On the heels of a major Facebook announcement (cue shock of IPO announcement), an unexpected story began to emerge. A couple of days ago, rumors broke of General Motors cutting its $10 million budget for Facebook advertising. GM plans on finishing their current advertising and continuing to use Facebook as an area for content strategy. This set off a flurry of news as top media outlets began to question GM’s decision, discussed the ramifications for Facebook on the eve of its IPO and brought attention to the rapid response from rival auto manufacturer Ford Motor Company.


Was GM right in cutting its budget? Are Facebook ads ineffective? The answer is all in how they’re executed.

It all gets back to one of the rules that Airfoil recently published. You have to interact with your customers in the right places, on the right platforms, and at the right time. And while we’re at it, in the right way. As Ford’s Director of Marketing Communication, Matt VanDyke stated, "You won't make the right choices if you view Facebook as an advertising network. You can't just pick up advertising that would run somewhere else and put it on Facebook as an ad banner."

GM needed to view Facebook as a place to promote creative storytelling, to share consumer experiences with its brands and promote recent stories from consumers who recently purchased one of its vehicles.

How can your business be successful advertising on Facebook? Here are a couple suggestions:

• Pick the right type of paid advertisement

Facebook has the option to choose whether you want to do a “Sponsored Story” or a “Facebook Ad.”

• Target your ads to the right people

Facebook gives you the opportunity to target precisely. You can target by age, interests, geographic location and more. You can even target friends of those who like your brand. Talk about being where your audience is!

• Create the right text for your audience

Have the proper call to action for your brand. You’re not going to sell a car by leading them to a dealer website. For larger investments like purchasing a car, lead them to a shared consumer experience where they can engage and learn from the stories of current customers.

Not all brands will see quick ROI, but remember what is important about social media: being a brand that fans can interact with. Tell them a story, create a friendship, interact and engage, and build that relationship. Don’t use your ads as an area to offer 10 percent off, use them in partnership with the main purpose of Facebook – to engage.

What are your thoughts on GM pulling their Facebook Ads? Do you think Facebook Ads are successful?

Melissa Heidel is an account executive and Eric Dornbrook is an account coordinator at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit. Follow them on Twitter @melsaheidel and @ericdornbrook