We like Facebook, but does your audience?

A client asked us the other day "Does buying Facebook 'likes' actually work?" The answer, as is the way with most digital channels is yes and no. It really boils down to two things, the nature of the business and the nature of the audience that business is trying to reach.
We are lucky enough to work with an ecletic variety of businesses, many of whom are in the hospitality sector. We helped re-launch a family pub recently and set up a presence on Facebook for them. As we moved towards the launch date we wanted to accelerate the reach by boosting the audience through a paid campaign. To the uninitiated this allows the business to target Facebook users in a specific geo-location and demographics. We set a very limited budget and were blown away with the results, as was the client.
Why did this campaign work? Firstly, let's think about the business. This is a community pub which a lot of people in the area would use and enjoy. Secondly, lets think about that the targeting. We set a permitter of a mile around the venue. Conveniently there was only one other pub in a mile of our client. Clearly through a confluence of pent up demand and tight targeting we hit the marketing jack-pot. Our client is rushed off their feet and Facebook is now their key communications channel.
Would we recommend this kind of Facebook engagement campaign for all of our clients? No. We recently built a website for a local garage, whose main service is MOT's.

As a car only gets MOT'd once a year the buying cycle for a consumer is going to be 12 monthly and spending money on ones car is going to be less fun than popping into your re-furbed local for a pint. Does that mean Facebook isn't relevant? No absolutely not but the way the channel is employed from a marketing perspective will be. The garage still have a Facebook page and there maybe other paid media mechanisms that will be relevant.
Our advice to clients before they invest in any paid media experimentation is think about your audience and their motivations. We like Facebook but its not going to be liked by everyone.