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Maximizing Your Facebook Advertising

If you ask any small business owner what their social media strategy is, "Facebook!" is probably the most common answer you'd get. But even if that's the right strategy for their business - and we're not saying it is - many of these business owners may not be exactly be sure how to approach the social network. We had a chance to chat with Nicolas Franchet, Facebook's Head of Retail & e-Commerce on its Global Vertical Marketing team, as well as Maz Sharafi, Head of Local Advertising Sales and Partnerships, on how small business owners, especially retailers, build an effective online strategy for Facebook.

e-Commerce And Mobile Commerce Has Changed The Game

Franchet shares that e-commerce and mobile has changed the face of retail - where marketers used to look at getting people into the "box" (store), marketers had to adjust to the new reality of engaging with consumers even before stepping into the store. "Being on Facebook should really be part of a performance marketing plan," adds Franchet, "and retailers are building their distribution on Facebook in order to acquire, grow sales, retain and build loyalty." Mobile, especially, has changed the game - Franchet says that 50% of Facebook's traffic comes from mobile.

Dominating Newsfeed

Sharafi and Franchet both highlight the importance of getting visibility on a user's news feed, where they spend most of their time. In fact, items on Facebook's news feed get eight (8) times more engagement than its ads located on the right hand side of the page. Page Post Ads is a recently introduced way to help advertisers to reach a broader audience than their own fans and friends of fans.

Create content specific for Facebook

Whatever ad units small business may be considering, Sharifi and Franchet says an important thing to note is the need to create a "voice" and publishing strategy on Facebook that is in line with the brand. "Be respectful of users' timelines," says Sharafi. The problem, he adds, is that marketers tend to write too much, so much so that users tend to tune out. Or your ads just plain suck. Instead, he says, write in a way so that users "snack on content". Franchet says that photos are particularly engaging, especially if these photos were shot specifically for use on Facebook. Many brands recycle content used for other platforms, and these tend not to be as engaging. He points out the example of Australia-based Beginning Boutique, run by four female fashion entrepreneurs, which uses photos of their products smartly to entice customers. Another great way to engage fans is the use of Facebook Offers. Offering special discount offers can create a viral effect as people share the offer with their friends - in fact, according to Franchet 75% of offers redeemed are actually by friends of fans of the brand. Japan-based convenience chain Lawsons used Offers to great effect to drive in-store traffic: a recent offer saw around 70% of customers who redeemed the offer also buying other products. Best part? Facebook Offers is free.

Mobile Shopping

More established retail brands are also jumping on the mobile bandwagon, many of them creating specific mobile shopping apps on Facebook, or even leveraging on third party shopping mobile apps. This way brands can can reach people on their specific mobile devices, while Mobile App Install helps with app discovery.

Goodbye Is The Hardest Thing

There's also Facebook Logout, a final pass at the consumer who's logging off from Facebook that is essntially a click-off to another landing page. Around 40% of Facebook users log out daily, and the Facebook Logout ad unit allows marketers to reach those users.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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