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Social Networking “Friends” Politics: How to Make Facebook Ads Work to Political Candidates’ Favor

Posted by: Micah Pratt, Director of Social Networking R&D

The 2012 presidential election will be like one never experienced before. Social networking sites are playing a role in these elections that wasn’t imaginable four years ago by hosting debates, facilitating the political conversation and connecting candidates with voters in the digital world. Here is an article from CMO.com, written by Kim Soth, senior vice president of business development & marketing at Jennings Social Media Marketing, on how to get Facebook ads to work in your favor.

Five Ways to Make Facebook Ads Work For You

There is much talk in social-media circles about how to build your audience organically and that, for the most part, it is the best way to build an audience. It is certainly a good way, but it shouldn’t be your only strategy. We suggest that if you are a new company or are launching a product, you can do a great job of building fans with Facebook ads, which offer a great alternative to your marketing strategy. What’s more, Facebook ads are not nearly as complex as Google AdWords—but don’t let the simplicity fool you. For our campaigns we’ve found that Facebook ads, on average, deliver a higher click-through rate than Google AdWords.

For example, we were brought in to help promote a senatorial race. After a month of struggling to gain fans on Facebook, we eventually doubled the candidate’s fans in a week by running ads: We picked up 1,500 fans for a total cost of around $1,000.

So if you think this strategy might be for you, here are five tips that will help you make Facebook ads work for your campaigns.

1. It’s about testing. Always run multiple ads targeting the same “Likes and Interests,” and keep your Likes and Interests the same while testing different ad copy, headlines, or images. What needs to remain the same as your control for a general test is your Likes and Interests keywords. You can test many controls, but the simplest is Likes and Interests. Facebook targets audiences off of two variables: Users and Likes and Interests: If you change these in two different ads, then you don’t have an apples-to-apples test.

2. Likes and Interests matter. Likes and Interests are essentially keywords you are targeting for your campaign based on what shows up for a user. You don’t want to use random Likes and Interests keywords. To make Likes and Interests work for you, it’s important to target based on what is associated with that individual in some way—associations they belong to, things they like, where they work, what they are fans of, or what they’ve written on their walls.

It’s is important not to get carried away and add a hundred Likes and Interests keywords just because it’s cool to see the numbers of possible audience continue to rise. It would seem that big numbers of audience is a good idea, but it’s actually counterintuitive. You want to choose highly targeted Likes and Interests keywords that are tightly associated with your ad copy. Don’t choose a keyword just because of its audience reach. You want to make sure it matches everything you know about the ad copy. Just because someone rides a motorcycle doesn’t mean he is interested in a Harley. One person might buy sports bikes, another might buy BMW motorcycles, while another might be really into Harleys. So it does no good to blast all of them with a message about Harley gear.

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