am always open for suggestions.
4:19 pm on Jan 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you're doing it yourself, the only cost is likely to be your time, unless you decide to pay to promote a post.

First things first, try to get your FB page looking just as you'd like: It's a bit of a shop window.

Even though your page posts don't appear in the timelines as they used to, you'll see "boost post" options. Before you would want to boost the post you have to get "likes." One way to do that is to make sure you use every opportunity to gain likes by simply asking people to "like" your page. You can run competitions to "like" your page. Put it on your literature, in the storefront, etc. It'll create a bit of a buzz.

One other way to raise the profile of your posts is to personally "like" posts from the ecomm site. That way your friends will see that you liked something. try and get comments on the page.

Once you have built an audience, even if you choose to boost a post it'll get seen by many more people.

As i mentioned, run competitions, comment on popular news and especially fashion items, as that's relevant to your business.

You have to work at it.

Is it worth it? You'll never know if you don't do it.
4:33 pm on Jan 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the suggestions, engine.

I guess this part has me concerned though:

One way to do that is to make sure you use every opportunity to gain likes by simply asking people to "like" your page. You can run competitions to "like" your page. Put it on your literature, in the storefront, etc. It'll create a bit of a buzz.


I understand that ALL marketing takes work to be successful, but it sure seems like that is an awful lot of work to get people to go to a site that is not even really mine... since it is still a facebook property. After all is said and done, I will still need them to click through to my site and, after that, get them to buy something...

I know that nobody can answer for sure since it will vary from site to site, but how high / low on the totem pole should facebook be? Seems like their would be more effective ways to market. Or am I missing some benefit that I am just not seeing?

It seems like the major benefit of having lots of likes is the "social proof" that potential customers will get when they are thinking about buying something on my site.
5:26 pm on Jan 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Absolutely right in one respect: You're sending people to FB. For many, I can see why that seems it's not a normal thing to do. Facebook has one advantage: It has over 1-billion people that use it daily. That's one huge audience!

I'm not trying to persuade you one way or the other, so don't misunderstand me.

After i'd hit submit on the message, I thought of something else to add. You could upload videos to FB. It's now one of the highest trafficked sites for users watching video. Upload a video of the latest fashion, or a viral video, and it should bring eyeballs to the brand.

As with any marketing activity it's important to spread the activity as wide as possible. What i mean by that is not putting all the marketing activity into one service, such as Google. Facebook is only one other to consider, along with twitter, G+, Bing, etc., as well as offline, or traditional marketing activity.

I'll posts some stats on FB video.
9:18 pm on Jan 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thank you again, engine, and thanks for posting the stats about FB Video in the other thread ( [webmasterworld.com...] )
9:25 pm on Jan 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Facebook has one advantage: It has over 1-billion people that use it daily. That's one huge audience!


Since the conversation has until now focused on Likes, let me ask about how many people SEARCH on facebook for products?

I realize that to get full value from facebook one will need significant time spent on making a community out of it. But do we have any idea what the percentage of people using facebook search to find products / services to purchase?

And how does Facebook's search algorithim differ from googles? does facebook just send people to the business page that has the most likes? Is it more semantic based?
10:10 pm on Jan 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The short answer: no.
12:57 am on Jan 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The short answer: no.


What was the question again? :-0

If you could elaborate, that would be greatly appreciated.

Were yoiu saying that no, one shouldn't try and market on facebook if resources are limited?

Or are you saying that people don't use the search functionality for finding products on facebook?

Or saying "no" to both questions?

or saying no to something else altogether?

And if you have alternative suggestions for getting a better ROI, then I would love, Love, LOVE to hear them. (Did I mention that I would like to hear suggestions on alternative forms of advertising with a better ROI?)

Thanks in advance.
3:37 am on Jan 9, 2015 (gmt 0)

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you need to get over the idea that Facebook is free. The same guys that will spend $1000's on adwords for some reason can't bring themselves to spend $5 to boost a post on their page.

You can advertise for likes on google and the amount of targeting available is insane. you have have a laser focus and only target people that will actually be interested in your content and/or products. Once you have targetting down you need to test many many different ad versions and you can easily get the CPA down to .05/like.

That's dirt cheap for a legit lead.

Then post good content but don't just post your own stuff, that's boring. Instead curate a content that is relevant to your niche, some say 80% other peoples content and 20% your own content.

The idea is to be such a great source of content(related to your niche) that when it comes time to sell something they are clammering over themselves to buy. But being a god curator you earn the right to advertise, in fact they will beg you buy if you do it right.


FACEBOOK IS NOT PROMOTING PRODUCTS - say it out loud until you get it. Facebook is about building a community and occasionally promoting.

Every business has a story to tell, figure it out and don't be lazy.
7:46 am on Jan 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Uh... well... I put in about 70 hours a week in work, so I don't think I am particularly lazy.

Under-resourced? Yes.

You can advertise for likes on google and the amount of targeting available is insane.


could you elaborate please? Are you saying use adwords to drive traffic to our FaceBook page? I seriously don't know what you mean by advertising for likes on google.

The idea is to be such a great source of content(related to your niche) that when it comes time to sell something they are clammering over themselves to buy.


But wouldn't it be better for me to have a blog on our ecommerce site and try my best to promote that (instead of sending them off site to facebook)?

~~~~

BTW: Sorry if what I am asking doesn't make sense. It is late and I have the flu.
8:09 am on Jan 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is Facebook Marketing Even Worth It If You Have Limited Time & Money?

No, not in my niche...

But there’s more than a few women on FB, and in my experience very few women ignore beautiful clothes...
Thus, it might be worth your while to spend more time, even if only an hour or two a week, on your FB page.
10:37 am on Jan 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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But wouldn't it be better for me to have a blog on our ecommerce site and try my best to promote that

Yes...

At the same time you can also use FB, not only for sales, but to send potential customers to your blog/ecommerce site
4:53 pm on Jan 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"You can advertise for likes on google and the amount of targeting available is insane.


could you elaborate please? Are you saying use adwords to drive traffic to our FaceBook page? I seriously don't know what you mean by advertising for likes on google. "




SORRY - that's a typo, I meant on Facebook the amount of targetting you can do is insane. You can dial it in to people that WILL be interested in your product. As well you can take your email list and target to them there.



In regards to a blog that's important to, but it's never going to have the reach that facebook does. You need to do both.
5:02 pm on Jan 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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KevinC said it just before i got there. Facebook already has the audience, whereas your you blog may not have those numbers.

You can promote a product or service on your blog and your user-base may see it. If you promote it on Facebook, potentially, your FB user base can see it, plus, if liked, all their friends.

The two should go hand-in-hand. Post it on your blog, then post the blog link on FB.
9:58 pm on Jan 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have client sites with a fantastic response on Facebook. I also have client sites with a terrible response. It depends on the category and the quality of the effort.

You might give it a brief and low-cost test to see if it works for you.
10:17 pm on Jan 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@ scottb:

Can you provide any more insight into WHY certain clients do well with it and why certain clients DON'T do well with it?

What do your successful clients do that the others don't?
10:48 pm on Jan 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Planet13, despite the fact that they are in decline, newspapers that know how to use Facebook have great organic reach and engagement, and they acquire likes easily. I haven't seen any category that does better (but I wouldn't call myself an expert).

It's probably no surprise because the postings have a lot of local interest and generate debate. That said, some newspapers do much better than others when they pay attention to FB Insights.

One advantage of newspapers over other categories is that they have access to many photos. The ones that do well on Facebook post a lot of photos and make sure they are large. Photos of people who are named do especially well because they are more likely to be shared.

Categories such as health, travel and general business (content focused instead of big brands or ecommerce) seem to do poorly unless they target a passionate affinity group.
10:49 pm on Jan 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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9 times out of 10 those who do well have a product/content that is highly prized by the rank and file (usually entertainment stuff). Those who don't do as well are usually limited by geo-location and/or a sea of similar products/content. Clothing falls into the latter category, unless it is really different, kool for the moment, etc.

Do your site, that's your bread and butter, but by all means do FB as well... it can't hurt and who knows, might even help. You can start with investing time instead of money and see what results happen in six months time. If there are encouraging results then throw a little money at it and see what happens six months after that. No matter what, unless it goes viral, you will not see immediate results.

Ultimately only you know what your budget is, or how to invest it.
4:42 am on Jan 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@ scottb:

Thanks for the elaboration and tips.

@ tangor:

Thanks for the strategy.
9:54 pm on Jan 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"Categories such as health, travel and general business (content focused instead of big brands or ecommerce) seem to do poorly unless they target a passionate affinity group. "


EVERY SINGLE product or business out there has a group that is extremely passionate about the topic -- if not you chose the wrong product or business.

If you sell clothing for dogs, I guarantee there's a forum out there with crazy about dogs and buying dressing up their animals. This applies to any niche, there's groups of people crazy about residential plumbing as well.

The trick is to curate content that appeals to these fanatics. If you're a plumbing supply house and all you do is post pictures of pipe fittings from your catalog, well not many people are going to get excited and like your page.

Now if you post great how-to articles or pictures of elaborate installs, answered common questions etc. Now those plubming fanatics will like your page, you've become a source of news or quality content for them.

So the idea is to keep feeind them the great content(does not have to be your own) and then every once in a while you let them know about a sale or about a new product.

You need to EARN the right to advertise to them. If you do it correctly, they will be begging you to buy your products.

80% curation / 20% promotion = facebook success.


people aren't on facebook to shop, but the point is to keep them in contact with your brand so when they ready to buy something you are first to mind.
5:30 pm on Jan 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, KevinC for the detailed and helpful explanation.

It paints a more complete picture for us.