I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook advertising. And there is one, and only one reason for this feeling – I’ve been in business long enough that I can remember when Facebook was truly free for small businesses.
I started my photography business back in 2009. I started with a basic website, and of course a Facebook Business Page almost immediately; as I knew it was the quickest way to get my work out there. Facebook was a beautiful thing for a photographer at that time. We could post our images for all of our followers to see. We could tag our clients, who in turn would share our images and the wonderful viral effects of Facebook would take over.
In a short amount of time, it felt like everyone knew my business had launched. And everyone was interested in hiring me. I had not paid a DIME for advertising or marketing on Facebook, yet all of my referrals were coming directly from the site.
Fast forward a few years, and Facebook shifted their focus to paid ads and boosted posts. If you didn’t have a Facebook business page years ago, then you may not know that when we would post something, a LARGE number of your followers would actually see it. Sounds crazy, right? Nowadays, you’re lucky if more than 5-15% of your followers actually see your posts.
So what is a photographer to do? I’m going to get a little bit ‘business-y’ on you for a few minutes.
Let’s say you invest $500 in a Facebook ad (my preference over boosted posts, we’ll talk about that in another blog post). Here is where the ‘love’ part of my relationship with Facebook comes into play.
Facebook knows A LOT about their users. This is where businesses can take advantage! You get to self-select exactly WHO you want to see your advertisement. So rather than doing a blanket ad to any and everyone on Facebook, you can target females between the ages of 30-40, with at least 2 kids, married, college degree, etc. The amount of details is incredible.
So with that $500, let’s say you receive 20 new inquiries. That doesn’t sound like much, but if only 20% of those book with you (let’s say your average session fee is $450), you’re ROI, or Return On Investment, is $1300. That’s an amazing ROI.
Now these numbers were pulled out of thin air. You could end up with quite a few more inquiries, and you may charge more/less. But it’s important to look at your spend vs your income potential.
It may take a bit of trial and error, but the bottom line is that Facebook has flexibility that works for small businesses.
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