Hootsuite, the popular platform for scheduling and managing social media messaging, debuted a new online ad tool today May 19 designed to maximize your Facebook presence.
Hootsuite Ads, as it’s called, results from a partnership between San Francisco-based Hootsuite and Facebook. The program enables you to promote your most important Facebook posts in the form of automatically formulated advertising from your Hootsuite dashboard.
“Small business owners don’t have time to create and manage their advertising,” Hootsuite’s VP of New Product Growth, Greg Gunn, told Small Business Trends in a recent interview. “We optimize your most popular Facebook content based on your goals.”
Hootsuite Ads is described as the first tool available to automate and simplify the social media advertising process. Users choose their primary business objective for each ad. Based on previous postings, the tool then automatically formulates ad content as a “sponsored post” and offers targeting suggestions. All this happens in Hootsuite’s dashboard.
For small business owners, Facebook advertising efforts generally are driven by one of four key factors, Gunn noted.
“You want to drive more brand awareness, get more followers or better engage your followers, or you want to drive traffic [to a website outside Facebook],” Gunn explained.
“We analyze all your organic posts and automatically tell you which content will give you the biggest bang for your buck. You can see what is working and what is not,” he said.
Here’s how the new tool suggests finished ads for you to place on Facebook. First, it scans all your previous Facebook posts and ranks and classifies them based on your goal. Hootsuite also informs you how long a Facebook ad should run. Once the ad is posted, the Hootsuite tool posts clear results.
The Hootsuite tool is available for free, though users must pay Facebook to post the sponsored content on the social media site. Facebook offers advertising programs at a wide range of prices.
In formulating the product, Hootsuite consulted with many small business owners.
“I personally spoke to 50 small businesses,” Gunn said, adding that the company also surveyed “hundreds” more.
The results were clear. “Social media is really important” as an advertising channel, Gunn said.
Ease-of-use was the key concept around which the product was designed, he noted.
“Small businesses want to ensure they are creating high-quality ads,” Gunn said. He added many don’t have the time or skills to produce these effectively. Gunn described the very concept of writing ad copy as “anxiety” provoking for small businesses.
Of the more than 10 million users Hootsuite boasts, only 25 percent are active Facebook advertisers, he said.
For the bulk of its base that does not advertise on Facebook, Hootsuite has rolled out its new product to serve as an enticement by taking the complexity out of the process, Gunn said.
Hootsuite plans to expand its offering of include automated social media advertising in the near future, according to Gunn.