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Facebook's Dirty Little Secret and How to Combat It

Posted Monday, November 19, 2012, at 6:45 PM

According to last week's earnings report, Facebook is fueling growing ad revenue. The company landed slightly above analyst predictions, due in part to mobile ad growth.

The number of active mobile Facebook users grew rapidly from 543 to 604 million in the last three months alone -- now comprising over half of the entire user base. To add, mobile users are 20 times more likely to return to Facebook the same day than desktop users, according to the brand's COO.

Further piquing the interest of advertisers is this nuance: mobile users can only see ads in their news feeds, as compared to ads placed in the right-hand column of your Facebook window. Facebook reports that news feed ads generate eight times higher engagement rates and four times higher click-through rates than their more promotional feeling right-column counterparts.

So what do these Facebook advertising trends mean for the average marketing professional or business owner?

Facebook's dirty little secret is that only a shocking 15 percent or so of the people who like your company page actually see your content. It's primarily because many of your fans aren't online when you post. The other factor: Facebook controls which stories make each user's "top stories" -- which are more likely to be viewed. The formula used to determine which posts make the cut revolves around the pages and people a user interacts with most through Facebook.

Fortunately, Facebook has introduced a variety of new advertising opportunities this year for businesses to increase the number of users who "like" their page in addition to ensuring that more of their status updates are actually viewed.

In May, Facebook launched sponsored stories and promoted posts for business pages. Sponsored stories give you the opportunity to create and promote ads based on the interactions your fans have with your page. Ads can appear both in the right-hand column of the page as well as in users' news feeds with the name of the user that interacted with your page included in the story -- akin to a peer testimonial. You can utilize sponsored stories to promote that a user liked your page, checked in at your location, or recommended your brand.

Promoted posts (only available for pages with 400+ fans) allow you to significantly increase your "reach" or "impressions" with as little as a $5 investment which ensures that your update gets bumped up in priority in the news feeds of those who like your page as well as their friends.

For just a few bucks, consider test-driving these new Facebook advertising opportunities to see what kind of return they can generate for your brand.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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Lori spent over 15 years leading corporate marketing and communications divisions in the financial services, hospitality and franchise restaurant sectors. As Director of Target Marketing for the Hampton Hotels brand of Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lori managed promotional, direct and Web marketing, as well as custom publishing, for the brand's franchise system. In her role as Vice President of Employee Communications and Development for First Horizon National Corporation, she managed the corporation's internal culture initiatives, communications, and employee recognition programs. Other positions held include Sr. Communications Director/Corporate Editor for TCBY Enterprises, Inc., and Vice President of Marketing for First National Banking Company. Lori is a founding sponsor and member of the Board of Directors for LaunchMemphis -- an organization committed to developing an entrepreneurial community in Memphis comprised of investors, entrepreneurs and local organizations. In addition, Lori is on the Board of Directors of the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South and on the Advisory Board for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. She is a sought-after speaker in the Memphis area, delivering sales and marketing keynote addresses and workshops to organizations like: the Memphis Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the Sales & Marketing Society of the Mid-South, LaunchMemphis, EmergeMemphis, the Memphis Regional Chamber, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lori holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in addition to having completed the University of Colorado's School of Bank Marketing and Management. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards including local and district Addy's, Communicator awards, and a Telly. She received recognition as one of the Memphis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40" recipients in 2009. Lori also served as a contributing ghost writer for the renowned "Complete Idiot's Guide to Guerilla Marketing." Beyond her passions for marketing and dogs of all shapes and sizes, Lori is an avid traveler, runner and foodie.