Why “Do-It-Yourself” Facebook Advertising Is Probably A Bad Idea

For many marketers, Facebook stands for one thing: community and bringing brands and fans together.

Managing and growing that community takes a particular skill. Done successfully, attracting a following on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others can pay substantial dividends.

In the last three years or so, though, Facebook and others (but especially Facebook) have developed a powerful new marketing muscle, one that’s quite different from community-building. Facebook has constructed an advertising platform that solves a lot of chronic marketing problems.

Unlike traditional television advertising, for example, marketing on Facebook allows companies to target individuals with known characteristics, not extrapolated ones through services like Nielsen. Unlike search engine marketing, or SEM, Facebook allows marketers to employ pictures and video to engage customers in rich and engaging ways.

The platform also empowers marketers to target users at every stage of their journey. Want to reach new customers that resemble your existing ones? Facebook will let you find lookalike audiences based on your CRM data. Want to retarget customers who have visited a particular part of your website? Facebook has ways to do that, too.

Facebook has so many tools for marketers, its Blueprint online catalog has 35 courses available to help you learn all about it.

Learning about advertising on Facebook is one thing. Doing it is another thing entirely. Unless you or your company fits a narrow set of criteria, you’re better off letting experts help you plan and execute your Facebook advertising. Here’s why:

  1. You probably lack the resource do to it really well: Marketing on Facebook requires skills your social community managers do not have. You might find someone in-house to help you get started, but getting Facebook to perform at a high level, especially in direct response campaigns, is very tough to do.

  2. Stick to your knitting: Your business got where it is today because it executed some things extremely well, but chances are that marketing on Facebook is not one of those things.

  3. The channels are new and change all the time: Facebook and Twitter regularly roll out new ad products. Keeping up requires dedication and focus most companies wouldn’t know how to provide.

  4. Mobile-first experience is both required and very rare: With so much of Facebook usage now happening on smartphones, marketing performance and efficiency requires that you know how to execute mobile marketing, too. Does your creative team have experience building standout ad units for 4″ phone screens? How about driving app downloads and reengagement? Probably not.

  5. Experts are available to help, often for less than you’d expect: Exceptional marketing performance on Facebook requires more than an experimental budget investment, but finding terrific marketing partners to do it for you costs less than you probably think. Here’s a directory of partners Facebook has approved to help marketers achieve their goals. (Full disclosure: my employer, Ampush, is one of them.)

In other words, unless you’ve already got a sufficient number of workers with meaningful experience running Facebook and other forms of in-feed advertising with a heavy mobile focus, you’re better off leaving it to outside experts.

A couple of weeks ago, I seized upon Facebook’s Q1 2015 earnings announcement to proclaim that if you haven’t already committed fully to marketing through Facebook above and beyond whatever you do to nurture community, now is the time to start. All signs point to Facebook becoming a dominant performer in mobile marketing. Now is the time to make it strategic.

Just don’t got it alone.

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