Using Social Network Ads for Greater Impact

By Dave Kerpen (An excerpt from Likeable Social Media Chapter 15) You’re relaxing one night at home after work, on the couch, watching some television. Your favorite show cuts to commercial, and you’re about to hit Fast Forward on your DVR to skip the downtime, as you usually do, when you notice something strange. On the upper-right corner of your television screen, you see your friend’s name! You hold off on fast forwarding, examine closer, and read the words, “Your friend Megan Miller likes this ad.”

“Wow,” You think. “How crazy?” You watch the ad, and actually find it pretty entertaining. You’re glad you paid attention to your friend Megan’s approval, and didn’t skip the commercial.

The next morning, on your way to work, you’re listening to the radio, and just before the DJ goes to the commercial break, you hear, “Three of your friends, including Megan Miller, like this next company you’ll hear an ad from.” Since three of your friends like the company, the ad must be worth paying attention to, so you decide to listen.

You arrive at work, and, since you’re in charge of scanning the local newspaper for articles of importance to your company, you open up the first page and begin reading. You can’t help but notice an advertisement on page 3, because right underneath this ad, is printed: “Five of your friends, including Megan Miller, like this company.”

None of these advertising examples are possible through traditional, linear media of course. In fact they probably seem downright absurd. But can you imagine how incredible it would be if they were possible? The ability to build word-of-mouth endorsements from your friends into personalized advertising units is more powerful than any form of linear advertising ever created, and it’s currently possible using Facebook’s ad unit.

Because social ads relate people to their own friends and to other real people, they’re inherently more powerful than non-social ads. In the past, advertisements were about product features and benefits. Today, a social network advertisement can be content personalized to have the greatest impact on each user. What copy do you think would have a greater effect – “Our widgets are the best because they’re fastest” or “Your friends Johnny and Susie like our widgets”?

Once you have customers who have “liked” your Page on Facebook, the best way to grow your fan base and to leverage the organic power of word of mouth is to use Facebook ads which target “Friends of Connections” among your targeting criteria. Done right, you essentially use these ads to market your company through your existing customers or fans connections and “likes,” gaining their friends’ attention, instead of simply marketing to a mass audience or untargeted group of people.

The average person on Facebook has 130 friends. So even if you just have 100 people who like your Page to begin with, an ad seen only by friends of connections has a target audience of roughly 13,000 people. If you have 1,000 fans, that’s an average target audience of 130,000 people. The numbers can be astounding, but much more compelling is the fact that every ad served is personalized to tell your prospects which of his or her friends already “like” you, inside the ad itself. You cannot receive a better endorsement!

How do you use social network ads for greater impact on your fan page? Let me know in the comments!