By the time you read this article, hundreds of companies will have started turning prospects into customers by advertising for the first time on Facebook. Will your flight school be one of them? If no, ask yourself why not. It may be the most important marketing question you'll answer all year.
There are currently more than 4 million advertisers on Facebook, far more than any other social media site, and that number is growing every day. Many of these companies have been very successful with Facebook, making it a key part of their marketing program. Entire brands have been built on Facebook exposure, and thousands of companies have grown and prospered through judicious use of the platform.
Others have tried with mixed or poor results and have given up, choosing to go back to more traditional print and electronic media to deliver their marketing messages. For them, Facebook was a much-ballyhooed flop, delivering disappointing results and leaving sales pros and managers wondering what went wrong.
Just what is it that makes some Facebook marketing soar while other efforts go down in a fiery ball? The answer is complicated and often connected to poor messaging, unappealing offers, and/or bad targeting (e.g., trying to sell surfboards to Nebraska lumber jacks). Gobs of research have been done on just what works on Facebook and what doesn't, and entire books have been written to help get newbies (you?) going in the right direction.
Here are five ideas to help kickstart your Facebook planning and, importantly, avoid the risks and dangers that await the unwary advertiser venturing into the Class B airspace of social media.
Keep in mind, however, that different campaigns can target different audiences. For example, one series of ads might target young people considering aviation as a career. Another might go after older folks finally able to realize their dreams of flight. Still another might reach out to women (a giant untapped market) who just need an invitation and reassurance that they are welcome in the pilot community. Whatever the case, make sure you tailor your message to your audience. Don't even think about pushing the go button on Facebook advertising until you have identified clearly defined target markets.
Certain buzzwords are tried-and-true attention grabbers. Sure, they're used a lot, but that's because they work. Words and phrases like “free,” “now,” “limited time,” and “trial” are powerful and should not be discounted because they seem trite. They seem trite because you've seen them a lot, and you've seen them a lot because they're effective.
The biggest sin in TV production is to be boring. The same goes for social media. Get creative, maybe even a little wacky. Use slang where appropriate, and humor is a great sales tool if done well. Creativity gets noticed, and being noticed means your phones will ring and your propellers will turn. Need help in this department? Hire a pro.
In the second installment of this article, we’ll share five more Facebook marketing tips pertaining to budget, calls to action, videos, and tracking results.William Woodbury is a flight instructor and freelance writer in Southern California.