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Facebook isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence

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Facebook confuses even the most experienced of us and makes us fall for the same tricks that we as marketers use. What can we do? We can internalize the following lessons.

What do we do on Facebook? In general, we get updates – updates on professional or personal topics from friends, colleagues as well as various groups and organizations. But beneath the surface, Facebook is in large part a place to receive recognition and appreciation and to where we stand in society. The platform does a pretty good job at making us jealous of everything around us: the car, the girlfriend, the house, the vacation, the flat stomach or, as marketers, everything success that our colleagues or competitors have had.

You know when campaigns by a competitor look like a million bucks exactly when your own post brought in a measly 7 likes? Has that selfie ever popped up of your fit friend bench-pressing 200 kilos exactly in the week you’ve finally admitted to yourself that you’ve got a bit round in the midsection?

These are not coincidences. Facebook knows to show us precisely what it knows will work on us at any given moment. As marketers, that means in many cases dangling our colleagues’ or competitors’ pretty ads in front of us to spur us to reach the same level (and to spend a bit more money along the way).

So, next time you feel your eyes popping out from a good-looking ad (or a gym selfie, whatever the case may be) before you rush to replace your campaign manager, invest unnecessary amounts or, worst of all, to decide that you are somehow incapable, take the following as a note-to-self:

You don’t know how much was spent on what you see

Likes are largely an illusion. It’s true, the more suitable your content is for users, the easier it will be to get likes, but if you’re prepared to pay for it, you can get an infinite number of likes even on the worst post you’ve ever created. What’s important to remember is that you don’t see the most basic statistic on Facebook: the reach. Without seeing the ratio between that and the engagement, you have no way of knowing whether the post was actually good or if a fortune was invested in it.

You don’t know how much was invested in design (the ad or the muscles, depending on the topic)

Professional design is the privilege of big advertisers and you can get by just fine without it. What’s more, more and more marketers are finding today that it’s actually the personal posts without filters and fancy design elements that succeed to the detriment of branded and polished content. If you, as small marketers, design ads that look 70% as good as the ads created by big professionals with lots of resources, you’re really going above and beyond the call of duty.

You don’t know how much time someone spent on a campaign or how it looked a few months ago

It’s easier to say than do, but we’ll say it anyway: Even the biggest composer in the world learned theory once. The most important starting point for small businesses (and all businesses really) is that you have to work with what you have and take extra steps forward while already on the move. The trick is to do it the best you can at any given moment without compromising on mediocrity and to learn from every step you take.

If you feel like you’ve got the idea, here are a few principles to take with you as you move on:

Inspiration is relative

Did something amaze you? Smile, appreciate whatever it was and move on. You don’t have to replicate anything – even if it looked good.

Look as far ahead as possible

And look as little as possible to the sides. What you need to see will already be waiting for you along your path.

Learn from every post and every campaign

It doesn’t matter how many conclusions you come to at any given time – as long as you’re thinking strategically and following a method rather than stumbling blindly along, you’re on the right path.

Focus on yourself

Your marker should always be yourself, where you were yesterday and where you want to be tomorrow.

Do what’s right for you brand

Remember that one size does not fit all. On Facebook, like lifting weights, every brand needs a different personalized gameplan in order to reach the best results. What’s best for one won’t be best for another and what worked with one audience often won’t work with another.

Facebook isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence

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