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Facebook advertising tricks for b-to-b marketers

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What if I offered you a billboard in the middle of Times Square at little to no cost for you to advertise your company? Of course you'd do it, right? One of the great things about Facebook is that it provides you access to a large audience of more than 550 million people worldwide at a very low cost. So why not take advantage of it?

I think it is safe to say any keyword you are going to buy is maxed out within the Google AdWords auction process. But it wasn't always so. In 2001, when I was with a consulting firm, I was buying and converting potential prospects into leads for pennies on the dollar with keywords like “globalization,” “e-commerce” and “interactive marketing.”

This is why Facebook today seems so familiar to me. While the buying process is less about keywords and more about precise targeting, the costs seem awfully familiar.

Let's go through three tricks to maximize a Facebook advertising purchase for b-to-b marketers:

1. Job titles. The first trick is to place specific job titles into the “likes” and “interest” fields so those who have indicated job titles in their profiles are now potential recipients of your ad. Go big and go broad with the job titles. Facebook doesn't care how many you put in there; it will find you the profiles that contain them.

2. Workplaces field. The second trick requires putting the 20 top companies you want to target into the “workplaces”" field. Facebook, unlike Google, works using the “or” operand, not “and”—use this to your advantage by placing all the companies you want to target into the “workplaces” field. This way, you'll reach the employees of all of those companies that use Facebook.

3. Use friends. Finally, if you want to widen your fan base, try targeting friends of the people who already like your page. If they are friends of your friends, perhaps they share a common interest, and one of those interests could be your company.

Get your feet wet with Facebook Ads by building your fan base on your company page. This will give you a feeling for how the self-service system works. Perhaps you might even try some of the tricks above for your initial ad buy.

Also pay special attention to the metrics that Facebook provides. You can compile a buyer “persona,” and run an ad for 30 days at a minimal investment. Facebook will tell you your target's favorite movie, music, TV show and books—even average age, gender and marital status. This is great stuff to know, and great data you can use to refine you next Facebook advertising buy.

Paul Dunay is global managing director-services and social marketing at enterprise telecommunications company Avaya Inc. (www.avaya.com) and co-author of the recently published "Facebook Advertising for Dummies" (Wiley Publishing Inc., 2011) He can be reached at pdunay@avaya.com.

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