I run my little consulting business out of an expansive office in our basement. The business is going reasonably well — I have clients in both Sweden and the United States. Still, I have some slack time every now and again. I need to do some marketing to build the business.
So far, my marketing consists of this website, some social media, and some nice t-shirts. (If you want a t-shirt, send me your size). I maintain a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, and a Linked In page. I considered advertising on the Super Bowl but decided that the demographics were wrong. Then I noticed that my Facebook views had dropped dramatically. Even people who had “liked” my page weren’t seeing my posts. Facebook had apparently changed its algorithms to “suppress” views of pages that don’t advertise with the company. (For more on this, see Nick Bilton’s post in the New York Times).
So I decided to advertise on Facebook. I think I create some pretty good posts, so I simply paid Facebook to advertise them for me. I made a modest investment — $5 on some days and $10 on days when I addressed a really hot topic. The results were weird to say the least.
First the results were completely unpredictable. On the day before I bought my first ad, 29 people saw my post — though I have well over 500 friends on Facebook. With my first ad — a $5 day — 7,055 people saw my post and I got four “likes”. Here’s what happened on subsequent days:
I had asked Facebook to show my ads to people over 25 years of age who said that they enjoy reading. I didn’t change my criteria throughout the ten-day trial but I had no idea what to expect from day to day.
Then I started getting nastygrams (some very nasty) from other Facebook users. To advertise my work, Facebook simply takes one of my posts and inserts it into other users’ news feeds. A number of users, who don’t know me from Adam, took strenuous exception to this, posted obscene messages in my news feed, and reported me for spamming. I corresponded with one such user who asked me never to spam him again. I pointed out that I had bought an ad without the intention of spamming anybody. He considered it spam and had asked Facebook to “adjust their algorithm” to punish me as a spammer.
I wondered if Facebook would actually charge me for an ad and then downgrade my algorithm for spamming. That takes some chutzpah. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out if this actually occurs. Frankly, I just don’t know whom to ask. Despite its name, Facebook is a rather faceless organization.
So, I’ve given up my Facebook ad campaign. I’m tired of the obscene responses. And, like the Super Bowl, I wasn’t reaching the right demographic. I did get more views and more “likes” but, after reading the profiles of those who “liked” me, I just don’t think any of them are going to buy my business-to-business consulting services. So, I’m looking for other ways to advertise my business. In the meantime, I still have some nice t-shirts.