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As Facebook continues its unofficial quest to make the platform pay to play and with Twitter quickly following in those footsteps, many are looking towards advertising as the most important component, but they would be wrong. Others who sell their products would say that strategy can overcome the need to play, but they would be incorrect as well. It’s the third component that plays in both of the other two realms that really makes up about half of the equation.
Social media marketing for the automotive industry is 2 parts content, 1 part strategy, and 1 part spend. There was a time not too long ago that it was even more prominent, but modern social media requires businesses to apply all three in order to have a winning combination.
Content is the beginning. You have to have a nice array of content to post on your social profiles, particularly on Facebook. Twitter has a never-ending flow of content bombarding you every day in the form of the blogs you read, the news that presents itself, random thoughts that make for good Tweets, and random pictures that you take or that you find on the internet. Pinterest is quickly becoming more about search than anything else and Google+ is failing in its mission to be anything more than a search engine tool. This leaves Facebook as the lone component that requires full effort in order to find the appropriate content.
Strategy must be applied once the content is gathered. Some have the time and resources to accumulate a strong pool of content and can plan out much of what they’ll post on Facebook ahead of time. Others must take what they can find in the limited time they have to find it every day or every week. Either way, a proper strategy that plays to both the algorithm as well as the expectations of the fans must be integrated in order to deliver the right content at the right time.
Advertising is the third component. It’s the trap. It’s the aspect of Facebook that seems so easy in the beginning but that can be butchered very quickly to the point that you can no longer effectively advertise. Here’s what happens…
You start off and see the “Boost Post” button on something that you just put up on the page. You click it and see that for $15, you can expose your content to thousands of people. Heck, you can probably reach a couple thousand people by spending $5 if your page is doing pretty well already. You give it a shot and, voila! Your post gets more exposure, more reach, and more engagement than anything you’ve posted in the past. You do the math and you start boosting other posts. It’s all good stuff.
One day, you see that your boosting numbers look different. Rather than spending $5 and reaching 1200-1700 people like you did a couple days before, you see that the same money now only buys you 500-950 views. You might do it or you might even bump it up to $10 for this post. Either way, you hope that it’s just a temporary drop because you’ve been telling everyone how awesome you are at Facebook.
A couple of weeks later, your heart sinks when you see something like the example below. This is a Facebook page that has 1700 fans that we took over recently. They didn’t do anything wrong, really. They simply didn’t go through the steps and monitor their EdgeRank properly to prevent this type of dip from happening. In short, Facebook and this page’s fans have spoken. They were exposed to the wrong content at the wrong times and it ate away at their potential to use Facebook ads.
Thankfully, it can be fixed. It requires content. Great content. Facebook advertising is different from other types of advertising in that the sentiment towards the ads has a tremendous effect on the potential reach and ROI on future ads. If you advertise something that gets a lot of negative feedback, it will cost more to advertise your next few posts. The ads are tied in directly with the organic algorithm. With Google, you can optimize your way to the top of you can buy your way to the top. On Facebook, there’s no distinction between advertised posts and organic posts. Just because you pay doesn’t mean that your posts will be seen.
With the right strategy, properly managed advertising, and a ton of great content, you can master the art and science of social advertising. With any single portion missing, there’s a good chance that you can do more harm than good.