Facebook may only have come into the world in 2004 but is already dominating the web and the world as one of the largest global brands today. The social media giant, Facebook has 1.44 billion users who spend around 21 minutes logged in a day. This provides a solid platform for brands to engage with their target audience. The ‘Boost Your Business’ event, run by Facebook across various locations in the UK, aims to assist those wishing to cut through the ‘noise’ on social media. I had the pleasure of going along to the event in Edinburgh to see what I could learn.

Having experience in social media for my student union, I was at the event to see what new features I could capitalise on and improve the way I currently use Facebook. Working in a PR agency like Aura, it’s also very important that we are on top of new social media advances so we can best utilise these channels for clients. Many people I spoke to at the networking sessions however, were largely oblivious to the social networking side of business and were there to learn the basics and everything else which was on offer. The event was aimed at SMEs, with the keynote speaker being Jonathan Czaja, Facebook’s Director of Small Business Advertising in North America. In short, the perfect person to tell small/medium companies how to ‘boost their business’ using Facebook. He spoke about the rise of video on Facebook and how it is becoming the most prominent engagement tool on the website. After the informative keynote speech there was a panel discussion featuring representatives from the fashion and drinks industries (The Brotique, Royal & Awesome and Innis and Gunn) who spoke about how their companies used Facebook as well as a Q&A from the audience.

Following these events, there were smaller presentations on how to create advertising campaigns and target a specific audience and also how to interpret page insights and report them. One great reporting feature Facebook has is the relevance score. Facebook is urging advertisers to hone their campaigns to be relevant to the target audience which is calculated based on positive and negative responses. The more relevant they are the greater their reach. This allows for users to continuously optimise and refine adverts maximising their effectiveness. These were all great sessions and I will take back to Aura what I’ve learned from them. For example, I was unaware that through Facebook, you can be so specific in targeting; for example men aged 18-24 in the west of Scotland who enjoy horse racing and use an iPhone. Although this prompts concern regarding the near FBI type capabilities of Facebook, it is invaluable from a business perspective in reaching a target market.

The networking sessions before and after the main event were also great opportunities to meet and chat to people from different industries and understand how they each use social media as part of their business. There were also stalls for 1:1 consultation with members of the Facebook team for objectives like increasing local awareness of your brand and even an Instagram stall! These were useful once you finally got to the front of the line but a few people clearly had a lot of questions, thus taking time away from the rest of us. I think a five minute buzzer system may work well in the future… Also not to be missed was the freezer full of free ice lollies and ice cream compensating for the scorching heat outside!

ice lollies

The next day I returned to House of Aura with two main take-home messages from the day before. First, get filming! Video is still on the rise and should be used further utilised as a tool to engage on Facebook. Second, was the advertising manager. You can even upload a list of contact email addresses (perhaps subscribers to an E-newsletter) and target them specifically with campaigns and boosted posts.

I had a great and informative time at the ‘Boost Your Business’ event. Although Facebook profits hugely from it all, it’s important to realise why you need to pay for advertising on Facebook and how it can cut through the noise of all the content being added every second on the platform. I hope these kind of events continue and as many as possible have the opportunity to attend!

Blog post Dan Irwin, PR Assistant