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The correct answer to any Facebook question is “er”. (And the real objective of Facebook advertising).

The correct answer to any Facebook question is “er”. (And the real objective of Facebook advertising).

I presented the EdTwinge case study at a social media conference in Edinburgh last week.

It was a reasonably lively affair with plenty of questions from the audience.

Not surprisingly several of these questions related to what brands and organisations can and can not do on Facebook.

And it struck me, not just at this conference but as a result of many recent experiences of Facebook, that the more someone knows about Facebook the less likely they are to give a 100% categoric answer. And the more likely they are to hesitate before answering. The more likely they are to give an informed answer but advise you to check directly with Facebook if you have something innovative in mind. The more likely they are to say “er”.

Working with brands on Facebook feels a bit like picking cockles on Morecambe Sands.

Of all the links to articles about Morecambe Sands that I could have chosen, I chose this one because it includes the phrases “rich harvest” and “treacherous sands”.

A bit melodramatic maybe.

But it’s a decent analogy for brands on Facebook.

When social media people talk about fishing where the fish are, Facebook is usually the first platform that springs to mind. There are rich engagement pickings to be had if you play your cards right.

But playing your cards right on Facebook is not easy for brands. The sands shift. Almost daily. What you could do yesterday, you can’t today.

The two main Facebook blogs that I follow are All Facebook and Inside Facebook. For the seven day period 3rd to 9th July inclusive I counted 21 posts on the former and 27 posts on the latter.

Now, most of these posts do not relate directly to substantive changes to what brands can do on Facebook, but the sheer number of posts in a single seven day period shows how close an eye you need to keep on Facebook in order to stay on top of it. And it shows why a true Facebook expertise is characterised by a degree of hesitation.

Indeed, even people who work at Facebook say “er”. And “er” in these instances usually means “I’ll check with someone in the States.”

Which brings me onto the real objective of Facebook advertising.

The real objective of Facebook advertising, if you’re a brand for whom Facebook is a big deal, is not the immediate impressions or clicks that those, oh so carefully targeted, ads generate. Oh no.

The main thing that you’re buying with Facebook ads is not impressions or clicks, it’s access.

Access to people at Facebook who can give you quick answers and work with you to make things happen.

And the more you spend the better that access gets.

And the better that access gets, the more you’ll be able to do with your brand on Facebook that will generate greater return than the ads you booked to get that access in the first place.

At least I think that’s how it works.


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