Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Starting a BBQ Grill Cleaning Business
Part Eight

BUYING FACEBOOK "LIKES" FROM FACEBOOK

Once you launch a Facebook page for your business, you can't help it but wonder where the "Likes" are going to come from. And while they do, they seem to take forever and a day to materialize.

You may even look at other business pages boasting hundreds or even thousands of "Likes," and you probably wonder how they did it.

Well, there are two answers to that question...
  1. They are organic "Likes."
  2. They were purchased.
The organic or natural approach takes time; usually a long time. Especially when you own a small business that serves a local clientele. There's nothing wrong with growing your fan base slowly and steadily, but if you are like me, and post at least a few times each week, you cannot help it but feel like you're talking to yourself.

Option number two: The paid approach, which can be broken into two segments.
  1. "Likes" you purchase from a broker.
  2. "Likes" you purchase through a Facebook ad.
In my case—and as an experiment—I chose to use the second approach.

Okay, the fact that I only had 12 "Likes" was reason enough to find a way to (legitimately) bolster my Facebook "fan" base.

The first option, which involves buying "Likes" from brokers or companies that offer hundreds or thousands of "Likes" for a few bucks, is useless in my opinion.

Sure, they can make your Facebook page look impressive in a matter of days (if not hours), until you realize that there's absolutely no engagement or participation at all, big numbers notwithstanding.

This practice can have a negative effect on how your site ranks, according to many search engine optimizers, and trust me, you do not want to rattle the Google cage when it comes to "creative" SEO practices.

But if you decide to pursue this venue, regardless of the possible negative consequences, you have PLENTY of places to buy from.

Screen shot of Google page showing sites that sell Facebook "Likes"

The second option is totally legit and it can certainly help augment your Facebook numbers as well as participation by helping you acquire individuals who may have a real interest in what you are offering. 

When you buy a "promotion" through Facebook, you can pick and choose the target audience you want to market by age, interests and location. By doing so, you are guaranteed that those who see your ads are pre-qualified. At least in theory.

Screen shot of Facebook page promotion tool

You can also edit your promotion as needed and at any time, which makes this approach very user friendly. Plus I also like that you can start your promotion for as little as $5 a day, and you decide how long you want your campaign to run for. You can also temporarily pause or completely stop it as needed.


HOW TO LAUNCH A FACEBOOK PROMO

Screen shot of Facebook website promotion offerGetting a promotional campaign started on Facebook is very easy. And as the screen shot shows, you can also set one up to promote your website.

You will need to set up some form of payment, then it's a matter of a few clicks and your ads are created on the fly.
Once they are approved (takes about 15 minutes), you're good to go.

For my business I chose to allocate $5 per day, and for a period of two weeks. The results of this promotion were decent, with a total of 100 "Likes" from a total investment of $55.06, at a cost of about 55¢ per each new "Like." 

From looking at the profiles of those who "Liked" My Grill Pro's Facebook page, I can see that most are from the Central Florida area. However, the coverage radius seems to extend far beyond from the cities I listed in the "location" field when I designed my ad. I've seen "Likes" from Orlando and Kissimmee, for example, which are areas I do not serve.

So even though, so far, the geo-targeting parameters that Facebook uses seem to be a bit "generous," (not sure what other term to use), at least they are in the general vicinity, albeit not exactly where I'd clearly indicated when I created the promo.


FAN PARTICIPATION

"Engagement" so far, or lack thereof, seems to be in line with what you would expect from buying bulk "Likes," so I am not sure these "fans" will actually help my Facebook page.

Ultimately, buying "Likes"—from any source—should be looked upon as a quick and easy way to get over the 100-Likes-barrier and nothing more.

Only time will tell if having a Facebook page, or any other social media for that matter, will make a positive difference as far as profits are concerned.


WAS IT WORTH IT?

Screen shot of Facebook Promotion results
Personally, I am still very much on the fence at being able to discern the value of spending effort, time and money in social media. I hope it helps make my website more prominent when it comes to search engine results, but that's about it.

It seems to me that whatever algorithms Facebook uses to target potential business fans, are more in line with those you would use to find potential friends.

Filters such as household income, for example, would be extremely helpful for those of us who are targeting specific demographics. And if I am given the opportunity to select specific areas, well then my "Likes" should be limited to those cities.

Again, My Grill Pro services residential customers in Seminole and Volusia counties at this time, yet many of the "Likes" are for people who live in Orange and Osceola counties. Granted, both located in Central Florida, but if we do not travel to those areas, what's the point?


SO, YEA OR NAY?

If you want to quickly augment the number of "Likes" for your Facebook page, I would recommend using the Facebook built-in promotion system rather than those offered by brokers.

I am pleased with the results of this experiment. I started with a grand total of only 12 "Likes" and, by the time I paused the promotion, that number had increased to 112 in about a week and a half. But then again it goes to show you that "Likes" can be easily manipulated. So, when you look at your competitor's website, you have to question if the numbers shown are natural "Likes" or not.

When all is said and done, all you get are meaningless numbers.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cars I Love: 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona

Some classics never go out of style, and the Shelby Cobra Daytona is one of them.


Cars I Love are photos of automobiles I find and collect during my journeys around the Interwebs. Whenever possible, I credit the source. —Luis